Brendan Gleeson brings his Irish charm to a solid ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Brendan Gleeson & Willow
October 8, 2022

After a rocky first episode of the season, Saturday Night Live felt a little more sure of itself in last night’s episode. This week’s episode — though not perfect by any stretch — was much smoother and consistently funnier than the premiere. I certainly do not blame last week’s host for the mess that episode was, that was all about the writing, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give this week’s host, the wonderful Brendan Gleeson, his due for contributing to a more solid show. Gleeson was charming, light on his feet, and had natural comic timing: it was clear he was having a good time, and he brought the audience along with him. 

The cold open is a game show: “So You Think You Won’t Snap?” in which everyday Americans are challenged to not freak out after being read real headlines. They each fail. It’s a funny, sharp way to start the night and to talk about current events without resorting to impersonations, and I strongly approve.

Grade: A

Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, whom you definitely know as Mad-Eye Moody or from In Bruges, is our host, and his monologue is one of the most Irish things I’ve ever seen: while playing his mandolin, Gleeson shares charming, humorous stories until he’s interrupted by his In Bruges co-star Colin Farrell.

Grade: B+

In this bit, CNN breaks away multiple times from actual international news to report on the breakup of the Try Guys. Y’all, this sketch is almost too accurate in spoofing the over-the-top reaction the internet had to some YouTubers kicking a member out of their group for cheating on his wife. And if you still don’t know who the Try Guys are after the past ridiculous week, God bless you.

Grade: A-

 

The four new cast members, Marcello Hernandez, Michael Longfellow, Devon Walker, and Molly Kearney share the advice they have received upon joining Saturday Night Live. The three guys share some generic things people told them about finding writers who understand their voice and trusting their instincts, but Molly Kearney reveals that Lorne Michaels ordered them to kill Vladimir Putin and then lays out the entire story, one which involves Kelly Ripa and the Panama Canal. It’s a pretty great showcase for Kearney. (Although, there is a sneaky secondary joke at play in which Hernandez’s story is all about Lorne Michaels basically telling him to lower his expectations for even appearing on the show at all.)

Grade: A

In this sketch, a pair of women (one of which is played by Gleeson) read Marilyn Monroe some of her fan mail, most of which is just calling her a whore. That’s it. That’s the entire joke.

Grade: C

Here, a young man goes to a photographer for some headshots, but the photographer becomes smitten with the man’s grandfather and takes a bunch of photos of him, instead. Colin Farrell shows back up. It’s not nearly as funny as everyone involved seems to think.

 

Grade: C

In this Please Don’t Destroy sketch, a group of high school seniors are shocked to discover that one of them — played by Gleeson — is actually a 67-year-old Irish man. I mean, I guess.

 

Grade: B-

“Weekend Update” seems to have shaken off whatever was weighing them down last week, and actually delivers some solid jokes about Dr. Oz, Hershel Walker, and Ron Desantis.

Grade: A

Ego Nwodim shows up to the “Weekend Update” desk as Black Ariel, not to defend the casting as much as to protest being held up as a hero to Black girls, explaining that she’s terrible: a dumb rich asshole who is responsible for the BP oil spill. It’s an unexpected and clever take on this silly controversy.

Grade: A-

New kid Marcello Hernandez argues that Latinos make the best MLB players. It’s giving strong stand-up comedy vibes, not that that’s a bad thing.

Grade: B+

You know the classic Dan Akroyd Julia Child sketch, where she cuts herself and spews blood everywhere? This is that, but with ancient clansmen taking a blood oath together, only one of them cuts his hand too deeply. This is the second sketch in two weeks that seems to be remixing a classic SNL sketch (last week there was one that felt very “Wild and Crazy Guys”); is this a thing now? I’m not mad at it, I just think it’s interesting as someone who has been watching this show her entire life.

Grade: B

Finally, Sarah Sherman does her surrealist thing in this strange bit, playing a woman who replaces her eyes with googly eyes. It’s not for me, and that’s OK — not everything is for me. The question is, does it work? And while I didn’t think it was laugh-out-loud funny, it was certainly memorable and for what it was — whatever it was — it worked.

Grade: B

Final Grade: B.



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

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