John Mulaney hosts one of the strongest ‘Saturday Night Live’ of the season. Can we keep him? PLEASE?

Saturday Night Live
John Mulaney & Jack White
April 14, 2018

The adorable and hilarious John Mulaney hosted Saturday Night Live last night, and while every sketch didn’t land, it was still a light and fun return home for the former SNL writer. Of course, it might not be entirely fair to compare Mulaney to his fellow hosts — oh, did the comedian and comedy writer who used to write for the very show he is currently hosting and therefore knows what works and what doesn’t work and how to deliver even a weak joke to get a laugh, did that guy do a better job of hosting than a movie actor who has never done live television before? YOU DON’T SAY.

Still, it’s hosts like Mulaney or Bill Hader or Will Ferrell who make me wish they’d just do away with any guest host who isn’t an experienced comedian already. Because, I swear to God, if they bring Charles Barkley back one more time …

First of all, I feel it is important to remind you that the Michael Cohen raid happened less than a week ago. I know it feels like it was three years ago, but it was actually last Monday. But second of all, Saturday Night Live used that time wisely and came up with the perfect person to play Michael Cohen: Ben Stiller. And if that isn’t enough, they doubled down and recruited Robert Goddamned DeNiro to play Stiller/Cohen’s antagonist, Robert Mueller. And the Meet the Parents reference? ~Italian chef’s kiss~

“Is your name Michael Cohen?”
“Yes.”
“And you’re a lawyer?”
“Ish.”

Well played, SNL. Well played.

Grade: A+

I love and have always loved John Mulaney’s standup. As far as I’m concerned all of his standup is A++. Hey, guess what, his monologue was A++.

Grade: A++

Because I’m feeling generous, here’s one of my all-time favorite Mulaney standup bits:

In this sketch, Mulaney plays a bitchy drag waitress at a drag brunch who targets one patron with very specific and very real putdowns. This bit starts off really well only to end on a dumb note that goes out of it way to explain waaaay too much.

Grade: C+

A high school student delays a walkout because he has an erection. That is the entire sketch and the only joke.

Grade: C+

In a spoof of the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country, Keenan Thompson reveals he joined for all the sexytime. It’s fine.

Grade: B

In this sketch, a guy orders lobster at a diner, and it becomes a whole production. Literally. It literally becomes a Broadway musical production number. Points for boldness.

Grade: B+

The “Weekend Update” kids make plenty of jokes about the FBI raid: “The FBI is like when your girl goes through your phone. She’s only doing it to confirm whatever she already knows.” Also, too, Jost fucks up a little, but it’s kinda cute?

Grade: A-

Hey, here’s Kate McKinnon skewering Laura Ingraham for not knowing that the First Amendment does not protect her from being bullied after she’s bullied others. By the way, Ingraham has lost 27 advertisers so far, LOL.

Grade: A

LaVar Ball is back. ~shrug~

Grade: B-

Maybe I shouldn’t admit this after complaining that the school walkout bit was a one-joke sketch, but this bit about a Freaky Friday-style sitcom and its implications was maybe my favorite sketch of the night. Disturbing, icky but also hilarious in large part thanks to how hard Mulaney sells it.

Grade: A

Also, it turns out this and Lobster Diner were old sketches he pitched back when he was a SNL writer:

Here, Mulaney plays a doctor who has many many questions for a patient who wants to have his horn implants removed against his girlfriend’s wishes. This and the previous sketch feel like bits that could have been taken directly from his standup. Also, why isn’t the show using Luke Null more? He’s a delight.

Grade: B+

Reality show introductions are the best, full stop. Jealous?

Grade: A

Cut for time were two sketches: this one in which Luke Null shows off a pretty good voice:

And this Kyle Mooney bit that can’t even saved by a fairly huge celebrity cameo. I will give it this, though, the ending was actually the strongest part of the entire sketch:

Final Grade: A-. If you’d just had ended that drag queen bit differently, guys. Sometimes you can just let things be absurd without explaining everything.

Saturday Night Live will be repeats for the next couple of weeks, but hold on to your butts, because on May 5: Donald Freaking Glover, you guys. Hell yes.

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

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