Cold Opening – Road to the Final Four
- Yet another sports-related cold open this season. I’m not complaining, as I know in hindsight the horrors that await me from the cold opens in two seasons from now.
- Bobby’s yet again steals another cold open with his very funny performance here.
- Kenan’s Barkley is always reliable for several good laughs, and some of his lines here are pretty hilarious to me, particularly when botched a certain term.
- A pretty good, fun cold open. I guess I should be happy that this season had this many sports-related opens instead of boring politics, even though some of the political opens were great, unlike the majority of opens that I’ll have to suffer through with Trumpwin (*shudder*).
- Some good laughs from Michael’s lines early on.
- And now we have Bobby & Taran join Michael up on stage to simply goof up and nerd out next to him. Both are coming even more likable than usual here, and their underrated chemistry is on full display.
- Ah, this turns it another musical monologue, not complaining due to always loving this one.
- Bobby is surprisingly convincing as The Penguin, Taran does a good Joker too.
- I’m getting good laughs from the contrast in production values between the Bobby & Taran scenes, and the low-budget behind the scenes footage of Michael.
- Hialrious facial expression from Bobby behind Michael as he has a badly photoshopped Beetlejuice on him.
- Good laughs from the recurring bit with Jay.
- Ah, and now there’s Michael’s “I’m Batman” and I LOVE his deadpan stare towards the camera.
- Yes, I love Michael reprising his Beetlejuice catchphrase “It’s showtime!” and I absolutely love how the crowd goes NUTS afterwards. Ah, Michael still got it.
- A great concept of low-budge reenactments to news stories, giving this sketch an old-school, conceptual feel.
- Very funny visuals of the low-budget graphics on display.
- The reenactment with the puppets is absolutely hilarious.
- Michael’s dance movements are having me in tears.
- An overall solid, fun, silly sketch.
- Always great to see another Mike O’Brien Short, and this one is amongst my favorites of his.
- As usual, great direction and production values in these shorts.
- A solid premise to this short, and as usual for Mike’s films, we have a beautiful mix of both comedy and sentimentality.
- Such heartwarming moments between Michael & Mike here, the emotions here are honestly making me feel warm inside.
- Vanessa is very solid here as Michael’s wife, and yet again, the subtleties of despair on her expressions are sublime.
- A great ending with Mike winning back Michael, while standing in front of his door’s house in the rain.
- Overall, YET ANOTHER excellent Mike O’Brien short, this man’s a genius, between this, The Jay-Z Story, Grow-A-Guy, and Sad Mouse, he wrote some of the finest shorts in the last decade,
Call Your Grandparents
- Very funny, relatable premise. And it feels great to see Sasheer in a starring role for a change.
- I love the juxtaposition between sexy late-night phone ad and the concept of calling your grandparents.
- Cecily is not convincing me at all with her old lady voice, which is surprising given her solid utility work.
- I see that Kate is using her RBG voice for this old lady character, which is also surprising given the famous. hilarious voice that she’ll use later on in sketches like Return Counter & recently the excellent Dream Home Cousins.
- Some solid laughs from all the things the old people are saying here, some well-written relatable humor on display.
- Michael’s stealing this sketch with his portrayal of an old man, He’s been killing it so far into the episode.
- A good laugh from Leslie’s joke bombing in contrast to Kenan’s.
- Already. I’m enjoying Michael’s characterization in this sketch, and he is a natural in playing dark, creepy, disturbed characters.
- A big cheap laugh from Michael demanding the mom to have “huge knockers”.
- I’m LOVING how well-written & well-performed this sketch is, it feels WAY different for SNL, reminding me of Monty Python and other excellent, premise-driven sketch shows, like several eras of SNL, including this one. This one, I could’ve seen both Michael Palin & Eric Idle perform in the original era. Or hell, Bob Odenkirk playing Michael’s role in an episode of Mr. Show. This sketch feels like Monty Python/Mr. Show hybrid and is right up my alley of humor.
- Ha! What’s with the random, disturbing part with Michael’s shirt suddenly becoming stained with blood? I’m loving how dark this sketch is getting.
- I’m loving how Michael’s character is now mixing perversion with violence, yet again it gives this sketch an old-school sketch comedy vibes.
- Love the ending. An overall fantastic sketch, and a true hidden gem. I’m surprised of how much I loved this sketch even more upon a rewatch.
- Here comes a very famous, daring short from this season.
- I remember the viral, cheesy Scientology music video that this short is spoofing, but it’s been ages since I last saw it, yet I do recall finding this short to be a spot-on recreation of that whole video.
- The annotations of every Neurotology member’s grim future are fantastic, and they’re giving this already-unsettling short an excellent, dark aura that surrounds it and somehow makes it even stronger than it already is.
- Bobby is perfect as the L. Ron Hubbard-esque leader of Neurotology.
- Hilarious cutaway to a smiling Colin, making a rare non-Update appearance.
- The “Has beat up everyone in this video” bit is absolutely hilarious, and I remember laughing out loud at it back when this aired, and that never changed in my current viewing.
