Game of Thrones most famous face hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time. Did he make Westeros proud?
Peter Dinklage is a fine actor, no question, and he took the stage to promote the latest season of HBO’s Game of Thrones (he’s also in that Melissa McCarthy movie The Boss, but whatever). He shines in even the weaker films he’s acted in, so I expected a lot from this episode. And on the music side is Gwen Stefani, who I hope needs no introduction. If you don’t know she is, congratulations: you’ve made the youngest Laser Time employee feel old.
At This Hour Cold Open
I hadn’t heard of Scottie Nell Hughes before this sketch, but that didn’t matter: Cecily Strong killed it. It’s always good to see Darrell Hammond’s Donald Trump, and I’m just gonna go ahead and give this sketch the “Best Use of Missy Elliot Lyric” award. A better political cold open than most.
It wasn’t the overall funniest monologue this season — what a bizarre portrayal of George RR Martin — but I appreciate that it didn’t lean on any cliche Q&A or musical numbers. And even I’ve seen better, I haven’t seen one this brief in a while.
Winnie the Pooh
It’s always funny introducing a radically different character to the 100 Acre Wood, and Jay Pharoah shone as Denny the Real. Everyone else in the room was just fodder for his zingers. A good premise, well delivered.
Naked & Afraid: Celebrity Edition
I was expecting a parade of impressions with this one… but what I got instead was (a naked) Leslie Jones being her usual hilarious, sassy self alongside (an also naked) Peter Dinklage. The image of her cuddling him like John Lennon and Yoko Ono isn’t one I’ll soon forget. Definitely a highlight of the episode.
Definitely a one-note sketch, but man, does Peter do a great robot.
“And here’s your glory hole.” One of the best sketch premises yet — this is exactly the raunchiness I expect to see from time to time on SNL. I loved Jay and Kyle Mooney shuffling behind the hole, and Beck Bennett removing his pants at the end was a great final punch line.
Game of Thrones Sneak Peek
When you have Peter Dinklage host, you have to do a Game of Thrones sketch. And when you do a Game of Thrones sketch, you have Bobby Moynihan play the dragon mo-cap guy. They definitely could have found a stronger premise, but Bobby’s shenanigans were still good for some laughs.
Colin Jost and Michael Che also stuck it to Trump, and although Che had stronger lines, it was still a good segment; Che’s jokes overall were better this week too. Pete Davidson also did his usual standup-at-the-desk thing, this time focused on the Hulk Hogan sex tape court ruling. Weirdly, Pete seemed to be winging a lot of the lines here — was he just higher than usual? — but it was darn funny regardless. Kenan Thompson also brought his David Ortiz impression back to the Update desk. I’ve said many times that Kenan’s impressions are terrible, but this is one of the good ones. A pretty good Update overall.
Gotta love crazy the post-Update sketch. Taran Killam plays a hilarious corpse, and though I don’t score based on production value, the set design of this sketch was fantastic too.
Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon are definitely a great team, but unfortunately this sketch was still pretty one-note.
Corporate Magic Show
Peter Dinklage plays angry with the best of them. This might not be the strongest closer I’ve seen, but he still sold his role quite well.
I expected a lot from the Dink, and he delivered. Only a few sketches truly stood out, but everything here was worth watching for one reason or another. Well done, SNL. Let’s see how Russell Crowe does next time.
Tony is LT’s SNL MC. For more stupid lines like that, follow him on Twitter.