NewsCult Entertainment Editor Jeffrey Malone watches every new episode of Saturday Night Live and then organizes the sketches into the following categories: “Love It” (potentially Best of the Season-worthy), “Keep It” (perfectly adequate), or “Leave It” (in need of a rewrite, to say the least). Then he concludes with assessments of the host and musical guest.
Stefon – It is rare that an SNL recurring character gets as satisfying a “final” appearance as Stefon did, which would seem to render any subsequent City Correspondent segments sacrosanct. But when Bill Hader returns to host, are you going to not have him revive one of the greatest bits in comedy history? Stefon just continues to epitomize excellent humor writing, doling out new, fascinating information in perfectly timed, rhythmic fashion.
Undercover Office Potty – Commercials in which the satisfied customer has a “little secret” with the narrator are the perfect opportunity to tell another story in opposition to all, so it is a surprise that it does not happen more often. And it must be said that the Undercover Office Potty is a terrible product, as it is no more than a container as opposed to actually being an easily accessible toilet. Beck Bennett’s ridiculous confidence in the midst of that stench is a big reason why the laughter happens. Also, props for the oppressive close-up camerawork.
Bill Hader’s Monologue – I love deconstruction, so unsurprisingly I appreciate Bill Hader explaining with childlike wonder his realization of what is actually going on with parody commercials and celebrities sneaking up behind their impressionists. And it is always fun to witness transitions that usually take place behind the scenes. In conclusion, it is cool that Bill decide to cut his monologue short and not wear out his welcome, but that brevity prevents the attainment of classic status, instead remaining in the area of “very good.”
The Anderson Cooper 360 cold open features some solid guest impressions that are either new or haven’t yet worn out their welcome…The Californians really needs to find a new angle if it wants to continue being in our lives, but it can still produce giggle-inducing phrases, like pronouncing Google Maps as “Giggle Maps”…Kiss Me I’m Irish has a just okay cousin-mating premise, but it finds some laughs in the details, like all the contestants’ skin being bright red under all the makeup…The Older Husband at the Girlfriends Game Night is one of those moments when I have got to hand it to the SNL team for being so comfortable with each other…The “never-before-seen auditions of a classic film” used to be a crown jewel in SNL’s repertoire, but the last few have been a little uninspired, and with the Jurassic Park Screen Tests, there are still too many impressions that are barely incorporated into the movie they’re trying out for. But at least we now have Kenan’s Sinbad informing us that his wife is a triceratops…Michael and Colin’s best bits this week: Che reminding the audience, “you know what we do here, right?” and Colin reminiscing about his abuela making him a Strawberry Skittles Freeze just like Taco Bell’s…Kate McKinnon’s Betsy DeVos is primarily premised on the idea that she is just not good at her job, and she makes me smile when she says folksy things like “I did a fudge”…Pete Davidson loves being mentally ill, which lends generally good vibes to his discussion/semi-rant about Kevin Love…The adventure at the Spirit Quest Lodge does not take the mythos of extraterrestrial encounters much beyond anal probing, but it does allow Bill Hader to get freaky with his character work…The CBC News Hour covering the “Canadian Harvey Weinstein” stretches Great White north politeness out to an extreme that I am fairly certain is very far from reality, but there are lessons to be gleaned and humor to be mined from such exaggeration.
No Leave It sketches this week, as a few thin premises are helped along by an uber-reliable host.
Bill Hader may very well be among the top 10 SNL cast members of all time. He brings the star power and the utility player reliability. Thus far in his post-Studio 8H career, he has not returned to host too often, so when he does, it is always a treat. He does not add any new classics to his legacy this time around, but he absolutely lives up to his reputation.
The art rock pride of Canada is always down to be playful when they stop by the SNL stage, and this time around (their fourth), they bring it with the shiny gold outfits for “Creature Comfort” and the looping video screens for “Put Your Money on Me.” The latter performance also features, in front of the stage, some folks playing slot machines, which I at first thought was the SNL directing team brought down from the control booth, which would have been totally awesome, though what we actually have is cool, too.
And now for a very important update: this will likely be my last SNL review ever for NewsCult. But I will be back somewhere in three weeks to let you know what I’m loving, keeping, and leaving from host Chadwick Boseman and musical guest Cardi B!