- DAMN at the “switched to Scientology” part, absolutely ruthless, yet hilarious.
- Very catchy chorus near the end.
- A great, great ending to such a brilliant, daring, dark and beyond excellent short. An all-time SNL highlight.
Musical Performance – “I Really Like You”
- Jesse Nathan: Okay, so–Carly Rae Jepsen. Definitely an artist that comes to people’s minds when they think of the word “underrated”. Unless you were living under a rock in 2012, you might be able to remember when “Call Me Maybe” dominated the radio (not sure if Blood was following music at the time), causing many people to get sick of it, including yours truly (I’ve come around on it in recent years). Because of this, she often gets dismissed as “the ‘Call Me Maybe’ girl”, when she’d rather be remembered for anything but that (I think). Probably not the best time to bring all of that up, but I felt the need to. Anyway, let’s get back on track.
- Good intro, but it sounds a lot better on the album version.
- I like Carly’s vocals, but that honestly really isn’t surprising (By the way, is anyone surprised that she’s currently 36?).
- Why are the drums tuned higher than the vocals?
- Wow, the backing vocalists’ voices were miced just as high as Carly’s, meaning that we likely hear them more than the woman herself.
- Great chorus, but again, it’s a lot better on the album version.
- I like how Carly sorta looks at the camera occasionally.
- Carly’s facial expressions are pretty fun to watch.
- I surprisingly never noticed the colors of the lights throughout this performance.
- Funny Lethal Weapon bit from Colin.
- Some good jokes throughout this Update so far, continuing the super hot streak that this new era has been having between standout episodes and strong Updates, Colin is now starting to become the version we all know and love.
- A Pete Davidson commentary. Interesting to see him commenting about The Walking Dead, a time capsule to how insanely popular that show was at the time, before becoming the walking dead of a corpse that it was promoting.
- Pretty slow commentary from Pete, and the material is not the best, which is saying something as I never saw him as an above average comic.
- A welcomed cameo from Norman Reedus, who I could see as a strong host around this time.
- Funny Uber joke from Colin.
- Man, Jebidiah is already starting off harsh with the Mad Men dig which gets a great response from the audience.
- Jebidiah, on Game of Thrones: “Game of Thrones, oh great! A softcore porn with 100 hours of back story. At least in porn, you know how it’s gonna finish. Oh, and George R. R. Martin, you better hurry up and write those books, because from the look of you, winter is coming!”
- Jebidiah, on The West Wing: “The best lines on that show were the ones that went up Sorkin’s nose!”
- Love Taran’s ad-lib after throwing one of his index cards “Good distance on that one!”
- Jebidiah, in a meta moment, commenting on Saturday Night Live: “The same tired characters repeating the same tired catchphrases. (*throws his index card into the air*) NNNEEEXXXTT!!!”
- I love how the audience is ALREADY groaning in preparation to Jebidiah’s slam against I Love Lucy.
- Jebidiah, on I Love Lucy: “I Love Lucy. Hey, Lucy, you got some explaining to do like why you’d stay married to a man who rafted over from Cuba just to crush your dreams? They should have called this show, ‘I Love Lucy’s Ability To Get Me A Green Card!’”
- The usual excellent Jebidiah Atkinson commentary. Sadly, this is the final appearance of this great character, easily my personal favorite Update character of all-time. I don’t know if Taran tried to get it on Update during his final season, because IIRC, he doesn’t appear on Update at all in his final year. A real shame, as I’ve always enjoyed behind the desk, and especially as Jebidiah.
- (*sigh*) Between the accents, the clothes, and hairstyles, this sketch is pure Anderlette.
- Not caring for Cecily’s explanations, and particularly that voice she’s using.
- Ugh at the tube anally recognizing you. A staple of James Anderson-written sketches to have something to do with anal-probing, much like the wretched gay aliens sketch in the dreadful season 30 Johnny Knoxville episode, and the also-wretched Sacred Rock sketch in the upcoming season 43 Bill Hader episode.
- Leave the googly eyes shtick to the legendary Googly Eyes Gardner sketch with Walken, Anderlette.
- This sketch is bombing HARD when trying to do absurdist humor, which is typical of Anderlette. I’m still surprised that they wrote the excellent A Magical Christmas & Spaceship earlier in the season.
- Overall, leave it to motherfucking Anderlette to ruin this episode’s perfect streak.
Musical Performance – “All That”
- Jesse Nathan: For obvious reasons, it’s a bit bizarre that a musical guest would perform a song called “All That” (Hint: it has something to do with the longest-running cast member).
- I like the 80s-sounding intro, right down to the synth, blips, and slap bass.
- Carly’s vocals are once again pleasant to listen to.
- Good chorus, but not as good as the chorus in the last song.
- Because I’m running out of things to say, I will add that Carly looks very cute here, and I love that haircut.
- The guitarist on Carly’s left kinda looks like Machine Gun Kelly.
- Why are the backing vocalists not miced properly?
- Nice addition of scratching.
- What was that bizarre sound during the last “show me if you care”?
