Overall Thoughts on the Season:
Season 47 in general was a very good year for SNL, not only as a solid conclusion to the 2014-2022 era, but as a major step up from the shakiness of the previous season. This season introduced much fresher writing style, more and more fun & free sketch concepts that would dominate several episodes, and most importantly chronicled the rise of several featured players on the screen & writers behind the scenes, chief amongst them are: PDD, Celeste Yim, Rosebud Baker, Andrew Dismukes, and especially new featured player Sarah Sherman. If there was a big flaw in this otherwise pretty good, consistent, energetic year, it’s the lack of a cohesive vision for the show. There were several episodes that felt pretty much flawless, consistent, and tended to balance the cast with fun, unique, one-off sketch concepts (Malek, DeBose, Mulaney), and several others, while not bad at all, felt like two different shows at the same time, and ranged from being pretty good to mediocre (Isaac, Kravitz, Majors).
This season also didn’t feel as whirlwind as the previous three years of the show, no Trumpwin, yet still we had some rotgut, insufferable, overlong hellscapes that attempted to give the illusion that they were “satirical” and failing absolutely miserably at that. Cast frustrations also came and went throughout the season, but really came along in the 2nd half (which was a solid half in my view), and hit an absolute nadir with the very “off” and subtly-dreary Will Forte episode, where around a third of the cast was totally MIA, and the rest appearing in one or two sketches all night. A night where the actual paid performers were mostly in their dressing rooms, and Kristen Wiig was absolutely dominating the night in both live, and in dress. I’d say that the departure of headwriter Anna Drezen (who honestly was better as a writing supervisor, as the quality and variety of content in season 45 would show us), contributed to the very frustrating cast usage in the 2nd half, other than some lethargy and dullness in several episodes (Kravitz, Carmichael, Gomez). Yet, season 47, in the end, still stayed a consistent and reliable season throughout.
The winds of change also came along in this year, with the hiring of many writers that brought some fresh, new, and exciting feel to SNL. Aside from PDD, and their quick, witty, and viral pieces throughout the year, we had also Rosebud Baker who worked tirelessly with Michael Che, and brought some of his better sensibilities that were barely displayed in years. Not to mention new cast member Sarah Sherman (more on her later), who brought her groundbreaking, unique, and daring style of humor to the show and shook up its format for the better. Her unique, creative brand of humor was both such a breath of fresh air to the comedy institution, and also had some of the most unique and alternate pieces that aired in all of SNL’s 47 years on the air. All of these changes signal out to us the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one, and if this new one as groundbreaking, challenging, and genre-bending as what we saw throughout the season, then I welcome it with open arms filled with both hope and excitement for what comes next.
Finally, I’m going to a do quick breakdown of the remaining 17 cast members on the show, as I had a lot to say about them originally in this post, and will hopefully do this breakdown for future seasons of the show. so without further ado, and in order of seniority in the cast:
Kenan: Kenan is still Kenan, the glue of the show, the lovable goofy presence in sketches, and the reactor in them, aside from our resident explainer Mikey Day. This has been quite the normal year for Kenan, with barely any solo showcases aside from three commentaries behind the Update desk, with all of them being Kenan being his usual self. Yet, Kenan still remains valuable to me and many others, and does not have a suffocating presence on the show. Yet, I would like to say goodbye to him by the finale of next season.
Cecily: Cecily Strong remains a mystery to me to this very day, a fantastic utility player, consummate professional, solid impressionist, yet she still stars in some of the worst sketches in each season that she has been a cast member on the show. While this season was an improvement over her frankly wretched year last season, she still continued to star in some awful material this season, mainly a wasteland of one-joke sketches, sketches that go nowhere, and sketches that are an excuse for her to mug, vamp, and camp for five minutes straight. As I stated in my review of the Oscar Isaac episode, the disparity in quality between her work in that episode, and Chloe & Sarah’s, as her atrocious “Harassment Seminar” sketch that was sandwiched between their solid, creative pieces was absolutely jarring to witness as the episode aired live. I do hope Cecily Strong does leave before next season, as I honestly can’t take any more bad sketches, and I wish her the best in her career moving forward.
