Halsey, whoever she is, hosts a TERRIBLE ‘Saturday Night Live’ (but that’s not her fault)

Saturday Night Live
Halsey
February 9, 2019

So, this episode of Saturday Night Live, it was not good. With the exception of three sketches I will get to in a moment, last night’s SNL was really not good. The host, Halsey, is very pretty and a decent little actress for someone who is ~checks notes~ a singer? Of popular music? Guess I’ll have to take your word for it. But this episode was bad and Halsey was let down by some straight-up terrible writing. Like, maybe this was the worst episode of the season terrible, and that’s REALLY SAYING SOMETHING, YOU GUYS.

That said, it’s interesting to note that, like I said, there were three good sketches, and that they were all very pointed takes on race issues: “Them Trumps”; the sketch on the appropriate uses of blackface; and the tribute to black performers on SNL were all funny, sharp, and took no prisoners. Considering that it’s been quite the week for race news between Virginia and Liam Neeson and it being Black History Month, I suspect SNL didn’t have much choice but to include so many racially-based sketches. I don’t know how many black writers SNL currently has on its staff, but it can’t hurt that SNL has its first black head writer EVER with Michael Che, and as a result not only were these sketches written, but they were really good. Similarly, it’s not a coincidence that when one of the head writers was a woman a head writer a couple of seasons ago, the female-based sketches that made it on air were really funny and trenchant and for me, a female viewer, very relatable. And what I’m saying is HIRE ANOTHER FEMALE HEAD WRITER, SNL. AND MAYBE SOME MORE PEOPLE OF COLOR AND LADY WRITERS.

Continue reading “Halsey, whoever she is, hosts a TERRIBLE ‘Saturday Night Live’ (but that’s not her fault)”

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James McAvoy and his many accents are welcome back to ‘Saturday Night Live’ anytime

Saturday Night Live
James McAvoy & Meek Mill
January 26, 2019

James McAvoy is one of those actors who so seamlessly disappears into his roles that it can sometimes be hard to remember what, exactly, he has actually been in. And in fact, I had to go over to IMDB to look up his credits and confirm that he had been in The Chronicles of Narnia and wasn’t just doing an impersonation of someone else doing Mr. Tumnus in one of last night’s sketches. And though he’s best known for serious roles like Atonement, Split and the young Dr. Xavier in the X-Men movies, it turns out McAvoy has quite the comic timing and presence and was a complete natural as host of Saturday Night Live. I expect he will be back.

But here’s a question I have after last night’s episode: did the writers have some sort of challenge amongst themselves to see how many different accents they could make McAvoy do? By my count there were roughly 8 different accents McAvoy was asked to pull off: generic American, over-the-top Scottish, German, Philadelphian, British, Southern, urban/rap, and bad fake Southern. That’s a lot! That’s more than they ask other hosts to do! Was it some sort of game to see how many different accents they could come up with and that he could pull off? Or did he just decide to add accents to certain characters for flair? These are the sorts of things that wake me up at 4:17 in the morning, I’m not even kidding.

Continue reading “James McAvoy and his many accents are welcome back to ‘Saturday Night Live’ anytime”

Rachel Brosnahan hosts a solidly B episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Rachel Brosnahan & Greta Van Fleek
January 19, 2019

Saturday Night Live is back after its long winter break and while last night’s episode wasn’t terrible, let’s just say that it felt like some writers and performers don’t quite seem like they have entirely mentally have returned from vacation? It is not that the episode was lazy, per se — there were a couple of sketches that I think really hit it out of the park, including one that revels in its immaturity, and a surprise visit from the delightful John Mulaney — it’s just that the bad sketches weren’t bad as much as they were half-assed.

As for Brosnahan’s performance, I honestly had forgotten she was the host through much of the episode. That’s not meant to be a knock on her, she fit in well enough that I found myself reminding myself that she was the host and not a “featured player.” (Not a star, mind you, but a featured player.) (OK, maybe that was a dig.)

