Saturday Night Live
Will Forte & Måneskin
January 22, 2022
During his time on Saturday Night Live, Will Forte created a specific space for himself, playing creeps, hysterics on the edge, goofy weirdos, and, of course, MacGruber, a thinly-veiled and loving tribute to 80s TV action hero MacGyver. It’s taken a while for Forte to return to host the show — he left in 2010 and has seen a number of his former cast members host the show since. But he finally came home this week, in an episode that felt like a genuine showcase for his signature weirdos. The sketches didn’t always land (see the final bit), but for longtime fans of Saturday Night Live, having him back was as familiar as putting on a worn but well-loved sweater.
Our cold open is Laura Ingraham’s show where she chats with Ted Cruz, Novak Djokovic, Candace Owens, and Former President Hopefully About to be Indicted who turns his word salad into Wordle. You know, it’s fine. Not great, not memorable, too long, but fine.
Will Forte joined Saturday Night Live in 2002 and stayed eight seasons, finally leaving in 2010. And, as he points out, he’s one of the last of his original cast members to host the show. Not that he’s bitter about it! Sis monologue is then immediately hijacked by Kirsten Wiig, Lorne Michaels, and next week’s host Willem Defoe. Well played, SNL.
Obviously, Forte and Wiig bring back Forte’s most famous SNL character, and now Peacock star, MacGruber. MacGruber (as you can see from the screencap below) is now a QAnoner and anti-vaxxer. This is entirely plausible.
“Kid Klash” is a Double Dare-like kid’s game show in which Aidy Bryant’s child contestant has to perform a series of stunts. When she fails to complete the first task, Forte’s host becomes belligerent and insulting. Dark and unexpectedly funny.
Ah, it’s another installment of “Cinema Classics” with Reese De’What, and this time, he’s introducing the real movie, Gaslight, but as interpreted by Kate McKinnon and Will Forte who take the gaslighting to ridiculous extremes like serving her a pineapple and calling it a steak, and handing her a rock with googly eyes and saying that it’s a puppy. It’s fine, but feels like a squandered opportunity in the great age of gaslighting.
Forte plays one of his signature creeps in this bit as the third in a three-way with a husband and wife — except, as he explains to the exasperated husband, the husband will have to fight his way into the action. So much of this sketch depends on Forte’s wacky character, and he mostly pulls it off. Mostly.
“Weekend Update” is super long this week, with jokes about Prince Andrew, the sexy M&M controversy, “Gen Z icon Kyle Rittenhouse,” and Che returning to form with a dumb, sexist joke about women drivers that could have been written in 1953.
Bowen Yang’s Chen Biao returns to discuss the upcoming Beijing Olympics in yet another hilarious visit from the sassy Chinese government official.
Sarah Sherman ostensibly comes to the “Weekend Update” desk with tips on how to stay cozy in the winter, but instead roasts Colin Jost again.
Finally, the Guy Who Just Bought a Boat returns to the “Weekend Update” desk to welcome Pete Davidson and Colin Jost to the club. If you haven’t heard, Davidson and Jost just bought a Staten Island ferry boat that they plan on turning into a nightclub, so, you know, just … good luck with all that.
SNL has a long history of doing musical sketches, some more successful than others (see: Bill Murray’s Nick the Lounge Singer), some much more irritating than others (see: Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig’s Garth and Kath). This sketch, in which Will Forte and Kristen Wiig are country singers who sing mostly about aliens, toddlers, Model T cars, and jars of beer, is FIRMLY in the latter category. AND WHY IS THIS OVER FIVE MINUTES LONG? Ugh.
Cut for time is this spoof of an ESPN sports talk show in which the joke is that everyone just screams at everyone else over the most insignificant disagreements.
Final Grade: B+ (but just barely)
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.