Saturday Night Live
Jason Sudeikis & Brandi Carlile
October 24, 2021
I really liked Jason Sudeikis as a cast member on Saturday Night Live — he is handsome, but Every Man-ish enough to play everything from a gum-smacking asshole to a smirking sports announcer to a manic backup dancer. And recently the world has fallen in love with Jason Sudeikis as the endlessly optimistic and sweet Ted Lasso, a soccer coach possibly out of his depth in the Emmy-winning series (and best comedy on television) Ted Lasso.
So it was a delight to have him return to Studio 8H as host of SNL for the first time — a role that he clearly embraced with a certain degree of reverence. That reverence, for the show and how it changed his life, came through not only in his monologue but also in his performance in every sketch. And in turn, those performances elevated what could have easily been another so-so episode into one of the best episodes of SNL in a long while. Come back more often, Jason, we’ve missed you.
The cold open is a brisk five minutes, God bless it, featuring our new Joe Biden as played by James Austin Johnson meeting his 2013 self as played by Jason Sudeikis, and, in a very meta wink, the Biden played by 2020 Mikey Day. Today’s Biden wonders why he’s not as popular as 2013’s good ol’ Uncle Joe, and the answer is because he’s not Jason Sudeikis, duh.
If only all cold opens could be this short, sweet, and to the point.
I obviously don’t know Jason Sudeikis personally, so I can’t say if he’s actually as good a guy as he seems. That said, this monologue which is sweet and sincere and full of love for the show and a humble acknowledgment of how lucky he is to be a part of it and its history, it’s not going to do anything to change his Nice Guy image.
“Science Room with Mr. Teacher” is a recurring bit that has been done before with hosts Sam Rockwell and Adam Driver, but whereas those two hosts are driven into screaming rage at the utter stupidity of their child assistants Loni and Josh, Sudeikis’ is a slow build into madness. As opposed to the other two hosts whose personas are largely based on the idea that they are dangerous and angry, Sudeikis’ is, as we’ve established, a Nice Guy. So when he finally does snap, his delivery causes his fellow performers to break, he’s so funny. (But also, props to Mikey Day and Cecily Strong here as the idiotic Josh and Loni — they nail it every time.)
It’s Ellen, but a man! Manellen! Sudeikis plays a male host of an Ellen Degeneres-like show geared towards a male audience. As such, he has guests like Connor McGregor, Louis CK, and Jake Paul, features kids who become virtual stars for being little jerks, surprise stunts, and the whole thing is sponsored by Peyronie’s Disease. Basically, Ellen but produced by Barstool Sports. A little too long, but I loved it.
So, it’s that song “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here” from the musical Annie, except there’s one guy, Ricky, whose role in Daddy Warbucks’ staff is sketchy, to say the least. Based on the very tacked-on ending, it feels like this might have been partially inspired by Squid Game? Good performances here by Sudeikis and Cecily Strong, who gets to show off her singing chops.
In this bit, Sudeikis plays a teacher who, in the middle of a parent-teacher conference, begins flirting shamelessly with mom Ego Nwodim, while dad Kyle Mooney grows increasingly uncomfortable. It’s not an all-caps, multiple exclamation points GREAT!!! sketch but it’s good enough that I didn’t hate Mooney in it — which is truly saying something.
It’s a men’s underwear ad in which the underwear is made of non-stick Teflon so men don’t have to throw their underwear away in shame when they poop themselves. It’s a LOT of pooping jokes, if that’s your thing. It’s not mine.
“Weekend Update” felt a little looser this week, like the writers are finally remembering that they used to do this thing without Donald Trump and that they can return to that place. Jokes about Kanye, the vaccines, and one wicked joke about Walmart shoppers stand out. It also helps that Che managed to not make any misogynistic jokes this week. Impressive!
Jason Sudeikis’ “The Devil” checks into the “Weekend Update” desk to give an update on what he’s been up to for the past few years: and it’s been A LOT. Storms, climate change, Instagram for kids, the Astros making it to the World Series, Scarlett Johanson having a baby with Colin Jost.
Points deducted for the Astros dig. Haters gonna hate.
“What’s Up With That” is not technically a Jason Sudeikis sketch — Kenan Thompson and Lindsey Buckingham are the real stars — but it’s impossible to do “What’s Up With That” without Sudeikis’ scene-stealing backup dancer who leaps into position every time. This episode’s guests include Oscar Isaac, Emily Ratajkowski, and Nicholas Braun because I suspect Bill Hader is busy filming Barry and couldn’t make it to play Lindsey Buckingham. But don’t worry, Buckingham is not forgotten. Delightfully wacky as ever.
In this bit, as the Founding Fathers draft the Declaration of Independence, one suggests putting a “boss-ass” treasure map on the back of the document. Not a treasure hunt for babies — a treasure hunt for grown-ups. It’s goofy and the ending is goofy, but it’s just goofy enough to work. However, it feels like a sketch you would give to a host you don’t quite trust with comedy, as Sudeikis pretty much just plays a straight man here.
The final sketch is basically Indecent Proposal, but if the millionaire kept changing the price he was offering to pay for the wife and was being a real weirdo the whole time. It’s fine — great energy from Kenan Thompson as always — but I couldn’t help but wonder where the Halloween sketches are this year, because this and the Declaration sketch ain’t it.
There are two cut-for-time “Weekend Update” sketches this week. First, Melissa Villseñor discusses Hispanic Heritage Month, but really talks about dating.
And Guy Who Just Bought a Boat gives Halloween dating tips while talking a lot about his small penis:
Final Grade: A.
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.