SNL46 Wrap-Up Extravaganza!

Overall Thoughts On the Season:

Season 46 as a whole was a disappointing season to both watch and review. While thankfully the season didn’t eventually turn out to be the disaster season that many fans (including me) feared it would become. This season, as a whole, had WAY too many flops and several episodes that were not only bad, but stand out as amongst the worst of this entire era. Making this season even more frustrating is that it came after the surprisingly solid & creative season 45.

The biggest problem of this season is the writing, sure there were many gems & good episodes this season, particularly in the less-shaky and more consistent second half, but they were FAR outnumbered by either mediocre sketches or sketches that were downright unwatchable. This season, in my view, has some of the worst episodes, sketches, and moments in recent SNL history, some new lows for this era were reached this season. With sketches that were either sexist & distasteful (NBA Bubble Draft Finals), mean-spirited (The Loser) or had no reason or even legs to stand on outside of a premise (Future Ghost, Women’s Theatre, Gen-Z Hospital, Wario Trial), and sketches that are simply sellouts, soulless, and dead (NFT’s, Cowboy Standoff). The writing structure & supervision hit a nadir in this season, sketches became more and more weak, simply saying a joke and not going forward with the premise (News Center 5 Albany, Visiting Grandma, Wedding Friends, Gershwin Celebration, Viking Voyager). I think one of the biggest reasons for that, is the change in writing supervision after season 45, with Anna Drezen becoming a co-headwriter which immediately lead to the crash in quality in season 46. Drezen might’ve been much better at supervising the writers than becoming one of the headwriters, which again proves once more the structural problems that plague the two weaker seasons from this era, 44 & 46. I would say that season 46, while a step down from 44, both are in the slightly mediocre, not overall good, nor disastrously bad, sort of the middle-of-the-pack in SNL history. I would still, however, stay with my opinion that this season is simply shaky rather than outright rough, similar to 44. Yet, season 44 was more dull & formulaic than having trainwreck episodes and horrible sketches, and is a slight step up than season 46 (this may change upon eventual review).

Also, the vanity pieces by Kate & Aidy, and particularly sketches that featured Cecily Strong & her major partner co-headwriter Kent Sublette contributed to the noticeable decline in quality this season, and were sometimes, the only lowlights in entire episodes this year. The main reason these sketches, as weak and pointless they are, make it to air, is simply that they are written by powerful co-headwriters, namely Anna Drezen & Kent Sublette, which allows for these sketches that star beloved vets to air, instead of sketches by newer writers/cast members. The majority of the 44 sketches rated below two-stars were the sketches written & starring the above mentioned names.

On the other hand, and on a more positive note, what made this season just below average, and not the outright disaster that it could’ve been, is the continued rise of featured players Bowen Yang & Chloe Fineman, with both being consistent bright spots in dark episodes. Bowen’s fun, creative Weekend Update pieces, his solid parts in many sketches with his underrated sketch-enhancing abilities & his fun presence. Chloe, whose continued rise this season provided us some solid moments & laughs, mainly the two strong Britney Spears cold opens, The Drew Barrymore Show, and getting more & more airtime and stealing sketches from vets, even when I would’ve loved her more on Update, she stole her only Update appearance this season from both Alex & Mikey. While her current season is decent, as she got several lead roles, mostly straight man roles, she surprised me with the solid & meta Inventing Chloe pretape, and I do hope she continues her professional, mature, and solid work in the final six episodes.

Also, I must mention how great of a season Beck, Heidi, and Ego had this year. Beck, had what I would frankly call one of the very best final seasons for a departing cast member ever. I mean, where do I even begin with? Is it his strong work in 5-Hour Empathy? Or his solid rare duo with ego in Take Me Back? or his performance as The slowly-disintegrating straight man in Lexus? or his fantastic showcase in The Job Interview? One of my absolute favorite pretapes from this era. Beck’s reliability & consistent work will greatly be missed, and his great tenure will be looked at with deep appreciation and well-deserved study in the future. He deservedly was the leader of the male faction of the cast & the MVP with Kate in his final five years.

Heidi also impressed me greatly this season, continuing her strong rise with her one-off characters that feature several sides to her talents. Her solid, semi-dramatic 80s Cocaine Wife commentary is a testament to her dramatic skills, and her underrated ability to showcase a pure committed performance onscreen. Her great pretape work, primarily with Lexus & The Last Dance showcased yet again how she can play frustration & despair and still provide laughs when needed. I do hope she can improve in the currently-airing season, as it seems that Sarah’s presence & actually using Melissa hurt her airtime, as she had only ONE Update commentary, which is unfathomable for such a prominent performer behind the desk.