Colin/Michael: Our Update anchors for the eighth season in a row remained mostly at the top of their game, till the last third of this season when signs of burnout & lethargy started to appear on both of them, especially Michael who did voice his plans to leave the show after this season. Colin still remains the endearing Update anchor who giggles his way through half the jokes and commentaries, yet his delivery remains sharp as usual, even with his burnout & Michael being very noticeable toward the last third of the season. And the lack of many correspondents this year with solid character work, like Update regular Heidi Gardner amongst others, made some Updates feel a bit hollow, lethargic, and just there to fill airtime. We still had many solid Updates this season per usual, but Update as a whole took a big step down from the last two seasons at least in terns of content at times, and particularly when it comes to commentaries. I do think we need an overhaul of the Update desk, or at least for one of the two anchors to leave during the Summer, my money is on Che finally leaving SNL. I think changing the anchors will officially complete the new era feel next season.
Alex/Melissa/Mikey: Alex is, in my view, one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in recent SNL history and of this era especially. He is handsome, charismatic, solid impressionist, great character performer, yet he still languishes by each passing season, and often relegated to dull, non-comedic roles instead of showcasing his talents. He always thrived behind the desk, which he indeed did this year with four strong character showcases, and with the two characters that he’ll be most remembered by. I wish that Alex will have that great potential final one or two years before leaving the show, as he is easily the strongest male on the cast now that Beck’s gone, and he deserves his moment in the sun. This season, overall, was a better year for him than his last two, yet not the highs of his first three seasons. I hope Alex stays for one or two more years and gets his time to truly shine.
Melissa is another that is not a mystery to decipher, but a performer that makes me still baffled why in the world is she still on the show. Don’t get me wrong, I love Melissa, and her pieces behind the desk are some of my personal favorites of this entire era. Yet, she still lingers in the background of sketches, sometimes sounding and looking miserable too as she delivers her lines, with her big flubs in the dog sketch in the Willem Dafoe episode being a prime example of that. This season was, overall, an improvement over his wretched previous season where she was missing from several episodes and being an extra in some others, while newer players like Chloe & Bowen making their mark and establishing themselves in the core. This season saw her do two lead sketches, the decent “Annie” and the pretty mediocre “A Peek At Pico”. Melissa also was cut at least once from behind the desk, and managed to get on only once, with her “Cesar Perez” piece, a one that I find decent enough, but a noticeable step down from her usual stellar work behind the desk.
Mikey had a very busy season this year, and was his usual professional, tireless, and committed performer as always, and filling in for Back’s absence this season was a tough task for him to take, and he delivered rather well, and truly shined in the second half of the season. Much like Kate, Aidy, and Sarah. Mikey usually shines in pretaped material more than the live sketches, with his authoritative, scary portrayal of a Big Brother-esque figure in “The ReKhline”, one of my personal favorite fake ads in this season, and especially in his terrific portrayal of the clueless, childlike boyfriend in “Old Enough! Long Term Boyfriends!”, a piece that can easily be put in Mikey’s future “best of”. I sure hope Mikey decides to leave after his upcoming seventh season on the show, and look back at his solid, consistent tenure with pride and let the newer players take over.
Chris/Heidi: I personally believe Chris took a big step up this year in both airtime and showcases, having his finest season so far in my view since his first great year: as he had his finest night on the show so far in the Ariana DeBose episode, with his stellar work in “Eric Adams Press Conference”, and in “Urkel”. Chris also displayed strong leadership potential throughout the season with him getting much more airtime than he had in the previous three seasons, where he would be relegated to mostly starring in pretapes and commentaries behind the Update desk. Chris is my personal MVP pick of the season alongside Andrew & Sarah. I cannot wait to see how he’ll fare next season, and his potential two final years on the show.
In a total opposite to Chris, Heidi took a very noticeable step down in showcases this season, being almost entirely shut out from the Update desk aside form her surprisingly lackluster “Kelly Party” one-off piece all the way back in the 2nd episode of the entire season. And mostly playing dull, non-comedic, straight roles in dozens of sketches throughout the season. Heidi did, in fact, get a big sketch towards the season’s end, with her solid dramatic acting in “Blue Bunny”, which was hurt, in my view, by too much REACTING by others, yet it was still a decent effort. I thought Heidi would have more of an experimental year, like her third season, which was pretty solid, but not the standout, fantastic season like her first two & fourth, in it she succeeded in getting several of her sketches on the air, to varying degrees of success to say the least. I’m hoping that Heidi will return to do her strong, semi-dramatic, one-off characters behind the desk and get some sketches on air, along with several shorts, as such a committed and strong performer like her deserves to get the spotlight each time.
Ego: Ego continued her utility player role for the second season in a row in her tenure. Displaying solid comedic timing, leadership abilities, and consummate professionalism. This season, while a very slight step down in terms of airtime and leadership roles than her stellar previous season, is still quite solid for her. We finally got more than one Update piece from Ego this year, with her solid “A Black Woman Who’s Been Missing for 10 Years” piece, one of my favorites of the year, a spark of energy behind the desk in a lethargic year for Update. And we also got another installment of her “Weary Mother” character. Both commentaries were as solid as usual for Ego’s standards. I do hope for next year that Ego will showcase more character work behind the desk, as she was cut many times from it, and also to star in several more shorts and sketches. With our big departures, I sense a big push in airtime for Ego, and especially Chloe.
Bowen/Chloe: Bowen Yang continued yet again his rise this season, and the attempt by him to have queer, absurdist, and camp humor all showcased on the show to varying degrees of success, like his character piece which veered between queer and camp “Bug Assembly”, and showcasing his musical abilities in “Chuck E. Cheese” which both were successful and fun attempts in trying to mix both and present them to the wider audience. Bowen remains valuable to the cast, not only as the voice of the Asian community on the show, but also for his unique, clever approach to matters of race and representation such as in the excellent, yet sharp short “Simu & Bowen”. All in all, this has been yet another solid year for Bowen.
Chloe continued to have her third consecutive solid season on the show, between getting to showcase her impression skills, and getting good parts in several sketches. Chloe usually has those moments when she gets a lead role in a sketch, which happened quite the number of times this season, even when they were mostly straight roles in period pieces, or as a contestant in a game show sketch. Chloe allied with new writer Mike DiCenzo in two backstage pieces that showcased not only Chloe’s impression skills, but her personality quite well to the audience; in both those pieces, “Inventing Chloe” & “The Understudy”, not only did Chloe gain press acclaim, but also went viral with both pieces getting well over 2.5 million viewers on YouTube alone. So, when Chloe hits, it counts massively, and seeing her alliances with new writer Mike DiCenzo, and her finding a way to do backstage pieces on her own, I could easily see the upcoming year being her biggest yet.
Andrew/Punkie: Andrew continued his slow, yet sure rise on the show since the second half of his first year, with his team up with fellow newbie Sarah Sherman in two sketches this season, the “Mail-In Testing Service” sketch, which I’ll get more into when I reach Sarah, and his sketch-stealing presence in “Winter Formal”. Andrew also returned behind the desk for an Update piece that while solid overall, felt a bit long to me personally, his Andrew Dismukes’ Amazing Animals offered some hints of melancholy, and some dark, dark subtleties to it. Also, Andrew excelled in what is pretty much my personal favorite live sketch of the entire season, his lunatic, and chaotic masterwork “Beanie Babies” in which he displayed an utmost commitment and delivered one of the best performances of the entire season. Andrew’s here to stay, and his brand of humor, much like Sarah’s groundbreaking work, is more than welcomed in the fresh, new direction that the next era is taking.
Punkie remained mostly as underused as she was last year, aside from few moments where she shined. Punkie is another of those performer that has it all, funny, likable, charismatic, and an utmost professional on the screen, yet she kept languishing with each passing episode. Punkie got a chance to get the viewers to know her better in a solo stand-up commentary behind the desk in December that was well-received by most, and showed her natural charm and presence. It wasn’t until the last few episodes of the season that Punkie started to get more airtime, with the solid “Couples Counselor” sketch, and the musical short “Intuition”. I sure hope Punkie gets the chance to stay for next season and to showcase her talents and much-needed voice now that several vets have departed.
