John Mulaney was the host of this weekend’s Saturday Night Live and because of his pedigree, we had a reason for a lot of excitement. This is a former writer on the show, and someone who understands a great deal of how to make it work and how to make it successful.
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So what were some of the sketches like this week? Within this review, we’re going to do our best to break them all down, complete with grades! Be sure to REFRESH this article throughout the night, as we will be adding some additional insight as things go along.
Cold Open – We got more in-depth about it over at the link here, but this was a really crazy and long segment mocking the Michael Cohen hearings. Getting Ben Stiller is always a plus, but we do think the person who is going to be remembered here is Bill Hader, who returned and played the part of Jim Jordan. This was, in a word, fantastic — though it probably was a little too close to the same thing. Grade: B.
Monologue – Given that Mulaney is a stand-up comedian, we knew that this would be fun — especially when he kept qualifying many of his stories by reminding us that these were actually true stories. Basically, it’s hard to buy into anything that a guy who looks like Mulaney has to say about cocaine. That was the joke, but then there was a really weird bit about a French bulldog and also Woody Allen.
The best part of the entire monologue may have just been him discussing the various gender roles when it comes to the New York subway system — maybe this is the sort of humor that only New Yorkers will really love, but we still found so much of it to be fun because of his deliver. (Also, how was Mulaney never a cast member?) Grade: A-.
What’s That Name? – Once we saw the second appearance from Hader (this time as the host), we were almost 100% confident that we were going to be seeing Stefon later. Anyhow, this was a classic game-show spoof that carried with it a pretty simple message: People these days don’t get to know the names of the people in their social circles … even if they do remember the names of random celebrities. Specifically, the two contestants don’t remember wives and other important women.
If it wasn’t for Hader, maybe this wouldn’t have worked — but he was so pompous and so determined to embarrass these contestants that it was worthwhile. The best part was at the end of the sketch, when the host admitted why he loved to do the show: “Chaos.” Grade: B.
Toilet Death Ejector – This was incredibly juvenile and silly, but we do prefer our commercial parodies to be extreme — we also do appreciate it when the writers really go for it and they did here with a story all about a toilet seat that saves seniors from dying on the crapper. We’re not entirely sure how the product’s solution is really any better … but just enjoy the laughs and don’t think about it all that much. Grade: A-.
Legal Shark Tank – Jeanine Pirro, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Avenatti, and Alan Dershowitz turned up as Sharks in order to help people in need of legal help … apparently including Bob Kraft (played by Beck Bennett). The people who entered the Tank in order to get help were Robert Kraft and then also Jussie Smollett — and we’re pretty shocked that SNL went there with the latter. We just wish that the impression was a little bit funnier.
Meanwhile, we did get the Cellino & Barnes reference — not bad given that we’re not from New York. Grade: B, mostly on the basis of idea.
The Unknown Caller – For some reason, we’re getting to see Pete Davidson’s character of Chad again — this time in a Scream spoof where he gave the show’s version of Ghostface very short answers. This was dumb — all Chad sketches are dumb — and there really wasn’t anywhere that this sketch went from start to finish. At least it was better than the average Chad sketch … we guess. Grade: C+.
Dance Party – We hate these dance-party events in real life, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that we didn’t like this. It’s the first sketch of the night that didn’t hold our attention … which is probably why it was put right after all of the good sketches. Time to cha-cha out of here. Grade: D.
Thomas Rhett’s performance – You can read a little bit more about what he brought to the table tonight over at the link here. It’s pleasant, but we know that there’s no point writing about it here since you’re here for comedy.
Weekend Update – Of course, this was the greatest hits from the past few days, including talk about North Korea, Jeff Sessions, and of course Donald Trump’s notorious speech at CPAC. Most of this was ridiculously fun.
Then, we got the Smokery Farms spokespeople to talk about some of the animal food products that they’ve made from various animals that they killed that didn’t have any charming, viral-video skills. We have no idea why this was in the show — it was twisted and disturbing. But, it was also pretty funny.
Following that update segment, we had a chance to see some jokes about R. Kelly, Bryce Harper, Target, and then murder … and no Stefon. Seriously. We had Mulaney and Hader in the room and still no Stefon. This hurts Weekend Update more than anything. Grade: D.
Bodega Bathroom – Consider this a sequel to “Diner Lobster” from last year — this time, though, it was a glorious musical about a bodega bathroom that was absolutely disgusting but also still musical. The singing toilet and rat totally did it for us — it wasn’t the lobster, but still pretty darn entertaining from start to finish. Grade: B+.
Whistle scene – For some reason, SNL totally gets us with all of these classic-movie spoofs … this time featuring Kate McKinnon’s sultry character trying to convince Mulaney to pay her a visit. The problem was that her romantic whistle was awful. These are the sort of things we love late in the show — they’re dumb, but really good-dumb. Grade: B.
This was a really good show overall! There were a lot of memorable sketches from start to finish and a fantastic performance from Mulaney. While it’ll take time to learn if there were any classic, we at least admire the writers for taking chances and also for embracing the inner weirdness of many concepts.
What do you think about John Mulaney’s new episode of Saturday Night Live?
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