There’s an elastic high quality to the construction of Saturday Night time Reside—sketches bomb on a regular basis, hosts develop into dreadful at studying cue playing cards, audiences generally simply do not get what is going on on, however nonetheless the present barrels forward each week churning out new premises, new recurring characters, and new stars-in-the-making. Typically all the things can go unsuitable with an episode—like say final week’s dreadful Elon Musk present—however per week later, everybody will get to begin contemporary with all-new materials. And with the correct host or the correct inspiration, all the things can click on into place.
Keegan-Michael Key, the sketch comedy legend who beforehand starred in MADtv and Key & Peele, was the proper antidote to final week’s comedy chasm. The place Musk was stilted, painfully self-involved, and awkwardly low-energy, Key was the perfect excessive octane performer, throwing himself into each foolish and absurd premise SNL may throw at him. The episode had a few dud sketches towards the tip, but it surely was fully gratifying all through, and a reminder that having an precise comic internet hosting goes a great distance.
Let’s begin with the largest shock of the evening, which truly did not contain Key: the No Extra Masks Chilly Open was probably one of the best chilly open I’ve seen on the present in a number of years. It was a pleasure to see nearly the complete forged get to share screentime in a humorous, intelligent topical sketch about vaccines and the CDC’s new COVID-19 pointers.
Key confirmed he was sport for each traditional SNL Monologue cliche from the get-go, together with singing a track about crafting the proper monologue, taking a query from the viewers, and alluring a few forged members to look on stage with him.
Promenade Present wasn’t my favourite sketch of the evening, but it surely was an instance of how a lot having a fantastic, energetic host could make even a so-so sketch funnier.
Sure, The Final Dance: Prolonged Scene was a parody of a docuseries that got here out over a yr in the past, so it wasn’t precisely well timed. However who cares about timeliness once you get an uncanny, hilarious Heidi Gardner as Michael Jordan’s curly-haired bodyguard John Michael Wozniak.
Subsequent to the chilly open, The Muppet Present was one of the best sketch of the evening, one the place everybody was clicking—Melissa Villaseñor pulling out a Lily Tomlin impression, Kyle Mooney voicing Kermit to a tee, Beck Bennett, and Mikey Day inhabiting Statler and Waldorf, and naturally Key and Kenan Thompson as overly-protective bodyguards. Enormous props to the puppeteers as effectively for the way in which Statler and Waldorf tremble towards the tip.
There have been three friends on Weekend Replace, none of them had been recurring ones, and all of them had been above common: my favourite was Beck Bennett as smug horse coach Bob Baffert, who was principally an ideal mixture of a fictional Bennett SNL Replace character and a James Bond villain (however actual). However Kate McKinnon was glorious as ever as a beleaguered Liz Cheney, who cannot perceive why Republicans have turned on her. And big props to Andrew Dismukes, one of many featured forged members who has gotten virtually no display time this season; he stepped up with an usually hilarious, considerably rambly story about his great-grandmother and the Disney Channel rollerblading film Brink!
Whereas all the things earlier than Weekend Replace labored fairly effectively roughly, the final two sketches of the evening had been my least favourite: Gemma & DJ Balls introduced again Cecily Sturdy’s one-note British character into a brand new context (TGI Friday’s musical duo) to forgettable impact, whereas Excessive Faculty Commencement was a disappointingly shallow 10-to-1 sketch.
There have been additionally two cut-for-time sketches, each of which had been a lot funnier than these final two sketches. In Rap Diss, the sketch that almost all felt like a Key & Peele outtake, Key’s rapper presents a really honest apology to his rival. And Key and Bowen Yang performed a pair of oddball gents hitting on Aidy Bryant and McKinnon in more and more elaborate methods within the pleasant Sending Drinks.
Olivia Rodrigo carried out her mega-hit “Driver’s License” and its followup “Good 4 U.”
Anya Taylor-Pleasure will host subsequent weekend’s season finale with musical visitor Lil Nas X.