Watch: Zooey is Queen of Comedy in ‘SNL’ Debut

by | February 12, 2012 at 11:25 AM | Recap, Saturday Night Live, TV News

Zooey Deschanel hoofs it with Jean Dujardin (left) on "SNL" this weekend (Photo: NBC)

The sad news of Whitney Houston’s death came just about an hour before “Saturday Night Live” went on the air, but “SNL” producers managed to slip in a subtle tribute to the singer anyway.

It came right at the conclusion of the sketch that featured “SNL” regular Kristen Wiig and guest-host Zooey Deschanel playing suburban southern belles hosting a patio party.

At the conclusion of the sketch, a still photo appeared showing Whitney and former “SNL” cast member Molly Shannon from a previous “SNL.” No words were seen on-screen, no music was played and no words were spoken as the photo stayed on screen for 10 seconds or so. Houston appeared on “SNL” at least twice — in 1991 and 1996.

After that, the evening’s comedy continued, thanks in large part to Zooey, who more than proved she has the comedy chops to stay in step with the live-television vets at “SNL.”

In fact, this “SNL” was a pretty rich stew — parodies included three different takes on Clint Eastwood’s Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler, an incredible take on the black-and-white, Oscar-nominated silent film “The Artist” (with the movie’s star, Jean Dujardin, turning up to tap-dance), and a “tribute” to old newspapers and old newspaper movies. Plus, Zooey sang a Valentine’s Day song, and a golden retriever that barked at the wrong time threatened to steal a scene from Jason Sudeikis.

It’s all right here, starting at the beginning:

Zooey demonstrated she can sing as well as act (and play a ukelele) when she presented this Valentine’s Day song in her opening monologue Saturday night on NBC.

Watch Zooey Deschanel’s “SNL” monologue right here:

Then it was on to Clint Eastwood, who got the full-on “SNL” treatment with three separate parodies of his Super Bowl ad. Here’s all three of them:

Watch Bill Hader as a very ticked-off Clint in ad No. 1:

By the second of these Clint parodies, we were way past “Halftime in America.” It was now the fourth quarter, and Clint was really angry!

Watch ad No. 2 here:

“The game is over, America!” That’s Clint’s message in the third of “SNL’s” commercial parodies from this weekend.

Watch ad No. 3 here:

You know those old movies from the ’40s where the guys and dolls crack wise with slangy dialogue that seems to come out of their mouths faster than the speed of sound? Well, in this next sketch, you can see what happens when a modern young woman admits she can’t understand a word they’re saying. We loved this sketch.

Watch “The Newspaper” right here:

Jean Dujardin wasn’t the only walk-on guest seen on “SNL” this weekend. Nicolas Cage also turned up on “Weekend Update.”

Watch Nic Cage with Andy Samberg on “Weekend Update” here:

As for Jason Sudeikis and that barking dog, that was at the very start of the show, as Jason did another one of his Mitt Romney impressions — this one, a campaign “commercial” featuring Mitt hanging out at home.

You can see it right at the beginning of the show — presented here in its entirety: