UPDATED: Lady Gaga's gig as host and musical guest on the November 16 SNL has catapulted the episode to the highest ratings of the season. In the Neilsen metered markets, it scored a 4.9 household rating.
This is roughly on par with the March 9 episode hosted by Justin Timberlake (which drew in 8.4 million viewers), so the Gaga episode will be in that same ballpark.
EARLIER: Lady Gaga hosted SNL last night in addition to serving as the musical guest. Perhaps the most shocking thing was a prototypical pop star outfit--a fairly modest spangly jumpsuit and a fluffy wig. She couldn't resist many a Michael Jackson crotch-grab though as guest R. Kelly joined her.
No outrageous antics from Lady Gaga were needed for distraction because this was one of the most solid episodes for SNL yet this season. One of the evening's highlights was the commercial for the "Rosé Zone" which critiqued the trashy, verbal violence of reality television, by compiling a highlight reel of all the slapping, yelling, and screaming from reality shows, to spare viewers all the boring apology lunches or "genuine" family time.
Drawing from a similar pool, Jay Pharaoh and Nasim Pedrad played Kanye West and Kim Kardashian for "Waking Up with Kimye." In this talk show, Lady Gaga came on as a geeky, meek Apple genius, who is confronted by Kanye about not deserving the title of "genius." For the fashion segment, Gaga hammed it up in her dorky outfit, declaring: "I don't care about fashion. I think people who try too hard with their outfits are maybe hiding something." There's always time for some shallow self-parody on SNL.
For the cold open, Bobby Moynihan played Toronto's now-notorious mayor Rob Ford, the frequently rude, bigoted, drug-taking politician. (Ford's outrageous actions drew many comparisons to SNL champion Chris Farley, bringing an interesting bout of nostalgia and mourning for the late actor. Here's a mash-up of some of Farley's sketches with some of Ford's public foolery.) Despite having to contend with Farley's legacy, Moynihan held his own.
Other solid moments included an ad for Paxil: Second Term Strength, an antidepressant strong enough for a President going through disheartening approval ratings: "You'll feel like you're giving a speech on a college campus in 2008." The biggest surprise of the night was a bitchy 19th-century critic, who hurled dozens of brickbats at various iconic American speeches: "Do you know what the real Gettysburg address is? 115 West Boring Street?" "Martin Luther King: You had a dream? I had a train to catch and I missed it!"
These sketches and more below: