Paul Rudd is the consummate professional on ‘Saturday Night Live’s’ season finale

Saturday Night Live
Paul Rudd & DJ Khaled
May 18, 2019

Paul Rudd is a Goddamned gem and he should be contractually obligated to host Saturday Night Live at least once a season, the end.

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Emma Thompson is a natural on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Emma Thompson and The Jonas Brothers
May 11, 2019

Emma Thompson is a very funny woman. Because her international fame began after she appeared in movies like Henry V, Howard’s End and Remains of the Day, I have her stuck in my head as a Very Serious Actress of a Particular British Type, no matter how many interviews I’ve seen where she is charming and hilarious, no matter how many award ceremony speeches where she puts her full “fuck it” attitude on display. It turns out despite what my broken brain might think, Thompson got her start in comedy — in fact, her first acting awards, BAFTAS even, were for her work in two different British comedy series. And I guess what I’m getting at here is why the hell is this the first time she’s hosted Saturday Night Live? Emma Thompson is a God damned hoot, and needs to be back sooner rather than later.

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Adam Sandler’s return to ‘Saturday Night Live’ was just all over the damn place

Saturday Night Live
Adam Sandler & Shawn Mendes
May 4, 2019

I’m going to be honest with you before we get into this: I am not a fan of Adam Sandler but for a few — no, make that one — exception, that exception being Happy Gilmore. I HATED Sandler when he was on SNL, and did not think it was a huge loss when he was fired 24 years ago. But Sandler has matured since his time on the show, as people are wont to do, and so while I came into this episode expecting to hate it and him, I was surprised to find I hated neither. Sandler, having become a huge movie star, seems more comfortable in his own skin, willing not to laugh more at himself than with himself, which is a huge relief.

All that said, it’s not a great episode, and in fact, one sketch — and an early one at that — received a dreaded F. You know what you did, Kyle Mooney.

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Even Emma Stone can’t save this ‘Saturday Night Live’ (though she tries her best)

Saturday Night Live
Emma Stone & BTS
April 13, 2019

Emma Stone is so charming, so good-natured (or at least seemingly so), so up for anything, that she makes even weak material better with her sheer pluck. That said, “better” isn’t “good,” and as I’ve said about countless other episodes, Emma Stone deserved better than whatever this mess of an episode was. Sure, there were a pair of good sketches that I might fondly remember at the end of this season (but not by the beginning of the next) but there were many more clunkers and sketches that were just flat-out terrible that I feel genuinely sorry for our host.

I am sure Stone will return soon enough to claim that Five Timers Club jacket — the show clearly loves her and trusts her. I just hope when she returns they give her material worthy of her.

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‘Saturday Night Live’: Maybe comedy just isn’t Kit Harington’s thing?

Saturday Night Live
Kit Harington & Sara Bareilles
April 6, 2019

Kit Harington is perfect as Game of Thrones‘ Jon Snow. The role mostly consists of brooding, wearing a heavy coat and rocking a beard, and at those things, Harington is one of the best. However, as it turns out, these skills do not translate easily to comedy as we learned on last night’s weak Saturday Night Live. I rooting for Harington to pull it off, but, unfortunately, he was stiff and unsure, and at moments clearly uncomfortable performing in front of a live audience. Also, there was the matter of his American accent which … oof.

I don’t mean to blame Harington for this mediocre episode — the writing was dreadful, with concepts either ridiculously simplistic (“nerds are nerdy!” “a doctor who is about to perform a rectal exam has long fingernails!”) or just outright baffling, and he really didn’t stand much of a chance. That said, there were some fun Game of Thrones references, both in Harington’s monologue and in one pretty terrific sketch. But one sketch and a monologue are not enough to carry an entire episode.

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‘Saturday Night Live’ really needed to trust Sandra Oh more

Saturday Night Live
Sandra Oh & Tame Impala
March 30, 2019

I am not sure when I learned Sandra Oh was funny — I’m not a Grey’s Anatomy viewer, so I’m guessing it was with Sideways? — all I know is that I associate Sandra Oh with being a funny actress. And so Sandra Oh hosting Saturday Night Live should have been a natural fit: she’s funny, she’s game, and if you’ve ever seen a single episode of Killing Eve, you should know that she is going to be able to pull off whatever material you give her. And yet, it felt like Saturday Night Live‘s writers weren’t sure what they could trust Oh with, only giving her a couple of sketches in which she was allowed to play something other than the straight (wo)man. It’s a shame because when she was given more room to demonstrate her comic skills, Oh killed it. Here’s hoping SNL has her back soon enough — and gives her more to work with.

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Idris Elba charms on the ever-rare consistent episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Idris Elba & Khalid
March 9, 2019

I KNOW THIS IS LATE AND I AM SORRY. I was on a plane when this episode originally aired, and while I guess I could have watched it on YouTube sometime last week I did not because of reasons. (I didn’t want to.) But I’m here now and am happy to report that last week’s episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Idris Elba, was a remarkably solid and consistent episode in an otherwise fairly sloppy season.

Idris Elba seemed genuinely thrilled to be hosting, the sketches were (for the most part) clever and none of them dragged on past their welcome, and did I mention the part where Idris Elba was the host? Because honestly, Idris Elba could just stand there being handsome for 90 minutes and it would still be a better episode of Saturday Night Live than the one Halsey hosted.


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