Cold Opening – Paul Manafort’s Apartment
- Please God, make it stop.
- Kinda surprising to see the role of Paul Manafort not being played by a cameo at this point, knowing in hindsight that even the most boring & generic of Trump’s cronies will be played by celebrities as this era moves forward, such as the dull Michael Cohen role being taken over by Ben Stiller after Mikey played him once in a few episodes from now.
- I love Alex, but I don’t know what in the world is he going for with his impression of Manafort. Does Manafort speak that way? I highly doubt it, and that prosthetic nose is kinda distracting to look at.
- Not caring for anything in this cold open so far.
- Ok, I did love the brief moment with Cecily’s Melania & the Trump decoy.
- Ugh, did we really need to see Trumpwin shirtless?! At least Alex took his shirt off as well.
- Aaaaand we now get one of the many hacky gay jokes about Mike Pence, as he comes out rubbing Alex’s Paul Manafort’s back while wearing a suit. Such a waste of Beck’s talents.
- What did I do to sit through another cold open with Kate’s Jeff Sessions? This impression is just too “cute” for me to like or even laugh at.
- Fantastic to see another stand-up set for me to review. This season, in general, will be leaning somewhat heavily into stand-up comics to deliver their sets as a traditional SNL monologue.
- I love Larry’s very Larry David-esque greeting & opening bit.
- Very funny bit from Larry about dating as Quasimodo. The way Larry is acting as Quasimodo, with both his hilarious gestures and voice are slaying me.
- Loved Larry’s ad-lib after some of his jokes weren’t getting bigger laughs as he was expecting.
- Yet another mention of the #MeToo movement this season.
- Some very big, guilty laughs from Larry’s whole spiel that many of the men accused of harassment are, in fact, Jewish.
- The whole bit about dating in a concentration camp, while it’s giving me some guilty laughs, will end up causing controversy, and IIRC, result in this episode not getting a rerun, which gave it the false reputation that SNL thought of this show as a dud.
- An overall very strong stand-up set from Larry, even better than his first, as it was longer and more fleshed-out.
The Price is Right
- What in the world is Beck going for in his Drew Carey impression??
- Our obligatory Bernie Sanders sketch of the night.
- A great Lil Wayne impression from Chris Redd, who’s been thriving so far into his tenure, which is incredible as this is only his fourth episode as a cast member.
- This sketch will turn out to be the first of several sketch appearances from Miley throughout the night.
- Alex looks both gorgeous & fitting in the role of Chris Hemsworth. I also love his Australian accent, which is another example of Alex’s underrated ability to nail several accents.
- Good to see the return of Alec’s great Tony Bennett impression & fun idea of pairing him with Melissa’s Ariana Grande.
- Cecily’s Sofia Vergara impression is as great as always here, and she steals the whole sketch for me.
- No comment about the Liam Hemsworth cameo.
- An overall fun ensemble gameshow sketch.
- Interesting to see Aidy’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders impression featured in her own pretape.
- Solid performance from Aidy here, and her interactions with the reporters are a spot-on recreation of the real-life press conferences that Huckabee Sanders did.
- This short, while feeling a little bit repetitive with the frequent musical cutaways, is done with good energy & a solid take on Huckabee Sanders from Aidy.
- Good ending.
Ad Council Awards Dinner
- I remember this sketch being pretty strong, but I haven’t seen it in ages.
- I love the accurate 80s PSA recreations in this sketch, and Mikey is perfect for these.
- The shirt Mikey’s wearing here is pretty much the same shirt that Josh Hutcherson wore in the classic 80s Song sketch from season 39.
- A big laugh from the “No Way. That’s Gay.” PSA ad, which is only the beginning of several more un-PC PSA ads throughout the sketch.
- Some solid frustrated reactions by Larry throughout the sketch, which thankfully aren’t overdone.
- A guilty laugh from the whole Mikey/Kenan scene.
- An interesting casual reveal of Larry’s character sporting a ponytail, which reminds me of that Match Finders sketch from season 41 where Kenan’s character sported a ponytail which was revealed as casually as in this sketch. It makes me wonder if both sketches were written by the same writer.
- Very solid & clever sketch overall.
The Baby Step
- Our obligatory music video with Miley Cyrus.
- A good twist to this music video, with Larry not wanting to be a part in it; a fun use of Larry’s lovable, yet private personality.
- While the constant annoyed reactions from Larry might get old with some hosts, it is working for me here, especially the part where he storms out after being shown baby clothes.
- I love the moment when Kenan is being animated into a Rugrat version of himself. So many warm childhood memories from that show that still make me smile to this day.
- Great bit with Larry talking down to the performers for dressing like that for a music video. His moment with Kenan is particularly funny.
Musical Performance – “Bad Mood”
- Jesse Nathan: Great opening vocalizations from Miley.
- I love Miley’s outfit.
- I like the country-esque sound of this song.
- What’s with Miley’s brief “Yeah, you” during the first verse? IIRC, this was not in the album version.
- The guitars sound great here.
- The backup singers’ mics could stand to be turned up more.
- Why does Miley keep flipping her hair during the song?
- Miley’s legs are a bit revealing.
- What’s the point of having a violinist play during the song if the violin isn’t even audible?
- Miley’s really letting loose on the vocals, and I’m enjoying it.
- I kinda like Miley’s brief “never give up” at the end.
- Geez at that notorious “Bing bong” clip of Donald Trump. It never fails to utterly baffle me and in the same time, make me laugh out loud.
- Yes! Great to see another Trump brothers Update commentary. I always enjoy these.
- The usual fun interactions between Don Jr. and Eric Trump, as played by both Mikey & Alex, respectively. These commentaries are such a great use of the natural chemistry & duo potential between Alex & Mikey.
