Bill Hader was back on Saturday Night Live (SNL) as the host on October 11, and he brought along Stefan and another memorable character he played during his years as a cast member, new broadcaster, Herb Welch. While not all of the skits worked as well as the best of them, like the Stefan one and the Herb Welch one, Hader’s return to SNL was a triumphant one, on the whole.
While Bill Hader did not put on a bald skin wig to reprise his character of James Carville, he still was arguably the best guest host so far this season. Another alum who joined him onstage during his opening monologue was Kristen Wiig, who he stars with in the movie The Skeleton Twins, in which they play Milo and Maggie.
She encouraged him, at first, to pursue his so-called “dream” of singing on the SNL stage. Hader protested, saying that his voice was too low and he was not that great of a signer. Wiig, though, kept encouraging him, so Bill Hader began singing. It did not take her very long before she asked him to stop, though someone else then came onto the stage and convinced him to continue on singing: Harvey Fierstein. As the two men sang, Wiig played the saxophone.
Before the sketches in which Bill Hader was Stefan and later, Herb Welch, there was a skit where he played a sort of ambiguous character who was either a “king” or a “queen,” over the people he ruled. He was a Hunger Games-like character, looking somewhat like the Elizabeth Banks character, Effie Trinket, though Donald Sutherland, of course, is the villainous President Snow in those movies. The movie, Maze Runner, was also joked about.
In a skit about the TV game show, Hollywood Game Night, Bill Hader reprised the first person he ever impersonated on SNL, Al Pacino. Kristen Wiig was also in the skit, as Kathy Lee Gifford. Though Kristen Wiig is very funny, though, this was Bill Hader’s night in the spotlight.
When Bill Hader finally was Stefan, the audience erupted in applause and cheers. He was asked where he had been for so long, and he answered by asking about how long he had been “on anesthesia.” Then, he was asked about the best hot spots to go to in New York City, and he was hilarious, as if he had never lost a beat from the days when he had first made the character of Stefan famous. He talked about hot spots like “Whimsy” and listed all of the celebs who were often seen at these nightclubs and the different things that each one featured that drew in crowds of people.
“Whimsy,” he said, was condemned by “GLAAD and the EPA from Ghostbusters.” One of the guests that supposedly often showed up as a regular at all of the “hot spots” was “MTV’s Dan Cortese.” Whenever Hader mentioned that name, he would crack up. He also announced that “I’m pregnant! I’ll let you know if we keep it,” at the end of the skit.
He cracked himself up as he mentioned place after place, covering his face with his hands, as he has done in the past when he has played Stefan, to hide his laughter. He mentioned a “human defibrillator” at one point, and was asked what that was. He said (this is paraphrased) “It is that thing when your friend is having a heart attack and you take two midgets and rub them on a carpet and they say ‘clear!'”
The audience seemed to almost like the skit a bit later in which Bill Hader played correspondent Herb Welch. In interviews, Herb never, or rarely, will ask the questions that someone back int he newsroom wants him to ask; instead, he makes up his own questions and comments and often insults both the people he is interviewing and his fellow broadcasters. He also delights in hitting the people he is interviewing with his microphone under the pretense of allowing them to speak into it to answer his questions.
Yet another old and favorite character of many fans that Bill Hader brought back to SNL with him was that of Anthony Peter Coleman, a war veteran and puppeteer who seems to often have flashbacks to the time when he was in the heat of battle. He was supposed to make a puppet that was light-hearted and told jokes, like the other people did in the skit; instead, his puppet and others, in one part of the skit, enacted a scene where they were in combat in the jungle.
Those were the main highlights of the SNL episode, though one later on was a clever premise and it got some laughs from the audience. It was a Cat in the Hat skit, with Bill Hader playing the Cat in the Hat. The house he visited was one where the mother of the “kids” was actually an old flame of his, and the “son” sort of resembled him. She told him that she had moved on and had gotten remarried. When her husband came home, he was Thing 2 from the children’s story. Perhaps the funniest line Hader did as he played the Cat in the Hat was when he said, speaking about the mother of the children: “”Oh, the places she let me go.”
Saturday night’s episode with Bill Hader returning to host and bringing back some of his famous characters, like Stefan and Herb Welch, was one that fans of SNL and Hader had been eagerly anticipating since the beginning of the season. While not every skit was as funny as the best of them, like the ones featuring Hader as Stefan and Herb Welch, on the whole, it was a triumphant return for Bill Hader and one which people will likely be talking about for days to come.
Written By Douglas Cobb
Bill Hader as Stefan/Courtesy YouTube, NBC, Bill Hader, and SNL (and “FunnySkits” who posted it)