Something has been missing from Saturday Night Live so far in 2022, and it’s not just that they’re actually missing Pete Davidson (he’s safe from Kanye, don’t worry, he’s working on another project aside from the project of dating Kim Kardashian). It’s not the performances, because the cast and guest hosts still come at their sketches with whatever they can bring, but they’re not given quite as much to bring these days for whatever reason. The trend continued this week.
What’s The Deal For The SNL Cold Open For Last Night (03/12/22)?
After skipping President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last week, the show wasn’t about to snub the White House a second time, especially after learning that Biden hosted a group of TikTok influencers in an attempt to help with messaging on the war in Ukraine and other matters.
James Austin Johnson continues to make a solid impression as Biden, and even if Kate McKinnon’s Jen Psaki is all red wig and vibes, at least the TikTok influencer premise is enough for any comedy writers room to pull off. They gave us Chloe Fineman as straight-up “actress from The CW,” aka AnnaLynne McCord’s poem about Putin’s mom that went stupidly viral; bucket-hatted Andrew Dismukes played a member of “The Boo Boo Boys” whom Biden somehow obsessively follows along with everyone else in the “Cringe House”; Chris Redd played Jason Derulo; Aidy Bryant played a 12-year-old right-wing conspiracy fan who reminded us all about Hunter Biden’s Ukraine connections; Melissa Villaseñor posed as the guy who says “chupapi muñañyo” through a tube to people; and Kenan Thompson? He was merely a roofer from Pittsburgh whose name sounds like Charli D’Amelio. But wait. There’s more. Bowen Yang enters topless with a plunger stuck to his left nipple, and he slightly breaks the wall by saying if you think “the idea of asking TikTok people how to win the war against Russia might sound like a joke…” just wait until you hear him go on a rant while the camera zooms in on his nipple…er…plunger.
How Did The SNL Guest Host Zoë Kravitz Do?
Zoë Kravitz made her hosting debut, just as she shines as Catwoman in the new movie reboot of The Batman opposite Robert Pattinson. She also shone brightly in pretty much everything she did on the show. Even the monologue? Well, maybe the monologue cast her aside pretty much to focus on the actual cast members as different plays on Catwoman. Kate in the Michellef Pfeiffer costume. Ego Nwodim in the Eartha Kitt costume. Aidy as a regular Cat Lady. Chris as Katt Williams. Blame Kate’s Cat Signal for attracting them all onstage?
Anyhow. What about the rest of the show?
Kravitz dove into the night’s sketches, front and center and pretty much carrying the load on the first post-monologue sketch as the maid of honor at a wedding reception for a couple played by Kyle Mooney and Cecily Strong, where her speech took TMI farther than the groom ever could have imagined. A one-note sketch that’s thankfully stacked with jokes in the form of surprising revelations. Cecily plays the straight reactions great, complimented by Kyle’s increasingly befuddled terror at what he’s gotten himself into.
Kravitz matched the intensity of the “please don’t destroy” manboy trio in their video in which they repeatedly lose the cat they got her as a gift. Great surprise cameo, but if gave you a hint in a riddle, you’d get it, and still be surprised.
Kravtiz also could go soft in support of Kate’s second “Study Buddy” sketch, a redux of her awkward teen flirtation last season as Josh with Carey Mulligan, complete with Aidy as Josh’s BFF, Jason, again offering advice over the phone with real-time commentary.
In a sketch mocking Disney+ as Disney- for not promoting The Princess and The Frog, we find out a possible reason for that oversight? Is it because the frog (Chris) tells the princess (Kravitz) that frogs don’t have a penis? Or perhaps because he then explained how frogs do have sex? Or because he revealed he’d already lost his penis in a bowling alley accident before Kenan’s character turned him into a frog in the first place? Andrew also reminds us that movie has a Cajun firefly named Ray that nobody who has ever watched the movie likes, either.
Kenan should get some props just for playing along with the conceit of performing live as if he’s on video-tape, reacting whenever his family decided to fast-forward through the less exciting parts of his pre-planned dying wishes. That’s the true highlight of the sketch, which has no ending, so you can fast-forward to the actual fast-forward parts of “Old Home Movies,” I guess?
And then there was “Word Crunch.”
Andrew hosts this game show pilot with Zoe, Aidy, and Aristotle Athari playing the contestants, looking for words in the search puzzles. Only problem is, the writers went on strike, so the show’s sound engineer (Sarah Sherman) assumed all of those duties. Which leads to a lot of holes, and not just momholes. Just when you thought it was safe to stop guessing “momhole,” the second, third and fourth puzzles only make it even tougher on the contestants to play by the rules, and for Andrew to wonder why he agreed to host this game show. Momholes. “You may not want to think about it, but they have them.”
How Relevant Was The Musical Guest Rosalía?
Rosalía was the first Spanish-singing artist to earn a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, and she’ has helped break through despite the language barrier thanks to collaborations with J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Travis Scott and more. Her third studio album, “Motomami,” is due March 18. I can see why the cool Katts and kittens would wan to meet her. Her first song on the show did include at least two words in English; “Chicken Teriyaki.”
For her second song, she performed “La Fama.”
Which Sketch Will We Be Sharing: “Amazon Go”
Amazon made news last week by announcing it’d shutter more than 50 of its brick-and-mortar stores, with the online retail behemoth reporting its desire to focus more on Amazon Go, its stores where customers don’t need to check out at a register or pay anybody, because the store’s cameras and tech catches it all. Not so fast, say SNL’s black cast members and Kravitz in this pre-taped ad for the chain of stores! They’re not going to even give anyone the benefit of doubting that they might be shoplifting. “This a damn trap.”
Who Stopped By Weekend Update?
Wait, does every Update week have a secret theme that we’re supposed to know about, or just this one? Because both of the guests purposely lost their train of thought in separate existential crises.
First came film critic Terry Fink (Alex Moffat) with his Oscar picks, and this is the third time New Yorkers could use the Leonardo DiCaprio pointing at the screen meme thing to recognize Fink’s similarities to real-life WABC-TV film critic Sandy Kenyon.
Next came lifestyle influencer Dan Bulldozer (Kyle in big beard, fake muscles, fake voice, white v-neck tee) to talk about the impact of social media on young people, and I don’t know what any of this has to do with the story he wants to tell about a farmer with three daughters, and neither does he, apparently.
Somehow, the show’s Twitter account shouted out the actual target of the parody instead, Dan Bilzerian, before deleting it about 20 minutes later.
What Sketch Filled The “10-to-1” Slot?
At 12:54 a.m. Eastern (pre-Daylight Savings Time), a brunch outing became fodder for Bowen’s character to hype up the inspirational powers of Ohio State University’s Marching Band rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. And yes, the actual Spotify track for this has the actual typo Bowen name-checked in the sketch, too.
Who Was The Episode’s MVP?
For individual sketch MVP honors, obviously Kenan Thompson‘s performance in the home video deserves recognition, as does Kate McKinnon‘s quick-change from Jen Psaki in the cold open to Catwoman in the monologue. Overall, though, it felt like Chris Redd had the most on his shoulders, from Jason Derulo in the open to Katt Williams in the monologue to the opening speaker in the wedding reception to part of the pre-taped Amazon spoof to the prince cursed with more things than just being a frog to the son saddled with his dad’s genetic defects. That’s six different sketches. Plus he was also in the final brunch sketch playing off of Bowen’s marching band riff. So seven out of 10 possible sketch slots (not counting Update). Busy night for Chris!
Next week? The cast gets a break, with a repeat of Kieran Culkin and Ed Sheeran from earlier this season airing instead.
Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.