Lady Gaga on 'Saturday Night Live': Much more than just a singer

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Lady Gaga was both host and musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" on Nov. 16. And she killed it -- not only did the singer show off incredible pipes but she also hit all the right comedy notes throughout the show.

Keep in mind, Lady Gaga is not an actress. She's a singer. Even with a flair for the theatrical, most musical artists struggle a bit with broad comedy. Gaga, however, dropped right in like she'd always been an "SNL" star.

What worked with Gaga?

Opening monologue

Many singers incorporate their pipes into the "SNL" opening monologue. But very few of them come up with a clever, completely subject-appropriate, original song. There was also choreography. Even more impressive was the pointed and smart humor of the subject: Applause for pandering comments.

"Put your hands together if you want to end childhood obesity."

Seriously, can every host listen to this song and stop it with the gratuitous-applause commentary? It is indeed annoying.

Genius bar girl

Be honest -- if you weren't looking for Lady Gaga to show up in this segment, would you even have recognized the oft-glamorous diva as a mousy little computer nerd? Lady Gaga almost literally disappeared into this nothing of a role.

The fact that part of the joke poked fun at Gaga's own love of over-the-top costumes was just a bonus.

"Do What U Want"

Say what you will about the song, but this performance -- if put into the hands of less talented and/or less athletic people -- would be absolutely nothing but sex. Making it anything else counts as talent.

Spotlightz kid's death wave

While the "Spotlightz" child actors' sketch was pretty run-of-the-mill for "Saturday Night Live." Most of Lady Gaga's performance in this was about the same. But that little wave right after Forrest Gump's mom died? That was brilliant.

"Gypsy"

Wearing costumes for the acting and not for performances or red carpets, Lady Gaga didn't get a lot of opportunity to showcase her (ab)normal style. The second song of the show took care of that. A rainbow-colored dress (shaped kind of like potato chips) and a dancer wearing purple hot pants made up for any conservative wear in the rest of the show.

Also, you've got to love it when there's proof of a truly live performance.

Now picture Lady Gaga on "Toddlers & Tiaras" ...

Seriously, you need no image beyond that to appreciate how good this late-in-the-show sketch was.

Whatever happened to Lady Gaga?

What happens to an over-the-top pop star when her glory fades? Gaga's final sketch of the night explored just that with a darkly funny look at one possible future for the singer. Everything from the bad hair to the rows of awards to the shiny, mismatched jacket screamed that everything was gone.

"Saturday Night Live" rarely entertains this kind of darkness. It's even rarer for it to work. Somehow, Lady Gaga made this happen.



Photo/Video credit: NBC