Cold Opening – Morning Joe
- While I’m not happy to see another political cold open so soon after the awful previous one, Alex & Kate always work for me as a duo.
- I’ve never said this before, but the real-life show that is parodied here is FAR more obnoxious & hard to sit through than the impressions, but I’m keeping an open mind here considering that I surprisingly enjoyed the first installment.
- How many times am I supposed to be laughing at Mika & Joe being flirty while others are REACTING???
- Fred Armisen cameo #27276 strikes again, I see.
- Not caring for Armisen’s lines, especially his stock Jewish New Yorker voice that he always leans into, much like his tired British accent as well.
- Very random Bill Murray cameo.
- Bill is being his usual funny & reliable self here, but the writing for him is as unfocused & rambling as most of this cold open so far.
- I remember around the time of this episode, and in the midst of SNL’s rating renaissance from the election onwards, so many has-beens were practically begging to cameo on the show, including Zach Braff (hey, remember him?) and Rosie O’Donnell. The latter changing her Twitter avatar into a photoshopped photo of herself as Steve Bannon. Needless to say, those pathetic attempts at returning to relevancy by both & other celebrities were all in vain.
- This open is going on FOREVER.
- And now we get even more REACTING, in order to make this cold open feel even more padded than it is.
- Boy, unlike Alex & Kate, Bill & Fred have ZERO chemistry here. No rapport nor fun interactions. I assume due to Bill’s cameo being last minute or so, or him being his usual self behind the scenes.
- A pretty abrupt ending to an otherwise very lethargic & slow-moving cold open.
- Very good energy from Sam right from his entrance from the homebase stage’s door. You could tell he’s thrilled that he’s hosting SNL.
- Seeing Sam mention how big this year is for him, with him winning dozens of awards for his movie, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, feels quite endearing to me as a person that I always felt that Sam (as well as Michael Shannon & David Harbour, before the latter hit it big with Stranger Things) is amongst the finest character actors working today. And to see him getting the well-deserved recognition that he got for his movie makes me happy.
- And now we’re getting a full-on, energetic, dancing-all-over-the-studio monologue utilizing Sam’s well-known & impressive dancing skills.
- I love the portion where Sam is fighting the Ninjas, as it utilizes his energy & I do love the sudden wide shot accompanying it.
- And that wide shot is now gone, with us stuck with Sam’s waist & lovely face for the rest of the monologue.
- A pretty fun monologue so far, but it feels a little bit too quiet in its presentation, especially with how the camera is positioned just from the waist and above. While you see monologues like Rick Moranis’ & even as recently as Jimmy Fallon’s latest monologue show more of the studio space.
- Cecily, Kate (especially), and Leslie all look very beautiful in their evening gowns here, and are very fun & share solid chemistry with Sam in their individual moments with him.
- Hilarious moment with Colin getting beaten by Sam. Always a good sport in these bits.
- I do like the moment with Sam jumping on the camera crane & the beautiful wide shots that it’s showing of the studio. Making me wish the monologue was this grand in its direction from the start.
- I love the ending with Sam dancing next to the formal-wearing men & the showgirls. Great energy from him to start the proper show with a blast.
- An overall pretty good monologue, aside from how awkwardly directed it was in certain portions, it was a lot of fun & Sam is coming off already as a very game & energetic host.
The Science Room
- The debut of an occasionally-appearing recurring sketch that I (and I’m sure many others) absolutely love.
- I love the visual quality & filter used for this sketch, it feels like a 80s/90s educational children show. It is weird that it was abandoned for the later installments.
- Cecily & Mikey are both spot-on & endearing in their characterizations. Cecily is especially convincing in playing a little girl, which is why it’s weird that she barely played any throughout her tenure.
- Sam is very solid in selling his subtle frustrated reactions here, even when I feel like Adam Driver & Jason Sudeikis are stronger in that aspect, Sam is still holding himself fairly strongly here & is providing laughs.
