Saturday Night Live
John Krasinski & Machine Gun Kelly
January 30, 2020
After a six week break in which A LOT has happened in this country — insurrection, the inauguration of a new President, massive death, a vaccine rollout, and outbreaks of new strains — Saturday Night Live finally returned with first-time host John Krasinski. And all in all, it was a solid, if not spectacular effort. Krasinski is charming and likable and after working on one of the most popular television comedies for nine seasons, he has plenty of experience with comic timing. He did just fine with his first time on the 8H stage.
As for the writing, contrary to what I was expecting, it almost seems that the writers’ room feels liberated by the removal of the former President. While it wasn’t a brilliant episode by any stretch, it did seem like the writers felt like they could tackle other current events, current events that would have otherwise been overshadowed by the cartoonish White House even just a month ago. I could be projecting, but with the exception of “Weekend Update,” this episode felt breezier to me, lighter. Eh, who knows, maybe it was just that the writers needed a good long vacation. And honestly, who doesn’t?
Our first post-Trump cold open is framed as a talk show hosted by Kate McKinnon, called “What Still Works?” where she wonders what still works: Our government? After meeting Cecily Strong’s take on that lunatic Marjorie Taylor Greene, the answer is: nope. The stock market? Nope. Social media? Nope. The vaccine rollout? Nope. Tom Brady? Well … yes, actually. Tom Brady is the only thing that still works in this country, it turns out. In terms of cold opens, it’s pretty tight, addresses current events and neither Jim Carrey nor Alec Baldwin is anywhere to be found, so that’s a win right there.
John Krasinski is interrupted repeatedly during his monologue by audience members who demand that he “do The Office” and ask for Pam. Somehow this ends with Krasinski and Pete Davidson kissing. And I’m not scandalized by two men kissing, but I am scandalized by ANYONE kissing people they aren’t currently living with. THERE’S A PANDEMIC HAPPENING, YOU GUYS, KEEP YOUR MOUTHS TO YOURSELVES.
“Blue Georgia” has a New Yorker visiting a small town in Georgia only to learn now that Georgia has turned blue, everyone there now loves Rachel Maddow, avocado toast, and BLM protestors: “This is Stacey Abrams country.” “The Republic of Stankonia.” Indeed.
In this pre-taped bit, the older brother of a kid who is being bullied comes to his defense, only to reveal considerably more embarrassing information about him. Though Kyle Mooney doesn’t play the bullied kid, newcomer Andrew Dismukes basically does an awkward Mooney impersonation and it is very clear who wrote this.
In what I think is my favorite sketch of the night, Krasinski is an economist Zooming in from his home to a stock market show only to have his two very creepy twins join the call. Kate McKinnon and Mikey Day are the hilarious Children of the Damned in this spooky homage to all the times kids have crashed TV shows in the past year. It’s weird, it’s not perfect, but it works because twins are creepy. Sorry if you’re a twin, but you know it’s true.
It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these sketches where the cast breaks out their celebrity impersonations, so I’m can’t be that angry that they’ve pulled out this lazy conceit this week. Here, stars of TV shows sing the theme song of their TV show, a la Nicole Kidman with The Undoing and Kelsey Grammer and Frasier. Some of them work: John Krasinski singing the lyrics to The Office, Julie Andrews singing Bridgerton. Others are terrible — I hate Kyle Mooney’s Baby Yoda but also, Pete Davidson does a TERRIBLE Cousin Greg and I never want to see that impersonation again.
A group of friends in a COVID pod gets together for their weekly game night only to have the FBI come and arrest all of them for taking part in the insurrection on the Capitol because nice White suburban people, amirite?
“Weekend Update” feels overly long and tired this week. I hope they haven’t lost their juju now that Trump is no longer in office, but this outing isn’t promising.
Mike Lindell, the My Pillow Guy, stops by the desk to defend himself and perpetuate his conspiracy theories about Hugo Chavez, China, and Chrissy Teigen.
Also stopping by the “Weekend Update” desk are Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorsese to discuss the plan to reopen the city — except Lebowitz uses the time to kvetch, and Scorsese dies laughing at everything she says. Bowen Yang and Kyle Mooney are pretty funny in these roles, but I wonder how many people outside of New York City, or anyone who hasn’t watched Netflix’s Pretend It’s a City (which would only be New Yorkers, tbh) have any idea what is happening here.
Also visiting the “Weekend Update” desk is the crazy lady who yells under Michael Che’s window, Cathy Anne, and despite being a drug addict, Cathy Anne is more clear-eyed about the White supremacist movement than the Republican party.
On a classic Supermarket Sweep episode, a lesbian couple has to pose as “friends” and “roommates,” in this sketch which also involves same-sex kissing and I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO KEEP THEIR MOUTHS AWAY FROM ONE ANOTHER NOT BECAUSE OF THE GAY THING BUT BECAUSE OF THE VIRUS THING, COME ON.
In this bit, Subway is looking to rebrand and is pitched a “protein bowl” by a young marketer, whereas their old team, two old guys played by Krasinski and Beck Bennett, pitch bringing back Jared. Eh. Points for Krasinski doing his very best, though.
The final sketch of the night features Krasinski as the Ratatouille guy, who reveals to his girlfriend that Remy the Rat is controlling him during sex. Also, there’s a cockroach? Was everyone on Cathy Anne’s drugs when they wrote and approved this one?
Also, this happened:
Final Grade: B
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.