Cold Opening – The Chaos President
- Is Trumpwin entering in a golf attire supposed to be funny? And was the decision to have him dressed like that a “satirical” take from the show?
- I think this is the first time that we have the running “joke” of Trumpwin being too busy playing golf instead of doing anything else, which will be repeated ad nauseam, especially when he mentions it instead of visiting or helping others.
- That “Despacito” joke has to be written by like a 50-year old guy who thinks that he’s hip and cool with the youth.
- Nothing much to say here except that these are the usual snoozefest Trumpwin lines, and his more and more self-aware portrayal is getting on my nerves.
- Ugh, I didn’t need Kate’s Sessions here, and these “cute” moments with him are doing nothing for me. These represent to a prime example of the toothlessness, pandering, and pure crassness of this era’s political writing.
- The debut of Alex’s Chuck Schumer impression. While a fun performance by Alex, the writing for him never truly made it work in the long run, as the smug portrayal is weak and is providing me with zero laughs.
- Overall, a horrible way to start a new season.
- Same montage from the last three seasons, which makes this one tied with the 90-94 montage, with both being used for four seasons.
- Heidi Gardner, Luke Null, and Chris Redd have been added to the cast.
- This opening montage turns out to be Luke Null’s only “appearance” all night long, meaning that he doesn’t appear in any sketches AT ALL in his very first episode as a cast member. Poor guy, you could tell that the writing is already on the wall regarding his future on the show.
- Good energy from Ryan.
- The concept of this monologue, and in particular Ryan smoothly talking to the camera while playing the piano is reminding me of Harry Styles’ season 45 monologue.
- Good involvement from Lenny & the SNL band here.
- Emma Stone cameo.
- Emma is working really well with Ryan here, which I guess is no surprise due to both of them working together on La La Land, and it is good that she’s still as likable as always.
- A fun turn from “I saved jazz” to “We saved jazz”, and it is being executed nicely.
Another Close Encounter
- (*cue my obligatory complaining about how this sketch should’ve been a one-and-done classic as it cannot work as a recurring sketch without the magic of that first sketch*)
- Yeah, this sketch is going on and on and on with me just sitting here staring at the screen with complete disinterest.
- Aaaaand here comes Ryan’s obligatory giggling, which yet again is not as fun as in the original classic sketch.
- At least this one is not as frustratingly horrible as the installments with Liev Schreiber & Paul Rudd from next season, but still a waste of precious airtime.
- Good, timely, and pretty clever concept for a commercial parody.
- This is a pretty good take on “woke” culture, or whatever that means as that word itself has been mutilated so much that it lost its effect and became a crutch for some to use. But you readers know what type I mean when I say that this commercial does a good job satirizing these supposedly inclusive corporations.
- A solid progression to this commercial, and the direction is a spot-on recreation of these types of jeans commercials.
- Ah, Heidi Gardner and Chris Redd in their very first SNL appearance.
- Good bits with the gender non-conforming & the size doesn’t matter bit. This feels a bit on-the-nose to me at certain parts, which is why I never consider it the masterpiece that I know some others think.
- I do love the bit with the jeans being made by white kids instead of Indonesian ones.
- I think this is the very first sketch that new writer & future cast member Andrew Dismukes got on air, and in his very first episode as a writer!
- Always great to see Alex & Mikey as a duo in a sketch, and not only in Update pieces or political opens.
- An interesting, solid format to this sketch, and it feels quite fresh; a great sign of the many enjoyable pieces that Andrew will contribute to the show as a writer & performer in the future.
- Ryan is great here, and his dark & disturbing lines in contrast to his siblings’, played by Alex & Mikey, are providing good laughs.
- Ryan’s monologue about seeing a man getting hit by a truck is fantastic, and Alex & Mikey’s reaction in the background makes it even better.
- For some reason, Alex is eerily reminding me of Jay Bauman with that beard & hair combo.
- Wow, this is over already? Surprised by how short and sweet this whole sketch was. A great first sketch for Andrew Dismukes.
Musical Performance – “Bam” ft. Damian Marley
- Jesse Nathan: Cool staging, and I like the addition of red lighting.
- Neat intro.
- I like Jay-Z’s flow, even if it’s not as impressive as his flow usually is.