Aristotle/James/Sarah: Aristotle had a weird first season in general; a tenure that’s started to die a long, miserable, painful death throughout the second half of the season. He actually started perfectly fine, alongside fellow featured player Sarah Sherman, getting those supporting roles in his first few episodes, and then getting to showcase his anti-comedy skills, in “Angelo” a huge favorite of mine this season, and started to slowly vanish, aside from a rather fascinating & melancholic commentary as “Laughingtosh 3000”, which is still my personal favorite Update piece in this entire season. Then, a turning point happened around December with his airtime taking a major hit, as I and fellow SNL reviewer & frequent reader of this blog, the always-stellar John thought of around Feb-March, and after being called defeatists & pessimists for voicing our concern over Aristotle being, quite frankly, intentionally shut out of one live show after another, some others soon joined in and voiced what we both felt since the Mulaney episode, even when the signs of his abandonment were present in the January-early February run. I do hope Aristotle gets a chance, at least for him to showcase his anti-comedy & character work as a major Update fixture, much like Heidi, but knowing the show’s history, this type of wishful (and delusional) thinking will only result in utter disappointment.
James had the easiest path compared to our two other newbies, as he is not as alternate in his humor, although he would display some character work before and on the show, to various degrees, and getting cut from Update before the dress show, which is one of the more intriguing mysteries to me this year, as he is the ONLY performer this season not to be featured behind the desk at any capacity. I wonder if he attempted a character piece or went as himself, letting the audience know him better, I hope we know in the near future what caused that potential solid solo showcase of him to be cut before even getting tested with the dress audience. James played the roles of both the current & former presidents in his first strong year on the show, and also displayed some solid character work in both the great “Longhorn steakhouse”, and the excellent “Dream Home Cousins”, where he played the weak, obeying husband to such an eerie degree of perfection. I only hope that James gets to display some character work behind the desk next season, as he’ll be doing a lot of heavy lifting now that several vets are gone, with tons of new impressions and utility roles that he proved more than capable of.
Sarah in particular had a standout, fantastic first season on the show, with multiple Updates of hers going viral , and garnering both press acclaim and fan appreciation. Sarah also established herself as an Update fixture, playing herself as a newbie questioning the show’s long-held live tradition in an absolutely killer debut behind the desk; a commentary that’s quite possibly the most memorable of the entire season. Sarah also successfully found the way to introduce her trademark body horror comedy into the show, starting with the memorable, yet weirdly sentimental singing growths in “Meatballs”, or as the cursed voodoo doll Chucky who had an awkward HR meeting after a certain incident in “Chucky”. Sarah also used pop culture aside from Chucky in her ensemble sketch ”Six Flags Guys” and also in showcasing her brand of absurdist humor in her very solid debut episode with fellow featured player Andrew in the the “Mail-In Testing Service” sketch that closed the night on a great note. All in all, Sarah’s brilliant, creative, surreal, and audience-alienating pieces are welcomed on SNL, as the show just needed to have its edge back, and Sarah’s fearlessness as a performer will only lead her to have more and more chances as the seasons continue. I’m patiently waiting for Sarah to finally have those mini-movie, multiple set epic gore sketches, hopefully by next season, as all things indicate that she’s going to be here for a long time.
- While I rated it rather highly, I would now give Dream Home Cousins the full five-stars if I had the chance to review it again.
- I would now also rate Paw Patrol, Aidy’s Dream, and Fiction Workshop all by half-a-star more. As I seriously believe that I underrated Oscar Isaac’s episode as a whole despite me being positive on it overall.
- While I still think highly of both segments, I would now lower my rating for both the Ariana DeBose Weekend Update edition & Angelo Christmas by a star each. And if there is a five-stars worthy Update edition this season, it’s probably the Jonathan Majors one, even though that one is still four-and-half-a-star worthy in my personal view, I’d still call it the best Update of the whole season, due to the two standout, excellent commentaries that are my personal favorites of this entire season.
- I do think that I was a bit harsher on some sketches than they probably deserved, which is part of my growth as a reviewer, so there are two sketches that I rated the lowest-of-low one-star rating that I would now bump up slightly. While I still don’t care at all about both sketches, I would now bump up The People’s Kourt & Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s Dog Bones-n-Melodies from the Kim Kardashian West and Jonathan Majors episodes by half-a-star each, as I should save the one-star rating for real dregs.
