In which Adam Driver continues to be one of the most consistently great ‘Saturday Night Live’ hosts

Saturday Night Live
Adam Driver & Halsey
January 25, 2019

Adam Driver specializes in intensity. The characters he is known for tend to be barely containing their emotions, be it rage or anger or rage … And so it’s easy to forget — even after having hosted Saturday Night Live twice before — that he’s a brilliant comic actor. Now, a lot of that humor is based in his perceived intensity; in fact, three of my favorite sketches from last night were firmly predicated on the idea that Driver’s characters are on the edge of becoming dangerous (or, in the case of Kylo Ren, have firmly crossed it). But I’m not complaining — this weekend’s Saturday Night Live was funny (almost) from beginning to end, thanks in large part to Driver being such a great comic actor that he elevates what might otherwise be a mediocre bit in the hands of a less funny actor.

kylo ren snl thumbs up saturday night live adam driver

It has been one month, or four weeks since Saturday Night Live has last aired — four of the most momentous and important weeks in American history since I’ve been alive. An American President has been impeached and is on trial for his job for only the third time ever. And the best that these lazy ass, cowardly writers could come up with for the cold open was a bit about Alan Dershowitz traveling to Hell where he runs into Mr. Peanut. Yes, they make Jeffrey Epstein jokes, but that’s not nearly as edgy as people want to think as both sides of the political spectrum trade in conspiracy theories that the other side had him killed to silence him. And everyone hates “Baby Shark,” so there was no danger of upsetting anyone there. Seriously, the only people this bit was going to offend or upset was one Alan Morton Dershowitz and who gives a shit what that child molester thinks about anything?

But nice to see you again, Jon Lovitz.

Grade: C-

ADAM DRIVER VERY CHILL GUY, YOU GUYS, LOOK HOW CHILL HE IS.

I enjoyed this opening monologue. Adam Driver knows exactly who he is and how he is perceived and he has a great sense of humor about it. In fact, the world would be a much better place if everyone had as good a sense of humor about themselves.

Grade: A

Driver plays a dad at a sleepover where one of the girls has flushed a pad down the toilet, causing some $10,000 in damages, and Kate McKinnon (as you can probably tell from the still below) is clearly guilty. Painfully awkward, I am 100% certain this is based on a real-life experience of one of the writers.

Grade: B+

Kylo Ren goes undercover again, this time as an intern. Usually, I frown upon revisiting sketches, as they are often unoriginal, just wringing out the same jokes from a no longer novel source. But this is the exception: MORE OF ALL OF THIS. GIMME MORE, PLEASE.

Grade: A++

In this bit, Beck Bennett and Adam Driver as the director and producer respectively of a Del Taco commercial try to coach actor Kyle Mooney through a line. It’s not a high concept sketch, and usually the kind of thing that would irritate me, but then Cornholio was dragged into it and I don’t know, I guess I’m a sucker for Cornholio.

Grade: B

Adam Driver becomes the host of the PBS show, “The Science Room,” with two dimwitted middle school assistants who make WILDLY inappropriate observations in this hilarious bit. The sketch is familiar, and at first I assumed that it was a bit Driver had done on one of his two previous visits to SNL. As it turns out, it was a bit Sam Rockwell did when he hosted back in 2016, and the musical guest in that episode? THE SAME AS THIS EPISODE: HALSEY. It’s all connected, man.

Grade: A

I generally love it when SNL does spoofs of cheesy 90s/2000s R&B and hip-hop. However,   while this sketch in which Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson, and Adam Driver promise to “take it slow” starts off well, I found myself siding with the ladies about halfway through. ENOUGH ALREADY.

Grade: B-

To SNL‘s credit, they did better on the impeachment coverage with “Weekend Update” than they did in the cold open, particularly in their criticisms of the Republican senators. And Che’s commentary about how America is known for removing crazy dictators is pretty biting. And just to prove they can both sides it, there’s even a Hunter Biden joke in there, so everyone BE COOL.

Grade: B+

7th-grade travel expert Carrie Frum is back with more of the same.

Grade: B-

Hey! Melissa Villaseñor, she finally won me over with her Oscar songs. SING IT, LADY.

Grade: A+

In this sketch, Adam Driver is an overly enthusiastic and not a little bit racist actor at Medieval Times. I enjoyed this bit way more than it probably deserved and I suspect that that, along with the Science Room and Del Taco bits, is all about how great Driver is at selling it.

Grade: A

Unfortunately, he couldn’t deliver this spoof of my most recent Netflix obsession, Cheer. This feels like one of those half-baked sketches they feel obligated to do because something was is trending in pop culture, but about which they don’t have any real solid ideas. Also, you guys, we don’t have to cram Halsey into all the sketches. You really don’t.

Grade: C

Just … just embrace the absurdity. Take it in. Accept it. Bathe in it.

Grade: B

Final Grade: A-.

adam driver snl saturdy night live monologue creepy smile scary

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

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