Saturday Night Live review: The Fliplets, Levi Wokes, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone

Ryan GoslingTonight, Saturday Night Live is here for its first show of the season, and with Ryan Gosling the host, there is a lot of fun to be had! While we didn’t think that his first go-around as host a while back was necessarily the funniest episode in the show’s history, we do think that he was game and had a lot of fun with most of what was given to him.

Will he match that in his second hosting gig? Over the course of this live review, we’re going to do our best to figure that out! Be sure to refresh the page for more updates as the night goes on!

Cold Open – We went more into it over at the article here, but we will say that this generated a few laughs — even if seeing Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump wasn’t exactly revolutionary anymore.

Ryan Gosling monologue – Ryan set out in this monologue with one mission and one mission only: Talking about how he apparently “saved jazz” thanks to his work in the musical La La Land. This was mostly an excuse to have Ryan look silly, break character (probably the first of many times), and also get a cameo from Emma Stone in there.

Alien Abduction 2.0 – You knew that this was coming, given that Kate McKinnon’s abductee character first originated when Gosling was the host the first time. Were we a little shocked that it was basically the same sketch as last time? A little bit. It’s all about McKinnon’s performance, but the lines about the Fyre Festival — plus her references to certain parts of her anatomy — were once again genius. Then, there was McKinnon subjecting Ryan (who broke character again — #2) to her basically doing a wide array of things with his butt. This is really what made the sketch worth seeing again. The best part of the night so far.

Levi Wokes – Consider this the show’s mockery of both modern vernacular and also liberals desperate to spread a message of inclusivity. Consider this an example once more about how the show is more than willing to mock itself if need be. Best part of this commercial parody? The bit about the zipper literally running from the start to the end of the sketch.

The Fliplets – This was a really silly Property Brothers spoof that was mostly about Gosling’s character serving as the odd man out. While the other two were very much Drew and Jonathan Scott, Gosling’s character was traumatized, steeped in darkness, and quite possibly psychotic. His timing wasn’t perfect at first, but it did get progressively funnier as it went along.

Music – Want to know more about it? Then head over to the link here for JAY-Z highlights.

Weekend Update – “How is the President worse at humanitarian [work] than Pitbull?” This was one of the great lines to start off the night, which featured Colin Jost and Michael Che mocking Donald Trump for some of his comments about Puerto Rico and the NFL. The Tom Price jokes were especially effective, and we were happy to see Che taking such a strong stance about black athletes standing for the National Anthem.

Now, the correspondents. The first one was Angela Merkel, which makes a good bit of sense when you think about her recent election these days. There were actually a few jokes from McKinnon that went over everyone’s head in the crowd, including the Allied – Axis comment. Also, her disposing of her Barack Obama mementos on her had us howling.

Also, why do we need the Guy Who Just Bought a Boat? You could almost feel that the audience really didn’t want to applaud this. Adding Gosling as the Guy’s SoHo house friend made it slightly better … slightly.

Henrietta and the Fugitive – There is zero reason why this sketch should’ve worked, given that it was a 1950’s noir romance about a lone-wolf con man falling in love with a hen. We have no idea how you ever come up with this sort of idea, but somehow it actually worked and was the most creative sketch of the night. Great performances from Gosling and Aidy Bryant as the chicken really helped seal the deal, as this was funnier than it had any right to be.

The Pizza Hut Ploy – Have you seen these commercials before where diners are tricked into eating a name-brand food, thinking that it is something fancy instead? That was the focus of this sketch, where two attendees at an Italian restaurant (Gosling and Cecily Strong) were horrifying to discover they were tricked into eating Pizza Hut. It went on about thirty seconds long, but still a funny idea. (Also, Gosling breaking character #3.)

Avatar Font – This was right up there with the Henrietta sketch in terms of randomness: Gosling’s character freaking out over the use of papyrus font for the Avatar title card. This proves Gosling’s brilliance in pre-taped sketches since he singlehandedly made this work. We will say this — was this subtle shade at James Cameron for dissing Wonder Woman? Remember that Gal Gadot is hosting next week.

Bar band – Do we count Gosling playing the flute as him breaking character for the fourth time? That’s a maybe. What we do know is that this was one of the weakest sketches of the night, mostly because it was hard to gauge what the actual focus of this sketch. Was this supposed to be about two bar band members/roommates struggling with their relationship on stage? Or, was this meant to be more about NFL protests?

Our CarterMatt Verdict

We didn’t have the highest expectations for this episode, but we will say that it turned out better than we thought. Kudos to the writers for pulling some good ideas out of nowhere — it was actually the Avatar font and the Henrietta sketch that we’ll remember more so than the politics. Gosling still is inconsistent as host, but when he was on tonight he was better than most other hosts in recent memory.

What did you think about the SNL premiere?

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