The perfect Zoë Kravitz isn’t a perfect fit for ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Zoë Kravitz & Rosalia
March 12, 2021

(No, there wasn’t a new Saturday Night Live last night — I just came back from vacation and have finally gotten around to writing about last week’s episode. Sorry if there was any confusion!)

The genetically blessed Zoë Kravitz hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time last week, fresh from starring as Cat Woman in the critically-acclaimed The Batman. Kravitz radiates a lot of the same cool-girl energy that made her mother famous, which does not necessarily make for the best fit on a live comedy series. Kravtiz, who is undeniably talented and beautiful, always felt a little removed from the wackiness of the live bits, a little aloof. The taped pieces were more successful as a whole, which I think just goes to show that performing live in front of an audience is a lot more daunting than those of us watching from home appreciate. In any event, Kravtiz held her own on a middling episode, though I don’t see a lot of physical comedy in her future.

The week’s cold open is based on a real news story that sounds like the premise of a Saturday Night Live sketch: President Biden’s White House reached out to educate TikTok influencers on the Ukraine crisis so that they could, in turn, spread their message on a platform that has increasingly become a source of news for millions. The jokes are exactly what you expect them to be:

Grade: B

Zoë Kravitz’s monologue is crashed by former Cat Women, a Cat Lady, and Katt Williams. Get it? Because, cats? Points for Chris Redd’s Katt Williams which is on point.

Grade: B+

In this bit, Kravitz plays a maid of honor who reveals all sorts of alarming secrets about the bride in her wedding toast: like she used to dance “professionally,” she was part of the January 6 insurrection, and that her last 9 boyfriends have all killed themselves. Kravitz commits to the bit, and it’s funny enough if not exactly all that original.

Grade: B+

For those of us in parts of the country that aren’t New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, Amazon Go is a store where one just goes inside, scans their Amazon account, takes what they want, and just leaves: there’s no payment process, your account is just charged through your phone. As this ad suggests, it sounds great — unless you’re Black and you know damn well it’s a trap. Brilliant and painfully accurate.

Grade: A++

Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant revisit their nerdy high school boy characters that they originally debuted on last season’s Carey Mulligan episode. As in that bit, McKinnon’s character calls Bryant’s for advice when the popular girl seems to want to make out with him. It wasn’t particularly funny then, and it’s not great now. Not sure why we’re making this a recurring bit.

Grade: C+

Kravitz is Princess Tiana in this Princess and the Frog bit, who is disturbed to learn that frogs don’t have penises, and it’s possible her Frog Prince also won’t have one when he becomes human again. One long dick joke that is punctuated by Andrew Dismukes’ playing Raymond the Firefly, Disney’s “worst” character, for no real reason.

Grade: B

In this “Please Don’t Destroy” sketch, the guys try to gift Kravitz a cat since she played Cat Woman, except the cat goes missing, and everyone loses their minds trying to find it. It’s not great, but Paul Dano makes a cameo and there’s someone I haven’t thought about in literally years.

Grade: C+ (points off for going way too long)

A family finds a video their dad made in the event of his death (he’s not dead yet) in which he reveals a lot of secrets. It’s funny-ish, though the best part has nothing to do with the writing, and everything with Kenan’s fast-forward acting.

Grade: B-

“Weekend Update” goes after Russia, Putin, Jussie Smollett, and Che makes a joke on International Women’s Day which is exactly what you think it is. And that’s all I’m going to say about that because what he wants is for me to shriek about it, and I’m not going to give him what he wants.

Grade: B-

Film critic Terry Fink is back to discuss the Oscar nominees, all of which he watched while on LSD.

Grade: B+

Kyle Mooney plays Dan Bulldozer, an influencer who is there to discuss the impact of social media on young people. This is easily the most excruciatingly unfunny bit on “Weekend Update” — possibly Saturday Night live — in a very long time. I am legit unclear how this made it onto national television.

Grade: F

“Word Crunch” is a word search game show where Kravitz keeps finding the horrific, non-existent compound word, “MOMHOLE.” Juvenile but very funny.

Grade: A

Bowen Yang stars in this bit about a guy who is VERY EXCITED about a college marching band’s version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” I didn’t love it —  in fact, I kinda hated it, but I’m seeing plenty of people online who loved it. Different strokes and all that.

Grade: C-

Can I Talk to You,” in which two women are harassed by two weirdos (ha? except, this is what it is actually like being a woman?) was cut for time:

Final Grade: B-.

Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.

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