Ego continued her rise this season, after her two underrated & solid first two seasons. In this year, she became more and more prominent & deservedly so. Ego showcased various solid racial sketches with a slice-of-life feel that attempt to combine African-American humor & commentary on race and racism. Her natural likability and charisma carried her through her fantastic season. Her duo with Beck in Take Me back, her solid work in A Teacher, her fantastic episodes with Regé-Jean Page & Daniel Kaluuya, and her bright spot in the Elon Musk (*shudder*) episode as the weary mother, served as one of her strongest showcases right ip there with her great Weekend Update commentary as Dr. Angie Hynes speaking about black history month. Ego is rising by the season, and her fresh, professional, and fun sketch work serves as such a palate-cleanser from the usual self-indulgent hamminess & vanity projects that plague some of the older cast members.

Hot Takes:

  • The Adele episode is just shaky, with many good parts & a fantastic sketch in the form of Psychic Reading. I was surprised by some of the negativity surrounding the episode, when you erase the open and the two sketches post-Update, there’s a lot of gems and good parts.
  • Issa Rae’s episode also deserves more attention and love, it’s a low-key, experimental episode with several solid pieces.
  • I think I was somewhat too hard on the John Krasinski episode. Yes, It’s terrible and miserable. But I would’ve now bumped up Weekend Update & the cold open by half-a-star each. I think an average of 4.0-4.5 reflects my feelings toward it better.
  • Murder Durder is just a lazy one-joke sketch about people talking with heavy accents. As a person with a heavy regional accent myself, I find that to be just lazy, like doing a Boston or New York-themed sketch, there’s nothing outside of the premise itself here.

And Now Some Data:

Episode Averages:

Chris Rock / Megan Thee Stallion – 4.6

Bill Burr / Jack White – 7.0

Issa Rae / Justin Bieber – 6.5

Adele / H.E.R – 5.9

John Mulaney / The Strokes – 6.8

Dave Chappelle / Foo Fighters – 5.8

Jason Bateman / Morgan Wallen – 5.0

Timothée Chalamet / Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – 7.2

Kristen Wiig / Dua Lipa – 4.7

John Krasinski / Machine Gun Kelly – 3.9

Dan Levy / Phoebe Bridgers – 6.3

Regina King / Nathaniel Rateliff – 6.2

Regé-Jean Page / Bad Bunny – 7.3

Nick Jonas – 6.4

Maya Rudolph / Jack Harlow – 5.7

Daniel Kaluuya / St. Vincent – 7.5

Carey Mulligan / Kid Cudi – 6.5

Elon Musk / Miley Cyrus – 3.6

Keegan-Michael Key / Olivia Rodrigo – 6.6

Anya-Taylor Joy / Lil Nas X – 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)
Season Average: 6.1

Highest-Rated Sketches:

5 Stars:

Strollin’ (John Mulaney)

Monologue (Dave Chappelle)

Stu (Jason Bateman)

The Farm (Timotheé Chalamet) 

XXX Rap Roundtable (Timotheé Chalamet)

The Negotiator (Regina King)

The Job Interview (Regé-Jean Page)

Workout Mirror (Nick Jonas)

Dating After Lockdown (Nick Jonas)

The Maya-ing (Maya Rudolph)

Monologue (Daniel Kaluuya)

Will You Take It? (Daniel Kaluuya)

CFT: Beanie Babies (Daniel Kaluuya)

Lesbian Period Drama (Carey Mulligan)

4.5 Stars:

The Blitz (Bill Burr)

Enough is Enough (Bill Burr)

Samuel Adams Jack-O Pumpkin Ale (Bill Burr)

Psychic Reading (Adele)

Monologue (John Mulaney)

Lexus (Chalamet)

Zillow (Dan Levy)

Weekend Update (Dan Levy)

CFT: Men’s Cosmetics (Dan Levy)

Commode & Commode (Regina King)

2021 Barfly Awards (Maya Rudolph)

Oops You Did It Again (Daniel Kaluuya)

Viral Apology Video (Daniel Kaluuya)

Weekend Update (Carey Mulligan)

The Last Dance: Extended Scene (Keegan-Michael Kay)

Hollywood Squares (Anya Taylor-Joy)

Picture with Dad (Anya Taylor-Joy)

Weekend Update (Anya Taylor-Joy)

4 Stars:

The Drew Barrymore Show (Rock)

Monologue (Bill Burr)

CFT: Gospel Play Promo (Bill Burr)

5-hour Empathy (Issa Rae)

