January 28, 2023 – Michael B. Jordan / Lil Baby (S48 E11)

Cold Opening – Classified Documents

  • An interesting, but fitting casting of Mikey as Merrick Garland.
  • Oh, so this is covering the whole Mike Pence classified documents situation. Interesting how we aren’t getting a new Mike Pence impression as well. From the current cast, I could see Michael Longfellow doing quite a decent impression, and impressionist extraordinaire James Austin Johnson, of course.
  • Some decent lines from Kenan about searching Pence’s house; the line about realizing immediately that Pence needs to have a friend was pretty funny. This is actually the most Kenan has been making me laugh this season, which tells you of how absolutely horrible he’s been rapidly becoming during the last several months of the season.
  • I’m surprised, mercifully here, that we went through this entire cold opening without one or two “hilarious” hackneyed gay jokes about Mike Pence.
  • I wish we got a solo LFNY, keeping the streak this season has been having with those as of late, but I guess we somehow needed to have more than one cast member saying it.

Rating: ***


  • Michael already seems quite comfortable and laid-back as the host; he’s getting good laughs from his natural delivery. The whole “Michael B [insert something here]” jokes are coming off fun due to his natural charisma & likability.
  • And this now turns into a “hot host” monologue? After just two minutes or so of Michael, who’s been handling this monologue with complete ease, getting “interrupted” by various female cast members? I would call this a waste of his talents, but hopefully it goes well.
  • Chloe & Heidi’s walk-ons were alright, but Ego’s sudden entrance wearing a bride dress was the best part, especially when you can tell Michael is trying not to laugh at her. Her line about this being their first fight was great.
  • Punkie’s walk-on absolutely stole this monologue for me, and she’s getting great audience reaction from her various interactions with Michael. You know, stuff like this make me absolutely baffled on why the hell SNL still treats Punkie as a glorified extra and never utilize her talents well.

Rating: ***

Roller Coaster

  • Wow, a patented oddball Sarah Sherman sketch, and on top of that, in the post-monologue spot? I cannot complain much in this case.
  • A VERY silly, creative concept of a cooking show being anchored by Sarah & Michael B after a roller coaster accident; the effect of Sarah & Michael B’s bodies being extremely blown away by wind is both hilarious & impressively pulled-off.
  • Man, this sketch is going all out with grossout humor, loud energy, and chaos. Basically what we come to expect (and want) from Sarah since she joined the cast. I get some feeling uneasy or unhappy with these types of sketches (especially after the security blanket/special friends of an era we just had), but this is what I want SNL to do more of: challenging, wild, and audience-testing sketches.
  • Could’ve done it without the various reacting shots of Kenan & Chloe, but this was an overall solid & silly sketch.

Rating: ***1/2

Southwest Airlines

  • This pretape got cut for time during last week’s episode, and, as many anticipated, it got on the air this week.
  • The “upgrading” of the communication system by using the 2008 Dell computers is hilarious.
  • Nice to see the pretape using as many cast members as possible without getting bloated; Heidi’s leadership of the pretape alongside our host, as well as James’ pilot being blind in one eye were the funniest parts here.

Rating: ***1/2

Towel Guys

  • Nice to see Marcello getting to star in a sketch for a change, especially after how much I’ve been enjoying him not only in general, but in particular his performance in that great cut sketch of his (Fusion Scientist).
  • I would complain, per usual, in regards to having Kenan as Marcello’s co-star in this, but they are surprisingly doing well together.
  • Ok, I’m a few minutes into this sketch and while it’s nothing terrible so far, I’m not getting that much amusement from Marcello & Kenan’s various comments towards the patrons of this resort. This sketch just feels like something the show has done a billion times before, and even done so much better.

