May 22, 2021 – Anya Taylor-Joy / Lil Nas X (S46 E20)

Cold Opening – What I Remember About This Year

  • (*sigh*) I’m going to miss reviewing this season, despite its problems, it helped me grow as a reviewer, and I enjoyed some of its episodes more upon a rewatch.
  • Right of the gate, you could notice that the audience is much larger, as this is the first and final episode this season with studio 8H being used to its full capacity.
  • Pretty sad, in hindsight, seeing the three newbies together here talking about their lack of airtime due to the cast’s size, when only Andrew truly being the one to actually be featured well, and for this to be Lauren’s final episode makes it sadder. I would say that the current season does a better job in utilizing the cast, aside from poor Aristotle, the writing is nearly on the wall for him.
  • A good laugh from the inclusion of Akira with the newbies.
  • A huge laugh from Elon Musk’s (*shudder*) dancing in the notorious Wario Trial (*shudders more*) sketch.
  • NOT caring for Chris Rock’s umpteenth cameo, nor his loud delivery.
  • Inspiring words from Aidy, Cecily, Kate, and Kenan toward the open’s end.
  • A lovely way to start the finale in times such as these, with laughs, remembrance, and hope for a better future.

Rating: ****


  • More than happy to review Anya-Taylor Joy for the finale, as I’ve been a big fan of hers since seeing here in The Witch & Split. It makes me so happy to see a true professional & committed performer succeed in this day and age.
  • Lovely mention of the fully-vaccinated & masked audience.
  • Fun visual of various cast members as chessboard pieces.
  • An alright monologue overall, carried by the host’s natural charisma and likability.

Rating: ***1/2

Hollywood Squares

  • A famous & highly-acclaimed sketch from this season.
  • This sketch is a prime example of how to use a one-joke premise and execute it perfectly, by escalating & building up on the joke more and more, elevating by that the material. The classic Del Taco Shoot sketch is another example of that.
  • Great visual of the various celebrities in the squares.
  • Spot-on & cute Baby Spice from Anya.
  • Great build-up to Aidy’s choice of Bill Cosby, and a huge laugh from Kenan’s spot-on & hilarious impression.
  • Big laugh from the omission of Cosby’s part.
  • Baby Spice’s praise for Cosby & then Fogle is a very solid escalation to her part in this, and good usage of Anya’s reliable delivery.
  • A huge laugh from the visual of all the blurred squares. A great way to end this sketch.
  • A fantastic sketch overall, solid escalation, creative, timely premise, and a very solid execution of the material.

Rating: ****1/2

Picture with Dad

  • Ah, it feels so good to see two consecutive highly-acclaimed segments back-to-back.
  • Great visual quality and direction, by the way, as always from our creative film department.
  • A huge cheap laugh from Beck accidently shooting himself in the pelvis.
  • I’m LOVING the comedic escalation in this piece, with fast-paced, rapid fire delivery from Beck to Andrew and how the events around him evolve.
  • Solid supporting performance by Anya.
  • The back-and-forth between Beck and Andrew is slaying me, a great usage of Beck’s underrated slowly-disintegrating straight man & Andrew’s reliable, hilarious delivery.
  • A great ending to such a great, memorable short.
  • Add this fantastic short as yet ANOTHER piece in the ”Standout Beck Bennett showcase from his final season”.

Rating: ****1/2

Making Man

  • I remember enjoying this sketch so much when it first aired, seeing it as a fun, well-performed, well-structured, and featuring the type of dialogue-driven premises that I wish SNL would do more.
  • Great set design & clothes on the cast by the way.
  • A great & creative comedic conceit for this sketch, with the female angels ridiculing the design of man.
  • A good laugh from the visual of the huge toe.
  • I love Kenan’s explanation of the reason the nipples exist on man, to create the illusion of a huge face.
  • Anya is coming off very solid with her delivery and questioning.
  • Melissa is stuck in the thankless “That’s sick, wow!” role #363663 in her sad, wasted tenure.
  • I love Chris’ smug delivery of “That was my idea.”
  • Solid ending with Kyle’s Jesus.
  • Well, this sketch definitely lived to my memory of it, I wish SNL would do more of these subtle, dialogue-driven sketches more often.

Rating: ****

It’s Pride Again!

  • A good use of the queer performers on the cast, and a fun conceit to this music video.
  • I’m enjoying the visuals & the catchy chorus, but as with most of SNL’s modern music videos, there are barely any jokes or anything else, like let’s say the classic Slow short or The U.E.S.
  • Funny part about posting your hole for the countries where you can’t be gay.
  • An ok music video overall.

