The Washington Post

Daniel Craig on ‘SNL’: Comedically, he neither shook nor stirred

All the focus on today on Lady Gaga’s barf and sad celebrity separation and Lena Dunham’s hefty book deals have distracted me from something I really wanted to talk about. And that something is: how Daniel Craig did over the weekend as host of “Saturday Night Live.”


Remember last week when the SNL promos aired, and we all thought, hey, maybe Craig can be funny because he wore silly glasses in those promos, and putting on ridiculous eyewear is, like, the first step to actually being legitimately comical yourself. Right?

In this case, wrong. Craig elicited very few laughs in his first attempt to host “SNL.” His opening monologue largely relied on a pre-taped In Memoriam segment about all the people he’s killed in his movies, which only served as a reminder that he’s been exclusively uber-serious onscreen. From there he played everything from a linguistically challenged construction worker to the boyfriend of Fred Armisen in drag to the familiar role of James Bond, in a mildly amusing clip about lesser- known Bond girls.

For the most part in all of the segments, he just did not seem in his element. Which is understandable, since, with very little comedy on his resume, comedy sketches really are not his element.

But wait, shouts a Craig supporter somewhere in the online universe. Was this really his fault, or was it the material?

To be fair, the material was pretty wretched. But there are some SNL hosts who manage to elevate even the lousiest gags. Imagine, for example, what Jon Hamm might have done with that construction worker bit, or how Melissa McCarthy might have handled the ridiculous fondle-a-thon with Armisen.

Granted, they are gifted and experienced comedic performers and Craig isn’t on their level, at least not at this stage. It’s possible that he could potentially be better at comedy than his “SNL” performance suggests. Maybe.

For now, let’s just agree that he’s very skilled at doing his 007 thing, which, ultimately, is all the people behind “Skyfall” want us to be thinking about anyway. In that sense: mission accomplished, Mr. Bond.

How did you think Craig did on “SNL”? Am I being too harsh, or were you too, consistently not amused?

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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