Rating: **1/2

State Farm

  • Is that Chloe doing the voice-over work here? If that is indeed her, then I’m not too surprised as I figured she’ll be the go-to for female voice-over work now that Cecily has left the show.
  • Great to see another Mikey/Heidi pairing, as both of them do have such an underrated chemistry.
  • Very solid escalation with Michael, as State Farm’s representative, getting more and more chummy & comfortable with Heidi much to Mikey’s discomfort.
  • This pretape so far is very well-done, and Mikey is truly shining here as the pathetic husband. This has been a surprisingly solid season for him in general, so I truly hope he potentially leaves the show on top this May.
  • A hilarious reveal of Mikey browsing Geico, and I especially love Michael B’s intimidating turn towards him; the sudden darkened look of the short is also a great little detail of the pretape’s sudden shift in tone.
  • The ending with Andrew playing Doug and being accompanied by LiMu Emu as this turns out to be an ad for Liberty Mutual worked for me due to the pretape’s inherently silly concept from the start.

Rating: ****1/2

Street Fighter 6

  • It sure feels nice seeing so much Andrew so far into tonight’s episode, considering how unfairly maligned, sidelined, and severely under-appreciated he has been so far this season. This role of his feels like such a Mikey Day role to play, making me even more convinced that Mikey will say his goodbyes by the season finale.
  • They always seem to use the same recording studio set ever since the Blizzard Man sketches from way back in ‘07.
  • Two pieces in a row with someone being cucked? This time in mention instead of being shown? What’s with the writers this week?
  • Michael B’s character voice-over being more gruff and masculine while Bowen’s being high-pitched & upbeat? That’s the premise of this sketch? I really don’t like being tough on Bowen this season, but how in the world do you pitch such sketches with a straight face? This is not horrible to me, just… baffling. Also, much like Bowen’s Journey sketch from last season, this is a flimsy, uncreative premise to base an entire sketch on.
  • And now Mikey enters the sketch as the guy who’s being cucked; right after he played ANOTHER guy being cucked for an entire pretape (although THAT was a great showcase for him, at least). I don’t know what to really make of this…
  • At least the ending was fine, I guess. This sketch as a whole remains very iffy to me and I’m probably being too generous giving it the grade I’m about to give.

Rating: **

Weekend Update

  • Che’s joke about Pence saying “I stand willing to cooperate,” being what he says before sex is hilarious.
  • I didn’t care for Che’s tired joke about being a right wing extremist. Felt too old hat by now, which really shows you how long this Update era has been going.
  • Uh-oh, a Kenan desk piece, and, in this late stage of his tenure? I sure hope we are not getting a trainwreck-y showpiece with tons of breaking & self-amusement from him.
  • So far this is fine, but is the usual Che & Kenan double act that I’ve seen a thousand times before. I’m, however, not disliking this at all, but wondering what newbie got cut over this piece.
  • Wow, Heidi bringing back her retired character Angel, and after four seasons of it being last seen? I would say that this is an example of her having nothing new to offer, but I digress considering who the host tonight is.
  • And here comes Michael B, reprising his character from Creed. This is also the second episode in a row with a non-alum host doing an Update commentary.
  • Michael B seems to have a problem with the cue cards here, but he is doing fine, and his rapport with Heidi is decent.

Rating: ***1/2

Male Confidence Seminar

  • And I thought the show was teasing me early on with all of the Andrew sightings, and now we get a full fledged sketch starring him? I bet you all can tell the look on myself just now.
  • Solid sketch concept with a male confidence seminar being conducted. Seeing Andrew anchoring the sketch makes me more than positive to believe he wrote it; it feels so much like his more dark, audience-testing patented pieces.
  • James’ characterization as the female standups YouTube critic is hilarious, especially his facial expressions.
  • Fantastic straight man reaction from Andrew after being called “forehead” by Michael B’s character.
  • This sketch’s turn with Andrew’s confidence getting more and more shaken as it progresses is well-done, and there are some solid jokes & moments, such as the cutaway to Longfellow with that actual massive forehead, but I feel something is missing here, especially the lack of an ending.
  • All-in-all, I might be a little biased due to how much I wanted Andrew to be used after being so wasted these last few months, but I did enjoy this sketch enough despite my stated reservations about it just now.

