‘Saturday Night Live’ returns and Ryan Gosling can’t stop laughing.

Saturday Night Live
Ryan Gosling & Jay-Z
September 30, 2017

Ryan Gosling is charming as hell, and watching him crack up over mediocre material is about the only thing that saves this uneven Saturday Night Live season premiere. Well, that and Colin Jost and Michael Che finally deciding that maybe Trump shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt anymore, that bothsidesism is NONSENSE, and finally taking off the gloves and delivering jokes about our Asshole-in-Chief that have some real bite to them. CALL TRUMP A BITCH AGAIN, MICHAEL CHE! DO IT!

But other than that and Jay-Z’s performances (one in which he wore a Colin K jersey) which unfortunately are not embeddable, this was a fairly unmemorable season opener. Was it terrible? No, but it wasn’t one of those episodes that we will look back on as a highlight of this particular era of SNL, either, charm or no charm.

Alec Baldwin returned for the season premiere’s cold open to do his Trump thing and address the fights he’s picked with Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, the NFL and North Korea. ALL OF WHICH HAVE HAPPENED IN JUST THE PAST WEEK. IN A WEEK!

~breathe~

But then Kate McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions sits on Trump’s lap for some reason, and Chuck Schumer wanders in at the last moment, I don’t know. This man has provided so much material for ridicule this week — too much material, in fact — so I’m not sure why we are spending half of the sketch on Sessions. It just feels unfocused and scattershot and like they were looking for an excuse to bring McKinnon into the bit. It was fine, it was fine! But like most of the Trump bits, it could have been a lot better.

Grade: B-

Ryan Gosling’s monologue is a nearly 6 minute-long joke about La La Land, a film that came out over a year ago, the joke being that Gosling saved jazz. I know the movie received a lot of heat for its irritating premise that this white boy “saves” “real” jazz, but I feel like this was a joke that would have been a lot more timely 9 months ago? Also, WHY SO LONG? Sure, Emma Stone joins him on stage, and the two of them are great together, but … so?

Grade: B-

When Ryan Gosling first hosted Saturday Night Live two years ago, they did a sketch in which he, Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon played alien abductees who had very different experiences from each other. It quickly devolved into a giggling break-fest, with Aidy Bryant and Ryan Gosling completely unable to keep their shit together.

So obviously they are going to revisit this sketch. And just to be sure Gosling breaks, they have McKinnon molest his ass. It works.

Grade: B+

Our commercial spoof of the night is for Levi Woke Jeans, jeans that discriminate against size, shape, race, age or taste.

Grade: A-

In this brief spoof of Property Brothers, Gosling plays a disturbed triplet who exposes the lie behind the HGTV-friendly series. It’s sharp and to the point, and doesn’t milk the joke any longer than it should.

Grade: A

So, Michael Che called the president a “bitch” and a “cheap cracker” in this week’s “Weekend Update,” and people are clutching their pearls. Never mind the fact that the president himself called NFL players “sons of bitches” A WEEK AGO, but sure, be mad at how disrespectful this is because Trump totally deserves our respect.

And they call us the snowflakes.

Grade: A

Angela Merkel stops by to express her ambivalence at being reelected and her undying love for Obama:

Grade: A-

A Guy Who Just Bought a Boat returns to the “Weekend Update” desk with a friend to discuss how bad they are at sex. I know they’ve done this bit before, but it’s still resplendent in its douchebaggery.

Grade: A

In this sketch, Aidy Bryant plays a talking chicken who hides a fugitive. In other news, Kids in the Hall called and wants THEIR ENTIRE CHICKEN LADY THING BACK.

chicken lady kids in the hall

Oh, and Gosling breaks.

Grade: NOPE.

In this sketch, a pair of focus group participants are furious to learn that they are not eating authentic Italian food, but instead Pizza Hut pasta. That’s it, that is the entire bit. Just four and a half minutes of Cecily Strong screaming about a fake restaurant called Terrazanos and Ryan Gosling saying over and over again that he’s going to beat Mikey Day to death. Oh, and Ryan Gosling breaks again.

Grade: C

In my favorite bit of the night, Ryan Gosling plays a man who is driven mad by the fact that Avatar used the Papyrus font for their logo. So I guess we know who the writer of this bit was:

Grade: A+

Finally, there’s this bit in which Keenan fronts a cheesy pre-game jazz band that performs in a small bar, and Ryan Gosling is his flutist that has some sort of dark secret. ~shrug~

Oh, and I’ll give you three guesses as to who breaks during the bit.

Grade: C

Final grade: B-

avatar papyrus snl.gif

Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.

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