And Now Some Data:
Episodes Rating Averages:
Owen Wilson / Kacey Musgraves – 7.1
Kim Kardashian West / Halsey – 5.0
Rami Malek / Young Thug – 7.6
Jason Sudeikis / Brandi Carlile – 7.7
Kieran Culkin / Ed Sheeran – 6.5
Jonathan Majors / Taylor Swift – 5.8
Simu Liu / Saweetie – 6.3
Billie Eilish – 6.3
Paul Rudd / no musical guest – 6.0
Ariana DeBose / Bleachers – 7.9
Will Forte / Måneskin – 5.7
Willem Dafoe / Katy Perry – 6.8
John Mulaney / LCD Soundsystem – 8.0
Oscar Isaac / Charli XCX – 6.1
Zoë Kravitz / Rosalía – 5.8
Jerrod Carmichael / Gunna – 5.9
Jake Gyllenhaal / Camila Cabello – 6.5
Lizzo – 7.6
Benedict Cumberbatch / Arcade Fire – 6.9
Selena Gomez / Post Malone – 6.4
Natasha Lyonne / Japanese Breakfast – 6.7
Best Episode: John Mulaney – 8.0 (Runner up: Ariana DeBose – 7.9)
Worst Episode: Kim Kardashian West – 5.0 (Runner up: Will Forte – 5.7)
Season Average: 6.6
Please Don’t Destroy – Hard Seltzers (Kim Kardashian West)
Angelo (Rami Malek)
Monologue (Jason Sudeikis)
Please Don’t Destroy – Calling Angie (Kieran Culkin)
Simu & Bowen (Simu Liu )
CFT: Please Don’t Destroy – Touch Up (Simu Liu)
Lonely Christmas (Billie Eilish)
CFT: Angelo Christmas (Billie Eilish)
An Evening with Pete Davidson (Paul Rudd)
Urkel (Ariana DeBose)
Eric Adams Press Conference (Ariana DeBose)
Weekend Update (Ariana DeBose)
CFT: Nice Jail (Willem Dafoe)
Monologue (John Mulaney)
Blue River Dog Food (John Mulaney)
Symphony Orchestra (Lizzo)
Beanie Babies (Lizzo)
American Inventors (Selena Gomez)
The District 7 School Board Meeting (Owen Wilson)
Mail-In Testing Service (Owen Wilson)
Sleepy Town USA (Rami Malek)
The Science Room (Jason Sudeikis)
What Up With That? (Jason Sudeikis)
Men’s Room (Kieran Culkin)
Weekend Update (Jonathan Majors)
CFT: Please Don’t Destroy – Future Selves (Billie Eilish)
Clancy T. Bachleratt and Jackie Snad Sing Songs about Spaceships, Toddlers, Model T. Cars & Jars of Beer Again (Will Forte)
CFT: ESPN’s First Take (Will Forte)
Subway Churro (John Mulaney)
Meatballs (Oscar Isaac)
Amazon Go (Zoë Kravitz)
CFT: Can I Talk To You? (Zoë Kravitz)
Dream Home Cousins (Jake Gyllenhaal)
Chucky (Jake Gyllenhaal)
Six Flags Guys (Lizzo)
The ReKhline (Benedict Cumberbatch)
The Understudy (Benedict Cumberbatch)
The Places We’ll Go (Natasha Lyonne)
Star Trek: Ego Quest (Owen Wilson)
The NFL on Fox (Owen Wilson)
Cars 4 (Owen Wilson)
Lotto Drawing (Kim Kardashian West)
Celeb School (Rami Malek)
CFT: Please Don’t Destroy – Rami Wants a Treat (Rami Malek)
The Ghost of Biden Past (Jason Sudeikis)
Jake’s Non-Stick Underwear for Men (Jason Sudeikis)
Weekend Update (Jason Sudeikis)
Man Park (Jonathan Majors)
Please Don’t Destroy – Three Sad Virgins (Jonathan Majors)
Pastor Announcement (Jonathan Majors)
Monologue (Simu Liu)
Karaoke Recap (Simu Liu)
Republican or Not (Simu Liu)
TikTok (Billie Eilish)
Kyle’s Holiday (Billie Eilish)
Ron and Donna Lacatza’s Formal Emporium (Ariana DeBose)
Longhorn Steakhouse (Ariana DeBose)
Monologue (Will Forte)
CFT: Please Don’t Destroy – New Personalities (Will Forte)
Monologue (Willem Dafoe)
Tenant Meeting (Willem Dafoe)
Nugenix (Willem Dafoe)
Please Don’t Destroy – Martin’s Friend (Willem Dafoe)
Office Song (Willem Dafoe)
