“Saturday Night Live” this weekend busted out a big show hosted by Anna Kendrick, and the question going into this was a pretty basic one: Can the “Pitch Perfect” star really anchor a late-night show like this? As we watch the show, we’ll have more answers to that.
Update: Now that we’ve made it through the show start to finish, we have mostly praise for this 90 minutes. While Kendrick was relegated mostly to standing around and singing, she did good with the material she was given … and luckily, almost everyone had pretty great material this time.
Update 2 – We’ve also attached videos of many of the sketches below. Why not all? It’s because NBC doesn’t have videos for some of the more musical sketches, which they may not have all the rights to thanks to the characters / songs featured.
GM cold open – Were it not for Kate McKinnon, this could’ve been a dud. However, watching her play brilliantly the part of a GM employee skilled at dodging any and all questions under the sun. We don’t know a ton about this latest crisis for the manufacturer, but we imagine the reality of the situation not being all that different from this.
Anna Kendrick monologue – The moment that we had the music starting up, we thought “oh boy, here we go again.” But, we liked most of what it brought to the table, including the elaborate “Beauty and the Beast” theme.
Fox News – We always really enjoy this spoof. We know and understand Fox News viewers out there who are annoyed with it, but it’s parody. Plus, the show just mocked President Obama’s desperation to get people to sign up for healthcare last week. The jokes in it were funny, even if the “Cosmos” bit was pretty dumb. It did still have the corrections at the end, which are always a personal favorite.
Dongs All Over the World – We feel like this was the show’s attempt to create a sequel of “Do It In My Twin Bed,” and it was funny. It wasn’t necessarily hilarious, but the premise itself was worth a few laughs, and we do admire the bravery it took to even put this crazy bit on the air.
The Little Mermaid – This one was just fun from start to finish, even if it did drag for a few minutes longer than it really needed to. There was just so much of this that will probably feel nostalgic with Ariel vs. Ursula … with the difference being that Anna’s Ariel really just wants to sing songs by Kesha and Britney Spears rather than beautiful ballads.
The date – This was a delightful, weird bit starring Kyle Mooney and Vanessa Bayer that is the best thing to feature Mooney all season. It was still weird and didn’t fully make sense, but there were enough actual jokes in here that we could get behind the weirdness rather than roll our eyes at it.
Weekend Update – Last week was the worst edition of this that we have seen in quite a long time. This time, we had one of the best editions all season. Angela Merkel, the return of Brooks Whelan as Brooks Wheelan, and Bobby Moynihan as George R.R. Martin all killed. Most of the jokes were predictable save for the one about Florida and the library, but thanks to all the good comedy, we really don’t care that much.
Big Joe – A late-in-the-show sketch that we really shouldn’t have liked as much as we did, since the entire thing was based around some giant guy who couldn’t life anything. Maybe it was the performance of Joe himself, but we couldn’t stop laughing.
The audition – A really fun late-in-the-show sketch that also featured Pharrell, a bad duet with Kendrick and Vanessa Bayer, and also plenty of jokes about his hat. It’s nice to see him be able to laugh at himself.
French dancing – This was … too weird. We’ve seen this French TV show sketch a few times and have never found it that funny. Maybe it’s just too random for our taste to have something featuring Madeline and Patrick Stewart in the same sketch.
Norfolk Zoo – This was funny at times, and then lame at others. There just wasn’t any structure to watching various people shuffle in and out. While Kendrick was okay, the real saving grace of this was the occasional speech from Jay Pharoah, who had some of the best lines and the best impression of the sketch.
Best of the white guys – Ugh. The worst sketch of the night was the one that just realized on how racial stereotypes for basketball players. Nothing really new or special to see here.
Overall, it’s just as we said: This was a very funny show, and easily the best one of the post-Seth Meyers era. We’re not going to say that it broke any boundaries, but it was a consistently funny edition that at least entertained us from start to finish. Grade: B+.
What did you think of this weekend’s edition? Share below, and be sure to click here to watch some other highlights from this season. You can also sign up if you want to get more dish from us on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter.