The Best & Worst Sketches From Tom Hanks' 'Saturday Night Live'

Last night Tom Hanks hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time in 10 years, and the energy he brought to the show certainly elevated the writing and cast from their misstep of an episode last weekend with Emily Blunt. Honestly, I thought there was only one truly bad sketch the entire night, and it wasn't even downright awful. This actually might be the best episode of the first four to kick off the season.

Find out the best and worst sketches from last night's episode of Saturday Night Live below.

The Best

Black Jeopardy – I love when a sketch, especially a recurring one, goes in a direction that we didn't expect. While everyone saw Tom Hanks with his "Make America Great Again" and bald eagle shirt and assumed he was going to clash with the contestants and host of Black Jeopardy (or he could have been a racist Forrest Gump). But the fact that he got along with everyone was a great twist. Then they turned it on its head again with a great Final Jeopardy category.

Haunted Elevator – I don't know if SNL is getting more bold with where they place the weird sketches of the night, but this was one that could have easily fit in the 10-to-1 slot. However, I could watch Tom Hanks as David Pumpkins for all 73 of the floors that he's on, but could watch Kate McKinnon and Beck Bennett question his existence for even longer.

A Girl's Halloween – At first I thought this was going to be another music video with the "(Do It On My) Twin Bed" crew, but that would have been too soon. Instead, this was a great short contrasting the adorable preparation that goes into three girls' Halloween costumes before they have a night of hell. I feel like there's a feature film idea in there somewhere too. But the cuts back and forth instead of just a stream of all bad decisions only made it funnier, especially with Bobby Moynihan's pizzeria owner getting his own flashback. Also, I think this is the first time I've seen someone throw up on a whole pizza.Saturday Night Live - Tom Hanks

The Average

Cockpit – Hey, if you've got Tom Hanks fresh off his awards hopeful role in Sully, you might as well make a sketch out of it. And if you've got Alec Baldwin just sitting around after the cold open, you might as well use him again. This was a great take on Sully's life after his famous rescue maneuver as he tries to get back into flying again. Having Tom Hanks in the role was what sold it, but I'm not sure it would have worked as well if it wasn't him, and that's what made me deny it from being one of the best.

Funny New Comedy – There's some pretty feisty commentary here about which shows are considered for the comedy category at the Emmys, and they certainly have a point. Most comedies nowadays seem more dark than funny. While that still works for shows like Louie, Transparent and Baskets for the most part, it does seem like more straight-up comedy shows are being overlooked in favor of dramas that happen to have some funny moments. Using CBS as the network with this fake show was the best route to go for this one, and the over-the-top announcer added some humor, but I felt like it could have been a little funnier.Saturday Night Live - Tom HanksHalloween Musical – The pacing of the faux Halloween show initially felt off, and not just for comedic effect. However, Tom Hanks, Cecily Strong and Melissa Villaseñor really sold it, and made it work better than it should have. But for me, the best part of the sketch were the occasional comments from the rest of the neighborhood. This sketch isn't available to watch online, likely due to music rights since Journey's song "Don't Stop Believing" is used extensively for parody.

Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton Third Debate – SNL must have really wanted to get Tom Hanks in front of cameras right away in order to pull viewers in, because his impression of Chris Wallace wasn't particularly good, and I'm sure someone on the cast could have done it better. But of course, the stars were Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton. This wasn't quite as good as the second debate sketch, but Alec Baldwin simultaneously taking a dig at himself and his brother Stephen Baldwin was pretty great.

The Worst

America's Funniest Pets with Tom Hanks – Don't get me wrong, Tom Hanks really threw himself into his Ron Howard impression, which was a weird variance on this second appearance by these French characters. Much like their first appearance when Adam Driver hosted with a similarly strange sketch, the concept is amusing, and Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon are good at the characters, but it just doesn't work well enough for us to see them again.Saturday Night Live - Tom Hanks

Weekend Update

Weekend Update is certainly being helped by all their political coverage for the time being, but the real test will be once the election is over. Will Colin Jost and Michael Che be able to keep up their newfound chemistry and flow? I certainly hope so. Kudos for the staff for getting a good Cubs joke out there after they won not long before the segment aired.

Leslie Jones on Being Hacked – It's been awhile since we had a good Leslie Jones segment on Weekend Update, and this one finally offered up some of the commentary we wanted from her about her getting hacked over the summer. Her timing was a little off at first, but then she got into a good rhythm and made this a great segment. And the ending actually had a really great message too.

The Girl at a Party on 2016 Election – This was one of the better uses of this recurring character recently, but the last line about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 felt too smart for the character, though it was a good line.

The Host

It should come as no surprise that Tom Hanks was comfortable on the stage of Studio 8H for his ninth time hosting SNL, but he certainly started a little shaky in the evening with his part in the presidential debate sketch and the lukewarm monologue where he gives a pep talk to America as if he was the nation's father. But like I said, Tom Hanks was great despite the opening stumbles, and he injected so much energy into the show, though it was disappointing that he didn't bring back any classic characters. I can't wait to see what happens when he eventually comes back for this 10th time as host.


Saturday Night Live - Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks – This was one of those episodes where pretty much everyone was great on the show, allowing the host to shine. And since that host was Tom Hanks, who holds nothing back every time he hosts the show, it was a real treat. From his reprisal of his role as Sully to his wacky David Pumpkins and everything in between.

The Final Word

After showing that the writing staff and cast was a little tired last weekend, I'm glad to see they all turned around and made this last show of four in a row the best of the season so far. Having Tom Hanks has a host surely helped, and I think that probably perked everyone at SNL up quite a bit. I can't remember the last time that only one sketch was bad, so you know this was a great episode.

We'll be back after Benedict Cumberbatch hosts Saturday Night Live on November 5th.