Ana de Armas is fluently charming in an otherwise forgettable ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Ana de Armas & Karol G
April 16, 2023

I’ll admit it: I’ve seen Ana de Armas in exactly dos peliculas, and while I knew she was of Hispanic origin, my bias assumed that she was American putting on an accent … or something. I don’t know, as an admittedly stupid American, I guess I didn’t think about it at all. But nope! She’s Cuban and the accent is genuine (and lovely), and when de Armas leaned into her accent and heritage it produced delightful results. Otherwise, this week’s episode was rather mediocre — it certainly didn’t offend, but I won’t remember it this time next year, either.

Continue reading “Ana de Armas is fluently charming in an otherwise forgettable ‘Saturday Night Live’”

Molly Shannon’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ homecoming is a giddy hug

Saturday Night Live
Molly Shannon & The Jonas Brothers
April 8, 2023

Molly Shannon was on Saturday Night Live for only 6 1/2 seasons*, from 1995 until 2001, but she left a remarkable imprint on the series, creating a number of memorable characters, including Mary Katherine Gallagher who had her own feature film, Superstar. Shannon has a very specific comedic personality: sweet, awkward, and with a feralness burbling under the surface. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that her two most famous characters, Mary Katherine and Sally O’Malley are women on the opposite ends of the age spectrum, who are discovering and celebrating their own sexuality and power. And Shannon manages to get away with all of it, the armpit sniffing and the cameltoe brandishing, because she radiates an innocence and gentleness that you just can’t be offended by.

Shannon brought all of this goofy energy to this week’s Saturday Night Live — her second time hosting the series (the first was in 2007). It wasn’t a great episode like last week’s hosted by Quinta Brunson, but it was a comfortable and familiar blanket of an episode, and Shannon is welcome to come home anytime.

*Fun fact: Shannon replaced Janeane Garofalo in February of 1995 when Garofalo left the show over creative differences.

Continue reading “Molly Shannon’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ homecoming is a giddy hug”

Quinta Brunson — and a wild ‘Weekend Update’ prank — team up for the best ‘Saturday Night Live’ of the season

Saturday Night Live
Quinta Brunson & Lil Yachty
April 1, 2023

Thanks to the delightful, Emmy-winning sitcom she created, writes and stars in, Abbott Elementary, comedian Quinta Brunson has become something of a household name. But Brunson did not just appear out of nowhere: she’s been in the sketch comedy trenches for a while now, making bits for Buzzfeed, her own Facebook Watch show, Quinta vs. Everything, and perhaps most notably, as an original member of the critically-acclaimed Black Lady Sketch Show on HBO. Quinta is a veteran and her comedy chops did not disappoint in last night’s Saturday Night Live. Quinta was sharp, funny, and repeatedly played against type, showing off that she’s more than her Abbott Elementary character the sweet straight-man Janine.

The episode definitely had its weaker moments; but all-in-all, between some surprisingly well-written sketches, Brunson’s performance, and a “Weekend Update” prank that will go down for the ages, it was easily the best Saturday Night Live of the season.

Continue reading “Quinta Brunson — and a wild ‘Weekend Update’ prank — team up for the best ‘Saturday Night Live’ of the season”

Jenna Ortega brings her dark charms to ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Jenna Ortega & The 1975

March 11, 2023

By now you know who Jenna Ortega is. Or … maybe you don’t. My own husband came into the bathroom this morning to complain to me that his Twitter feed had been taken over by “someone named Jennie Ortega” and he didn’t understand why. For my husband, and those of you like him, Jenna Ortega is the star of Netflix’s big hit Wednesday; she is starring in Scream 6 which just came out; and before that she had roles in everything from You to Jane the Virgin to Elena of Avalor. As your Twitter feed might demonstrate, Ortega is kinda having a moment with her Aubrey Plaza-esque goth vibes.

But Ortega wants people to know that she does have a sense of humor despite all the darkness, and she demonstrated as much in a middle-of-the-road episode of Saturday Night Live. The episode wasn’t bad, per se, it just wasn’t particularly memorable or outstanding — with the exception of one brilliant sketch that stole the night, and maybe the season.

Continue reading “Jenna Ortega brings her dark charms to ‘Saturday Night Live’”

Travis Kelce is a goddamned delight on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Travis Kelce & Kelsea Ballerini
March 5, 2023

Every so often, Saturday Night Live feels compelled to invite an athlete to host the show, and most of the time, it’s a disaster. Athletes are not comedians — they aren’t even actors (well, I mean aside from European soccer players but that’s a whole other story) — and as such, performing on a live comedy television show is a huge ask. It’s a huge ask for anyone, but it’s a particularly huge ask for people who are not usually expected to speak in public that often. In fact, there have only been a handful of athletes who have managed to pull it off; notably, Peyton Manning, Charles Barkley, John Cena, The Rock, and Houston’s beloved J.J. Watt. And two of those five were professional wrestlers, who might as well have been soap opera actors.

To the disappointment of all Eagles fans out there, it looks like we’re going to have to add two-time Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce to the list of successes. Despite being a football player by trade, Kelce is a natural comedian: he is charming, has good comic timing, and is willing to mock the concept of himself as some sort of masculine ideal. He turns out to be the perfect foil for jokes about toxic masculinity because he so openly challenges those stereotypes. I never would have guessed that an athlete would have delivered one of the best SNL‘s this season, but dammit, here we are.

