Melissa McCarthy took more hard hits on "Saturday Night Live" last night than any NFL player you'll watch today. The "Bridesmaids" actress was a physical-comedy superstar: In addition to doing some high leg kicks in an opening dance number with Kristen Wiig, she fell down a flight of stairs four times as 1930s movie star Lulu Diamonds — and each spill was slightly more painful and weird than the last.
But perhaps her biggest laughs of the night came when McCarthy portrayed Linda, the world's most annoying focus-group member. Wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the face of nerd hero Spock, the overeager Linda enthusiastically downed spoonfuls of new salad dressing flavors while boisterously shouting out ridiculous marketing slogans. Her devotion to the dressing takes a stomach-churning turn, but the skit commands the respect of any fans of slapstick comedy. And it definitely commands a shower, too.
Later, as the aforementioned Lulu Diamonds, McCarthy channeled the ghost of Mae West, advising her gentleman callers to "come upstairs and see me up there sometime." Unfortunately, she was also channeling the spirit of "SNL" vet Chevy Chase, who was known for his painful-looking pratfalls. The only thing these guys were seeing was Lulu sliding down the stairscase.
Not to jump the gun on McCarthy, whose role as Molly on CBS's "Mike & Molly" is a little more cerebral, but her sketches sure had shades of "SNL" legend Chris Farley at times. The last time someone took a bump quite so hysterically on the show was when motivational speaker Matt Foley laid waste to that coffee table.
Overall, McCarthy seemed like a natural next to Wiig and the cast and showed some serious repeat-host potential. Next time Lorne Michaels needs somebody to take a hit, he'll have McCarthy on speed dial.
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