Kristen Wiig, one of Saturday Night Live‘s most successful female cast members, returned home for the annual Christmas episode. (And I had it in my head for some reason that it’s a tradition for a former cast member to host this particular episode. But going back 20 seasons, I learned it’s only happened a handful of times: Jimmy Fallon has hosted this episode twice; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler co-hosted one year; Eddie Murphy hosted this episode last year; and Martin Short hosted this episode a few years back — and that’s it. And now you know this worthless trivia, too.)
BUT AS I WAS SAYING: Wiig returned and was her Wiig-y self: funny, wacky, and game, clearly enjoying herself and the material. Which is why I’m sort of baffled as to why after the grading was done the episode ended up with such a relatively low grade. I don’t remember disliking this episode, but I suppose if you include enough mediocre material, it drags the entire average down.
Saturday Night Live Timothée Chalamet & Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
December 11, 2020
I don’t have any feelings one way or another about Timothée Chalamet. Looking over his IMDb, it seems I’ve only seen one movie where he has a big role, and though he was in Homeland, I have no memory of him, maybe because it was 8 years ago. The point being, I went into this episode of Saturday Night Live something of a blank slate at least where his performance was concerned.
And from what I can tell, the Saturday Night Live writers weren’t sure what to expect of him either. They filled the night with safe sketches, and implemented the buddy system, placing him literally shoulder-to-shoulder with Pete Davidson three separate times.
But honestly, they needn’t have worried. Chalamet was clearly enjoying himself, and though he’s not the most natural comic actor, he held his own, mostly through enthusiasm. And frankly, he did the best he could with the material he was given. I went to bed irritated with this episode, convinced it was terrible. I rewatched the episode in the cold light of morning and came away merely disappointed. It wasn’t terrible, it was just middling. Is it that the writers have already blown through whatever energy they had last week, or are they looking to be inspired by a host they know they can trust, like maybe Kristen Wiig next week? Let’s hope it’s the latter.
It’s a holiday miracle, y’all! Saturday Night Live finally — FINALLY — managed to deliver an episode that did not rely on a single misogynistic, homophobic or racist joke!
In fact, the entire episode was solid from start to finish, including a Kyle Mooney sketch that I didn’t hate! I don’t know if it was just that the writers needed that three-week break to recharge or if they were particularly inspired by the holidays or if Jason Bateman was just a great host to write for, but whatever it was, it worked and they need to bottle this magic formula.
The first time Dave Chappelle hosted Saturday Night Live was four days after Donald Juniper Trump had been elected to the Presidency. It was a fraught moment for more than half of America, and Chappelle, a gleeful critic of White America and its deep-rooted racism, in the wake of this nation electing an unabashed racist, chose to take a moderating path, urging us to give Trump a chance.
Welp, we gave him four years, and now as Chappelle returns for only the second time to host, we as Americans have affirmatively declared the Trump experiment a failure. (Thank God.) As for Chappelle, he hasn’t changed his tone much: he still thinks we need to try to understand one another better, to give one another a chance, to not hate. And I will! Just as soon as Trump and his GOP loonies stop trying to burn down our faith in our democracy. Go ahead and book Chappelle for November 9, 2024, Lorne, and I’ll be happy to update us all on how that went.
It’s election eve and we’re all very tense, so having the charming and hilarious John Mulaney return to host Saturday Night Live right now is like a nice cup of cocoa and a warm blanket. But you know what is NOT PARTICULARLY COMFORTING RIGHT NOW: news that Dave Chappelle is hosting next week, the Saturday after Election Day. FUN FACT: Chappelle hosted the Saturday Night Live immediately following Election Day, 2016, SO. YOU KNOW. MAYBE NOT? MAYBE DON’T DO THIS, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE? And look, I know I’m just being superstitious and unreasonable. But counterpoint: NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. FIND SOMEONE ELSE.
Look. I’m not saying that last night’s Saturday Night Live was great or anything — it wasn’t. In fact, one sketch might have been the most offensive one they’ve done so far this season — although NBA Bubble Draft, “titty meat” and Bill Burr’s entire monologue are still giving it a run for its money. But overall, last night’s episode felt more like an episode from the beginning of last season: not knock down hilarious, but amusing and even clever at points. Host Adele’s energy was a large part of this: her enthusiasm was infectious, and she seemed to be having a genuinely great time. In fact, her energy rubbed off on the audience who seemed to be enjoying themselves more than they have in the past three episodes. That, or I’m deluding myself, so desperate I am for one … just one … SNL episode be half good already.
I really wanted to like this episode of Saturday Night Live. The past two episodes have been weak and pointlessly misogynistic, so I was hopeful that with a smart and funny woman like Issa Rae hosting, this week would be better.
Friends, it was not better. Leaving aside the weekly assault that is Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden, many of these sketches were awkwardly unfunny and barely elicited even polite chuckles from the audience. And then there was the sketch in which a woman is harassed by three different men, all of whom refer to her “titty meat.” Cooooooool.
What’s going on in the writers’ room, you guys? Are y’all alright? Anna Drezen, can you get control of this situation, please?
Well, Saturday Night Live is back on air and back in Studio 8H and everything has returned to (almost) normal, including a show full of mediocre and overly long sketches. When at the end of last season Saturday Night Live had to be produced remotely, I enjoyed the results: the show was lighter, weirder, and freer. Not every sketch landed, of course, but it felt like the show had to take more chances because they didn’t have any choice in the matter. The result was shorter, and frankly funnier sketches.
But now we’re back to the studio, back to sketches that don’t quite know how to end, back to sketches that seem to be written by committee. ~sigh~ It was fun while it lasted.