Weekend Update (Issa Rae)

Ass Angel Perfumed Jeans (Adele)

Cinema Classics: The Birds (John Mulaney)

Souvenir Underwear (John Mulaney)

Take Me Back (Dave Chappelle)

Weekend Update (Jason Bateman)

Weekend Update (Kristen Wiig)

What Still Works? (John Krasinski)

It Gets Better (Dan Levy)

Pelotaunt (Regina King)

Oops, You Did it Again (Regé-Jean Page)

Mr. Chicken Legs Pageant (Regé-Jean Page)

Songs of the Sea (Regé-Jean Page)

The Grocery Rap (Regé-Jean Page)

Murder Show (Nick Jonas)

Proud Parents (Daniel Kaluuya)

CFT: The Hero (Daniel Kaluuya)

CFT: Salt Bae (Daniel Kaluuya)

The War in Words (Carey Mulligan)

Le’eggs (Carey Mulligan)

The Muppets Show (Keegan-Michael Key)

Weekend Update (Keegan-Michael Key)

High School Graduation (Keegan-Michael Key)

What I Learned From This Year (Anya-Taylor Joy)

Making Man (Anya Taylor-Joy)

AMC Theaters (Anya Taylor-Joy)

CFT: Pitch Meeting (Anya Taylor-Joy)

Lowest-Rated Sketches:

2 Stars:

A Holiday Message from former Vice President Joe Biden (John Mulaney)

Uncle Meme (John Mulnaey)

Mario Memories (Dave Chappelle)

Hailstorm (Dave Chappelle)

DC Morning (Dave Chappelle)

Monologue (Kristen Wiig)

The Grinch (Kristen Wiig)

Blue Georgia (John Krasinski)

Pandemic Game Night (John Krasinski)

Tucker Carlson Tonight (Regina King)

Disco Queen (Regina King)

So You Think You Can Get The Vaccine (Nick Jonas)

Viking Voyager (Nick Jonas)

What’s Wrong With This Picture (Carey Mulligan)

1.5 Stars:

The Presidential Debate (Chris Rock)

Future Ghost (Chris Rock)

Vice Presidential Debate (Bill Burr)

Dueling Town Halls (Issa Rae)

Biden Victory (Bill Burr)

Sleepover (Jason Bateman)

Santa’s Village (Jason Bateman)

Pence Gets The Vaccine (Kristen Wiig)

U.S.O. Performance (Kristen Wiig)

Secret Word (Kristen Wiig)

Surprise (Kristen Wiig)

The Loser (John Krasinski)

The Dividend (John Krasniski)

Hot Damn (Dan Levy)

Cinderella (Nick Jonas)

A Kamala Harris Unity Seder (Maya Rudolph)

Choreographers (Maya Rudolph)

Study Buddy (Mulligan) 

Starcharter Andromeda (Mulligan) 

The Ooli Show (Elon Musk)

Murder Durdur (Elon Musk)

The Astronaut (Elon Musk)

Gemma & DJ Balls (Keegan-Michael Key)

Gershwin Celebration (Keegan-Michael Key)

1 Star:

Action 9 News at Five (Chris Rock)

NBA Bubble Draft Finals (Chris Rock)

The Presidential Debate (Adele)

Tourism Board of Africa (Adele)

Visiting Grandma (Adele)

Michigan Election Hearing (Jason Bateman)

Outdoor Cabaret (Jason Bateman)

Morgan Wallen Party (Jason Bateman)

Monologue (John Krasinski)

Now That’s What I Call Theme Songs Sung by the Stars of the Show (John Krasinski)

Supermarket Sweep (John Krasinski)

Ratatouille (John Krasinski)

Wedding Friends (Dan Levy)

Women’s Theatre (Regina King)

NFTs (Maya Rudolph)

Half Brother (Daniel Kaluuya)

Monologue (Elon Musk)

Gen-Z Hospital (Elon Musk)

Wario Trial (Elon Musk)

Cowboy Standoff (Elon Musk)

Final Thoughts:-

  • And thus ends my very first wrap-up post. I would like to thank fellow SNL reviewer & frequent commenter Jesse Nathan for graciously calculating the averages, and for sharing his thoughts on these reviews (even when he nitpicks too much sometimes, kidding btw). His support for this blog since its very first day will never be forgotten by me, so thanks once more Jesse. Also, the great people back in Twitter for supporting this blog since its inception, namely the great Bronwyn Douwsma, with their constant sharing of my posts there & chiming in with their opinions, till they surprised me with a comment on my recent Daniel Kaluuya review. Thanks again Bronwyn, you were one of my main inspirations since reading your brilliant Deep Cuts & Post-mortem essays years ago. Also, John, the SNL reviewing legend-in-the-making, for his always endlessly thoughtful & brilliant comments. I’m also pleased to see the tremendous growth that this blog has achieved this month alone, having over 100% more views than the last two months combined and rapid increase in average viewes per day. Thanks to all who read & share these, Wyn, Imalive, Shacke9, Nic Storr, fyodoren, and all of the silent readers reading with enjoyment in their own comfort, can’t wait to hear your thoughts when you fell that the time is right to chime in. See ya all soon!

