Jack Harlow SNL Sketches Ranked: Tom Hanks, Jeff Probst and Bobby Moynihan Join Halloween Madness

That's right, it's the returns of David S. Pumpkins and "Drunk Uncle" to help Jack Harlow helm the best-written and funniest "SNL" of the season — plus, Cecily Strong's back!

Ahead of his acting debut in a remake of “White Men Can’t Jump,” Jack Harlow showed off his skills on “Saturday Night Live” — with a lot of help from legends like Tom Hanks, Jeff Probst and Bobby Moynihan.

It was certainly an eclectic trio of stars to join the young rapper for his first hosting gig, but he kind of needed the help. Jack was definitely the weakest part of what was otherwise an absolutely stellar show, pack with more laughs than any so far this season. The writer has never been sharper, and the cast is firing on all cylinders.

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On top of all that, Cecily Strong finally made her first appearance of the season, joining the opening credits and dominating the show with appearances throughout the night. Her calming presence and incredible character work was missed, but her return didn’t diminish the spotlight on the rest of the cast, either.

In fact, save for one poor newcomer, the younger cast members had more screen time this week than any week prior, and really stepped up when asked. So why were Tom, Jeff and Bobby brought back? Well, Jeff’s appearance was truly random, but there is a method to the madness of inviting Tom and Bobby back for a Halloween episode. Let’s just say it rhymes with Pavid S. Dumpkins.

Is it a great character? Not at all. Is it beloved? It’s Tom Hanks! It’s ridiculous and somehow just too perfect, Tom and Bobby also drop by elsewhere on the night, including one of the most extensive and brilliantly absurd “Drunk Uncle” segments we’ve ever seen. It is madness and genius!

As usual, we’re ranking all the sketches from worst to first, including the Monologue, Cold Open, “Weekend Update” and any sketches that were cut for time but made their way online. We wrap up with a look at the cast-member who had the strongest week.

As usual, we’re ranking all the sketches from worst to first, including the Monologue, Cold Open, “Weekend Update” and any sketches that were cut for time but made their way online. We’ll skip the musical guests, because they’re not usually funny — unless Ashlee Simpson shows up. We wrap up with a look at the cast-member who had the strongest week.

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Monologue: Jack Harlow

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Jack had a very awkward delivery throughout this monologue, even as bits of the material wasn’t terrible. It definitely left us a little worried as to where things could go from here. We get this is the hardest part, so hopefully he shakes off some of those nerves or … yikes! The Lil Nas X material felt a little queer-baiting at first, but he at least cleared it up by the end, while it mostly felt like patting himself on the back. Falling completely flat with the audience was his material about his “culture” being appropriated for costumes and people thinking he’s white. Some of the share of online digs at him were fun, but he really approached this as if he was in a room of his closest fans rather than a television show were a lot of people don’t know him at all. There was context lacking everywhere. Even his audience interaction moment was a huge dud.

Table-Side Bartenders

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What started off fun and feeling like it had potential kind of went nowhere. They shouldn’t have bothered to offer some kind of explanation for what was going on and just left it alone that Bowen Yang and Jack Harlow were just terrible table-side bartenders. We didn’t need a dramatic backstory as it fizzled any energy and momentum the piece had. The escalation of terrible service was actually enjoyable up until that point. Sometimes, let the absurd just be.

"Joker" Wedding

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A one-note sketch that started to drag on at first when it was just about Andrew Dismukes overprounding the word “Joker” with a Southern drawl but picked up speed again when it became the centerpiece of a family debate on whether or not he should be allowed to wear the costume at a wedding, even if it meant Heidi Gardner’s bride wouldn’t marry his best friend, Jack Harlow. Yes, this was this absurd, but when it turned into a family vote and everyone was so serious and dramatic about it, we were won over. Plus, one of the best uses of a celebrity cameo, having Jeff Probst randomly walk in to read the results, before snuffing the torch of the loser. This sketch made pretty much zero sense, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.

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Skechers Commercial

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What a fantastic approach to addressing Skechers rejecting Kanye West after he walked into their offices to try and have a meeting with them. Starting off on their high horse and then getting excited about how cool it makes them that 1) Kanye came to them first, and 2) they rejected him. Some great performances from Cecily Strong, Bowen Yang and Punkie Johnson, in particular, as employees at every level of the company reacting to what could have been and what actually happened. Plus, we’re not always the biggest fans of twist endings, but they couldn’t have found a better way to spin this on its head and leave us laughing breathlessly.

Cellblock 666

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How often does “SNL” go to the trouble of assembling the entire cast of a bizarre sketch years later? We should have figured this out when Bobby Moynihan showed up on “Weekend Update” after Tom Hanks appeared earlier in the night. Once the sketch started, it all clicked as Tom and Bobby joined MIkey Day for a full-cast reunion of David S. Pumpkins, the most ridiculously weird and not-scary character on a haunted ride. This was more about nostalgia than actual laughs, though the commitment from the trio did bring a few chuckles, as did Jack Harlow’s enthusiasm as it went along. Yes, it was immediately clear where this entire sketch was going, but it was a fun ride.

Post-Halloween Red Carpet

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This was one of those rolodex of characters sketches centered around cliche Halloween costumes at 3 a.m. Loved the idea of hosts (Cecily Strong and Mikey Day) handling it like Hollywood red carpet coverage, only their interviews are with people like a frat guy dressed like a giant tampon a drunk Dora the Explorer who lost her pants and can only say one thing now, and a guy who doesn’t get why people don’t like his “slap Chris Rock” costume, There were eight different segments, each of them relatable (not in a great way) and fun on their own. We especially loved the child actor who came out with Kenan Thompson because you’ve never seen a kid look so sour — nailed it! This was a simple premise, but everyone was clearly having a lot of fun, it never got tiresome.