Continue reading “Travis Kelce is a goddamned delight on ‘Saturday Night Live’”

Woody Harrelson brings down an already not-great ‘Saturday Night Live’ with his anti-vax bullshit

Saturday Night Live
Woody Harrelson & Jacke White
February 25, 2023

We all know that Woody Harrelson is a huge pothead. This is not exactly breaking news. Harrelson is up there with Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg on the Mt. Rushmore of weed smokers. What I did not know about Woody Harrelson, however, which I learned from last night’s SNL is that he is an anti-science lunatic, who “doesn’t believe in germ theory” and honestly believes there is a link between 5G and COVID-19. Now, these beliefs of Harrelson’s probably also should not have been news to anyone — not because of the pothead thing, but because Harrelson is a famous vegan; a raw-foods vegan at that. And while not all vegans are anti-science by any stretch, there is a place when you start getting into “raw foods” that you begin to leave the world of science and reality behind. Weird ideas about health and diet start leading you down a path of questioning conventional medicine which leads you to start questioning basic science and the next thing you know you actually believe there is a cabal of powerful pharmaceutical companies who control the world.

Anyway, this is a long way to go to say that Woody Harrelson said some crazy shit on last night’s Saturday Night Live and people are understandably upset about it.

Also, it was his fifth time to host, so he’s officially joined the Five-Timers Club. But no one is going to remember this episode for that, trust.

Continue reading “Woody Harrelson brings down an already not-great ‘Saturday Night Live’ with his anti-vax bullshit”

Pedro Pascal seduces ‘Saturday Night Live’ with his Daddy energy

Saturday Night Live
Pedro Pascal
February 4, 2023,

Here’s the thing about Pedro Pascal — currently he’s playing a pair of gruff loners in two of the biggest shows on television: The Last of Us and The Mandalorian. But Pascal’s big breakthrough role was Oberyn Martell, also known as The Red Viper, on Game of Thrones. And Oberyn Martell is the absolute opposite of Joel and Din Djarin. Oberyn is a witty, clever, sexy lothario, oozing charm and danger and seducing everyone in his path. And he seems much more what Pascal is like in real life than in either of his current roles.

Or maybe that’s just what I want to believe:

All that sexiness aside, Pascal also gives off a definite goofy energy; he seems like a guy it would be entertaining to have a beer with — until he seduces your wife. And he brought all that charisma, exuberance, and yes, sexiness with him to deliver one of the best Saturday Night Lives of the season.

Or maybe I was just blinded by the Daddiness of it all.

Continue reading “Pedro Pascal seduces ‘Saturday Night Live’ with his Daddy energy”

Michael B. Jordan’s charm elevates an otherwise lackluster ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Michael B. Jordan and Lil Baby
January 28, 2023

Back when I was watching a young Michael B. Jordan on my stories — All My Children (R.I.P.) specifically — I would have never guessed he would become a full-fledged Movie Star, capital M, capital S. He was a cute kid, but, as demonstrated in the clip he included in his monologue, he wasn’t really given a lot to work with. Fortunately, casting agents saw something more in him, and after his breakthrough performance in Fruitvale Station ten years ago, followed by powerful performances in Creed and Black Panther, it’s safe to say Michael B. Jordan is a household name (and not just because he shares it with the best basketball player of all time).

It also helps that Michael B. Jordan is charming and handsome, qualities that he used to help this mediocre episode of Saturday Night Live. His charisma helped smooth out what might have been some rougher sketches, and his good looks were literally the subject of several others. I’d love to see him return, maybe with some stronger writing next time.

Continue reading “Michael B. Jordan’s charm elevates an otherwise lackluster ‘Saturday Night Live’”

This Targaryen can’t be bothered to watch ‘House of the Dragon’

Continue reading “This Targaryen can’t be bothered to watch ‘House of the Dragon’”

Aubrey Plaza hosts a delightful ‘Parks and Rec’ reunion on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Aubrey Plaza & Sam Smith
January 21, 2023

Aubrey Plaza is having a moment. After being best known for playing the dark and deadpan April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation, Plaza re-emerged last year as the dark and deadpan … and sexy Harper on The White Lotus. But it’s not that Plaza is typecast — she’s just playing Aubrey Plaza as evidenced by this old Today Show interview in which she discussed being a (very bad) NBC page in the early 2000s.

Yes, Plaza began her career as an NBC page (while also performing stand-up and improv at Upright Citizen’s Brigade) and even tried out for Saturday Night Live before landing the role of a lifetime on Parks and Recreation.

And so Saturday’s gig hosting SNL was a homecoming for Plaza, an opportunity to fulfill her dream of being on Saturday Night Live, and to reunite with her Parks and Rec co-star, boss and SNL alum, Amy Poehler. It was a celebration of Plaza’s growth, and (for the most part) the writers rose to the occasion, giving Plaza material that fit her dark and deadpan brand.

Continue reading “Aubrey Plaza hosts a delightful ‘Parks and Rec’ reunion on ‘Saturday Night Live’”