Saturday Night Live
Kit Harington & Sara Bareilles
April 6, 2019
Kit Harington is perfect as Game of Thrones‘ Jon Snow. The role mostly consists of brooding, wearing a heavy coat and rocking a beard, and at those things, Harington is one of the best. However, as it turns out, these skills do not translate easily to comedy as we learned on last night’s weak Saturday Night Live. I rooting for Harington to pull it off, but, unfortunately, he was stiff and unsure, and at moments clearly uncomfortable performing in front of a live audience. Also, there was the matter of his American accent which … oof.
I don’t mean to blame Harington for this mediocre episode — the writing was dreadful, with concepts either ridiculously simplistic (“nerds are nerdy!” “a doctor who is about to perform a rectal exam has long fingernails!”) or just outright baffling, and he really didn’t stand much of a chance. That said, there were some fun Game of Thrones references, both in Harington’s monologue and in one pretty terrific sketch. But one sketch and a monologue are not enough to carry an entire episode.
The cold open addresses the whole Joe Biden being handsy thing with Jason Sudeikis returning to play Uncle Joe. While I’m already sick of hearing about this whole non-scandal, I have to admit it was great having Sudeikis back — no one captures Biden’s aggressively friendly and clueless vibe quite like Sudekis. If Biden decides to run (he is going to run), do we get to keep Sudeikis?
For his monologue, a beardless Kit Harington takes “questions” from the “audience” including from Emilia Clarke, John Bradley (Samwell Tarley), the Night King, and his wife, Rose Leslie and it’s funny and everything but OH MY GOD BRING BACK THE BEARD. AND IF YOU CAN’T INSTANTLY — AND I MEAN INSTANTLY — REGROW THE BEARD, DO NOT WEAR MOCK TURTLENECKS FOR THE LOVE OF THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW.
Also, they really missed out on an obvious opportunity, as the Fug girls pointed out:
Also, and I can’t believe how nerdy this makes me, but, Emilia? Dany and Jon didn’t have sex in season six — they hadn’t even met in season six.
The first non-cold-open sketch of the night is this “Nephew Pageant?”
A few things:
- I don’t know what the joke is here? Like, literally, I have no idea what the underlying conceit is even supposed to be. Is it making fun of pageants in general? Of teenage boys? Of middle aged aunts? Why? Why is this?
- Is this why Kit Harington shaved off his beard? So that he could play a 14-year-old child? Because if so, NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. GROW IT BACK.
- Kit Harington cannot do an American accent. I have never in my life heard a worse American accent. It’s actually remarkable.
In the best sketch of the night, SNL imagines all of Game of Thrones‘ prequels, sequels and spin-offs, including a Riverdale rip-off called “Castle Black”; an animated Daria-inspired series, “Arya” (which is genius and 10/10 would watch); and a Law & Order spinoff, “Game of Thrones: Special Victims Unit,” which is illustrated with a cameo from Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T and brilliantly makes a callback to a classic John Mulaney standup bit. I could not love this more.
There’s no video for this next sketch thanks to copyright issues, and if you missed the show’s broadcast last night, just be grateful. Harington plays a cruise ship Michael Jackson impersonator who, thanks to the fallout from Leaving Neverland, decides to be a Frank Sinatra tribute act. To that end, he just slaps on a white wig over his Michael Jackson ponytail, calls his backup band the “Rat Pack Five” and sings the words “my way” over what is clearly “Billie Jean.” I literally wrote in my notes: “I CANT WATCH THIS ANYMORE.”
In this bit, a new video game features more interpersonal drama between the characters than the zombie shoot-em-up action that the player came for. The problem with this sketch is that the joke is how irritating the characters are — but in the end, they are more irritating than the joke is funny.
“Weekend Update” continues taking on the Joe Biden story, noting that even his “I get it” video was kinda creepy: because “nothing puts women at ease like a man on a leather couch who has already taken off his tie.” Word.
But also, I can’t help but wonder how much this will irritate Donald Trump. While he’s constantly bitching about how Saturday Night Live is politically one-sided — to the point of threatening to sic the FCC on them — I can’t imagine that he will be happy to have the national attention turned on someone who is not him.
The first visitor to the “Weekend Update” desk is a film critic who has been seeing the films he reviewed while high as balls. It’s fine. The idea that Dumbo is a remake of Trumbo is a kinda funny throwaway joke, but otherwise ~shrug~.
Kenan Thompson as Charles Barkley visits the “Weekend Update” desk to talk about the NCAA finals and his notorious gambling habit. While Kenan looks nothing like Barkley, he gets his voice and energy spot-on. I don’t know why I enjoyed this as much as I did, because I’m not even sure it is terribly funny, but here we are.
Harington employs his terrible, terrible, so terrible American accent again in this sketch where he plays a groom who surprises his bride at her bachelorette party with a burlesque striptease. And this is going to sound like a dumb complaint, but as someone who is an avid fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I have to point out that the joke about his tuck popping makes ZERO SENSE as there is NO TUCK HAPPENING HERE. Where is Trinity the Tuck when we need her?
Theresa May has a terrible day in this kinda wonderful little digital sketch. My son just returned from a school trip to London and reported that he saw May’s motorcade and that the entire street booed it as it drove by, so this is more accurate than not.
So there are some nerds in an office and they act like nerds? This is not good. Really not good. It’s not offensive, just boring and lazy.
What was going on in the writers’ room this week, you guys? Did they just decide, “fuck it, someone grab the rejected sketch pile and let’s what we can do with these turds” ?
In the final sketch of the night, Harington goes in for a colorectal exam and the doctor, played by Leslie Jones, has crazy-long, diamond-studded fingernails. Ha. But then it turns out it’s an episode of Undercover Boss? Again, turning to my notes: “what? no.”
Final Grade: B-. Should have stuck with the Game of Thrones jokes, guys.
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.