Cold Opening – Trump Indictment
- As expected, the cold open starts with our obligatory Trump indictment coverage.
- James’ performance remains as strong as ever, though the tell-don’t-show approach in this cold open, much like the previous Trump-starring one continues to waste his talents.
- Ok, the bit about Trump promoting his album, which he recorded with a jail band is pretty funny.
- Kenan’s Don King sounds basically like Kenan doing his typical tired shtick which I’m beyond sick of nowadays. His whole bit was absolutely terrible as well.
- I’ll say, at least, the take on Trump’s indictment, with them having James singing horribly a bunch of songs is giving me a few laughs, which is much more than the latest open starring him gave me.
- Devon looks very unrecognizable here, and his singing is surprisingly decent & spot-on of that genre of music.
- The whole singing of that Ice Spice song, especially as James sings it alone gave me a bigger laugh than it should’ve; a testament to how generally great James is as a performer.
- All-in-all, while not as horrible as Trump’s previous cold open, this one still featured the usual padding, tell-don’t-show approach, and being too long. If it was shortened a bit, I would’ve rated it higher.
- Quinta Brunson is immediately displaying so much likability, charisma, and command of the stage. I’m already so onboard with her as host.
- Quinta’s bit about Friends vs. Abbott Elementary is excellent.
- The whole Quinta/Obama video is very sweet; Quinta casually calling him by his first name afterwards was funny.
- As a person who’s recently began teaching, I’m absolutely loving Quinta’s whole bit about teachers, especially when she relates it to dishwashers. This monologue is a mix of genuine charm, charisma, and great heart. Quinta was beyond excellent here.
- Marcello’s look as the cocaine dealer is already having me laughing, especially the voice he’s using.
- And now Quinta enters the sketch with an even funnier look and voice as another dealer.
- The whole “so white” escalation is pretty funny, especially the singing of that Panic! At The Disco song, which is bringing to me childhood memories of hearing that one being played endlessly everywhere.
- Funny quick appearance from James as one of the “so white” examples.
- Speaking of funny appearances, Michael’s intro as another dealer, being shown camouflaging into the wall absolutely killed me. And his whole hesitant “so black” example as a twist to our running bit here is excellent. Such a perfect example of how much Michael can enhance sketches with his mere delivery and presence.
- A great, absurd sketch overall.
I Was A Bridesmaid
- This seems to be a variation of pieces like Wild Wild West and Royal Romance with its presentation and structure.
- Perfect casting of James as a college professor expert on the issue being discussed, which is yet another example of how much James so easily fits these utility/authority figure roles.
- Yeah, as this short continues on, it feels a lot like the aforementioned pieces, although the direction, editing, and performances are keeping it afloat.
- Molly’s performance as the maid of honor is absolutely great, and is not only stealing this short, but elevating it for me.
- I really don’t know what to say about Bowen’s moments in this short, as they are having me feeling nothing towards them, which is yet another example of how so past-his-prime Bowen is increasingly feeling this season. I’ve seen him do this type of a role a billion times before.
- The random cutaways aren’t as consistently funny as some of the previous times SNL used this style in pretapes (e.g. House Hunters, Business Meeting, Chopped), but there are still some laughs here; the bit with Sarah having to awkwardly dance with a much older guy was especially hilarious.
- Solid ending with Quinta.
- Fantastic to see so much James already in tonight’s episode, and he is coming so perfect and likable playing his second gameshow host of the season.
- Solid, fast-paced delivery from James, continuing the vintage sketch performer vibes I’ve been getting from him.
- Excellent answer from Kenan about Quinta’s greatest fear in contrast to how simple Quinta’s answer was.
- The sketch’s escalation with the darker answers from the husbands is decent, but James is what really carrying the sketch’s pace for me; his reaction to the cutaway to Devon as Kenan’s father was especially great.
- While the reveal of Bali being the winning couple’s destination was funny, the ending with Kenan’s mugging, complete with a close-up, annoyed me and felt unnecessary.
