‘Saturday Night Live’ re-watch: Mike O’Brien’s return (as Jay-Z) during J.K. Simmons show

SNL -With tonight being a repeat airing of the “Saturday Night Live” show hosted by J.K. Simmons, we decided that we would keep our tradition alive of posting a re-watch highlight!

What makes this one particularly interesting is that the success of “The Jay-Z Story” really does not have much to do with Simmons himself, who was strong through most of the episode and this is no slight on him. Instead, it is more about the writing and the quirky quality of the sketch. Mike O’Brien is not even a featured player this season, and yet almost any time we see him, we find some more reasons to appreciate the majority of his work. This is not a hilarious sketch by any means, and it’s almost weird to watch the first time, casting O’Brien in the role of the rapper, and acting through his own voice instead of the one you would commonly expect from Jay-Z himself. Then, there’s the surprise appearance from Jason Sudeikis, which is the only real part of this that gets a little lost in repeat viewing. Some of that special spark that comes with seeing him for the first time is gone. By the time Simmons ultimately does show up as Nas, it’s late in the game and we’re already all-in on the sketch.

What you are left with here is a mildly-funny and above all engrossing look inside an almost whimsical mind, someone not afraid to take big risks, even if a few of them land in failures. There are little quirks about this sketch in particular that stand out more when you watch it the second or third time.

The best part of this? There’s never really an explanation for the premise, and we like it so much better because of that.

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