- I absolutely love Alex’s Eric Trump facial reaction after tasting the sugar from the candy that he was given by Don Jr.
- Great to see Heidi in her first of MANY visits to the Update desk. Debuting her boxing girlfriend character Angel, which is one of her improv characters that she auditioned with to get into SNL, alongside her cousin character that debuts in the James Franco show later in the season.
- Heidi’s doing such a solid job as this character, and her commitment to the material is terrific. I recall this showcase being the one that made me a Heidi fan on the show, and still I am, to this very day.
- I’m loving how absurd Angel’s rants are becoming as she gets more and more agitated at her boyfriend.
- Ugh at that Masturbating Hobo Monthly joke, even though I got my laugh from it.
- Another Leslie Jones commentary, which is good considering that these are now more spaced out than usual.
- This commentary has now taken a different route with the players from the Astros team cameoing in it. As I disclosed before, I’m not a sports person AT ALL, so most of what’s transpiring in front of my laptop screen is a blur to me, even though I do know that a scandal happened regarding this team a while after this commentary. So, needless to say, this commentary aged like milk.
- The debut of a short-lived recurring sketch that I’ve always loved.
- Great to see Alex & Mikey starring together in another segment tonight, after their fun piece behind the desk just before this sketch.
- Very spot-on & endearing characterizations from both Alex & especially Mikey here.
- Kate is doing quite well on her own, and she’s always convincing when playing children & teens.
- This sketch is giving me some fun high-school memories right now, especially with the whole gossip bit. Alex is acting almost in an identical manner to how I used to act around 2014.
- Larry is stealing the sketch as the teacher with all the gossip, his delivery is particular is making me laugh more than it should.
- Another sketch appearance from Miley tonight, and I do admit laughing at the punchline involving Luke’s character, even when it was a bit predictable.
- Great sketch overall. It makes me wish that SNL would do more realistic, fun sketches like this more in this era.
- Blah, the sketch is already screaming Anderlette to me, as the setting, Cecily’s character, and the so-called “comedic” conceit are both tired and lame as hell.
- Larry actually looks great in that wig & costume and is in a pretty good shape for his age.
- Ok, I’m getting good laughs from Larry using all of the gay lingo now that he’s married to a gay-famous singer played by Cecily. I’m probably laughing because that Larry is the only person on the planet, alongside Mel Brooks, that could get laughs out of me from just talking.
- A priceless & famous turn with Larry suddenly breaking character HARD. And showing what a consummate pro he is, Chris keeps a straight face next to him & doesn’t break at all.
- Larry’s speaking voice while laughing is hilarious, and is absolutely killing me.
Rating: *** (the last 1/3 for Larry’s breaking)
Musical Performance – “I Would Die For You”
- Jesse Nathan: Nice rock sound.
- Miley once again sounds great on the vocals, and she looks great too.
- The chorus is nice, but not too impressive.
- Ah, so this is going back to the country sound of the last performance. I kinda like that.
- Wait, I just remembered that this is another case of a musical guest doing an upbeat song for the first performance, and a ballad for the second. I’m kinda sick of this whole trend.
- I like the backup singers’ harmony during the chorus.
- Okay, this song is starting to bore me as it goes on, which has more to do with the speed of the chorus and how repetitive it feels at times.
- John: Thank you once again to Blood Meridian for asking me to review a sketch for their blog, and for all the hard work they put into their blog.
- This is, of the five anti-sitcom sketches Beck and Kyle did, only the second (and last) to get into a live show. Considering how well-regarded this little series of theirs is it reminds you just how closely identified Kyle and Beck (especially Kyle) were to the “cut for time” label.
- There’s something vaguely unsettling about seeing Kyle with straightened hair.
- Clever idea to cast Larry David, who never fails to inject his personality into any character. A part of me wishes Tom Hanks could have had this role to call back to his drunk uncle (not that drunk uncle) on Family Ties, as various parts of this sketch are based on that notorious episode, but Larry is doing a great job with the role.
- Kyle is overplaying this part a little more than he usually does, but it certainly works for the audience, especially his show of trauma after “cousin CJ” smashes a chair against the fridge.
- They do the whole thing again the next day, and somehow it still works.
- For some reason, along with the goofier performances from Beck and Kyle, this sketch feels choppier than most of the others in this series.
- Great “what the fuck” moment with cousin CJ stabbing Kyle (excuse me – “Mario”).
- Having the final moment be all of them agreeing to drink after realizing the dangers of alcoholism is a suitable end, but I can’t help feeling that this could have been played up a little more.
- One of the reasons Beck and Kyle lasted on SNL as long as they did – and in many cases, thrived – was their ability to compartmentalize their appeal to Lorne and to the wider audience. This is another example. To me this, similar to “Bad Boys” (the other anti-sitcom piece to get in a live show), feels a bit streamline for mass consumption. As a result, this is my four in my ranking list for these (fifth is the other mentioned short), but this still has plenty to offer.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Ad Council Awards Dinner
The Price is Right
The Baby Step
Paul Manafort’s Apartment
- A better show than I remember, as this was a pretty solid show with nice consistency and several great, standout sketches all night long. Larry David was also as great & hilarious as he was last time he hosted, even when I would’ve loved one or two classics like the THREE he gave us last time. However, I cannot complain much with what we got from this time around. I’m pretty surprised that he didn’t host at least one more time, especially during season 45 where he cameoed frequently during the Democratic primary season.
- Thank you to the wonderful John for his excellent writeup for the Beck & Kyle piece “Beers” and the great support that he has provided for this blog since its creation.
- Tiffany Haddish hosts with musical guest Taylor Swift.