- Some interesting angles shown from the sides of the cars during the sketch’s progress.
- The miming of conversations between Mikey and Quinta through the car windows is so dead-on of typical road conversation midst the traffic. The miming of lie and sad is especially hilarious.
- Quinta is absolutely great in her expressions and responses towards Mikey, even though Mikey is pretty good on his own; continuing this great, consistent season of his.
- Such a refreshing, fun way to present a sketch, using miming gestures and unique delivery, and it having so much fun with the odd miming of certain words makes it even better.
- Ego’s quick bit, calling Mikey a white devil, is probably one of her standout funniest moments so far into this season.
- Mikey pointing at his daughter to mime bitch, as a callback to Quinta’s bit earlier in the sketch is hilarious.
- Much like Ego, Chloe miming “you suck!” while using her two hands is one of her funniest moments in this entire season.
- Oh, I absolutely loved the fake-out ending with the supposedly charming turn after Quinta & Mikey started to bond over both being recently divorced, before Quinta tells him, as a callback to earlier in the sketch, to eat her butt.
- Colin’s Stormy Daniels joke bombed with the audience and me.
- The visual of Trump photoshopped on Nick Nolte’s mugshot is a predictable, but still funny.
- That one audience member’s yell at Colin was great, as well as the subsequent reveal of the reason why Colin’s jokes are met with lukewarm audience reaction being that Che told them beforehand not to laugh at his jokes is hilarious.
- Colin’s DeSantis/Gaston joke is priceless, especially his ad-lib afterwards.
- Great to see Michael doing another desk piece, especially one so soon after his last.
- Considering how absolutely fantastic Michael’s last two desk pieces were, I’m very excited to see where this commentary of his will go.
- The visual of shirtless Michael as Michelangelo’s David seems to be designed especially for his stans online.
- Fantastic bit with Michael’s David turning his head to face Che; his screams of pain, complete with stone scratching effect, absolutely killed me.
- Such great back-and-forth between Michael and Che, especially how fast-paced it is. Between how he absolutely stole the leadoff sketch and his commentary here, Michael’s been killing it tonight.
- Love the meta turn with Michael’s David talking about the Italian version of SNL, especially his twist on the classic Matt Foley catchphrase.
- Overall, another winner Michael Longfellow desk commentary. He’s been proving himself constantly as both an absolute Update gold and such a breath of fresh air with his solid, unique, and audience-testing style of humor.
- Love the audience’s reaction to Che’s Bill Cosby joke, as well as his great Momleft joke too.
- Good to see another Marcello commentary, considering how much he’s been cut from Update previously this season.
- As a person who’s been constantly called short, I’m enjoying both how Marcello’s commentary is relatable to me and how it features his usual likable style & delivery.
- Funny bit with Marcello mentioning short celebrities in glowing fashion before yelling Bin Laden’s name as an example of a tall celebrity.
- Good lord, immediately as Bowen made his entrance as the “midwife” with that haircut and look, I’m already incredibly worried about what type of a sketch this will be.
- The soap opera-esque turn, complete with background music, is reminding me of that terrible cut sketch Bowen did with Rupaul during his first season. Due to various signs, I’d like to say this is our Jimmy Fowlie-written sketch of the night, and I won’t be shocked if he indeed had a hand in writing this disaster.
- Two and so minutes into this sketch, and I’m not even smirking; this sketch’s general repetitive nature, in similar fashion to several James Anderson & Kent Sublette-written sketches, is absolutely melting my brain; this is yet another sketch this season with Bowen being his SILLEE and FUNNEE self. This whole episode, which was doing so well, had to stop completely dead for him to do his beyond-tired shtick.
- I’d say the fast wig changes that Bowen is going through is the most interesting thing in this D.O.A. sketch.
- This thankless role for Andrew is the biggest waste of his talents probably in his entire tenure so far.
- All-in-all, yet another completely laughless Bowen Yang showpiece. I can see where some can see a “so bad it’s good” quality in this, but per usual with this performer, the suffocating dullness and dead feeling makes these pieces by him the death of comedy for me.
