Adam Driver might have hosted ‘Saturday Night Live,’ but Matt Damon was the star

Saturday Night Live
Adam Driver & Kanye West
September 29, 2018

Welcome to the 44th season of Saturday Night Live. Two quick points of order before we begin: 1. Matt Damon is your new Melissa McCarthy and 2. Pete Davidson had a busy summer. Alright! Let’s get started!

Matt Damon is your newest A-list star to swing by Saturday Night Live‘s cold open, playing an angry, belligerent and sometimes weepy Brett Kavanaugh.

There have been a number of A-list stars doing cameos in the Saturday Night Live cold opens in the past couple of years: Alec Baldwin as Trump, obviously; Scarlett Johannson as Ivanka; Robert De Niro as Robert Mueller; Ben Stiller as Michael Cohen; Bill Murray as Steve Bannon; John Goodman as Rex Tillerson; Jimmy Fallon as Jared Kushner. But Matt Damon’s performance in this cold open rose to the level of the best of these cameos: Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer. Like McCarthy’s deranged Spicer, Damon managed to accurately — almost alarmingly so — capture the indignation, the entitlement, the RIGHTEOUS FURY Kavanaugh demonstrated in his hearing on Thursday, the whole privileged white boy who CANNOT BELIEVE he is being brought down JUST BECAUSE HE LOVES BEER thing.

“Guess what? I’m not backing down, you sons of bitches. I don’t know the meaning of the word ‘stop.'” Indeed.

Also: bonus points to Rachel Dratch for her performance as straight-man Senator Amy Klobuchar, and to Aidy Bryant as prosecutor Rachel Mitchell. “Could you look at the piece of paper like you hate it and could you also squint and make your mouth into the tiniest little mouth you’ve ever seen?” (Once you’ve seen the anusmouth, you can’t unsee the anusmouth.)

Grade: A+++

Adam Driver’s monologue is … not great. Basically, everyone tells him about their summers — worked a little, traveled a little — while he tries to contain his anger. Also, hey, I don’t know if you know this, but Pete Davidson is engaged to Ariana Grande. Don’t worry if you can’t process this news just yet, you’ll have more opportunities to wrap your brain around it, I promise.

Grade: C+

A clueless dad tries to play Fortnite as a means to bond with his son, has no idea what he’s doing. Mikey Day does all the heavy lifting in a sketch that I found funnier than it probably actually was, mostly because I feel for Clueless Dad.

Grade: B-

This is another one of those Kyle Mooney sketches that imagines the behind-the-scenes world of Saturday Night Live. In this entry, jealous of Pete Davidson’s relationship with Ariana Grande and his new celebrity status, Mooney steals Davidson’s whole look and finds his own celebrity girlfriend, Wendy Williams. WHAT WILL LESLIE JONES THINK, KYLE? Anyway, the whole thing culminates in a weird swordfight, I don’t know.

Grade: B

Adam Driver and Cecily Strong play a couple who become ENRAGED that the coffee they think is fancy is actually from Burger King. Look, this is not a particularly strong sketch, but damn if Driver and Strong don’t do their best to sell it.

Grade: B

In this video bit, “Rad Times at Frat U,” we learn the present-day consequences of an out-of-control 80s party. I honestly don’t know what to make of this bit. On the one hand, it is a clever take on the Kavanaugh mess. But there is a degree of melancholy about the whole thing, a tinge of sadness that such shenanigans will no longer receive a free pass, and a sense that it is ridiculous for people to have to pay today for their bad behavior from yesterday.

Grade: B

I have no idea what is happening here? Are we in Flavor Town?

I have to admit, I approached this “Weekend Update” a little nervous that Jost and Che — who doesn’t have the best record with jokes about women — were going to both sides this Kavanaugh situation. Fortunately, they do not. And “pick another dude from the Illuminati lizard meetings” is not just a funny line BUT ALSO ACCURATE. Also, why did they call it “The Cosby Show” when his name was Cliff Huxtable?

Grade: A

It’s time for another round of Ruth Bader Ginsburns. (Please stay alive RBG. Please stay alive RBG.┬áPlease stay alive RBG.)

Grade: A

LESLIE JONES DEMANDS AN APOLOGY.

Grade: B+

OH HEY GUYS DID YOU KNOW THAT PETE DAVIDSON IS ENGAGED TO ARIANA GRANDE?

Grade: C+

In arguably the weirdest sketch of the night, Adam Driver plays (essentially) Daniel Day Lewis’ character from There Will Be Blood visiting his son’s school’s career day? I don’t know what is going on but Driver is COMMITTED.

Grade: B+

Finally, a group of Confederates discusses moving to a white utopia — which sounds an awful lot like Vermont in the final sketch of the evening:

Grade: A-

Final Grade: B+

uh doy matt damon snl.gif

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

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