Please Don’t Destroy – Good Variant (John Mulaney)
Weekend Update (John Mulaney)
Behind the Slime (John Mulaney)
CFT: Podcast Set (John Mulaney)
Inventing Chloe (Oscar Isaac)
Weekend Update (Oscar Isaac)
CFT: Aerotoilet (Oscar Isaac)
Please Don’t Destroy – We Got Her a Cat (Zoë Kravitz)
Weekend Update (Zoë Kravitz)
Monologue (Jerrod Carmichael)
Is My Brain Okay? (Jerrod Carmichael)
Weekend Update (Jerrod Carmichael)
Couples Counselor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
Guess That! (Lizzo)
PDD – Lizzo Has Writer’s block (Lizzo)
CFT: Food & YouTube (Lizzo)
Roe v. Wade (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Just Like You (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Old Enough! Longterm Boyfriends! (Selena Gomez)
Weekend Update (Selena Gomez)
Baby Monitor (Selena Gomez)
Final Encounter (Natasha Lyonne)
CFT: ESPN’s First Take – NBA (Natasha Lyonne)
The Talking (Owen Wilson)
Facebook Hearings (Kim Kardashian West)
Grown Ass Woman in the Club (Kim Kardashian West)
The Dionne Warwick Show (Kieran Culkin)
Dog Head Man (Simu Liu)
Weekend Update (Simu Liu)
Thanksgiving Baking Championship (Simu Liu)
911 Call (Simu Liu)
A Holiday Message From Dr. Anthony Fauci (Billie Eilish)
Maid of Honor (Zoë Kravitz)
The Princess and the Frog (Zoë Kravitz)
Short-Ass Movies (Jerrod Carmichael)
ShopTV (Jerrod Carmichael)
Story (Jerrod Carmichael)
MSNBC Special Report (Selena Gomez)
A Storm Within (Selena Gomez)
9:15 to 5:10 (Natasha Lyonne)
CFT: Forget About Lorne (Natasha Lyonne)
CFT: Cigarettes Show (Natasha Lyonne)
Skims For Thick Dogs (Kim Kardashian West)
Business Garden Inn & Suites & Hotel Room Inn (Billie Eilish)
Cinema Classics: Gaslight (Will Forte)
Threesome (Will Forte)
CFT: Architect Presentation (Will Forte)
CFT: Family Band (John Mulaney)
Porch Scene (Zoë Kravitz)
Don’t Stop Believin’ (Zoë Kravitz)
The Singers Four (Jake Gyllenhaal)
Lights Camera Achoo! (Jake Gyllenhaal)
CFT: Dinner with the Dean (Jake Gyllenhaal)
Landsdowne House (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Alladin (Kim Kardashian West)
The Dream Guy (Kim Kardashian West)
The People’s Kourt (Kim Kardashian West)
CFT: Costco Meeting (Kim Kardashian West)
CFT: Superhosts (Rami Malek)
Cruz Street (Jonathan Majors)
Broadway Benefit (Jonathan Majors)
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s Dog Bones-n-Melodies (Jonathan Majors)
HomeGoods (Paul Rudd)
The Ingraham Angle (Will Forte)
Fox News Ukrainian Invasion Spectacular (Oscar Isaac)
Harassment Seminar (Oscar Isaac)
My Favorite Moments From the Entire Season, Represented with Screencaps:
- And now we’re officially three seasons down on the blog! I’d like to thank all the great readers of this blog, including the frequent and infrequent commenters alike, and the people on Twitter for continuing to support my work since the very beginning. Thanks also to Jesse Nathan for graciously calculating these averages for me so I don’t have to do them myself, your tireless work is greatly appreciated Jesse. Thanks yet again to the lovely readers and till I see you all soon!
- Season 41 reviews return with the great Adam Driver making his SNL hosting debut with musical guest Chris Stapleton. Stay tuned!