James Franco hosts SNL: Watch the Grow a Guy and Holiday Ballerz sketches (VIDEO).

Mike O’Brien Teaches “Grow-a-Guy” James Franco How to Be Human on SNL

Mike O’Brien Teaches “Grow-a-Guy” James Franco How to Be Human on SNL

Brow Beat has moved! You can find new stories here.
Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 7 2014 3:22 PM

James Franco Is a “Grow-a-Guy” in This Week’s Best SNL Sketch

Mike O'Brien and James Franco.

Still from YouTube

James Franco, self-professed “actor, poet, artist, dude,” hosted SNL last night, and the episode was full of Franco things: charming, sometimes overly earnest writing, strong doses of meta comedy, and a not-so-surprising surprise appearance by Seth Rogen. It was a solid episode, and the best sketch of the night was “Grow-a-Guy,” which has friendless loner Mike O’Brien nurse ready-made human James Franco into a Guardians of the Galaxy–loving real boy.

The sketch may be even more absurd than it sounds. O’Brien’s seeming demotion from cast member to writer has been a minor blessing: We now get more of his unique shorts, which combine the weirdo premises of Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett with a very real, very raw melancholy. He and Franco always work well together—“Monster Pals,” their prior collaboration, was one of last season’s two or three best skits—and “Grow-a-Guy” is fantastic from start to unexpectedly tragic finish.


Other stand-out bits, such as the kooky ’90s send-up “Inside Jeremy’s Brain,” haven’t been posted online, but “Jingle Ballerz,” this season’s second holiday-themed short to capitalize on a pitch-perfect ensemble, is well worth a watch. The impressions here are ace, none more so than Kate McKinnon’s creepily accurate Justin Bieber.

Sharan Shetty is on the editorial staff of the New Yorker. You can follow him on Twitter