‘Saturday Night Live’ review: Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, Brie Larson, Jon Snow, and more (videos)

SNL -Given the headlines from much of this past week, it was fairly clear to us that “Saturday Night Live” was going to open with some sort of Donald Trump-themed sketch. However, the show instead chose to do something a little bit different: They started things off with a farewell to Ted Cruz, or at least the character played by Taran Killam who occasionally sounds like the formal Presidential candidate.

Also, who predicted that we were going to get a reprisal of Dana Carvey as the Church Lady? What was rather funny here was that for this particular sketch, the Church Lady was speaking to someone who acted a little more preachy than her while on the campaign trail. She introduced Cruz as “Satan,” and then referred to Trump as an “orange mannequin.”  Eventually Darrell Hammond did show up as Trump, but the style and the setup were far different than we expected.

Was all of this funny? Mildly so, but we hope that the rest of the show stretches far beyond Trump humor. There’s a lot to mine there, but so much of it has already been extracted from the ground.

Now, let’s get to some other sketches from the night as they happen.

Brie Larson monologue – The whole Mother’s Day part of us this with the moms coming on stage was a little predictable, provided that the show did this last year. Yet, it was still sweet. Brie’s monologue as a whole was okay, but the best part of it was probably Beck Bennett pretending they were dating while sending a message home.

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President Barbie – Think of this as a not-even-remotely veiled reference to claims that people just don’t find Hillary Clinton likable, or that they don’t want to vote for her even though she is there. Similar to Trump, this material has been mined many times before, but the part with the broom was worthy of a few laughs.

Near-death experiences – This was a repeat sketch in many ways from the Ryan Gosling episode, featuring a panel of people talking about a supernatural event. This time around, Larson joined Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong for what was really a McKinnon piece talking about a guardian angel named Keith who was not exactly kind to her as she was trying to come back to earth. Also, she may have went to dog heaven. The fact that Aidy Bryan barely kept it together interviewing them is a testament to the level of comedy here.

The Cut – A Mother’s Day themed sketch apparently about a haircut that many mothers of a certain type get. There was a good deal of odd comedy in here, but we’ve seen too many similar sketches this season for it to pop. Also, there were a couple of line flubs that really threw off the pacing.

Weekend Update – We really found the deconstruction of Donald Trump’s desk completely hilarious, but yet another appearance from Laura Parsons? We’re not sure we really needed it this season, even if Vanessa Bayer is really funny in the role. From here, we had a good run when it comes to Brazil and the Olympics, and a bit from Sasheer Zamata about “McGriddles” that had a few funny lines. We closed here with more funny lines from Colin Jost and Michael Che (who were really strong this week, especially Colin’s joke about a guy from Philadelphia named Jesus) before getting a bit about Peter Davidson and Mother’s Day that brought back some “memories” for him.

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Jon Snow sketch – Apparently, you really need to be caught up on “Game of Thrones” before watching. The entire idea of this fairly-funny sketch was that the show really dragged out his death, which is probably true … but it wasn’t that egregious compared to what we’ve seen elsewhere.

Quiz Whiz 2018 – There were a few funny moments in here, but at the same exact time, the comedic premise really didn’t make that much sense given that they were trying to convince us that people will have forgotten Ted Cruz, including his wife, in two years. The sketch also went on so long that by the time it was revealed that Larson was playing his wife, we were already slightly tuned out.

Johnny Shadow Kickstarter – Yep, it was another Kyle Mooney pretape that was extremely odd, and probably really polarizing. We do admit, though, that we did laugh at Larson’s personalized “rap” at the end of the video, plus some of the rewards.

Dead Bopz – Who came up with ending the show with an album of songs performed by dead singers? So random, but actually one of the night’s best. Also, we feel for Brie to a certain extent; this show was pleasant for the most part, but we feel like there was more in here for her to do. Grade: B.

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