Saturday Night Live
At-Home, Part 2
April 25, 2020
Those wacky kids over at SNL, they did it again. Using Zoom, phones, plenty of wigs and green screens, and a lot of creativity, the cast and writers of SNL managed to put on yet another 90-minute episode satirizing this insane situation we all find ourselves in. They also seemed to have worked out some of the bugs that didn’t work so well for them the last time they tried this (thank you, “Weekend Update,” for losing the laughter — that crutch was there for you guys, not the audience) and have embraced the adage, “brevity is the soul of wit.” Even when a sketch didn’t work — and not all of them did — they never lasted more than about 3 minutes, and your suffering would soon be over. And keeping that in mind, I will get on with it already:
A few weeks ago (months? years? who even knows, time does not exist anymore) someone asked Dr. Anthony Fauci who should play him on the inevitable Saturday Night Live sketch, and he jokingly replied, “Brad Pitt.” Well, Dr. Fauci, here you go, you earned it.
“WHAT UP WITH THAT!” Y’ALL! It has been five years since SNL did “What Up With That,” the recurring Kenan Thompson sketch in which a talk show devolves into chaos. But thanks to the use of Zoom, gifs, and editing software, SNL was able to do a quarantine version with guest appearances from Charles Barkley and DJ Khaled. Were Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader actually involved? Who knows. TV magic!
In this bit, a reporter quarantined from home files a report filmed by his teenage daughter who uses goofy Snapchat filters on him. This is based on real stories of actual reporters accidentally forgetting that filters on their phones are on, but the addition that the teenage daughter is doing it to deliberately humiliate her father adds a layer of cruelty. (Which I actually think is funny.)
Pete Davidson (the Adam Sandler of the current cast) and Adam Sandler (the Adam Sandler of the 1990s cast) team up for a song about being cooped up with their families. This one entirely depends on your affection for or tolerance of Davidson and Sandler, and mine is very very low.
Kate and Aidy star in this commercial for a grocery store that is desperate to unload some of its more unpopular items, including oat milk pizza, cauliflower pasta, Mario Batali’s pasta sauce, and Dasani water.
Big Papi is best used as a “Weekend Update” commentator and does not need his own segment. And I don’t even know who “Big Bunny” is (because his name is actually “Bad Bunny” but I still don’t know who that is though my husband insists he’s “a really big deal right now”) but his inclusion doesn’t actually make the sketch any funnier.
In this Airbnb commercial, Chloe Fineman is both the Airbnb host and the obnoxious European Airbnb guest she’s trapped with thanks to the lockdown. It’s pretty great? Fineman is really pretty great?
Chris Redd stars in this sketch about a guy released from prison early and looking to hook up with one of his pre-quarantine relationships. It doesn’t go well.
“Weekend Update” seems to have gotten its shit together: it added green screen backgrounds to approximate the set and they dropped the TERRIBLE Zoom laughter which was a goddamned nightmare. Also, too, they were provided with a cornucopia of material thanks to President Lysol’s dumbass comments this week, so it was going to be pretty difficult for them to strike out this week.
Pete Davidson reporting from home in Staten Island was fine. It was fine.
I personally love these Soul Cycle bits — I think the short bites of characters allow everyone to shine and also, too, I hate exercise classes. “My mantra is ‘Eat Pray PRAY!’ That’s right, I’m hot and religious. It’s a trap! LET’S GOOOO.”
O.J. Simpson is living through this quarantine, too, and sometimes it makes him SO MAD HE COULD JUST …
The adorable and ageless Paul Rudd facetimes with his cousin Mandy whom he hasn’t seen in a while and who wants to take the piss out of her famous cousin. I love Paul Rudd and think he can do no wrong, so I blame Heidi Gardner’s not-funny-just-irritating character for killing this bit.
In this Law & Order spoof, a bunch of suspects gathers on Zoom to find out who the killer is. However, one of them is late to the call, so the rest spend their time singing songs they are writing? This was just … not good.
Every single commercial right now: ~plinky piano music~ In these difficult times, we want you to know, we’re here for you …
Kate McKinnon revisits her cat lady character, Barbara DeDrew, owner of the cat store, Whiskers R We, as she tries to sell her stock of cats, all of whom are played by her actual cat, the real star of this sketch.
Kyle Mooney makes a whole song about forgetting someone’s name at a party and it’s terrible and I hate it and the thing that makes me most angry about this entire sketch is that Kyle Mooney appears to live in a MUCH nicer house than I’ll ever own and that is insulting.
Melissa Villaseñor goes on an imaginary date. Here’s the thing. The thing is, I came to respect Villaseñor in an episode of Crashing, when, playing herself, she explains to Pete Holmes that his comedy won’t be for everyone and that’s OK. It’s something I try to remind myself when trying to be critical of TV shows or, for instance, when I am reviewing an episode of SNL. For instance: Adam Sandler and Pete Davidson singing about masturbating and wearing underwear on their faces? Not my humor! But I recognize that it’s not for me, and other people will think it’s funny, and that’s fine! My opinion is not objective, it’s subjective.
All that said, this is a piece of garbage that I dare anyone to actually find funny.
Aidy Bryant reads from her actual childhood journals in a bit that starts off really strong and sweet and funny, but then, in a classic SNL move, she doesn’t seem to know, exactly, how to end it and it devolves in the last few seconds.
Cut for time: Cecily Strong’s impersonation of put-upon Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer runs for less than three minutes and would have been a far superior choice to run than either Melissa Villaseñor’s date sketch or that Kyle Mooney mess. BUT I DON’T CALL THE SHOTS AROUND HERE, SO.
Final Grade: High B+/Low A-.
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.