Rating: ***

Celtic Women

  • Good laughs from Chris’ always hilarious delivery.
  • Funny singing of “Sweet Home Alabama”.
  • (*Blood sighs deeply and shakes his head in disappointment*) Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve arrived at Lauren Holt’s final SNL appearance, and on par for the entire season, she appears in a dull, thankless, non-comedic role that could’ve been played by an extra if it didn’t have any lines. The show wasted this performer to an insane degree that I actually have no opinion whatsoever on her. I know NOTHING about her comedic voice or potential, after a FULL SEASON. Knowing in hindsight, her replacement Sarah Sherman will have a solid, standout first season so far, with her Update pieces going viral, and reaching the point were she can now showcase her body horror style, as a HUGE sign of confidence in her from Lorne & co. makes Lauren’s firing, while unfair, somewhat more easy for me to accept. I would’ve preferred some of the vets to FUCKING LEAVE also, thank you very much.
  • Chloe’s stealing this whole sketch without saying a word, and showing us how much better she is than freaking Aidy & Cecily at least who aren’t even hiding their amusement. Fuck this self-indulgence, nah, fuck this season.

Rating: *** (Cecily & Aidy docked half-a-star)

Weekend Update

  • The usual big laughs from the obligatory Mitch McConnell joke.
  • That Joe Biden video of him driving is making me laugh way more than it should.
  • Here comes what should’ve been Pete’s final Update commentary in his final episode. Why not leave after having a strong final season when most of your tenure was shit? Such an arc he would’ve had on the show.
  • Not caring for most of this commentary, the usual ok & mild laughs, how in the world did this guy become this well-known when there are FAR more professional and better performers on the show than him is astounding to me. It just shows how the WORLD’S culture & I.Q. dropped SIGNIFICANTLY to see these mediocre attempts at humor as some brilliant observations.
  • Huge laugh from the Braveheart clip.
  • Yes, it’s joke swap time!
  • I love the black Superman jokes & how that Hip Hop museum joke eventually lead to yet ANOTHER black Superman joke. Colin LOSING IT immediately made me laugh out loud and nearly spit my drink all over the screen. Hilarious!
  • Now comes what should’ve been Cecily Strong’s sendoff, and yet again, she wanted to stay to somehow get even worse than before. I do apologize dear readers for the saltiness, but reviewing this performer after reviewing Sarah Sherman’s consistently creative and brilliant work shows to me how JARRING the quality disparity is between them (cannot WAIT to see what Sarah has in store for us during the rest of the currently-airing season, btw). Cecily’s a performer who has given us everything she can, and now just runs in the same circle for years, I’d argue yet again that her solo work is almost entirely comedy poison, but I digress.
  • Cecily’s performing this well, and unlike her usual boring, checked-out, and half-assed performances during the rest of this season.
  • Great & memorable part with Cecily’s Pirro singing Sinatra’s “My Way” as Update is about to end, and a very energetic shouty rendition by Cecily, this would’ve been a memorable way for her to leave & one of the more iconic sendoffs in the show’s history (I’m sure frequent commenter Wyn is happy that I just praised Cecily).
  • A great way to end yet another great season of Update, this was a blast to watch.

Rating: ****1/2 (the latter for the joke swap)

In Memoriam – a photo of Charles Grodin marks his passing

Enid & Astrid’s Brawr Barn

  • I recall not liking this sketch when it first aired, but since then, I forgot it entirely, so I’m going in here with fresh perspective.
  • Aidy’s all over the episode so far.
  • Solid characterization from Anya & good New York accent, as a heavily-accented New York kid myself.
  • Big cheap laugh from The Fortress brawr.
  • Mhmm at Beck’s look here.
  • I don’t need Aidy to hold her, you know what, every two seconds in this sketch.
  • An overall ok sketch for Aidy, but it’s FAR below her standards, which shows her decline in this season.

Rating: ***

NYU Guest Panel

  • Blaah at Aidy’s line flub. Her sloppiness in this season & parts of 47 is sad to witness from a performer who was so brilliant, creative, and hilarious in her better years.
  • Guilty laugh from the question about race to Ego.
  • Loved Anya’s “We’ll get to you”.
  • Just remembered that Punkie’s in the cast.
  • Pete’s gleefulness is giving me good laughs.
  • Ouch at the “gay homo” line toward Bowen, this sketch is getting uncomfortable in the best way.
  • Solid ending.

