This week’s new Saturday Night Live episode was hosted by Sam Rockwell, who was an interesting choice mostly because he’s not the biggest household name in the world. This is something that Rockwell himself made fun of during his cold open. He talked about being a character actor for his entire life, mostly because he is best known for being that guy you know in various movies but don’t actually know by name.
The majority of the opening monologue tonight was Rockwell attempting to show that he was a leading man — he sang, he danced, and he almost kissed Cecily Strong before she told him about a recent HR meeting. (Leslie Jones, however, did not attend said meeting.) This wasn’t so much funny, but it was an entertaining way to kick things off in the new year.
Now, let’s get to the rest of the episode.
Science show – This is what is going to be remembered by most people as the sketch in which Bannon swore on live TV … ironically, it was actually really fun before that since we saw him try his best to deal with some idiot kids who really didn’t have a clue what they were doing.
Tuccigang – This was certainly odd, to say the least. Yet, it was pretty enjoyable. Who doesn’t love a reference to Stanley Tucci of all people?
The Look – This was funny, timely, and pretty much perfect. Somehow, SNL managed to have fun and skewer E! over the Catt Sadler salary while also having a little bit of fun at the expense of Frances MacDormand. Basically, this entire sketch was just meant to remind you how useless some fashion-based TV shows are.
Related – See our take on Halsey’s performance
Weekend Update – Of course, we got jokes aplenty on the show about Donald Trump and Haiti. Beyond that, though, we also got a second dose of Leslie Jones as Oprah Winfrey after she appeared in the cold open — this time around, Steadman joined her. Who knew Chris Redd would get so much airtime tonight?
Also, tonight we got a lovely bit from Aidy Bryant about Mark Wahlberg and the Time’s Up legal fund. This was really funny, but also pretty poignant as she pointed out how long it took for Wahlberg to take action. “Weekend Update” concluded with Kenan Thompson as LaVar Ball and we couldn’t stop laughing.
Peter Pan – We don’t exactly think that Captain Hook feeling uncomfortable hanging around with little boys is the freshest take that we’ve ever seen in recent SNL history, but this was for the most part funny up until the closing line. Rockwell flubbed the deliver on Peter Pan’s arrival, where he decided that the implications of hanging around kids just wasn’t worth it anymore.
ATM – This pre-tape sketch featured Rockwell as a guy ready to use the ATM who got uncomfortable about a black man (Kenan) standing behind him — someone who turned out to be perfectly normal. This was an odd sketch about judging people on the way that they look –and it also had a rather painful ending watching Kenan’s character being beat up by some guys who actually were robbing at an ATM machine.
Surprise guest – As it turns out, Rockwell’s son brought his new boyfriend … who happened to be an adult star and Rockwell’s character knew it. It took a moment or two for him to recognize it. We expected that the big twist in the episode was Rockwell’s character getting up and leaving the family midway through after he admitted that he was obsessed with the adult star … and that he was also a pastor.
Science experiment – Only SNL can make a sketch funny about a guy who attaches his dog’s head to the body of his dead brother. This was so weird and absurd, but in between the dog eating the sandwich and the delivery of the lines we were all for it.
Chantix – A great commercial spoof all about a woman (not an actress) trying to prove that she was a great actress in the middle of advertising Chantix. Short, sweet, and perfect for what it was.
While it absolutely started off rocky with Rockwell dropping the f-bomb — and not getting Alec Baldwin in the cold open — this was a really fun show! It’s easily one of the best first shows to start off a new year in recent memory.
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