SNL Viewers Club: Adam Driver with Chris Stapleton

episode, Chris Stapleton, Adam Driver, nbc, review, saturday night live, Season 41, snl, SNL Viewers Club

Kylo Ren himself hosted Saturday Night Live’s return this week. Was the Force strong with this one?

You might know him from Girls, and you have to recognize him from The Force Awakens. This was Adam Driver’s first SNL hosting gig, which made it the perfect opportunity to prove himself in a more pop-focused comedy way (Girls is very indie in nature). And on the musical side is Chris Stapleton. Look, country makes up about .07% of my total music listening, but the dude was up for Album of the Year, so good on him. Let’s get to it!

Republican Debate Cold Open

Back from break, right back into the political stuff, eh? I guess the writers can at least thank the Republican candidates for basically writing the sketch for them — there aren’t many original jokes here outside of the “gong” thing. But as always, I must admit my love for Bobby Moynihan’s Chris Christie.

Monologue

The monologue can be the first red flag for an SNL host: their stage presence here can predict the rest of the show. So I’m happy to say Adam Driver was totally committed to his role as host — very important! Side note: Bobby totally rocks that long hair.

NFL Playoff Game

This was about as one-note as a sketch can get, but the initial hit and the sight gag of “Jared Schleff” on the gurney were good for a laugh. I guess they needed to get the screen-stuff out of the way early.

Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base

They had to do something with Star Wars, and an Undercover Boss parody totally fits the bill. Props to everyone involved for keeping this one underplayed; it was a much funnier sketch for it.

Aladdin

Oh, I guess there’s more green screen (and Disney) stuff to do. This just might be Cecily Strong’s best performance yet, and good on the writers for the emergency landing twist.

America’s Funniest Cats

Driver’s hokey host was perfect here, and I love that all forces seemed to be working against his chipper attitude. Strong and Kate McKinnon were also splendid as cynical French hosts. Gotta love those dumb animal clip shows.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost and Michael Che killed this week. Their respective bits on Bloomberg’s possible candidacy and the Oscars were well written, and their opening bits about the current Presidential race were on point. Pete Davidson’s take on gun control was one of his smartest, funniest appearances yet. And while Vanessa Bayer’s Laura Parsons didn’t do anything too different this time, her innocence plus awful news is still a funny combination. Overall, a solid Update.

Awareness Seminar

I’m not sure what this sketch was going for (satire?), but, man, was it a ride. There weren’t many laugh-out-loud moments, but the surrealism was thick here. I think I liked it…?

Fred Armisen Remembers David Bowie

It’s nice to see Fred back in Studio 8H, though his reason for speaking is definitely a bummer. Still, his memory and introduction for a decades-old David Bowie performance was heartwarming.

[For obvious reasons, this sketch wasn’t weighted with the episode’s final grade.]

Golden Globes

What a great premise for a sketch — I’ve always wondered how someone at home would respond to “if you’re watching this, go to bed.” The juxtaposition of the kids and bed and Driver/Bayer at the after-party was hilarious. Nice cameo from Laser Time’s own Chris Antista too!

Porn Doctor

This sketch slayed when Amy Schumer hosted in the first half of the season, so I’m glad to see it return. The beats didn’t change much, but Aidy Bryant’s girl character interrupting porno is still one of the best things SNL has done in a long time.

Grade: A

If not for a crappy cold open and a few “weird ones,” this would have been a perfect episode. Adam Driver was committed, and the material was there to let him shine — a very strong return to the second half of the season. Next week, Ronda Rousey takes the stage. I’ve got a good feeling about that one.

[Note: Next week’s SNL Viewers Club likely won’t be up until Wednesday, as I’ll be attending the Sundance film festival. Please look forward to it then!]

Tony is the SNL emcee for LT… yo. Hit him up on Twitter any time to talk about anything, anywhere!

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