Cold Opening – The Lead with Jake Tapper
- Good to see Beck’s Jake Tapper returning, as we’ll be getting some memorable shorts with him & Kate’s Kellyanne Conway throughout this season.
- Very random Bryan Cranston cameo, yet seeing him here reminds me of how much I disliked his season 36 hosting stint, particularly that horrific pedophile game show host sketch, even though that episode’s quality, or lack thereof, was no fault of his own.
- A very lame, outdated Breaking Bad references here that not even Bryan can elevate with his reliable presence.
- A very groanworthy & eye-rolling “let’s make America cook again” line from Bryan Cranston’s Walter White. Is SNL kidding me with this cold open?!
- That’s it? This open is over?! Well, that was just pointless, with a cameo to just bring up nostalgic references with NOTHING ELSE to stand on.
- This open feels like the precursor to a particularly wretched season 45 cold open with Matthew Broderick, where he is in it just to give us outdated Ferris Bueller “jokes”.
- Great energy & solid delivery from John right out of the gate. Very impressive from a non-actor. And he’s coming very charming & charismatic already.
- Solid turn with John’s musical monologue turning into a one about wrestling.
- A fun conceit to this monologue, with it being a wrestling-themed one. A predictable approach, but a welcomed one in my view.
- Bobby’s stealing the monologue with his entrance, and I absolutely love his wrestling theme song and his waddling in particular is slaying me.
- Great energy from Leslie & she’s hyping the HELL out the audience, even when her yelling shtick here feels a little old hat by this point of her tenure.
- Aaaaaand we now get a Horny Leslie turn, which I admit getting a few laughs from.
- Kenan’s hamming it up here, even though the visual of him behind John with that chair is hilarious.
- Ah, and now John’s iconic theme starts playing, and I love how hyped the audience is getting.
- Very fun, energetic monologue overall.
Hook a Hunk
- Solid game show host delivery & performance from John.
- This is a role that Cecily could play in her sleep by this point of her tenure, but I admit getting good laughs from her demeanor & characterization.
- Oh, I’m enjoying the escalation with how Cecily’s character is getting more and more attracted to John’s game show host character.
- Very funny mock-dramatic turn with John & Cecily’s interactions, and the reactions & lines from the contestants are adding to the humor without making it stale.
- Mikey’s awkwardness & lonely feel during the making out sessions between John & Cecily/ Beck & Kyle absolutely steals the sketch’s ending for me.
The Karate Teen
- Really? A parody of The Karate Kid in 2016? I know that Mikey was born in 1980, but this is really stretching it out with this outdated movie.
- An obligatory sports-themed pretape with John, which makes sense considering his wrestling experience.
- One of the many dorks/nerds mentions that I recall being referenced throughout tonight’s episode.
- John is excellent as the typical bully character in these types of movies, his delivery & voice are especially great.
- A hilarious dark turn with John’s punch sending Mikey through four walls, the visual effect & cinematography were both terrific here.
- A good pretape with pretty solid performances from John & Mikey. Even the darkness in this piece worked for me.
- I recall finding this sketch to be great back when this episode originally aired. I’m very eager to revisit it for this review.
- Yet another solid line delivery from John. He’s a natural in this episode so far.
- A solid laugh from John’s now-memorable banana line, thus truly beginning this very fun sketch.
- Great visual of the various bananas behind John as he begins his presentation, and a huge laugh from him referring to an orange as a round banana.
- I’m LOVING the absurdist, dumb humor in this sketch, and John’s delivery is making the solid material even better.
- Very funny how tolerant the teachers are towards John’s character, despite how annoyed his fellow students are getting.
- The visual of that banana cartoon on the screen in particular always kills me.
- John’s energy is so damn infectious, he’s fantastic here.
Dyke & Fats Save Christmas
- Wow! A random revival of the classic short film from the season 39 Louis C.K. episode!
- Like last time, this opening credits are such a dead-on parody of these 80s cop chows, not only visually speaking, but also in tone, and the way Aidy & Kate interact here is absolutely spot-on with how the lead characters usually interact in these types of shows.