Continue reading “Rachel Brosnahan hosts a solidly B episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’”

Matt Damon delivers a Christmas miracle: a good ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Matt Damon and Miley Cyrus & Mark Ronson
December 15, 2018

How is it that this is only the second time Matt Damon has hosted Saturday Night Live? I mean, I’m sure it’s just a matter of his busy schedule: he is a movie star with four kids, it’s not like he has a lot of free time to spend hanging out on a sketch comedy series. But that said, Damon seemed to really be in his element last night. It was already evident from his surprise appearance as Brett Kavanaugh earlier this season that Damon is a natural comedian who seems to thrive under the pressure of a live audience. But last night just cemented the fact that his performance as Kavanaugh wasn’t a fluke. He genuinely seemed to be having as much if not more fun on the SNL stage as the cast, and he was a genuine professional the entire time. Matt Damon gave a Melissa McCarthy-level performance as host.

Additionally, the writing this week was so much stronger than it has been all season. From what I’ve read, hosts are invited to make sketch suggestions, and I suspect that played a large role in why this week’s sketches were just better than they have been in recent weeks. I’m guessing Damon, who is also a writer, came armed with some ideas, rather than just agreeing to whatever nonsense the writers gave him. Whatever the magic was, here’s to hoping SNL also recognized it and bring Damon back sooner rather than later.

Continue reading “Matt Damon delivers a Christmas miracle: a good ‘Saturday Night Live’”

Give Jason Momoa a glitter cape and have him host ‘Saturday Night Live’ every week, please.

Saturday Night Live
Jason Momoa & Mumford & Sons
December 8, 2018

It turns out, Jason Momoa, the actor who is best-known as the violent and sexy warrior chieftain Khal Drogo in the first season of Game of Thrones, is a delight. A goofy, funny, charming delight. His infectious energy lit up Saturday Night Live’s stage last night, clearly genuinely enjoying himself and single-handedly saving some mediocre sketches from themselves. The writing this season still is lacking — woefully lacking, in fact — but I have to be honest: Jason Momoa twerking in a glitter cape goes a loooooong way in making up for some lazy sketch ideas.

Continue reading “Give Jason Momoa a glitter cape and have him host ‘Saturday Night Live’ every week, please.”

Claire Foy reigns over a better (but still not great) ‘Saturday Night Live’

 H.Saturday Night Live
Claire Foy & Anderson .Paak
December 1, 2018

Aside from the last bit of the night (and maybe the tribute to George H. W. Bush), there wasn’t anything about last night’s episode that any of us will remember a month from now, much less a year. But I guess I’m so starved for a good Saturday Night Live, that I’ll take anything, because I didn’t hate last night’s episode. In fact, I didn’t even notice until my sister pointed it out that there were three — THREE — separate instances where people broke into song, which I usually hate. But maybe it was the charm of Claire Foy, maybe it’s the holiday season, maybe it’s that the lyrics of the “All I Want for Christmas” parody made me feel seen — whatever it was, I was left feeling like this was one of the better episodes of the season so far, maybe even the best. Of course, it doesn’t have a whole lot of competition, so take that as the non-compliment that it is.  Continue reading “Claire Foy reigns over a better (but still not great) ‘Saturday Night Live’”

The otherwise delightful Steve Carell is saddled with the laziest ‘Saturday Night Live’ of the season.

Saturday Night Live
Steve Carell & Ella Mai
November 17, 2018

Despite his recent turn into Serious Actorhood, Steve Carell is still one of our funniest comedic actors in the business. He is a natural fit for host of Saturday Night Live (which he has hosted three times previous to this appearance, he’ll be ushered into the Five-Timers Club in no time). He is goofy, game and giving (h/t Dan Savage). And it is because Carell is so funny that this episode receives such a low grade: it’s the expectation gap.

But I don’t blame Carell — he gave his all to unfunny material. No, I blame writers who think the word “kern” is inherently funny, and are too lazy to write a monologue or come up with anything for a sketch beyond, “So Steve is a dad and …” On behalf of all middle-aged parents, THERE IS MORE TO US THAN JUST BEING YOUR MOM OR DAD, YOU DUMB MILLENIALS. ~shakes angry fist at the ceiling in the direction of where her teenage sons are playing video games~ Continue reading “The otherwise delightful Steve Carell is saddled with the laziest ‘Saturday Night Live’ of the season.”