- Is this our patented Sarah Sherman sketch of the night? If so, that’s great considering how surprisingly scarce her showcases have been this half.
- Sarah’s look as the bald boss reminds me so much of Dave Foley’s boss character on Kids in the Hall. Although, I’m beginning to worry how much the show seems to be unnecessarily casting her in male roles much like how Kate McKinnon, and, to a lesser extent, Amy Poehler were cast in such roles.
- The oddball turn with how Sarah & Quinta behave next to Chloe, who’s having a hard time keeping a straight face during all of that, is alright, but nothing special.
- The whole “Penis Brothers” musical performance by Sarah & Quinta is a really bizarre turn in this already-weird sketch, but it’s serving as an interesting change of pace for a sketch nowadays.
Please Don’t Destroy – Street Eats
- A decent change of pace for the usual PDD short; the documentary formula seems perfect for their style of humor.
- An ok reveal of Ben having his last name being Trump.
- Great sequence with the three guys trying to hype up the restaurant patrons; the old guy’s angry, bleep-filled response is hilarious.
- Quinta is a very solid straight man to the three guys, especially her responses to them about being of Jamaican origin.
- Some decent moments with the construction workers, in particular the guys wishing the building they are working on to burn.
- Hilarious ending visual with the three guys about to be run over by a Taxi, making this short one of my definite favorites of them this season.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Please Don’t Destroy – Street Eats
I Was A Bridesmaid
- A pretty good episode, with a number of strong & fun sketches. Leaving the cold open and especially that horrible Bowen Yang showpiece, there was a lot that I loved here, and I awarded quite a number of high ratings to half the segments tonight, with some of them being the best in a while. Quinta Brunson also helped the feel of the night as she was a great host who brought energetic and fun performances all night long. I have no problem with her returning to host anytime soon.
- SNL legend Molly Shannon returns home to host for the very first time in nearly sixteen years.
11 Replies to “April 1, 2023 – Quinta Brunson / Lil Yachty (S48 E16)”
Midwife doesn’t have a follow-through plot, which just makes it the more confusing to watch. At least with other stuff we’ve seen from Bowen this year, there’s a common thread and a plot, which this lacks. I would love to know how exactly this was pitched.
Chloe making me laugh in Traffic was shocking, to say the least. I can’t remember the last time I laughed at a performance of hers so that made the sketch even more fun to watch.
I’d say this is maybe your best review to date. Really proud of how much your writing has excelled.
Thank you so much Joe for that last comment. I’m incredibly proud to have such a reliable and kind fan such as you supporting my blog since the very start. Glad these reviews continue to live up to your standards.
Bosses were super uncomfortable. It’s essentially a sketch about Sexual Harassment, It’s even more disturbing that the woman in charge of HR was fine with them doing it to her.
Also notice how apart from Michael, The Drug Dealers were Minorities? WTF SNL
Please don’t continue that dumb Midwife sketch!
You seem to really be looking at the Club Velvet sketch way too much. It was clear to me, as the “so white” gag about the cocaine they were trying to sell was going on, that there would be a contrast to it, and Michael’s priceless & sketch-stealing appearance as a seller of black heroin, describing it as “so black” before he backtracks served as a hilarious punchline to the growing running bit between the dealers at the start. And no, I did not find the Bosses sketch to be uncomfortable, as SNL did sketches that were far more offensive than it.
Glad to read your latest review, and kudos to you for still trying to carry them on. I’m glad I was able to enjoy this episode, overall, after feeling checked out for many shows since December.
After your review, I went back to watch the PDD piece again. It still felt too Kyle/Beck pastiche to me, but I liked it more the second time around.
I might have given the Bowen sketch **, if generous, for the wigs and the time travel, but the rest was the exact type of DOA vanity piece which has dragged the season down. It stood out very badly in this episode as nothing else, aside from the cold open (and those are usually not good), felt as poorly put together.