Rating: ***1/2

Party in Palm Springs

  • I’m getting flashbacks to the season 44 Kit Harington bachelorette party sketch just from this sketch’s initial setup.
  • (*sigh*) The second consecutive episode with a Wacky Heidi sketch, right after she returned to form by doing Angel once again behind the desk (and even that one could’ve remained retired).
  • Yet another sketch where Heidi uses that tired vocal fry shtick of hers that rarely work for me for what’s supposed to be a generic, one-off (I hope) character. I remember an SNL reviewer calling these interchangeable Heidi bits as: “Vocal Fry: The Character.”
  • Michael B is giving it his all in this sketch, and Heidi is certainly committing with all of her sultry actions towards him, but this feels just plain sad to watch, especially as I’m a person that loved so much of what Heidi brought to the show earlier in her run. While I understand these Groundlings/Wiig tendencies were there with Heidi from the very start, I have to agree here with some of my fellow fans who theorized that they are coming off more now as a way for Heidi to establish herself as a “star” on the show.
  • Will this sketch EVER end?

Rating: **

King Brothers Toyota

  • Fantastic to see Andrew getting another sketch on the air tonight and for James to star in another non-impression role for the second show in a row.
  • Very fun & strong characterization from both Andrew & James as the Toyotaheads, and this sketch reminds me of something Dan Aykroyd could’ve done back in the original era, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to me considering how much Andrew & (especially) James remind me of cast members from the 70s & 80s eras of SNL.
  • Andrew’s delivery, especially his stern way of saying: “HARD, HARD left, y’all” was hilarious.
  • James & Andrew are having me in pretty much stitches; Andrew’s “We’ve been SCREWED by the Chamber of Commerce!” had me on the floor right now.
  • Andrew continues to kill me here and his duo with James is terrific. It makes me truly puzzled why we never saw them paired much so far into their tenures.
  • The recurring bit of James & Andrew going after their rival restaurant owner (portrayed by Marcello in stills) across the street is great & adds to the silly, absurd vibes of the sketch.
  • The very impressive, rapid-fire delivery from James during his rant while speaking about his daughter’s description of their business is hilarious. (And James sounded eerily Forte-esque as well.)
  • And we’re out. An overall very solid, silly, and fun sketch that showcased what an underrated duo Andrew and James could be. Hopefully, this is only the first of many sketches to come from them.

Rating: ****1/2

Falling Down

  • Strange having this backstage piece air during this spot, and making it stranger is that it’s not a PDD piece, but a regular backstage one.
  • A solid laugh from Michael B’s first fall after such a cool start.
  • Man, does it feel so, so good to see so much Andrew Dismukes on my screen this episode, especially how much I was greatly demoralized by his lack of airtime during most of the season. With him now getting THREE starring roles in this episode alone, I feel it is the biggest night of his entire run & I couldn’t be happier to see that happening for such a consummate, brilliant performer such as him.
  • Andrew is giving me HUGE John Mulaney vibes with his various quick sarcastic quips as we see Michael B falling down in various places in a rapid-fire pace.
  • Love the tonal shift after Andrew confronts Michael B when the latter asked Bowen & Sarah to tell him not to watch Michael B falling down. The absurdist, silly tone here is working for me so much.
  • Silly & quick mock-dramatic montage of Andrew & Michael B’s friendship over the whole week.
  • Loved the absurdist ending with Michael B initially attempting to fall from the street curb for Andrew to find him again, for us to then see both of them flying towards 30 Rock just before the episode airs.

Rating: ****1/2

Cut For Time: Baptist Church

  • Nice to see them releasing another cut for time sketch. It’s a shame how very few were released so far this season.
  • I believe this is SNL’s longtime band member Leon Pendarvis as the organ player. Lovely to see him in a sketch.
  • Good conceit with Devon & Michael B as Baptist preachers sharing their plans on how to spend the money earned from the church’s donations. This sketch, in general, is doing a dead-on job spoofing Baptist preachers; Michael B is really shining here and is a solid duo with Devon.
  • I could’ve done it without Kenan’s various “Stop it!”, as it feels tacked-on here. This sketch, while still fine to me with good energy, is becoming more and more of a REACTING sketch. And, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know how I feel about those.
  • All-in-all, I feel this sketch could’ve gone further with its premise, and never relied on the reacting instead of proper escalation. But there were enough good moments, Devon & Michael B shone, and it was the right length.