- Some funny visual gags throughout this intentionally-long opening credits, especially the two large boxes with the male & female models, which is a part that always stuck with me from this revival short.
- Great cop voice & look from John, and he is absolutely disappearing into his role here.
- Aidy’s over-the-top yelling at the end is very funny and elevates this solid short a bit more.
Musical Performance – “My Church”
- Jesse Nathan: The opening guitar is nice, but my gut is telling me that this might lead to a discount Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood.
- I like Maren’s opening vocals, but I honestly prefer Margo Price’s voice.
- Yeah, Maren’s hairstyle looks pretty much EXACTLY like Taylor Swift’s hair used to back in the day.
- This chorus is decent, but not exactly something I’ll remember when I’m done writing this.
- I will say that the guitars sound great.
- The way Maren sings the chorus does indeed make her sound like a discount Carrie Underwood.
- The guitar solo was too short for my likings.
- I had next to nothing to say there.
- Some pretty rough jokes early on in this Update edition.
- I got a guilty laugh from the visual of that Trump poster regarding Mexicans.
- As usual, I’m always happy to see Kate doing an Update commentary, and her Angela Merkel is always fun.
- Ugh, I really don’t like the whole hero worship of Obama by Kate’s Merkel, it is ruining this fun commentary & I’ve never been a fan of SNL sucking up to politicians like Obama and others (which would get even worse as this era progresses).
- Great ad-lib by Colin in response to the audience’s reaction towards his very harsh Hillary Clinton joke by telling them: “Cool! Well, it’s dress rehearsal!”
- OH, GOD. Not the return of fucking Cathy Anne. I most certainly don’t need to be reminded of her two fucking horrible sketches in such a fun, energetic episode such as tonight’s.
- As usual, This character is boring me to death, and I’m getting pretty much no laughs, even though Michael is doing a solid job interacting with her.
Where’d Your Money Go?
- Two game show sketches tonight? I guess they’re trying to make up for how surprisingly few game show sketches we got so far into the season. Yet, the first “game show” sketch in this episode wasn’t an actual one, due to the fun turn it took immediately.
- Great to see the return of Kenan’s Charles Barkley impression, one of the very best things that Kenan ever did as a cast member.
- An interesting & solid concept for a game show sketch.
- Very funny Connor McGregor impression from Alex. And by the way, he looks pretty much unrecognizable not only in looks, but also vocally, as he is disappearing into this impression like the consummate pro that he is.
- Bobby’s performance & energy here feel just like his Drunk Uncle character, yet he’s still providing me with my laughs as usual.
- Great laughs from the various scenarios on display, the cheetah & stripper ones are absolutely hilarious.
- John’s performance & energy here are excellent, as well as Bobby & Kenan’s. It is too bad that Alex is barely getting any of the funnier moments in this sketch, yet he’s still making me laugh.
The Office Tree
- I have zero memory of this sketch, which is very surprising considering that Aidy was my personal favorite cast member around this time, and I should pretty much know everything that starred her during her peak years.
- A big laugh from the initial moment where Aidy trips over the window while trying to decorate the Christmas tree. I recall reading that a stunt was used in this moment, but I couldn’t tell, because if so, then SNL pulled this move off impressively well.
- A very rare use of overhead shots during Aidy’s scene, which feel so refreshing to see on SNL from time to time.
- Some good laughs from Aidy’s yelling of her lines, as she is one of the few that could pull off such a premise, even when her voice sounds off in this episode, she still pulls off her line deliveries like a pro.
- A good ending to a good sketch, even when it doesn’t compare to Aidy’s usual work from around this season, and especially her very memorable sketch later in the episode.
Through Donald’s Eyes
- A fascinating, incredibly creative approach to a Trump parody. This first person perspective is an enthralling way that captures Trump’s psyche & personality better than any impression ever could.
- Man, I’m absolutely LOVING the surreal, dream-like, horror-esque atmosphere to this short, as the increasingly claustrophobic feel in this short is pulled off flawlessly.