- I like Carly’s smile at the end.
An Easter Message
- I’m so happy to see another one of these creepy holiday sketches, too bad that this one, IIRC, is the final to air, and there are two CFT ones that will be posted online from the Kristen Wiig & Bill Hader episodes in seasons 42 & 43, respectively.
- I know I said this several times in this review, but Michael’s slaying me here. His greeting at the beginning was already hilarious to me.
- Great characterization and solid performance from Kate as the creepy side character in this.
- Funny “best Friday” bit from Michael.
- Michael, on the unleavened bread: “This is unleavened bread, which means, unlike Jesus, it doesn’t rise.”
- Michael, on Cadbury eggs: “I gave these up for Lent last year. Know what I gave up this year? Cocaine…………………almost.”
- Fantastic moment with Michael’s creepily delivering his random line “Something’s wrong with me.”
- Hilarious quick appearance from Bobby here.
- Very dark, yet hilarious bit with Kate feeding her “child chicken” a McNugget.
- I LOVED Michael’s comment about Kate’s character “This kid has aaaal the warning signs.”
- Michael, on his chocolate bunny being hollow “Some people like the solid ones, but then, how would you get your little wiener in there?”
- Man, I could basically quote this entire sketch here, so many hilarious, absurd, dark lines throughout with fantastic delivery and performance by Michael, and great supporting work by Kate & Bobby.
- Excellent reveal at the end that Michael was playing himself all along. What an outstanding way to end this phenomenal episode.
Cut For Time: Sporting Goods Sport-House
- A variation of the great Waterbed Warehouse commercial from the Martin Freeman episode earlier in the season.
- Like last time, Aidy’s singing and her face just kills me here easily.
- While this sketch is pretty much following the exact same formula as the first one, I’m enjoying its harmless, fun energy.
- Lots of fun visuals here, particularly of Aidy & Michael’s faced behind the cardboard.
- An overall pretty good follow-up to the original, even when it’s not as strong, it was still solid and harmless enough.
Cut For Time: Toby’s House
- Ah, yes. Here we go people!!!
- This is a sketch that garnered a lot of hype online after this episode aired, and was supposedly going to air in the live show but got cut at the last minute as evidenced by our 10-to-1 being just a band shot throwing us into commercial after the show just returned from one. I recall reading the dress rehearsal report on this sketch, and from then I KNEW that I’m going to love this dark, disturbing sketch.
- I love the brief opening musical intro, it feels like a Pee-Wee’s Playhouse/Blues Clues hybrid.
- Beck & Kyle are doing such a spot-on impression of the typical banter between the host and the objects around him in these types of shows.
- Ah, here comes the first reveal…
- Great delivery from Michael of his “They’re taking the house!” And I love his concerned, subtle facial expression, which will make more sense as the sketch goes on.
- A big laugh from Michael’s song getting interrupted by Bobby just opening the door nonchalantly and starting to just empty the house.
- Ah, here we go with the second reveal in this sketch, and the truth about Toby’s House is revealed.
- I love the pause after Kyle’s question about the location of the cameras in this supposed children’s show. And especially his outburst after Michael’s silence. Just excellent, disturbing, and brilliantly dark escalation to this already-excellent sketch.
- And we get even more disturbing and dark with the reveal that those three are friends who desperately wanted money and worked for Michael’s character in exchange of that.
- And we now get the final reveal in this sketch, with the reveal that Michael’s character is a sexual deviant who had sex with the various objects around the house. This is a dark, dark, enthralling sketch.
- I LOVED Kenan’s delivery of his “But these aren’t even magical”.
- A great ending with Toby’s House metaphorically falling apart all around him, such a masterpiece of a sketch. Just imagine for a while if this sketch replaced Smart House, can you even imagine how this episode would’ve been even more fantastic? A real shame this was cut at the last moment.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
CFT: Toby’s House
An Easter Message
Call Your Grandparents
CFT: Sporting Goods Sport-House
The Road to the Final Four
- Another outstanding episode from this great season. Like many episodes from this season, this episode featured many writerly, conceptual, and creative sketch concepts & shorts. With FOUR sketches receiving the perfect five-stars rating from me. Several of these sketches are amongst my absolute favorites in this whole season, like the brilliant, sharp Neurotology, and the emotional, yet funny Prom queen short, and we should not forget the hidden, dark masterpiece Toby’s House. What I also enjoyed about this episode is that some segments are now even stronger than I recall them being, mainly Ad Agency, and An Easter Message, both are now new favorites of mine.
- Michael Keaton, as highly-anticipated by fans, was a fantastic host tonight, and this episode was the perfect cycle with his history with SNL. From being put to the side and disrespected by Dick Ebersol in his season 8 episode, to coming back in season 18 and doing a great job in a solid episode, and now having an all-timer episode with a fantastic hosting performance. I’m still shocked that he never became a member of the Five-Timers Club considering the big career renaissance that he’s been enjoying since the mid 2010s.
- Taraji P. Henson with musical guest Mumford & Sons.