The Jost and Che prank was an all time Update moment. Such a gem. I hope they leave after this season so we can have this to remember their tenure by.
The car sketch with Mikey is one of the first pieces of this season I’d give ***** too. Such a wonderful surprise – Chloe’s best work, and just fantastic from Mikey too. What a season he’s had.
Cold Open: I expected idea to start the show but as usual I got some good laughs from James Trump and the turn with him singing cracked me up. I do like Kenan, Devon, and Mikey coming in however kinda wish this was a solo piece for JAJ (Which isn’t the first time I have thought that).
Monologue: A charming monologue. Great lines here liked her friends joke. Obama coming in gave me an unexpected laugh as well as Quinta right after that. Appreciated her appreciation for teachers.
Cocaine: I got some chuckles from everyone in this but the sketch in my eyes went on way too long and gave me a little bit of a bored feeling. Longfellow and JAJ were my favorite part of this particular Longfellow. Quinta’s look in this was silly.
Brides: Wasn’t so sure at first with this concept but by the time it was over I found it to be a solid pre tape with many funny things in it. I particularly liked the Fresh Prince part and Molly role here. The ending left me a little confused.
Couples: Like the first time James (who I’ve been mentioning a lot here and and this point has appeared everywhere both of which make me very happy to say) was a great game show host. Like the cocaine sketch I got some chuckles at the start but then got a little bored. However unlike that sketch it increasingly got better in this. Being honest I liked Michael and Punkie’s role here a lot more than Kenan and Quinta’s. The cutaway while hilarious seemed just a little to quick to me. Also seemed strange how a game show wasn’t the lead off sketch ever of the night.
Weekend Update: Surprised you didn’t have more to say at the epic April fools moment Che gave to Jost as that might be one of the greatest SNL moments ever (or at least the best moment ever of things I saw live) Loved Colin’s “that was the worse thing you’ve ever don’t to me” which sounded like something he would say during a joke swap as well as Colin’s sarcastic boo to one joke. Like the mom left joke however that’s the only joke that really stood out to me (thanks to the episode April fools moment). Longfellow commentary was hilarious and his look alone had me laughing. My favorite moment was at the beginning him moving his head with a very loud scream. The “man down by the river” line was a nice meta moment. Marcello’s was also a great piece even if none of the jokes really stood out to me. Liked him mentioning various people who are short. Colin revealing he’s standing up as well as his reaction to that live we’re great.
Midwife: And right after Update made me a happy man we know get Bowen playing a role he can play in my sleep and I respond by constant groans and eye roles. Surprisingly though I did get a laugh towards the end with the long hair and I enjoyed the little girl. But other than that waste of my precious time.
Bosses: HOLY CRAP I thought the same thing about how Sarah looked like Dave Foley’s boss character he did on Kids in the Hall. This sketch wasn’t Sarah best but I still enjoyed it as it’s a role that’s awesome for her. Quinta looked weird and sorta out of place here. She also didn’t make me laugh as much as Sarah did. I expected Heidi to do the same thing but glad she didn’t as I kinda would’ve been a cheap joke. The ending with them as “the penis brothers” (weird but awesome name) and the whole musical number amused me so much.
Please Don’t Destroy: 4 in a row. This was the usual solid short from the three guys. Liked the bland chicken part as well as the comment section part of this. Ending had me howling.
Excited for Molly and the one thing I can say is… SUPERSTAR!
Oops forgot one more sketch
Car: Absolutely incredible sketch, loved the camera work here this reminded me of one sketch Alec Baldwin did on his first show with Jan Hooks miming. The suck part was hilarious. My favorite part was Mikey using Chloe as bitch as Quinta did at first. Also was Ego playing Edith Puthie here (the wig made it look like her). Definitely tied as favorite live sketch along with Eyes.
Took me a couple of days to catch up – Spring Break and everything.
I generally agree with the good is good, bad is bad review from your review.