- An iconic & very funny visual of John as Donald Trump with hilariously large hands.
- Fantastic sudden dark turn with Trump’s world literally starting to get darker and darker around him, the priceless visual of his tiny fingers checking his Twitter account is terrific.
- Excellent touch with everybody from Trump’s point of view speaking in broken sentences, it again shows us his vanity, insecurity, and deep-seeded weakness that are poorly hidden behind his blowhard, self-aggrandizing, alpha-capitalist shtick since the 80s.
- A solid ending with Trump’s self-dancing sequence.
- Overall, an absolute masterpiece, and one of SNL’s very best takes on Trump, if not THE absolute best take on him. This also happens to be amongst my very favorite shorts from this entire era, because of many reasons, such as the ones highlighted above in how it captured a classic narcissist like Donald Trump and exposed how small & lonely he really is behind his loud, blowhard, bullying persona. An all-time SNL highlight.
Musical Performance – “80s Mercedes”
- Jesse Nathan: Decent intro.
- Still not a huge fan of Maren’s voice. It’s not bad per se, but it just sounds like she’s trying way too hard to imitate other people.
- This chorus is okay, but again, it’s not exactly something I’ll remember. Plus, the whole “90s baby/80s Mercedes” metaphor is not really a strong metaphor. Not a bad one, but definitely something that kinda leaves me scratching my head.
- The guitars are a good addition, but this just makes the song a bit more indistinguishable from other country songs.
- I kinda like the harmonizing between Maren and her backup singers.
- I’m surprised this was over already.
- Overall, these two performances were a bit too decent. I don’t think the songs that Maren performed are bad. They just sound like other country songs, and I’d rather hear something different from these songs. As for where she ranks on the country music spectrum, I’d say she’s not quite as good as Chris Stapleton or Margo Price, but still better than Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.
- A very creative, fun sketch concept, which is absolutely in Aidy’s wheelhouse.
- John looks hilarious here & surprisingly does look like a character from these types of books.
- Great sequence with the mock-dramatic & mock-romantic monologues delivered between Aidy & John as they deliver excerpts from the chosen books.
- Very nice touch with the blowing winds & dramatic music.
- John’s quick smile as Aidy’s delivering her monologue about being on an Irish cliff is absolutely hilarious.
- John’s delivery of “I’m a dirt man who knows only SEX!” slayed me, as well as his look after tearing apart his shirt.
- Kenan’s very Kenan-esque outburst with him blurting out “GET… THE… BOOK… GET THE DAMN BOOK!” made this already-great sketch even better.
- A very silly, yet funny ending with Kenan joining Aidy & John at the end.
United States of Talent
- Only one judge in this talent show sketch? Did whomever write this sketch (I’m assuming Mikey), ever watch a talent show?
- Blah at the first vomiting moment, I’m already getting worried for this sketch.
- Oh, and now, in addition to vomiting we get the owl pooping as well? Oh, how lovely.
- John & Mikey are giving it their all, but this sketch is nearly D.O.A.
- Aaaaand we now get even more vomiting, because as we all know vomiting becomes funny when repeated OVER AND OVER….
- Such a terrible way to end an otherwise very fun episode.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Through Donald’s Eyes
Hook a Hunk
Where’d Your Money Go?
Dyke & Fats Save Christmas
The Karate Teen
The Office Tree
United States of Talent
The Lead with Jake Tapper
- Yet another pretty solid & fun season 42 episode. This has been such a fantastic first half so far, even stronger than I recall it being. Aside from how it began and ended, this episode had a lot to love in it, including Through Donald’s Eyes, which is an all-time SNL highlight in my view, and a terrific Aidy Bryant sketch (Erotic Bookstore), as well as several solid & fun sketches all night. John Cena was a pretty strong, charismatic, and energetic host, who came off as a complete natural on the show and helped add to the aforementioned fun vibes throughout the night.
- Casey Affleck hosts with musical guest Chance the Rapper.