Saturday Night Live
John Mulaney & David Byrne
February 29, 2020
Look, we’ve done this three times now, I am not sure what to add: I love John Mulaney, John Mulaney is a comedy genius, John Mulaney should host Saturday Night Live every week, and save us all from mediocre hosts. Am I missing anything? No? Great, let’s get to the comedy.
This week’s cold open began as one thing: making fun of Mike Pence’s being put in charge of the Coronavirus crisis, but then it becomes what the cold open has been pretty much every week this season: a showcase of all the Democratic candidates. Bonus points for Fred Armisen’s amazing Mike Bloomberg and his terrorizer, Elizabeth Warren; but points deducted for making poor John Mulaney do Joe Biden. First of all, Suedkis owns Biden. (Although Woody Harrelson is an acceptable substitute.) But second of all, Mulaney is not an impressions guy. It’s just cruel to put him in that wig and expect him to pull it off.
For the umpteenth time, it’s unfair to have stand-up comedians host because it puts a bright spotlight on just how terrible everyone else’s monologues are. And of the stand-up comedians, Mulaney is a master class.
So you know “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from Sound of Music? That, but Rolf is actually in his 40s, lives with his mother and is a Nazi. “Do you know what statutory means?”
In this bit, Mulaney plays an uncle who is angry his teen nephew (Pete Davidson, obviously) has turned a photograph of him into a meme. I thought it was funny enough, but the teen demographic in my own home disagreed, reaching over to my computer to type the following insightful critique:
“snl is not fummie”
Kyle Mooney is tired of being cast as a scrawny nerd so he becomes alarmingly buff with the help of Justin Theroux. Help, I can not unsee buff Mooney.
It’s “The Admiral” again: a sketch SNL did when Jennifer Lopez hosted. The gist of it is two sisters in what appears to be a 1940s movie attempt to win the affections of one Admiral, only to have their outrageously hot sister, played by Lopez, be the obvious choice. So, it’s that, but with Mulaney in the Lopez role as an oblivious twink — “a pass around party bottom” — in a sailor suit. And honestly? As adorable as John Mulaney is (very adorable), I actually found the idea of him filling Lopez’s role in this bit funnier than the actual sketch itself.
“Weekend Update” is mostly about Coronavirus, to the point that Michael Che stops giving a shit, removes his tie, and begins drinking since we’re all going to die anyway.
They also make an Astros joke. It’s going to be a long season, guys.
Chris Redd laments a not great Black History Month.
John Mulaney completes his New York City musical trilogy (the first two being “Diner Lobster” and “Bodega Bathroom”) with “Airport Sushi,” or “Phantom of La Guardia.” It’s a tribute to the peculiar horrors of La Guardia airport and let me tell you, as someone who the last time she flew through La Guardia found herself trapped there for five hours, IT IS ACCURATE. FRIGHTENINGLY ACCURATE. Also, bonus Jake Gyllenhaal and David Byrne.
The final sketch of the night is a short throwaway of a bit: a Black History Month profile of a “Forgotten Figure” — the first black man to boo Jackie Robinson. It’s not bad, exactly, but it’s certainly unmemorable.
Cut for time: Love is Blind + Coronavirus. It is EXACTLY what you think it is.
Also cut for time: “You Go” show. The premise here is that Mulaney is a host of an empowering talk show, except he’s incapable of hiding his disdain for his guests. It’s much funnier than the description makes it seem, entirely thanks to Mulaney’s deadpan delivery.
Final Grade: A-.
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.