Rating: ***

Segments Ranked From Best to Worst

Falling Down

State Farm

King Brothers Toyota

Male Confidence Seminar

Southwest Airlines

Weekend Update

Roller Coaster

CFT: Baptist Church

Classified Documents


Towel Guys

Street Fighter 6 / Party in Palm Springs (tie)

Final Thoughts:

  • While not as consistent as the impressive string of shows these last few months, this was an overall pretty solid episode that contained some very strong & impressive highs, including some very strong showcases for the perpetually-underrated Andrew Dismukes, And, quite a few of these highlights are easy “Best Of” pieces for the season as a whole and most definitely make up for the thankfully low number of lowlights we got tonight.
  • Michael B. Jordan was a charming & likable presence as the host, even when not standing out as much as previous hosts. I especially loved his pairings with Andrew throughout the night, in particular the very fun & creative backstage piece near the episode’s end.
  • Also, this episode shows me what a secret weapon Andrew Dismukes truly is. Like I stated several times throughout this review, it felt so great seeing him back front-and-center, not only in his always-solid support work, but also showcasing his wonderful oddball sense of humor. The last few months made me incredibly demoralized regarding his airtime & use, but seeing how much he dominated this episode, it makes me hope it is the turning point for him through the rest of the season. I cannot wait to see what Andrew has for me these next couple of episodes.

Up Next:

  • Pedro Pascal hosts with the return of Coldplay for the 7th time.

6 Replies to “January 28, 2023 – Michael B. Jordan / Lil Baby (S48 E11)”

  1. Great review. Reading this made me rewatch the fighting game sketch. I agree with you that the ending actually worked very well. Strange that the two weakest sketches of the night had strong endings (this and the baby sketch) while some of the sketches I thought more highly of (like the manosphere sketch) just did not have a proper ending at all.

    This was a pretty solid episode that holds up more on a rewatch, I think, although there were a number of moments you could tell they were only putting MBJ in because he was the host and didn’t have much trust in him. Still, he was committed and did a decent job.

    It was an even bigger Heidi episode than I realized. I wish it was more of the Heidi whose work I enjoyed, but she was mostly fine here, especially in the Southwest pre-tape. She also hadn’t lost Angel, even if that piece didn’t need a return.

    I think we had both been willing Andrew into getting more to do for two months now. Glad he got so much on, and happily surprised. It felt like a very important night for him, for JAJ (who was so so good in that car lot sketch), and Sarah, getting the lead-off sketch.

    This has been a pretty solid, if not necessarily great, run of shows since November or so (Butler and Chappelle being the strongest), but it’s the moments of experimentation and the wider cast use that keep me coming back even when I get picky about the writing. That freshness is just what the show needs for its future. That and the continued move away from politics.

    Thanks again for such concise and balanced reviews.

  2. Part 1

    The opening scene was fun. Mikey looked kinda funny and reminded me of Jim Carrey a little bit. I’m not entirely sure what I think of this Cold Open right now so… let’s say it’s decent for now.

    The B jokes could’ve been real corny but Michael made them work real well. The All My Children clip was funny as well as his puberty joke. The ladies coming in gave decent laughs for me but like Punkie did in the Selena Gomez show from last season she stole this entire monologue for me.

    Wasn’t entirely sure about this premise but as usual Sarah made it work. It was a little strange seeing Michael in a role like this but he was good. Andrew at the end cracked me up (I love that guy)

    Since this was cut I guess they obviously added Michael in but still seemed a little weird. Some decent jokes in this but my favorites were the dell computers one and the blue and red suitcases. James eye was great. Funny ending line too.

    Glad seeing Marcello (yeah Kenan I know you were there) in a lead role even if it was co starring. Marcello and Kenan is also an interesting pairing but both of them had me cracking up. Heidi at the end say that to way to long was funny. I don’t know if Longfellow bit was supposed to be hilarious but I sure got a good laugh. That Ariel joke with Ego killed me. James was awesome in this too as well as our host Michael B Jordan. The Ellen thing was the only thing I did at least chuckle at but I was fun at the end of the sketch.

    Kinda surprised it took SNL this long to parody a full on State Farm commercial. I saw the comedic bit coming but like the Christmas Epiphany sketch I still absolutely LOVED this. The more went on kept getting better and loved to cut with Mikey on his computer for Geico. Mikey singing the theme was awesome. The ending with Andrew was great.

