Saturday Night Live opened with two untethered astronauts calling Houston in a "Gravity" sketch. However, with the government shut down, only a couple janitors were in the office to provide suggestions and take a message: "Janet from Space called and I'm going to say this is very important."
Bruce Willis seemed to call it in for a passable monologue. The last time he hosted was 24 years ago. He said, "If you had told me back then there were going to be six "Die Hards"… I might have said that seems a little too many." In lieu of much else to say, Willis showed off his bluesy harmonica prowess. The vibe veered towards high-school-talent-show. The actual, hired musical guest Katy Perry carried off her anticipated performance of "Roar" with the requisite bubble-gummy enthusiasm.
The show began with a last-hour quality skit: a black ops team forms a new plan with an action hero (Bruce Willis, can you believe it?) describing the outlandish way he usually captures bad guys. This set the pattern for a series of below par sketches. The commercial parody was an irritating ad for "24 Hour Energy for Dating Actresses"--did you know they're a difficult bunch?
Weekend Update was solid, especially the various riffs on the shutdown and the most recent Kardashian. Cecily Strong makes a smart and amusing news host.
Despite a glut of mediocre and trying skits, a few sketches amused: "Boy Dance Party" imagined the football-oriented man cave as a raving club. This and other highlights embedded below.