Generally I thought this had maybe the best hour of SNL of the season, from let’s say post CO to post Monologue. I didn’t really care for the Midwife sketch, (felt a little Californians) nor the Bosses sketch (felt a little 1990s). The PDD pretape was good, but it felt the least PDD of all the sketches they’ve done (and the most Kyle and Beck)
But that run of sketches from Club Velvet to Traffic Altercation were all top notch and the picking up of windows all being electronic rather than cranked, but that being too little, was great. This was Seiday at its best.
(Hot Take, Bobby will host the finale and Mikey will bow out).
I was pleasantly surprised at the Couples Game Show, it took the turn I guess i could have predicted, and ramped it up to 11,
The Bridesmaids Pre-Tape was funny, although I’ve never been a Bridesmaid, I like the expansion.
The Cold Open was there for the taking, it could have been one of the greatest, if it had just stuck to the singing part, so that it felt more like a Time Music Commercial. (and maybe I’m too old for some of those songs)
As ever, not enough Andrew. Ego shone in the bit parts she had. JAJ as a white man, nice. Mikey Longs backing out of his “So black…” was a nice touch.
This was up there as one of the best of the season for me. Quinta is welcome back whenever she wants..
Here’s one for you: I didn’t hate the Midwife sketch. In fact, I thought it was pretty good. In fact, I thought it was very good.
I know there’s a strong aversion to campiness on SNL. The Anderlette era has sapped that well completely dry. And I know that Yang’s demeanor can be off-putting for some for whatever reason that may be. But for me, Midwife succeeds if you embrace it in the spirit it is intended. It’s campy absurdist fare where the silliness is the central point. I found it infectiously loopy – not the indulgent clunker that everyone else is pegging it as, but a decidedly distinct flavor in an episode full of unique flavors (in fact, it’s in the show’s more stock and trade moments that the episode falters). Midwife has maybe a narrower appeal, but the baffling time logic, the winking callbacks and the high absurdity gave it it’s own kind of momentum. No, it’s not on the level of an insta-classic like Traffic Altercation and I personally found the cocaine sketch to be a lot of giddy fun. But the great episodes really need a third sketch to do something very different (think “The Nude Talk Show” from Alec Baldwin’s 1990 all-timer episode).
On an episode that does a lot of nice things, I found Midwife to be a quirky but welcome change of pace.
Great to see you commenting on one of my reviews, Carson. I’ve always been a big fan of your writings, whether your valuable, detailed comments or reviews. I am, for the most part, anti-campiness on SNL, especially if it was clearly a knockoff of what Anderlette used to do in the past, especially as the co-writer of Midwife, is none other than Jimmy Fowlie, who is clearly the heir to Anderlette in that aspect, even copying some of their trademarks, such as the goofy names shtick, as seen in an earlier desk piece with Chloe & Heidi.
I wouldn’t lie to you and say I will remain loathing this Midwife sketch in the future, as there were, as you said, some little quirky pieces in the past that grew greatly on me, one of which is the Kate camp piece as the old lady who likes to see others next to her kiss; a sketch I used to absolutely despise, but now see as a harmless, quirky little sketch. Although, Kate always came off to me a little warmer than Bowen in such silly roles, who still did some solid work in a very hit-or-miss year for him.
My biggest problem with Bowen as a cast member, and this is coming from a person that DEFENDED some previous camp pieces by him, mainly Daddy Long Legs and Chuck-E-Cheese, is that at his worst he is just suffocatingly dull. There’s no trainwreck value in watching him at his worst; just me zoning the hell out and being bored to death, which what this sketch, Beautiful Gym, his fly & Krampus pieces did for me this season. I do hope, however, as I am not as harsh, I think, towards him as some of my fellow close fans, that he returns to doing oddball pieces that rely on his energy & effortless charisma and stop trying to inherit the campiness of Anderlette, which I know he is a big devotee of both, especially Anderson himself.
Thanks once again for your detailed and generous comment, Carson. I’m glad you enjoyed my writeup of the episode.