Jason Momoa’s enthusiasm almost saves another ‘Saturday Night Live’ from itself. Almost.

Saturday Night Live
Jason Momoa & Tate McRae
November 19, 2023

Jason Momoa first hosted SNL back in 2018, when he was still best known for being Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones. I gave the episode a B despite the lackluster writing, in large part for Momoa’s unbridled goofy enthusiasm. It’s been a long five years, what with Aquaman and Dune and Fast X and a global pandemic, but I’m here to tell you that not much has changed for Jason Momoa. He’s still that goofy, energetic guy whose enthusiasm is often the single thing that saves some pretty middling sketches from themselves. And you’ll never guess what grade this episode received.

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Timothée Chalamet returns for another Timo-meh ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Timothée Chalamet & Boygenius
November 11, 2023

The last time Timothée Chalamet hosted, it was December 2020, in the height of the pandemic, and I’d never seen any of his movies. It is now 3 years later, COVID is still with us, but (hopefully) on the retreat, and I have seen one (1) Timothée Chalamet movie: Dune. It was good! He was good!

Back in 2020, I noted that Chalamet wasn’t exactly a comedic actor but seemed to be having a good time, even with mediocre material. Three years later, I’m happy to report that Chalamet is still having a good time and much more comfortable doing comedy, even with mediocre material. Last night’s Saturday Night Live was not one that I’m going to remember, but I’m not mad at it, either, and Chalamet neither made that better nor worse. He was a servicable host for a servicable episode. Which, I’m afraid, is something of a compliment these days.

I will note that social media did have two very specific issues with tonight’s episode, which some people were REALLY MAD ABOUT. I challenge you to guess what they were as we go through the bits. I’ll reveal the answers when we get to the end.*

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Nate Bargatze proves on ‘Saturday Night Live’ why he should be a household name

Saturday Night Live
Nate Bargatze & Foo Fighters
October 29, 2023

Look. If you didn’t know who Nate Bargatze was before last Saturday night (and still might have some questions even after having seen the episode) don’t worry — he’s not exactly a household name. What you need to know: Bargatze is a stand-up comedian who has been around for a minute, well-regarded amongst fellow comedians and comedy nerds for a decade or so. He’s known as a “nice guy” in the comedy world because his material is pretty PG and also, he’s just a nice guy. He has some stand-up specials on Netflix. And he is just as confused as anyone as to what he’s doing hosting SNL.

And now you know as much as there is to know about Nate Bargatze.

Well, that, and that he hosted easily the best SNL of the season so far, and should absolutely be invited back.

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Pete Davidson finally gets his chance to host ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Pete Davidson, Ice Spice
October 14, 2023

Pete Davidson was scheduled to host Saturday Night Live last season on May 6 — he had a new Peacock series coming out, Bupkis, later that month and it would be the former SNL cast member’s first time hosting. It would also be the most screen time he’d ever have on a single episode.

But then the writers’ strike began four days before the episode would air, and everyone would have to wait five months — and one failed Peacock series — for SNL to return and for Pete Davidson to prove he could sustain an entire episode based on his stoner dude persona.

Yeah, he couldn’t quite sustain an entire episode on his stoner dude persona.

Last night’s season 49 premiere episode demonstrated a great deal of dustiness on the writers’ part after so many months away; an uncertainness on how to handle political humor in the midst of an international crisis; and a lack of confidence on the part of the host despite having been a cast member for eight seasons.

THAT SAID, there were a number of bright spots, including how the show handled addressing the Israeli crisis, and Pete Davidson’s unshakable ability to laugh at his own persona. It’s literally his superpower (well, along with his B.D.E.) (come on, we’re all thinking it).

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