It’s not just the longest title in this column’s history — it’s the first time Saturday Night Live has had joint hosts in a very long time. So how did the first ladies of comedy fare?
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted in support of their new movie Sisters, but do we need an excuse to have these SNL alumni back on stage? Likewise, does Bruce Springsteen really need an introduction? Let’s get to it.
GOP Debate Cold Open
It’s getting harder and harder to find positive things to say about political openers on SNL. This particular impression parade was sad (they really just needed bodies up there), though I admit I have a soft spot for Bobby Moynhian’s Chris Christie. I suppose the one positive thing is seeing Darrell Hammond cameo as Donald Trump, though it was a practical move since Taran Killam had to take the stage as Ted Cruz.
While I appreciate that the musical number here was subtly saying that religious and secular Christmases can totally coexist (what, you missed that?), I am much more underwhelmed. I’ve said time and time again that musical monologues are an unfunny crutch — they couldn’t find anything better for two of SNL’s most prominent alumni?
A Hillary Christmas
When Amy Poehler’s in town, she has to do her Hillary Clinton. When she can do it alongside the new impressionist, Kate McKinnon in this case, even better. Add Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for a successful sketch. There were no new ideas in this one, but, man, if it wasn’t great to see that trio on camera together.
Meet Your Second Wife
Apparently people were up in arms about this one. They can piss off. Bravo to SNL for doing a sketch look this, going far enough to cast actual children in the second wife roles, and making the whole thing genuinely funny. Well written and perfectly ramped up. And to the naysayers: this could have been much worse. Reality bites, eh?
Apparently those hoverboards are actually catching fire. Unfortunately, the real-life premise just didn’t make for a good (read: funny) sketch. Low-hanging fruit, much?
Movie Set with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
I’m sure the premise here has been the late-night dream of a few comedy fans out there. But we’ve seen this sketch before, beat for beat. That’s not how a recurring sketch is supposed to work.
Colin Jost and Michael Che’s jokes weren’t the best this week, though the zingers after McKinnon’s Deenie character were better — I did enjoy the Martin Shkreli skewering. As for McKinnon’s new character, I feel the soap-watching mom is very one-note. I enjoyed the appearance this week, but my gut tells me every subsequent appearance will have mostly the same lines. Lastly, it was great to see Tina and Amy back at the desk, even for only a line each. They were the highlight of this Update for sure.
Maya Rudolph is one of those performers who just makes everyone happy. Her drunken musical number here was perfect, as was Amy’s coked-out bit. And Bill Cosby singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside?” Perfect.
Tina & Amy’s Dope Squad
In today’s social media-filled world, every SNL episode is going to have at least one sketch shared, tweeted, and buzz-fed. But it seems like they tried to force it with this bit. A couple of moments were good for a laugh, but the whole thing felt superfluous to the rest of the episode.
Bronx Beat 2015
Given the host(s) and Maya Rudolph’s earlier cameo, it was obvious this 2000s recurring classic was coming. Sure, it had the same jokes as a decade ago, but you can’t get much more breathing room than that. Smart move to have Tina play a Philadelphian too.
The misses certainly outweighed the hits this week. There was a weird dichotomy of seemingly lazy, dull sketches (“Hoverboards”) and loopy, raunchy bits (“Special Offer”), but I guess that’s a last-show-before-Christmas-break for ya. We’ve got a nice break before Adam Driver, Kylo Ren himself, takes up hosting duties. That will be one to watch.