Rating: ***1/2

AMC Theaters

  • (*sighs the deepest of sighs*) Here we are ladies and gentlemen, Beck Bennett’s final sketch in his great eight-year tenure.
  • Already, a big laugh from Beck’s Vin Diesel voice.
  • Beck’s way of pronouncing the movies is hilarious.
  • Solid straight man work from Anya.
  • Beck’s ramblings are giving me so many laughs.
  • Kenan’s reactions in the background are hilarious.
  • Not only this is a funny sketch, but it’s filled with hope for the future and for a life after the pandemic, and it’s executed perfectly.
  • Yeah, add this as another “Standout Beck Bennett showcase from his final season”.
  • (*sigh*) Gonna miss the hell out of you, Beck.

Rating: ****

Cut For Time: Pitch Meeting

  • Great direction to this short.
  • Great New York accent from Kate.
  • Funny visual to Ego’s pitch.
  • Great moment with Aidy’s pitch.
  • Interesting how Elon Musk’s (*shudder*) hosting stint is mentioned here.
  • Kate’s hilarious as Borat.
  • Great Mr. Bean from Beck.
  • A great ending. A solid short overall.

Rating: ****

Cut For Time: Star Quality

  • Kenan’s singing is always funny.
  • Funny visual from the creepy doll.
  • Not caring for Aidy & Kate’s song.
  • The hell with Bowen’s clothes?!
  • Was that ending even an ending?
  • Well, this sketch came and went with me barely laughing, smiling or being entertained much. Not bad at all, but it’s a very good thing that this was cut, simply a below average piece.

Rating: **1/2

Segments Ranked From Best to Worst

Hollywood Squares

Picture With Dad

Weekend Update

Making Man

AMC Theatres

CFT: Pitch Meeting

What I Remember About This Year

NYU Panel


Enid & Astrid’s Brawr Barn

Celtic Women

It’s Pride Again!

CFT: Star Quality

Final Thoughts:-

  • A very strong, flawless episode. Lots of great sketches tonight, and the worst just being slightly below average. What made this episode even better, is that EVERY SINGLE SKETCH was an original, one-off, fun, solid, silly sketch concept with fun writing. This episode felt like the perfect conclusion for this season, telling that SNL will be fine at the end, and this episode was the conclusion to the arc that developed after the miserable John Krasinski episode, in which the season started to find its footing and the quality became more and more comfortable and consistent, aside from the trainwreck Elon Musk episode, concluding with such flawless, strong, and fun episode, the strongest finale since season 41.
  • Anya Taylor-Joy was an impressive host who blended very well with the cast, showed professionalism (especially with Cecily’s self-amused breaking), natural charisma and likability. I could definitely see her coming back to host soon.
  • This was the final episode for first-year featured player Lauren Holt, and of course, eight-year veteran Beck Bennett. Watching & reviewing this season these past few days made me love & appreciate his work even more than before. His professionalism, reliability, consistent work, all helped make this season, in my view, his strongest in his whole tenure & one of the very best, if NOT the best final season for a departing cast member. I’ll miss you dearly, Beck.

Up Next:-

  • The wrap-up post for season 46, with overall thoughts, observations, and data. Stay tuned soon!

15 Replies to “May 22, 2021 – Anya Taylor-Joy / Lil Nas X (S46 E20)”

  1. Also kinda funny how you have a problem with Aidy and Cecily as I love Cecily but just can not stand Kate or Aidy

    1. Aidy was my favorite cast member from S40 till S45. I saw her as a brilliant, valuable, funny, and creative performer with dozens of great sketches that are iconic to this era. To sour on her in these past two seasons (I’ve been warming up to her this year, and she’s doing better now), is so painful to me. Cecily, is a performer that I never really enjoyed outside of utility roles, her type of humor, aside from being creatively bankrupt, is pure comedy poison to me. I’ve made my issues with her more than clear in the past. Kate was always hit-or-miss, but she’s the show’s undisputed MVP, and FAR better than Cecily Strong & more valuable to SNL. I have the strong feeling, based on the way they’re being phased out this year, that all three will leave with this season’s end. Kate will be getting Will Ferrell or Phil Hartman-level big sendoff.

  2. “NOT caring for Chris Rock’s umpteenth cameo, nor his loud delivery.” Again, to each his own.

    I could see something about the Making Man sketch working, but it kinda falls flat in its execution, and the whole thing just feels dead to me.

    “as with most of SNL’s music videos, there are barely any jokes or anything else, like let’s say the classic Slow short or The U.E.S.” What about On the Couch? Also, I think you should specify it being modern SNL’s music videos, as I’m pretty sure that a lot of The Lonely Island’s music videos in the late 2000s had plenty of jokes.

    Aside from those points, there’s nothing else to add. I still find myself flummoxed as to why this episode is so highly-praised. So maybe this is another Kabir/Liev Schreiber deal where you love an episode that I’m not crazy about.