    Yeah you already know my thoughts on Bowen but surprisingly I didn’t mind him in this but still didn’t love him or this sketch. I wish Marcello was given more lines. Andrew was his usual funny self in this. The ending was good however.

  3. Part 2

    Update first jokes were ok after Kenan’s commentary they were absolutely on fire with some hilarious but brutal jokes. Kenan’s aforementioned commentary was ok didn’t really stick out to me as well as Heidi but it was fun seeing the host on WU again.

    I don’t know why but this gave me Kids in the Hall vibes. Michael was once again hilarious in this role, the random you a bitch was great. I couldn’t done without the other guys making fun of him. Longfellow in that wig cracked me up. An overall great sketch.

    Did not even notice until you mentioned it but I agree this was kinda like that Kit Harrington sketch. This was my least favorite of the night. Not much to say though I did think this was gonna be our host is hot sketch but I guess that was already done in the monologue. The ending with them all saying push was pretty fun.

    You liked this a lot more than I did but I still would say this was pretty good though. It’s nice seeing Andrew in another leading role and surprised this was as good as you thought considering it had my two favorite current Male performers in it and would love to see more of James and Andrew in sketches though I’m still waiting for Dismukes and Mikey Longs.

    A third Andrew Dismukes sketch which puts a smile on my face. I absolutely loved this and it was my favorite of the night. The constant you ok bud was hilarious. Sarah and Bowen talking to Andrew gave me good laughs. Solid ending as it was so freaking random.

    Well see you guys next week!

  4. Happy Sunday. I think this was a solid B episode. I think there was a bit of every sketch I found funny, and I that it seems to be managing to put more sketches in, not happy with this one, wait three minutes.

    So, Highlights. Ego in the Cold Open (and Bowen). Ego especially in the Monologue (while I was not a fan of the whole people coming on with the “You’re so hot” attitude, I thought Ego played it straight). Food and Drink eating (I’m a huge fan whenever SNL introduces some kind of Whose Line is it Anyway? aspect to a sketch.)

    (Let me take a breath)

    I enjoyed the Marcello Towel sketch, that and his good background acting in other sketches makes me happy for his future. I can see how it could have grated, or been boring, But this is what the Jet’s Supporters sketch would have looked like, if it was less mean.

    I liked the slight twist in the Street Fighter sketch, Seemed like the Yin to last week’s HIV drug Yang. Bowen has moved away from playing camp people all the time, so its fun when he leans into it.

    I didn’t mind Kenan as Che’s Doorman. WU was kinda short, and the audience were overly into every joke, so much so that they missed Jost’s throwaway line (Thank you, that election was rigged) which could have been the joke of WU.

    A decent second half. I think I enjoyed Heidi trying to make others break with her bump and hose.

    I have to say that the Sketch of the night was the State farm Ad. While you can generally recognise a Streeter/Miker live sketch, they hit magic on the pretapes. Beautiful escalation from a comedy sitcom setup, to a horror movie. Felt a little Santa Baby-esque

    I changed my mind – Im giving it a B+

  5. Honestly pretty great episode imo. Everyone was used pretty well, there weren’t any sketches that pained me. Andrew and Sarah had a particularly amazing night. Michael B Jordan was a really good host.

    Cold Open – ***
    Monologue – ***1/2
    Roller Coaster – ***1/2
    Southwest Airlines – ***
    Towel Guys – ***
    State Farm – ****1/2
    Street Fighter 6 – ***1/2
    Weekend Update – ***1/2
    Male Confidence Seminar – **1/2
    Party in Palm Springs – ***1/2
    King Brothers Toyota – **
    Falling Down – ****

  6. For the Cut sketch, it was a nice silly piece and I believe I saw the lengdary music director of the SNL band Leon Pendarvis in this, if that was him its nice seeing him in a sketch. Happy Devon was in a lead role and even though Kenan has played a toke like this before I still laughed especially at his delivery of the sun coming through the roof when they said Jesus is here. The before that part was excellent too. Overall a great sketch.

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