- Aaaaand here comes the infamous f -bomb slip from Sam, with perfectly timed ad-lib from both him & solid facial reactions from Cecily & Mikey. The latter’s face when Sam slipped that forbidden word KILLED me.
- An overall fairly strong debut for this occasionally-appearing recurring sketch. The infamous slip helped making it even more memorable.
- Our first of MANY Pete Raps! shorts from this era, and easily the best of all of them. This one is also the first to be about Pete rapping in admiration of some well-known figure, like RBG & Danny Trejo. I only recall enjoying this one.
- Another great use of Sam, as his dancing throughout this short is slaying me.
- I’m really enjoying the lyrics & Pete’s energy here, especially the very fun facts & summary of Stanley Tucci’s career & life.
- Hilarious & memorable visual of Sam sitting above a tiger.
- Funny ending with Pete stopping Sam from beatboxing.
- Yet another sketch that’s tackling the #MeToo movement from this season. I recall this one being yet another fairly solid one.
- I love Melissa & Kenan’s looks here, and yes, I know they’re based on real-life fashion designers. The fashion designer that Kenan is supposedly based on escapes my mind at the moment.
- Some very clever, pointed critique of the fashion industry & inherent sexism in it. This piece also serves as a solid biting take once again from SNL this season.
- Clever & subtle bit with the revelation of the noticeable pay disparity between Sam & Cecily’s characters when both call them out in unison.
- Sam is fantastic throughout the sketch, his line deliveries is particular are very sharp & are stealing the sketch for me.
- The whole bit about the panel objecting about the prospect of Eva Longoria having a boy, and when Melissa objects to that sentiment, the rest of the panel hope that he turns out to be gay is solid & a strong critique of this type of supposed social awareness.
- This is a role that feels rare to see Melissa playing, yet she is doing a solid job here, which make me think if her tenure turned out better than it is, we might’ve seen her in many authority/utility roles, beside her one-line characters that she seems to be stuck with most of the time.
- I love Kate & enjoy her a lot, but her role here, debuting her Frances McDormand impression, feels a bit tacked-on, and she seems to be vamping a bit and leaning into her Mika voice from the cold open. It is interesting seeing her though, considering who the host tonight is.
- Good to see Melissa getting some laughs & focus here, especially after the whole bit with Kate’s Frances McDormand.
- An overall fairly solid & clever sketch with a biting take & multiple solid lines sprinkled throughout.
My Drunk Boyfriend
- One of my personal favorite fake ads from the 14-22 SNL era.
- An absolutely fantastic, relatable, and brilliant concept for a fake ad.
- Love Beck’s scene, which is such a good showcase of his endearing & naturally goofy presence.
- I’m really loving both the tone & the direction of this piece. And the various scenes, moments, and quotes are nothing but the wonderful icing on the cake.
- Great makeup work on the performers, making them eerily inhuman, which is I guess the point of it. Sam & Kyle in particular are doing an excellent work here & are looking practically unrecognizable.
- Loving the “unique phrases” part, especially watching Cops & sobbing about an uncle that he never mentioned before.
- Great bit with the side products that come with the Drunk Boyfriend: difficult pants, charred pizza, glass of water, and just one more beer.
- Great ending with Alex’s grin to the camera capping off such a perfect SNL commercial.
Musical Performance – “Bad At Love”
- Jesse Nathan: I like the fact that the color of the shirt the guy’s wearing in the intro matches that of Halsey’s outfit.
- Halsey sounds good here.
- Why did she censor “bitch”? I once again ask: you know you can say that on SNL, right?
- Not loving the second guy’s interaction with Halsey.
- I have no idea what to make of the weird dancing from the two guys during the prechorus.
- I actually like this chorus. Speaking of which, Halsey pretty much killed it on those vocals.
- Ooh, I like how they bring out a girl when Halsey starts singing about her fling with one.
- Great moment with Halsey holding out “love” during the second chorus.
- Not caring for this interaction between Halsey and the two guys and girls.
- Ooh, nice touch with Halsey supposedly “shoving them off”.
