Saturday Night Live has to promote its episodes somehow, and the way they choose to do it is by releasing promos beforehand with the host and/or musical guest making jokes with one of the cast members. Unfortunately those promos don’t always turn out to be very funny. Very often they’re downright cringe-worthy. Every time I hit play on them I cross my fingers and think, “Maybe this one will actually make me laugh. Or at least crack a smile.”
And some of them certainly do, if the host is particularly hilarious or charming and if they have a good rapport with the cast member they’re with and if the writing isn’t horrendous. But unfortunately a lot of them have the tendency to get real awkward real fast. In honor of this awkwardness, and the fact that the show’s new this weekend, let’s look back at ten of the most uncomfortable SNL promos in recent memory.
1. Andrew Garfield
Let’s start with this week’s host, since he’s fresh in our minds. These promos don’t make me want to curl up in the corner and never look anybody in the eye again, but they still make me feel pretty awkward. Partly because they mention what a great host Emma Stone was, and I have a feeling Andrew won’t be able to live up to her awesomeness. And also that Clint Eastwood voice bit that goes on for way too long.
2. Kanye West
Oh my God, how did we all survive this one? Before he was a musical guest with host Ben Affleck, he declared onstage that he wouldn’t be involved in any sketches because it’s “his goddamn life.” Then he proceeded to be a total sourpuss (what else is new?) during the promos.
Speaking of being a sourpuss, please tell me Eminem was supposed to act like an angry statue during these promos with Kerry Washington. If it was intentional, I’m sorry to say it wasn’t funny. If it wasn’t intentional, I’m frightened.
4. Bruce Willis
When you can sense the cast member trying to overcompensate for the host’s lack of enthusiasm by playing things over-the-top, something’s not right. And I don’t think I’ll never be able to scrub the awkwardness of that hug out of my brain.
5. Jim Parsons
Oh boy, this one’s rough. Once they started in with the Big Bang Theory laugh track jokes I knew it would be bad. That’s actually kind of interesting, considering one of the most awkward elements of these promos is that there isn’t an audience to react to them.
6. Lindsay Lohan
When Lindsay Lohan is in any video, you can pretty much guarantee it’s going to be awkward. But the fact that she barely moves her face and is also incapable of convincingly delivering lines doesn’t help. And the pie bit at the end gave me so much second-hand embarrassment.
7. Justin Bieber
Once again, what do you expect from someone like Justin Bieber? Still, he wins the award for “most obvious use of the teleprompter.”
8. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga had a great hosting gig of her own last fall, but when she was the musical guest for Justin Timberlake, things weren’t quite so entertaining. JT does his best with the material he’s given, but there’s not much he can do to stop Gaga’s starey expression from haunting my dreams.
9. Jeremy Renner
Until the end of the video when he tries on some funny costumes, Jeremy really seems to be phoning it in during these promos, which means Kenan Thompson just gets way too enthusiastic.
10. Sam Smith
Sam Smith was just Louis CK’s musical guest, so I suppose he can’t be expected to be hilarious, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel uncomfortable watching him either stand there silently or crack up at everything like he was just an audience member.