    And now, the final calculation of the averages:
    Rock – 4.6
    Burr – 7.0
    Rae – 6.5
    Adele – 5.9
    Mulaney – 6.8
    Chappelle – 5.8
    Bateman – 5.0
    Chalamet – 7.2
    Wiig – 4.7
    Krasinksi – 3.9
    Levy – 6.3
    King – 6.2
    Page – 7.3
    Jonas – 6.4
    Rudolph – 5.7
    Kaluuya – 7.5
    Mulligan – 6.5
    Musk – 3.6
    Key – 6.6
    Taylor-Joy – 7.5

    Best Episode: Daniel Kaluuya / Anya Taylor-Joy – 7.5 (tie) (Runner-up: Regé-Jean Page – 7.3)
    Worst Episode: Elon Musk – 3.6 (Runner-up: John Krasinski – 3.9)
    Overall Average: 6.1

    Wow, when was the last time the finale got the highest average of the season? Was it Season 21?

    1. I just wanted to say before anything else thank you for calculating these averages and giving me your thoughts, even with some of the nitpicking, which I find more endearing and a sign of interest than anything else. Yes, I’ll edit it right now and specify modern, even when I’m not that high on The Lonely Island music videos as some, loved their absurdist pieces better. Thanks again.

      And yes, I think it’s way back to season 21 that this last happened. Although I might be forgetting something.

  3. By the way, isn’t it hilarious how you posted a review for an episode with a Chris Rock cameo in a time when everyone won’t shut up about Will Smith slapping him at the Oscars? I think it is.

    1. Don’t hate me but I actually like Cecily Strong (ahh the subjectivity of comedy) BUT I 100% agree she should have left in season 45. There have been some pieces that I’ve loved but you’re right she’s mostly treading water. I think she has a lot of potential as an actress so I’m not sure why she is staying at SNL when she has so many other gigs. From Season 38 to 45, I thought she was great minus some Anderlette vanity pieces.

      We DO agree on Beck. He was this Seasons MVP. He went out on top. No one could play the pathetic Dad type better than him.

      1. No hate at all! It’s fine if we disagree on things! It makes discussions even more fun. Yes, as I said many times, my biggest problem with Cecily since she came on the show, is the quality of her solo work, which is mostly goofy voices or niche references (the latter starting truly with her 8th & 9th seasons). I do, however, appreciate her utility work, and did compliment her throughout the recent Mulaney episode, giving a perfect 5/5 to the Blue River Dog Food commercial, and I do recall enjoying her sketch with Chance in season 45, which I may start to review during the summer break. As this site has been growing very rapidly this month. So, don’t be shocked if I start reviewing season 40 when the coming April break comes, it will be a blast to rewatch, as many of its episodes and sketches are long forgotten by me. Thanks for the support!

  4. Amazing review as always! Thanks for the mention haha
    I absolutely adore this episode and there aren’t really any sketches I find bad or even mediocre.

    Surprisingly, my two favourite sketches (College Panel and Celtic Woman) were some of the lower-ranked ones for you. Comedy is subjective, huh?
    I just love how silly the Celtic Woman sketch is. I didn’t completely understand what they were referencing, but I still just adore it. All the little jokes in between and the ridiculous performance of the girls (“Castle Directions”: Go down to the castle, turn left at the castle, you’ll see another castleeee~~~) and of course Chloe’s hilarious “violin girl” moment. It just seemed like a random idea they came up with and all obviously had a lot of fun working on, which I appreciate more than some of the more mean-spirited sketches, or the sketches which clearly had no heart in them. And College Panel, idk. Just find it so hilarious and accurate. Maybe I’m just a simple person, but i love it.

    Plus, the episode also had probably one of the most consistently amazing update segments ever. Not a fan of Pete Davidson at all but even his segment was pretty great. Cecily’s musical number was amazing and I wish she would have left with Beck instead of tarnishing season 47 (though blue river dog food was great). I also think Kate, Kyle, Mikey and Melissa should have left around season 46, or I at least hope they leave in season 47 because they just don’t fit in anymore. I really love Melissa, but even she has said that she was going to leave in season 46 and has been feeling really stressed out about snl. On top of all that, the past few weeks we’ve seen NOTHING of her. Plus, they cut her law and order update piece??? WTF??? I think it’s time for some of the older cast members (cough cough Kate) to allow a new era of SNL take place. One defined by such hilarious young comedians as Bowen, Sarah, Ego, Chloe, PDD, etc. (Also I think Julie Nolke should be added to the cast but whatever she’s doing fine on her own)

    Anyway, back to the episode. Anya didn’t really add much but she was still a competent performer. Lil Nas X had a great performance, I loved “Pictures with Dad”, and… yeah. I just think this episode is a prime example of how flawless and entertaining SNL can be. What I appreciate about people like you, Blood, is that you love SNL. We’re all fans here, but we all kinda hate it. That’s what a lot of people who constantly despise SNL don’t understand. Yes, SNL is pretty bad, but I will continue to love it and criticise it and watch every new episode and support the amazingly talented cast and just laugh and appreciate what they put together in a week.