Up Next:-

  • Season 47 returns with Jerrod Carmichael & musical guest Gunna.

10 Replies to “SNL46 Wrap-Up Extravaganza!”

  1. In case you are wondering why I’ve haven’t been commenting on my ratings of sketches its because of I already did with Jesse but I thought of something just oght now that I’ll have my ratings for episode for Jesse and give my thoughts for you starting with this weeks episode and so on

  2. No problem, man. I’m happy to continue supporting one of my fellow commenters. I can tell from those that you’re very passionate about SNL, and it shows in this post. I feel as though you did a great job assessing what made this season difficult, and what bright spots there were throughout the night. I’d say we’re pretty much on the same page here, I agree with pretty much everything you say here. In fact, looking at the lists of highest and lowest rated sketches, our picks are pretty much the same. All of this just makes me question why fellow reviewer Anthony thought this season was an improvement over 45, especially seeing as how neither of us feel that way.

    In regards to Heidi, I’d say that her showcases can be rather hit-and-miss. There are plenty of sketches starring her that I enjoy, but others can be somewhat baffling. This is a rather unpopular opinion, but when Season 43 first aired…I think I liked Luke Null more.

    One more thing to note: if the two segments from the Krasinski episode you mentioned had their ratings bumped up half a star, the average would’ve increased from 3.9 to 4.1, which is kinda a good thing, as no other SNL episode has ever gotten a 3.9.

    1. Oh and I watched your videos and for some reason they remind me of my old videos i made when I was like 7 except one thing there good mines are either bad or laughably bad

    2. Thanks yet again. I happen to like Anthony a lot, but I totally disagree with his assessment of 45, and let me warn you, that a rather small vocal minority see that season as a “Worst. Season. Ever.” So you’ve been warned, when the reviews are posted. S46 had many problems, mainly vets showing us everything they had and recycling the same stuff, and writing supervisors that are just not doing their job, because of lazy headwriters. The other thing is that sketches in this season were mostly dull & MISERABLE as I complained many times throughout the season, in complete contrast to 45, and most of this era, with fun, solid, silly, one-off, creative sketch concepts were greatly prevalent (I would argue that 42,43,45 had the most fun sketches). I cannot finalize my opinion on S47 so far, as we have six remaining episodes, but there are still problems, but thankfully the many new writers & Sarah Sherman (Aristotle is MIA, and will probably be one-and-done sadly) are breathing new life into the show, with the Malek, DeBose, Dafoe, and Mulaney being filled with the template of a perfect SNL show, those fun, silly, solid, one-off sketches that cater to my comedic tastes. Thanks yet again for your comments, and we do mostly agree, and it would be interesting to see how we differ on S47 after it ends.

  3. I’m one of the few who said good riddance to Beck. I was never a fan, apart from handful of more recent sketches that knocked it out of the park (namely Undercover Office Potty, Girl at a Bar, Jules, and the flawless Job Interview). In general, though, I just never saw Beck take fight as a cast member. Never saw him nail down a specialty – spoofing a ’90s dudebro 455 times isn’t a specialty – and I found him distracting as a utility player. Good combination of timing, tone, voice, and presence always threatened to dominate a sketch, and sometimes outright did. Far too often I saw him try desperately to take a situation wayyyy too far and (intentionally or not) upstage something funnier happening in the sketch. And when he tried to really leave a mark… hoo boy, we got stuck with Holes (possibly the biggest SNL misfire of the past decade) or Song for Peace or some other desperate attempt to be playfully subversive.

    Beck & Kyle (I’ve always viewed them as a duo) had a place on the show, for sure. No one has ever encapsulated ’90s pop culture as well as they did, and that’s a real skill, not a backhanded compliment. But when they were apart, or when they try to ram something like Holes down our throats, it always ended up Too Much for me. When Kyle leaves – hopefully soon – I’ll look back on their tenure the way I looked at Spade’s Hollywood Minute. A specialized segment crammed into some episodes, which didn’t always fit. Harsh, I know, but it is what it is.

