‘SNL’ Host Chris Rock Takes on ISIS, Taylor Swift and Obama (Video)

Comedian proves he’s come a long way since his cast member days on an otherwise lackluster episode of the NBC sketch show

Last Updated: November 2, 2014 @ 5:21 PM

Chris Rock is at his best when he does stand-up comedy.

So it should come as no surprise that the 49-year-old comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member brought big laughs and trended on Twitter when he hosted the show this weekend. In case you missed it, Rock delivered an opening monologue full of smart and controversial material about the Boston Marathon bombings, 9/11, the Freedom Tower, Christmas and gun control.

“They should change the name from Freedom Tower to never going in there tower ‘cuz I’m never going in there,” Rock joked. “Does this building duck? Who’s the corporate sponsor? Target?”

See video: Chris Rock Swears He’s Sexy Enough to Share Stage With Prince in ‘SNL’ Promos 

'Chris Rock' Episode 1667 -- Pictured: (l-r) Taran Killam as Mark Cuban, Kenan Thompson as Daymond John, Beck Bennett as Kevin O' Leary, Kate McKinnon as Barbara Corcoran listen to ISIS members Pete Davidson, Jay Pharoah, Chris Rock and Kyle Mooney during the 'Shark Tank' skit on November 1, 2014 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Dana Edelson/NBC

In true “SNL” fashion, Rock saved all his best material for his monologue and none of his subsequent sketches proved as funny. Though the “How’s He Doing?” sketch on President Barack Obama’s approval ratings in the black community and a bit on diversity in the workplace came pretty close.

As fans of “Saturday Night Live” can attest, “How’s He Doing?” is a staple trotted out whenever a black person hosts the show just as it was when “Scandal” star Kerry Washington hosted nearly a year ago to the day. Rock also appeared in a hilarious short poking fun at Taylor Swift songs.

To be fair, Rock is better known and celebrated for his stand-up act than his sketch days on “SNL” from 1990-93.

Also read: Prince Rocks ‘SNL’ With Epic Eight-Minute Performance (Video)

But with the exception of those aforementioned portions of the show — and Prince’s singular but sexy three-songs in one performance — Saturday’s “SNL” was full of lackluster parodies and laugh-free moments.

The weakest among them were an unfunny cold open about quarantined nurse Kaci Hickox, a “Shark Tank” sketch on ISIS (despite Kate McKinnon’s brilliant impersonation of Barbara Corcoran) and a disjointed bit featuring Rock and writer-turned-cast-member Leslie Jones as bickering spouses.

In the end, it feels like Rock should’ve rocked “Saturday Night Live” but because of warmed-over writing, he only jiggled it a little. What a missed opportunity.

Watch the videos above and below:

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