- I’m having a hard time seeing the flag that’s being waved.
- Damian’s chorus has always sounded like gibberish to me, and this instance is no exception.
- I’m running out of things to say here. Most of it is just coming and going for me, and the song’s getting rather repetitive.
- I have no idea what Damian said at the end there.
- It’s over already?
- Yet again, some solid jokes, but this era of Update is feeling more and more like a history book than actual entertainment. I mean, do we really need TWO political segments in one show? You either leave political & topical issues to the cold open or have them discussed on Update. This Update will feel more and more fatigued as this continues as we hit our Trump Fatigue peak around the Jessica Chastain show, where you just could feel the dread on the cast’s faces.
- Oh, and we’re getting some clapter too? Man, these Updates are starting to feel like those “comedy” talk shows that use Trump bashing for ratings. Update, this era of Update especially, is so much better than this.
- Despite my complaints, I did get some good laughs from the whole Purto Rico & Trump’s talk about ocean water.
- I’m not sure that ANOTHER political figure is the very first Update correspondent of the new season that I want to see, as we get Kate’s Merkel back behind the Update desk.
- Good energy from Kate, but parts of this commentary are feeling a bit dead, not helped by the increasing Trump fatigue and burnout that’s slowly taking over SNL.
- Ok, I did like the whole meme bit, even when it feels like a precursor to those godawful moments with Maya Rudolph’s Kamala Harris impression.
- Great that we get the memorable White Fudge Ding Dongs being also the name of the Jost/Che Update. That joke is an easy classic.
- Good to see Alex’s Guy Who Just Bought A Boat officially becoming recurring.
- Ryan is now 2-for-2 when it comes to coming to the Update desk as a similarly-traited character to an established recurring character.
- Fun energy & interplay between Alex & Ryan, and both feel very comfortable with each other here.
Henrietta & The Fugitive
- One of my personal favorite Aidy Bryant sketches.
- Already, this sketch concept is silly & fun in all the right ways. It feels so unique to SNL in many ways, and I honestly couldn’t have imagined it in any SNL era. This feels like a The Kids in the Hall/Mr. Show-esque type of a sketch. Which makes me love it even more than I already do.
- Aidy is fantastic in this sketch, and the initial silly cutaway to her as a fowl, with that silly outfit and vocal inflections slayed me back when this sketch originally aired.
- Very funny gaffe when Aidy has a trouble in grabbing the gun from Ryan’s pocket, which results in yet another instance of Ryan giggling his way through a sketch.
- Fantastic ending with us moving 20 years later in the future, and I LOVE the very absurdist, random and hilarious cutaway to Aidy’s sunglasses-and-a-scarf-wearing Henrietta with a suitcase as well as waiting for Ryan outside of the prison door. Such a charming & funny way to end such a unique, silly, and very creative sketch. A true hidden SNL gem.
- Very solid, sudden angry outburst from Ryan, and this sketch seems to be using his very solid dramatic skills.
- Cecily is funny here, especially with her ranting about not eating her again, even when it feels like a role she played before.
- I really love Cecily’s constant complaining about never eating here again, and her constant mention of Terrazano’s is cracking me up more than I would admit.
- Solid straight man work from Mikey, who’s been having a very good night.
- Love Cecily’s whole bit about feeling dizzy despite drinking Diet Coke instead of wine.
- Great sketch overall. Remember when SNL recreated this sketch again in the next season premiere with Adam Freakin’ Driver, of all hosts? Wasting his great talents by giving him a mostly-rehashed & sloppily-written show as well? You bet I’ll have A LOT to say about this rehash and that episode in general when I reach season 44.
Musical Performance – “4:44”
- Jesse Nathan: “4:44”–I assume it’s called that because of how long it is, and also because that’s the name of the album Jay-Z’s promoting here.
- Is that Beyoncé singing prerecorded vocals on the intro?
- Holy shit, there’s no one on the mic when it pans over. That’s gotta be a first in the performances I reviewed so far.
- Wow, Jay-Z’s all alone on stage. This seems interesting.
- Jay-Z’s flow is still very impressive.
- What is Jay singing about? I assume this is coming from the heart, but I’m watching with no context of his personal life whatsoever, so this is just flying by me.