    Your Season 46 Review Series has been really great, I love reading them every day.
    Especially after reviewing the Elon Musk episode, filled with hate, may I make a suggestion? I think it’d be kind of cool if you made a post recapping some of your all-time favourite sketches, and you could go in depth as to what you adore so much about them. It would be fun, positive, and I would just LOVE to hear what your favourite sketches are, especially considering your extensive knowledge of SNL.
    Idk, just an idea.

    1. I’ll seriously consider the suggestion about my all-time favorite sketches. Of the top of my head, the ones that immediately come to my mind as all-time favorites are: Mr. Death from Sir Christopher Lee’s phenomenal & quintessential episode in season 3, Tales of the Runaway Boulder in Robert Wagner’s season 15 episode, my personal all-time favorite sketch Wake Up and Smile in David Alan Grier’s episode in season 21, The Mad Tea Party in Steve Buscemi’s episode in season 23, Switcheroo (perhaps close second to Wake Up and Smile) & Diner Lobster in John Mulaney’s season 43 episode, and Marrying Ketchups & Peter, Paula, & Murray in Adam Driver & David Harbour episodes in season 45. I also think Eleanor’s House is an all-time classic that deserve more study & attention. I’ll probably do a special post like the one you suggested around/or before this season concludes. I do think that I’ll do season 40 during the coming break, to sustain the growth & continue my personal growth as a reviewer. Thanks for the suggestion & your in-depth comments are always appreciated.

  5. Great review as usual Blood, although I must say, it pains me to see so much Cecily bashing in this one lol. It seems the Celtic Women break was due to a timing issue (notice Kate came in too early), rather than some inside joke. Weird how it happened though.

    I will say that, as someone who is more tolerant of breaking than many, I’m a bit mixed on it becoming more and more of a habit with Cecily the further into her tenure we get. While I give her credit for keeping it relatively subtle as opposed to, say, Pete Davidson or Leslie Jones who absolutely derailed sketches with it, it’s weird and a little disappointing to see someone who was once so professional and almost NEVER broke in her early seasons get to the point where she’s smirking/breaking in almost every other sketch. Not sure why it bothers me more with her than with someone like Bill Hader, who also had a similar trajectory. Maybe because Bill is a laugher who giggles a lot in interviews, so his breaks feel more like him just enjoying himself/trying hard not to laugh, whereas some of Cecily’s come off as her not being as invested in the show as she once was. This, along with her constant collaborations with Anderlette, are my biggest issues with someone I consider to be one of my favorite cast members of all time, and easily one of the most talented (I put her up there with Jan, Gilda, and Phil in terms of pure raw talent).

    All that said, I think you’re a little harsh on that sketch. The breaking isn’t really that bad (just imagine Fallon and Sanz in it lol), and as someone who has caught glimpses of these Celtic Women specials thanks to my mom being a fan of them, the depiction is pretty spot on. Not a flawless sketch, but a pretty decent one.

    As for the rest of the episode, this is easily one of my favorite episodes in recent years, and probably the best one of this season by a fair margin. Talk about Beck going out with a bang! Two of my favorite sketches of his (Picture With Dad and Vin Diesel AMC Theater) come from this episode. He’s definitely a cast member who got better and better as his tenure wore on (not that he was ever bad, but he really became a dependable glue guy in addition to a nice offbeat voice, sort of like this cast’s Will Ferrell). I’m not quite as big on the Hollywood Squares sketch though. To me, it’s a decent premise that’s executed fine, but it feels a little too repetitious for me. I do like how it has a bit of an edge to it, but it’s lacking something extra to really push it into classic territory.

    Making Man is a big favorite of mine. It feels like the kind of sketch that could fit into any era. Simple concept, funny observations, and great execution.

    Update is fantastic in this episode. This particular joke swap is a classic and the Black Superman jokes are easily some of the funniest Update jokes in recent memory. And sendoff or not, Cecily’s Jeanine Pirro piece is outstanding and definitely one of her best moments on the show.

    I too hope Anya comes back to host one of these days. She fit into the sketches so well that she came off like a seasoned cast member right out of the gate. She definitely gave this episode a fun positive vibe that carried through into just about every sketch.

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