James Franco recently hosted Saturday Night Live this past weekend. The actor was out to promote his latest comedy “The Disaster Artist,” a movie about the filming of the cult classic “The Room,” in which he played Tommy Wiseau, the idiosyncratic writer and star of the film. With Franco at the helm, the legendary sketch comedy show tested its boundaries and came away with a lot of laughs.
SNL is definitely at its best when it doesn’t play it safe. In one of the sketches called “Spelling Bee,” James Franco plays the host, who uses the spelling bee words to inform everybody of his disturbed childhood and unique fetishes. It’s the opposite of a sensitive sketch, especially since it pairs innocent kids at a spelling bee with the disgruntled and frankly inappropriate complaints of an adult man. But man is it funny. Franco seems on the brink of laughter as he describes his urophilia when prompted to define the word “adolescent.” I won’t tell you more, but let’s just say it doesn’t let up from there.
Another sketch finds Franco playing a homeless man who is helped by a woman played by cast member Cecily Strong. Strong plays a business woman who gives Franco coffee and some food while he’s on the street, then proceeds to buy him clothes and take him on a jaunt around the city. Things stay sweet for a while – Strong takes him home and starts looking for jobs for him. But soon the truth is exposed, and it’s not what you expect.
The show also took a stab at the sexual harassment cases that have made headlines as of late. Franco and Kenan Thompson play two employees of a company that have to come back to apologize to their female coworkers after being fired for sexually inappropriate behavior. Let’s just say that Thompson goes off in this skit, and as the skit gets more and more ridiculous, Franco and him play off of each other rather hilariously.
Despite the sexual harassment skit’s humor, it does “pack some heat” as social commentary too. I expect that this one might be controversial in the coming weeks, especially given how hot the topic is. We will just have to see how the public reacts.
Comedy, as it goes, is often on the edge of the politically correct, and SNL is always at its funniest when it toes that line. The latest episode definitely offended a few people, but Franco and company got more than a few laughs in the process.
The word is that ratings rose with Franco as host, so things are looking up for the show. Riding on the energy of “The Disaster Artist,” which has garnered rave reviews from critics, Franco is on top of his game as a comedian and a personality. Here’s to more from him in the near future.
“The Disaster Artist” is in theaters now. Look for Kevin Hart and the Foo Fighters on next week’s episode of SNL.