- Ugh, this Update was around the time of Trump’s very notorious & despicable “shithole countries” comment? Awful.
- Love Colin’s whole bit about being censored not to say “shit” on air while the president gets to say it.
- The long-form breakdown of Trump’s aforementioned comment by both Colin & especially Michael is very solid. The latter’s serious talk about the racism he suffered & continues to suffer from is very well-delivered & stands out as amongst his best moments behind the desk this season.
- Interesting to see Leslie on Update, for the second episode in a row, even when her appearance last episode was fairly short. Great also to see Chris doing his very first Update commentary.
- Oh, this was around the time that some wanted Oprah Winfrey to run for president just because of her Golden Globes speech. Yes, dear readers, some were that desperate that they wanted Oprah to be president. I love Oprah, but I can’t see her run for office, then again we had a clown game show host as president around this time.
- Good chemistry & performances by both Chris & Leslie, but this commentary isn’t going anywhere so far, even when I’m not hating it to be exact.
- Yet again, some laughs from the jokes afterwards, but at this point you can feel a sense of fatigue from world events that will manifest & eventually take over the very next episode.
- Interesting to see Aidy doing an Update commentary as herself, for what I believe the first & only time behind the desk during her ten-year tenure.
- This commentary of Aidy’s seems to be relying on her natural charm & likability more than the writing, yet again in this Update edition, but I’m enjoying her critique of the industry, and her mention of her role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is fun & brings up to me her role in the Andrew Garfield monologue from season 39.
- I have nothing to say regarding the return of Kenan’s LaVar Ball so soon to the Update desk, but Kenan remains fun & very energetic here and his rapport with Michael is very infectious.
- Boy, these are some lousy English accents by most of the performers, especially Mikey & Kyle.
- Solid accents from Sam & Beck, at least.
- Aaaaand we now get our “comedic” conceit, with Hook being worried of being perceived as a pedophile by others in today’s climate due to having so many young kids on his ship. So, hehe, haha?
- Sam is trying his best with the material, but this sketch is D.O.A.
- And now Kate enters the scene to a wild applause break from the studio audience? Is this, once again, a 90s sitcom I’m watching?
- And the sketch now just ends… with not a single laugh to be heard from me.
- I have no use for pieces like this. Much like the wretched “The Champ” short from season 41, this type of writing doesn’t work for me. You don’t just have a wild premise and just go “That’s weird! Hey isn’t that weird everyone?!” Or just beat it down and down without any actual jokes, escalation, or buildup, like what this sketch did. It is cowardly and pathetic. Not to mention a very poor angle to go from.
- Overall, aside from Sam’s committed performance, no other redeeming factor is to be found here.
- Kate’s looking more breathtaking than usual in this color grading.
- Good to see Sam in one of these semi-dramatic, slice-of-life-esque shorts that this era did somewhat frequently.
- Kenan is always an underrated force in these types of pretapes, he has surprisingly strong dramatic acting skills that I wish the show would’ve showcased more throughout his tenure.
- This short has now taken a very out-of-the-ordinary turn with its weird supposedly “deep” message about racism. Is this piece against racism & the many forms of discrimination? Then why is it concluding with a bit that basically tells us that everyone is a racist & that’s kinda ok? This one feels as muddy & confused as the Captain Shadow and The Cardinal short from the previous episode. And IIRC, both of these pieces are co-written by Michael Che, as he always had some very muddy & confusing social takes that rarely succeed in my view, even when I think this piece is still better than the aforementioned one from last episode.
Musical Performance – “Him & I” ft. G-Eazy
- Jesse Nathan: Neat staging at the start with the old Hollywood feel.
- Not a fan of G-Eazy’s rapping. He’s not bad, it’s just that his flow isn’t really on point. Plus, he sounds way too much like Drake.
- Nice usage of a string orchestra.
- Good chorus.
- Not caring too much for G-Eazy acting kinda horny around Halsey.
