SNL Viewers Club: Ryan Gosling with Leon Bridges

episode, Leon Bridges, Ryan Gosling, nbc, review, saturday night live, Season 41, snl, SNL Viewers Club

Ryan Gosling, the Canadian Matthew McConaughey, came to the great USA to host Saturday Night Live. How did he fare?

I’m not sure why Gosling was chosen to host this week. Is he promoting The Big Short? Are people taking that movie seriously? I don’t know, but I’m glad he got the gig. Maybe he’ll bring his band along next time. For now, we have to be content with Leon Bridges, who, for the record, sings beautifully old-school.

Donald and Melania Trump Christmas Cold Open

While the concept of the Don listing off his Christmas naughty/nice list is a good one, the punch lines sat firmly in the camp of low-hanging fruit. We get it; Trump’s a pig. At least this cold open was brief.

Monologue

They say the host can make or break a show at SNL. I also believe the monologue is a good evaluation of how the show feels about the host — sticking someone with a song or Q&A is rote. But who knew Mike Myers could still tap dance like that?

Settl

Overall, a good parody. Kyle Mooney and Taran Killam nailed the blandness.

Close Encounter

Guys, we may have witnessed Kate McKinnon’s finest moment. Although she played her usual over-the-top role, something about this alien abductee (how often do we get that sketch premise?) was subtly hilarious. On top of that, the entire cast continually cracked throughout the piece — when was the last time this generation of SNL did that?

Santa Baby

The Santa obsession/fetishism sold this one from the start. Then we get Gosling slamming a coffee table with a candy cane decoration and the real Santa fleeing in disgust. Anyone else get a Pulp Fiction diner robbery vibe? Great sketch.

Birthday Party

We’ve seen Aidy Bryant’s DILF-loving Melanie once or twice before, and the kid’s a great character — we nearly got a second Gosling crack-up out of her. And I do believe that cake finisher cements her as the female Chris Farley.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost and Michael Che’s jokes were passable this week (Che’s had a better edge), if a little leftist. It’s nice to see a new character from Cecily Strong too, even if she’s quite similar to the rest of her lineup. Jost is a great foil to her flirting, and Che’s headphones plus the Popsicle jar made for great sight gags. Anthony Crispino was on par, if not better than Bobby Moynihan’s Drunk Uncle this week as well; Gosling was a perfect addition to the clan. Altogether, a solid Update.

Hometown Bar

Remember how the monologue felt impersonal? This sketch is basically everything the monologue should have covered. That said, it felt a little unfocused, and Kyle Mooney’s role wasn’t really resonating with the crowd. A passable post-Update sketch.

Nespresso

I give this sketch props for making me laugh even though I’ve never seen the Nespresso ads it’s clearing skewering. Moynihan was on point as the stooge too. But I have to say, total missed opportunity by not having McKinnon’s Penelope Cruz show up, especially since she’s in the sketch.

The Wiz

This sketch wouldn’t have been possible just a season or two ago — take that, people who claimed SNL didn’t need more black cast members. Speaking of, the casting in this bit was spot on; it was probably Gosling’s best performance of the night too.

Santa & the Elves

We’ve seen these spank-loving elves before, but it’s been a while since their last green screen appearance. We’ll see if they do anything new next time.

Grade: A-

After a weak start, this episode improved significantly. Ryan Gosling was clearly giving his all, and both Aidy Bryant and Bobby Moynihan had their own shining moments. A great way to come back from an off-week.

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One thought on “SNL Viewers Club: Ryan Gosling with Leon Bridges

  1. I enjoyed this episode. I thought the monologue and “hometown bar” skits were kinda boring but everything else was good. He kept it together so much better in the Wiz skit that I almost questioned whether that was one even live.

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