- That background sample is starting to annoy me after a while.
- The fact that Jay’s the only person there is starting to make this performance feel empty and kinda boring.
- Why do I get the feeling that the backing vocals were just cut off abruptly?
- I barely had anything to say about these performances. I guess there is one thing Jay could do to make these more interesting: stop the drama, before I get the sniffles. Making happy on my floor, got a stiffle. Hov!
- A beloved & highly-regarded piece from this SNL era.
- A priceless reveal to the conceit of the whole short, with Ryan’s character’s obsession with the papyrus font in Avatar. An absurd premise that is made even better by how much this short is dramatizing it in such an epic, grandiose manner.
- Great outburst from Ryan in response to his therapist, as played by Kate, telling him that the font used in the Avatar sequel looks similar to the papyrus font. Ryan’s reaction by flipping the table in total anger slayed me; another great usage tonight of Ryan’s very strong dramatic skills.
- Great supporting performance from Chris, who’s been shining so far into his tenure in these pretped pieces of his debut episode, as his standard role as Ryan’s concerned friend here is very well-performed.
- I love Ryan’s response to Chris’ question about where he saw examples of the papyrus font being used, his choices of saying “Hookah bars” and somehow “Shakira” as well was not only well-written, but flawlessly delivered as well by Ryan.
- Kyle is really in his element in this short, and his role here feels a bit rare for him to play. Much like how weird it felt seeing him as an elderly person in the classic Amazon Echo Silver commercial that I recently reviewed.
- Great ending with the word “Papyrus” being displayed in a comic sans font.
- An overall SNL masterpiece. I recall thinking back when this season originally aired that it would be a tradition for Ryan to have a fantastic, epic, and strongly dramatic short each time he hosts, with us having Santa Baby and now this one. It sadly turned out that this is the last time he has hosted, at least for the next five seasons after this episode.
- The return of this very occasional character of Kenan’s. Reading some of the responses regarding my season 47 finale review, I seem to be in the minority of not actively hating this character.
- Like last time, Kenan is tons of fun here and his infectious energy is good for our 10-to-1 of the night.
- Here comes Ryan giggling his way through yet another sketch tonight.
- Beck’s look behind Leslie when she fails in tearing her pants is very funny, like he’s almost amused with the mishap.
- A passable installment of this sketch and not a bad way to end the night on.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Henrietta & The Fugitive
Another Close Encounter
The Chaos President
- A very solid season premiere, with lots of solid sketches, including a beloved classic in “Papyrus”, and a personal favorite of mine in “Henrietta & The Fugitive”. Ryan Gosling was yet again a fun host who was utilized well tonight with pieces that relied on his strong dramatic skills like the two aforementioned pieces & “Italian Restaurant”. It is very surprising how he didn’t come back at least one more time during this era.
- Gal Gadot / Sam Smith.
2 Replies to “September 30, 2017 – Ryan Gosling / Jay-Z (S43 E1)”
It’s cool that we’ve already reached this season. I recall having a bit of a hard time trying to consistently follow this season, unlike the previous season. But with that said, this is not a bad way to start the season. Papyrus is indeed a classic, and is the first thing that comes to my mind whenever I think of Ryan Gosling on SNL, though his first episode definitely has its fair share of highlights.
One thing I’m looking forward to in your coverage is how badly wasted Luke was. I mean, he showed so much potential, and he was probably my favorite of the three newbies when this season aired, but they just wasted him in Rudnitsky/Athari/Holt-type bit roles. A damn shame, given how talented the guy is outside of SNL.
And now, let’s start the averages:
Gosling – 6.8
Cold Open ***
Some funny stuff in here but an overall decent cold open.
The “we saved jazz” was funny but just like the cold open this was decent.
Another Close Encounter **
Didn’t like this installment could’ve been alot better.
Levi Wokes ***½
Don’t know why I like this but I do Mikey and Chris did great here.
The Fliplets ****½
Ryan’s dark lines had me cracking up in this the ending was great too.
Henrietta and the Fugitive **
Not sure where this was going but it didn’t work for me I did however like Aidy randomly grabbing Ryan’s gun.
Italian Restaurant ****
Mikey was amazing in this and a great straight man in this. Cecily had me cracking up too.
A classic from beginning to the end.