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Cold Open: Republican Momentum

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A rare solo LFNY (as recent shows have liked to include everyone in the Cold Open) as Heidi Gardner kicked off the show as PBS anchor Judy Woodruff. But it was the exciting return of Cecily Strong as Arizona candidate Kari Lake who stole our hearts, even as Kenan Thompson’s Herschel Walker brought most of the laughs. His crazy ramblings were so chipping and bizarre, we found ourselves smiling when the camera would just cut to him. Mikey Day’s Dr. Oz was another fun addition, shilling weight loss formulas and poorly pretending to know anything about Pennsylvania. And yet, as noted, all three of these candidates are surging in the polls ahead of election day. Will it be a Republican sweep? It’s certainly an interesting way to ask people — as Heidi did these fake counterparts — why these bizarre and seemingly unqualified candidates are resonating so strongly with voters? It’s an answer the Democratic Party probably desperately wants. On top of that, there were a lot of genuine laughs throughout with tons of specific jokes for each of them.

Group Therapy

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It’s not often that the fake premise inside of a sketch is actually rock-solid, too. This AA meeting is quickly derailed when one of the attendants, Jack Harlow, instead starts to pitch his Pixar movie idea about anthropomorphized luggage trying to make their way home. With character designs, a catchy theme song and a hilarious walk-in by “Toy Story’s” Woody himself, Tom Hanks, everything about this worked. Once again, a huge celebrity appearance was used flawlessly within the context of a sketch and Tom — of course — was perfect. Jack’s delivery left a bit to be desired, but we loved his aside that he drank recently (and Bowen’s subtle reaction), everything Kenan added to the idea (crude, though it was), and the writing was so strong, nothing else mattered. This was a huge win.

Horror Trailer

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Every horror movie trailer trope — or at least enough of them — to emphasize the terror of Democrats thinking about the 2024 election. Biden? If not him, who? The faux terror at such simple questions and the overly dramatic reactions to the possibilities were hilarious. Chloe Fineman, in particular, was perfect trying to literally shake and slap sense into the others, while Mikey Day proved himself the ultimate terror in finally considering … what about Hillary? With a demonic flex to his voice, he started chanting, “I’m with her.” The whole thing was really a great send-up to how ridiculous the political landscape can get and how often voters find themselves without any candidates at all to really get excited about.

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The View

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Well, this didn’t go at all where we expected it to go, but that’s probably why it was in the 10-to-1 slot. Sarah Sherman definitely hammed it up and overdid things as Joy Behar to the point it was cloying at times, Thankfully, Ego Nwodim’s characterization as Whoopi Goldberg was just perfection, from her wild views to her ego and sexual awakening. Jack Harlow was also very funny, relentlessly hitting on her and watching her go from cold to hot to “wet.” Sadly, while it looked as if Chloe Bennett’s Sara Haines and Punkie Johnson’s Sunny Hostin were also well-conceived, they were rightly introduced as the “B-team,” because they barely had anything to do. If Sarah could calm down, we could enjoy this foursome in more “View” sketches, as it’s always a fun show to poke at.

Weekend Update

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Colin Jost and Michael Che went in hard on Herschel Walker, with Che joking that not only did he take that second woman to get an abortion, but while she was inside, he got two more women pregnant. Then, Jost jumped into that uncomfortable debate between John Fetterman and Dr. Oz with this gem: “It’s not like Dr. Oz did great, he just did slightly better than a recent stroke victim.” Che was pretty proud of his Donda Academy NDA joke that tied into Catholic schools, and got some well-deserved groans from the audience (it was pretty funny, though). Not as successful was Jost’s rundown of all the company’s who’ve cut ties with Kanye West. All in all, though, this was a great segment with almost every joke landing.

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Out of nowhere, Bobby Moynihan’s best recurring “Update” character, Drunk Uncle, showed up to rail against political correctness and wax poetic and nonsensical about the good old days. His random outbursts and rambling non-sequiturs are always delivered so flawlessly, though he wasn’t quite as slurry as we’ve heard him in the past. Colin Jost lost it when Bobby suddenly grabbed him for a hilarious rant about quiet quitting, which he took literally. He even had something to say about Chris Pratt as Mario and, of course, Kanye. What a brilliantly written, fantastic return for a fan-favorite character and cast-member.

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With two appearances each, both Bobby Moynihan and Tom Hanks had more sketch appearances than poor Devon Walker, still trying to make his mark. The other newbies were used more this week as there were a lot of larger ensemble pieces.

The biggest news of the week, aside from all the guest stars, was the triumphant return of veteran Cecily Strong, who came back — ahem — strong with a lot of killer character pieces. She can always be relied on to get lost in a character, but as prolific as her night was, most of her roles were in more of the straight-person role to others’ crazy.

It was a pretty well-balanced show, with a lot of great performances from almost everyone (we still think Sarah oversold some of her work tonight), but that makes it harder to pick out a favorite. Ego killed as Whoopi, but that was her only breakout moment.

Most of them really only had one breakout moment, so we’re looking at someone who found a way to stand out in different lights multiple times. Mikey Day is usually forced to play it straight, but we got a lot of diversity from him tonight.

He was straight on the Halloween red carpet, but he was brilliantly twisted in the horror trailer, delusionally cocky as Dr. Oz, and wacky and joyful with David S. Pumpkins. Always a consistent presence, Mikey isn’t always allowed to cut loose and show his range, but this week was a brilliant showcase why he might just be this cast’s closest equivalent of a “glue” like Phil Hartman for his.

“Saturday Night Live” returns live next week with host Amy Schumer and musical guest Steve Lacy.

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