    All due respect, Blood, I’d say Beck carried his last 5 seasons like Chris Kattan carried his. He was there, sure, and he didn’t ALWAYS screw up. But overall, I just didn’t see much.

    Chloe finally grew on me this season (this current season, S47). I was not a big fan when she debuted. I only saw her as an impression specialist, and was bitter that Melissa’s spectacular impression skills so often go ignored. Furthermore, while Chloe’s early celeb impressions were technically tight and solid, they didn’t really work for me. In my eyes, a celeb impression can be GOOD (the look works, the voice works) but not be simultaneously FUNNY. Just doing a Britney Spears voice, for example, isn’t enough for me. I know it’s a douchey way to put it but there has to be SPIRIT behind it as well. Facial expressions play a big role. Incorporating what we know about the celebrity – that’s huge. Merely looking and sounding like Britney or Meryl Streep isn’t enough – I do ask that you make your impression entertaining.

    Anyway… As a result I didn’t care one iota about Chloe (apart from her being extremely easy on the eyes) until Inventing Chloe from S47. That was one of the best and funniest parodies SNL has managed over the past decade or so – just a flawless take. And Chloe NAILED that difficult impression! Not only did she nail it, she stretched it to the point of being utterly hilarious in its broadness. Between that and Murder Shows, I’m finally a Chloe fan, and it makes me look at her first two seasons in a different, better light.

    I’ll lay off my Drezen defense because, while I was an appreciator of several classics she penned, her stuff was pretty repetitive. For every Romano Tours (instant, unassailable classic) there were 2-3 droning cold opens she was responsible for.

    I’m on board with most of your five- and one-stars. I would probably drop Workout Mirror a good ways, then move the perfect Classics: The Birds and Murder Show into 5 territory. I’d also bring up Murdur Durdur quite a bit, maybe to 3.5.

    1. As usual, your in-depth and detailed commentaries are always welcomed fyodoren, and I have so much fun & enjoyment reading them. I get what you mean with your critique of Beck, and his duo work with Kyle also. Yes, as much as I loved him in the cast (and him being easy on my eyes also played a role), he indeed never stretched outside of his comfort zone, and his utility work was somewhat distracting at times. Yet, I do still stand with my point regarding his tenure as a whole, and yes Holes, as we both discussed back at the OSNLAD2.0 blog few months prior, a huge misfire and you would probably guess my rating for it, as well as the Adam Sandler episode as a whole (aside from Romano Tours & Rectix two 5/5 pieces in my opinion). I do hope Kyle leaves soon, because as much as I enjoyed many of his pieces over the years, he was still an expendable cast member, useless outside of his sketches, and the less said about his Weekend Update commentaries, the better.

      As for my ratings, I would frankly concede that I underrated Murder Show upon a rewatch, and would move it to a ****1/2 rating if I could. It was amongst the show’s finest music videos in recent seasons. Yet, a four-stars rating is still quite high and equals a strong piece in my own calculations. I also never got Murder Durder, and it’s supposed “joke” and I still to this day patiently waiting for an explanation of how in the world it’s supposed to be funny. I have 33 segments in S46 rated between ****1/2 & ***** mainly from the mostly-consistent second half (S47 is at 29 segments so far), and if I could rate some segments higher, I would definitely bump up Murder Show higher by half-a-star.

      Yes, I adore Chloe, and not because of her breathtaking beauty and great talent, her impressions, to me, are far funnier & accurate than Melissa’s, and I never understood why Melissa’s stans attack Chloe over Melissa’s diminished presence, now that current newbie Sarah Sherman is more prominent than both, and got several lead roles and supporting comedic roles for the majority of the season. I do think Chloe’s tenure so far is good, she got solid showcases and got several lead roles in the current season, with most of them being straight man parts, and a solid pretape, which I still stand with my four-stars rating to. Great as always to see you comment here, and would love to hear your takes on some of my reviews of the current season, as I apparently underrated MANY fan favorites this year, mainly Cancelling Cable, Man Park, Lotto Drawing, etc. Your takes & opinions are as always greatly appreciated by me here.

  4. Murder Durdur – and this is why I consider it a good but not classic sketch – does require that you know some of the source material. It’s based on the barrage of intense drama shows that have come out over the last decade or so. They all have to do with grisy murders, usually of teenage “durdurs” and it seems that they’re all regionally focused, with thick, powerful local accents for every character. This sketch in particular came around the time Mare of Easttown took the world by storm, and the sketch encapsulates it very well. The blank, dead-eyes characters, the thick accents, etc.

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