The truest of detectives returned to host Saturday Night Live for the first time in over a decade. Was it another McConaissance, or a serious failure to launch?
I’m not sure why Matthew McConaughey was chosen to host at this time (Sea of Trees playing at Cannes? Emmy wins?), but it was nice to see him back on that stage after so long. He’s had a streak of hard-hitting dramas, so I’m sure relaxing and goofing off inside Studio 8H is a welcome respite. Backing him up musically was Adele, who needs no introduction. I ran out of pun juice in the first paragraph, otherwise I’d make a “Hello” joke somewhere in here.
Now about that new scoring system. I realized that my original methods — scoring sketches with 0, 1/2, or 1 point(s) — was flawed. Scores were being skewed higher than they really should have been; what was worthy of a C or B- was getting numbers more in line with B+’s and A’s. And speaking of letter grades, that’s exactly how I’m going to score these episodes from now on. No numbers, no math, just an easy letter. I think it’ll be much better for all of us, and I won’t need a blurb explaining the system in every post. I’ve updated every episode from this season already, so let’s get on with it!
Fox & Friends: Syrian Refugee Crisis Cold Open
There’s only one rule in my SNL drinking game: drink when the show opens with a political sketch. Bobby Moynihan’s take on Brian Kilmeade is always delightfully dunce-y, and I’m starting to dig the underplayed craziness of Jay Pharoah’s Ben Carson impression. Still, I’m glad this opener was on the short side.
I grade every SNL episode on its comedy, but I still have to give credit where it’s due. McConaughey’s monologue wasn’t funny, but it was informative. It’s refreshing to hear a host just talk for a bit, easing us into the show. Certainly better than a forced musical number with a bongo solo.
A Thanksgiving Miracle
I’m prepared for a Thanksgiving meal just like the first bit of this sketch — that’s an Italian family for you. Adele’s chart-topper mending the situation is a great gag, and the escalating costumes from her music video were a nice complement. Aidy Bryant really should play Adele more often.
From the premise to the punch lines, this sketch didn’t feel like an opener at all. McConaughey’s (literally) offbeat attempts to blues it up with the band weren’t very funny, but that’s just one part of an utterly forgettable scene.
3D Printer Man
If you’re unaware, McConaughey was used as the punchline when SNL openly addressed its diversity issues in a Kerri Washington-hosted episode, so I appreciate the meta-ness here. And his stilted delivery was perfect. Killer physicality too.
Star Wars Auditions
Every once in a while, SNL does a pure impression parade. The “auditions” premise always kills — Back to the Future is comedy gold — so I’m happy to see it again. Props for grabbing all those cameos too.
I’m happy to see a real rapport building between Colin Jost and Michael Che, who went edgy with a lot of the jokes this week — something I can appreciate. Likewise, Vanessa Bayer’s Laura Parsons (whom we’ve seen in sketches before) was a hilarious combination of black comedy and childhood giddiness. We’ve seen Kenan Thompson’s David Ortiz before too, but his “ad spots” this time around were hilarious. A great Update all around.
Should You Chime In On this?
Sometimes, SNL just nails it with the satire. We all know people in these categories (and even more), but the sketch never got past its one-note premise. A so-so post-Update piece.
Right Side of the Bed with Matthew McConaughey
Been a while since we’ve seen Cecily Strong and Taran Killam do this one, eh? He had some great risque zingers this time around, and I really want to see McConaughey play that weird turkey guy in a Bill Murray movie. A solid return for this sketch.
Town Hall Meeting
And closing out, another sketch wherein McConaughey plays a character I want to see in a feature. His fake hand and Hitler Thomas the Tank Engine were definitely the highlights.
The highs were definitely high — expect to see Star Wars Auditions on your BuzzBooks and FaceFeeds this week. And now we have a short break before Ryan Gosling “drives” the next episode. OK, now I’m definitely punning on empty.
Tony is the keeper of Laser Time’s Saturday Night Live score card, and he’s pretty happy he changed the scoring system. Yell at him on Twitter if you want the numbers back.