Saturday Night Live
“Felicity Jones & Sturgill Simpson”
January 14, 2017
Felicity Jones is something of an unknown quantity. Sure, she was great in Rouge One, and I assume she was good in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Theory of Everything, but frankly, I wouldn’t know. And that’s my point: even though she’s been in plenty of movies, Jones is a fairly new face for most Americans and thus we went into her Saturday Night Live episode without knowing what to expect. And to be honest, she had a rocky start — her monologue genuinely worried me that we were going to be dealing with another January Jones. But the writers protected her by not giving her sketches that she was expected to carry on her own (even the monologue was deftly taken out of her hands halfway through), and she was lucky to land on an episode with fairly strong material. I’m not exactly anxious to see her return (WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, ADAM DRIVER?), but I’m not mad about her first time as host, either.
It’s been roughly a month since Saturday Night Live last aired, and what a month it’s been. Just in the past week, an as of yet unverified dossier alleging that the Russians have compromising information on the President-elect that they might be using to blackmail him was released into the wild. And now, whether true or not, everyone and their brother will associate the 45th President of the United States with piss play.
What. Is. Even. Happening.
Donald Trump then held his first press conference in over six months where he dragged out a bunch of file folders filled with blank pieces of paper, claimed that his sons taking over his business should be good enough to quell conflict of interest charges, and screamed at the press for a while, calling CNN “fake news.” And that’s just barely skimming the surface of all the crazy that happened at this press event.
The Saturday Night Live writers and Alec Baldwin could not have asked for a more perfect gift from Donald Trump. I mean: “pee pee party,” y’all. We are living in a time when Saturday Night Live is making pee jokes about the incoming President AND IT IS ACTUALLY RELEVANT TO THE ACTUAL NEWS. I sometimes wonder how they will cover this in my grandchildren’s history textbooks — that is if any of us live long enough to have grandchildren.
So, Felicity Jones’ monologue was … interesting. It started off ROUGH. Reading off the cue cards, Jones was stiff and unnatural and painful. But then, out of nowhere, Princess Tina Fey arrived to save the day and hilariously comment on all the tricks of the SNL trade.
Grade: B+ (Points deducted for the sheer awfulness of the first two minutes.)
Look, if anyone knows that The Bachelor is low-hanging comedy fruit, it’s yours truly. The vacuousness, the inanity, the fake sincerity, it’s almost TOO easy to mock. And yet, this sketch is still funny. My only beef with it is that it focuses entirely on the women, when Nick Viall himself is so worth making fun of. God, he’s such an asshole.
In this first of two digital shorts, two rival thugs end up bonding — but not quite — over car troubles. It’s an interesting, almost intellectual piece, not quite laugh out loud funny, but it touches at some sort of truth about human connection. Whatever it is, it is a loooong way from the Andy Samberg “LOOK AT ME, I’M MAKING A DICK JOKE!” digital shorts.
In this weird bit, a theater performance is interrupted by the needs of the theater’s biggest donor, a geriatric man and his nurse. It’s absurd, mostly slapstick, and a little long, but it’s original and Felicity Jones and Mikey Day COMMIT to the bit.
The second digital short of the night is “The Princess and the Curse,” a modern take on a fairy tale in which a young princess is cursed with a horrible affliction that might cost her true love. I don’t want to give away the punchline, but it’s brilliant. Tina Fey, fess up: did you write this sketch?
In this bit, a group of women summon the ghost of Susan B. Anthony only to grow bored with her nattering on about women’s rights. It’s not that this sketch is bad — it’s not! But it’s pretty much a one-joke bit and it becomes repetitive quickly.
NBC thought that Pete Davidson’s commentary was worthy of posting on YouTube, and I have to admit that it’s better than most of his visits to the “Weekend Update” desk — if only for the Jeff Dunham joke. ON POINT.
The entire joke in this sketch is that this group of people is taking a movie called Hot Robot 3: Journey to Boob Mountain as seriously as they would a film like Manchester by the Sea or Hidden Figures. That’s it. “Hot Robot 3: Journey to Boob Mountain” is the entire joke.
The final sketch of the night is this mess wherein “uptight” pharmaceutical representatives tell overly sexual jokes about “looseness.” Once the initial shock of the jokes wear off, there’s not anything else going on here. Also, Felicity Jones’ voice is not funny, it’s just HELLA irritating.
Final Grade: B+ thanks in large part to Putin’s “pee pee tape.”
Next week: Aziz Ansari & Big Sean.
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.