- Speaking of Halsey, why bill this as a Halsey song when she only does the chorus? This isn’t the only time you’ll be hearing me say that this season, as you’ll see once we get to Nicki Minaj.
- Halsey’s smile is rather endearing.
- Sweet ending visual of Halsey and G-Eazy hugging.
Marcus Comes to Dinner
- I remember this being a popular & highly-regarded sketch from this season. It will be interesting to revisit it for the review.
- Alex & Chris are both looking quite attractive here & are pulling off their couple role convincingly.
- Very strong & detailed characterization from Sam. The details of the pants being so high up & the way he sits are fantastic.
- I absolutely love the subtle hints at the beginning of Sam’s direct questioning of Chris’ former porn star character. You could sense what the sketch is building towards, yet subtly.
- Great part with Sam opening up his laptop in order to be completely sure that Chris is the guy that he’s thinking of.
- I love the whole sequence with Sam standing up from his chair and walking around the room while still speaking, his line when wearing his coat, regarding him getting a divorce was flawlessly delivered.
- Love the moment where Sam quickly retrieves his laptop before dumping his family.
- A great sketch overall, even when I still don’t think of it as a classic like some others do, it is still a strong sketch that featured solid writing & very strong performance by Sam.
- A popular sketch from this season.
- I’m enjoying the very absurdist & random sketch concept of this piece. A good way to showcase dumb humor without practically collapsing on it.
- The dog here is absolutely adorable & is stealing the sketch for me. And in a good way mind you, unlike in the DOGS! sketches from season 45 or that godawful Pug Wigs sketch from next season. There’s some actual funny lines & a good concept here that doesn’t rely on saccharine cuteness as the distractor from its alleged “comedy”.
- And we now get Mikey’s memorable brief & extremely rare character breaking in response to the dog’s actions.
- I’m surprised by how short this sketch turned out to be. I remember it being slightly longer than this. I can’t complain as I enjoyed it quite a bit, even when I don’t see it as the classic that some claim it to be.
- Wow, FOUR pretapes in one episode?! I cannot recall the last time in a review of mine where that happened. The outstanding season 40 Dwayne Johnson episode is what first comes to my mind when it comes to that.
- Interesting to hear Kate doing the voice-over work; an area I wish SNL used her more in instead of having Cecily & Beck doing the voice-over in practically everything.
- Cecily’s been having a fairly consistent season so far, and this piece seems to be utilizing how strong of a performer she generally is, when she’s not using “funny” accents or voices. I always love her in deadpan, serious & low-key roles where she truly shines. She’s very solid so far into this piece.
- Like I mentioned in my James Franco review, Cecily’s is perfect when it comes to slowburn realizations, and her dismay here, especially with Kate’s voiceover taunting about not being an actress is subtly performed, in such a terrific manner.
- Love Cecily’s goofy acting here with her eyes & facial reactions, which is the right amount of mugging needed for this piece.
- Love the ending with a defeated Cecily smoking her cigarette in what is a supposedly anti-smoking commercial!
- Great departing line from Cecily. Such a very strong showcase of Cecily’s pure performance talents, which is a damn shame that we barely see her display these low-key, deadpan, and subtle skills instead of the loud, over-the-top, goofy voice shtick. Cecily is a charming & lovable performer that should’ve been utilized in more of these roles.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
My Drunk Boyfriend
The Science Room
Marcus Comes to Dinner
- A very solid episode & a complete turnaround from the pretty rough preceding episode. Aside from the cold open & only one pretty wretched sketch, everything else worked for me tonight, and we got many sketches that were rated quite highly, and some of them stand out as classics to me & major highlights from this season. Sam Rockwell was a fantastic host, who gave very committed & strong performances all night long, even in that horrible “Captain Hook” sketch, he was the sole highlight. It’s a shame that he didn’t return to host after this hosting stint, as he feels like a complete natural on the show. Also, the solid & creative sketch concepts throughout the night helped with the quality, especially how they each veered into different genres of comedy.
- Jessica Chastain & musical guest Troye Sivan.