SNL Viewers Club: Scarlett Johansson with Wiz Khalifa

Laser Time, SNL, Saturday Night Live, Viewers Club, review, Season 40, Scarlett Johansson, Wiz Khalifa, episode

It’s not the first time ScarJo has hosted Saturday Night Live — fitting, considering she’s here to promote a sequel anyway. But this isn’t about Age of Ultron. This is about performing “live from New York!”

Misses Johansson is obviously an excellent actress, so it’s acceptable to have high hopes for her most recent turn at the wheel. And on the music side is rapping phenomenon Wiz Khalifa (which translates to “wisdom wisdom,” by the way), so a little something for everyone this week.

So let’s break this down. People like numbered scores, so I’ve chosen to rate every sketch at 0, 1/2, or 1 point. A sketch not worth watching at all receives a 0, a sketch that doesn’t stand out but didn’t totally flop gets a 1/2, and a sketch that does its job of entertaining and delivering a few laughs will earn 1 point. A standout sketch that goes above and beyond will receive the normal point plus 1 bonus point. Cool? Cool. Let’s talk about it!

Air Date: 5/2/15

Host: Scarlett Johansson

Musical Guest: Wiz Khalifa

Mayweather-Pacquiao Cold Open

Hey, a cold open not about politics, great! Aidy Bryant as Manny Pacquiao is a great gag, and the whole sketch got very meta at times. The ending was weak, but I give props for doing something different. 1 point

Monologue

ScarJo has actually done several song covers, so I was afraid the show would fall into the musical number trap here. I guess the writers only half fell…? Something more specific to Johansson’s strong career would have been better. 1/2 point

Right Side of the Bed with Scarlett Johansson

It’s been a while since we’ve seen this recurring sketch, so the breathing room is appreciated. That said, the chemistry and zingers between Taran Killam and Cecily Strong is great here. Johansson’s character was a great foil to the Southern duo too. 1 point

Orioles

Fun fact, I’m in a fantastic position to judge this particular sketch: I live just a few short miles from where the Baltimore riots happened, and saw several friends join in the peaceful marches — many also trapped by the curfew. And guess what? This sketch is exactly the cringe humor SNL is (occasionally) known for. Bravo for making a tense situation genuinely funny. 1 point + bonus point

Black Widow Trailer

You know what’s funny about making a Black Widow-specific movie? She was already the driving force behind the second Captain America. Film school complaints aside, this sketch was hilariously on point. Great visual gag with the Ultron mask, great performance from Killam as a gay Thor, and an accurate trailer progession. 1 point

Girlfriends Talk Show with Scarlett Johansson

Unlike Right Side of the Bed, we’ve seen this one many times. The play between Bryant and Strong is still funny, but otherwise nothing new. 1 point

Weekend Update

Colin Jost and Michael Che had decent jokes this week, but we’ve seen better. Like the preceding sketch, we’ve also seen quite a lot of Kate McKinnon’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg — at least her punch lines still hit. On the other hand, the Bobby Moynihan/Vanessa Bayer pairing as Samwell and Gilly felt both timely and yet completely out of touch. Odd. Likewise, Keenan Thompson’s Charles Barkley is as god-awful as usual, while Jay Pharoah’s Shaq is the highlight of Update, which altogether bordered on the bloated Seth Meyer’s days this week. Overall, very middling. 1/2 point

Dino Bones

We all know an annoyingly unfunny person like the museum goers in this sketch. And while Killam’s floppy hair was the secret weapon here, the ending fell quite flat. Will this be a recurring character for Strong? If so, the bar isn’t too high for her next appearance. 1/2 point

Blazer

Aesthetically, this pre-taped bit perfectly mirrors 80s action shows, and the underlying racism gracefully straddled the line of acceptability. The pull-out endings probably weren’t even needed, though Killam’s (clearly real) fall was a nice touch. 1 point

Virgin Flight

An interesting premise from the beginning, and good for some decent laughs. This was also a weird meta-commentary on sexism (as Killam’s pilot character clearly lays out), though the sketch overall went on too long. 1/2 point

Jingle Writers

Gotta love the bizarreness of closing sketches. This one in particular never really ramped up, but it did get a few chuckles from the audience. 1/2 point

Total: 9.5/11 possible points

Overall, this was another great outing for ScarJo. With just a couple of episodes to go, here’s hoping SNL’s seminal 40th season goes out strong. (Say that five times fast.)

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