‘Saturday Night Live’ review: ‘Naked & Afraid: Celebrity Edition’; George R.R. Martin; Peter Dinklage highlights (videos)

SNL -Tonight, “Saturday Night Live” had some of the highest expectations that it’s had over the course of season 41. Peter Dinklage is a beloved host, and of course with his experience on “Game of Thrones,” you had to expect that there would be a sketch or two referencing that … right?

Well, hopefully we’ll get some more updates on that as the show goes on. First, we gotta talk about Donald Trump … again. The cold open felt in some ways like a “Weekend Update” sketch, given that we had Cecily Strong playing the character of a Donald Trump supporter who refused to listen to facts, and made up increasingly bizarre excuses for some of the candidate’s comments towards women.

Of course, Darrell Hammond showed up to play Trump, and there were a few laughs there. At this point, we’re just starting to feel slightly over the “SNL” machine talking Trump at every second.

Let’s go ahead and get into some of the other sketches of the night.

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Peter Dinklage monologue – The funny thing here is that Peter was funniest before the George R.R. Martin impression or the cutaways or Leslie Jones as the dragon. This was fairly ho-hum and full of standard “Game of Thrones” puns. Still, Vanessa Bayer running on stage, eager to disrobe, was a pretty hilarious moment.

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100 Acre Wood – Who knew that we were going to see a sketch about Winnie the Pooh in the first fifteen minutes of the show? Seeing Jay Pharoah as Pooh’s cousin Denny the Real brought a few laughs, but we feel like someone must have thought this was significantly funnier than it actually was. We laughed once or twice, and that’s about it.

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Naked & Afraid: Celebrity Edition – Easily the highlight of the night so far. Dinklage and Leslie Jones were hilarious in what was on the surface a straightforward sketch … but it was still so funny to watch. We’d probably enjoy it a few more times just for Leslie’s attempts to cuddle with him. (Watch on YouTube.)

Space Pants – We almost feel like Bobby Moynihan’s character watching this: We really didn’t think it was altogether funny in the moment, but the more we reflect on it, the more we find ourselves chuckling here and there about it. Gwen Stefani kind of botched her own cameo, no?

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Glory Hole Restaurant – This was a pure performance piece made by Dinklage and Aidy Bryant, who did an excellent job being as inappropriate as possible with pieces of artisan bread coming out of a glory hole. The funny thing is that we could actually see this being one of those hipster places that Stefan likes to visit.

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HBO First Look – Of course we ended up seeing something related to “Game of Thrones,” but this was pretty excellent execution given that it actually looked a lot like some of those behind-the-scenes clips that the network often puts out for the show. We laughed often, and mostly because of Bobby Moynihan playing the part of motion-capture Drogon. It was completely ridiculous, but at the same exact time we laughed … often.

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Weekend Update – The return of David Ortiz! This was a really funny “Weekend Update” for the most part, largely because of Kenan Thompson, some of the jokes from Colin Jost and Michael Che, and also at times the Pete Davidson bit about Hulk Hogan. There were a lot of breaks in the segment, but sometimes we’re fine with that if it is a sign that these people are having a good time.

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Honeymoon suite – Beck Bennett and Cecily arrived to their honeymoon suite to find a dead body outside. Funny concept, though the sketch didn’t have a whole lot more to say once we got past this part of it. It was like we got to dive in (pun intended), enjoy that, and had to deal with everything else.

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Vacation Nightmares – Apparently, this was actually a play off of the fact that these shows really do often use non-union actors who go on and do super-cheesy reenactments. We learn something new everyday! As for the sketch itself, it was mediocre at best.

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Magic Show – What a clunker to end the show on. Basically, Dinklage was forced to deal with a whole sketch about a poop joke.  We’re still going to say that the middle portion of the show was hilarious enough to make up for the weak parts; as a whole, we’d say this episode met expectations. It didn’t surpass them, but nor did it fall short. Grade: B.

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