Ia rare and surprising example of restraint, this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live avoids diving directly into The Thing, except for a brief mention late in its cold openness. Instead, the show opens with a new episode of Fox & Friends, where morning talk show hosts and right-wingers Steve Doocy (Alex Moffat), Ainsley Earhardt (Heidi Gardner) and Brian Kilmeade (Mikey Day) ask softball questions to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Kenan Thompson) and his wife Ginni (Kate McKinnon).
Judge Thomas is worried about his recent hospitalization, while Ginny – also known as “Yoko Ono from the Supreme Court” – convincingly denies her role in the Capitol riots, though she can not help but call for “a tidal wave of biblical revenge to wash the Biden crime family all the way to Gitmo. “
After a brief tirade about Disney “making your kindergarten gay” from the network’s resident wino, Judge Jeanine Pirro (Cecily Strong), the hosts are visited by former President Trump (James Austin Johnson), who calls in from the bed at Mar-a- Lago. . He teases that Will Smith beat Chris Rock at the Oscars (“I saw slap, I enjoyed slap, I was very impressed with my Hitch,”) before he even managed his role in the uprising (“In many ways it was a deliberately planned coup, yes “) and its cover-up (” I was too busy with phone calls, burner phone and coup “).
This cold openness suffers from the same lack of narrative and thematic coherence that most Fox News segments do, but Johnson’s film-obsessed, clear article-allergic Trump continues to prove to be a winner and audience-friendly.
The host of the night is standup cartoon Jerrod Carmichael. Immediately, Carmichael says he “does not want to talk about that …, “before he continues to do exactly that, even though he never says what” it “is. Instead, he talks about how it feels, as if we have all” talked about it for until“asks,” Does not feel like it happened somewhere between Jamiroquai and 9/11? “
Despite his restraint, he says Lorne Michael told him he had to discuss it because “The Nation Must Heal”. He is amazed that Lorne would impose this burden on him as it “must be the least famous host in the history of SNL”. Still, he takes the opportunity to introduce himself and promote his new HBO special Rothaniel (in which he comes out as gay), though when it comes to the burden of national responsibility, he passes the money on to former President Obama.
The first sketch of the night is a game show called Is My Brain Okay ?, which gives participants the task of identifying simple things they “definitely knew before Covid”, such as normal things like wheelbarrows (guesses include “bike”, “farm bikes” and “wheelmonkey”. “), days of the week, the names of close friends and ways to start everyday conversations. It’s a clever idea that tries to run on with its wisdom, but the funniest is just Sara Sherman behaving like a weirdo.
Short Ass Movie is a new music track from Pete Davidson, musical guest Gunna, Chris Redd and Red Rocket star Simon Rex. In it, they rap about how their short attention spans make them unable to watch any movie for longer than 90 minutes. It’s a plumply obvious bit of guy humor that does not even follow the examples they give: We are expected to believe that modern brothers can not relate to the Heat, but will happily throw on Eraserhead? Please. Rex saves it a bit with funny bars about his love of the Ernest movies and a good grave in Davidson’s endless comedy car The King of Staten Island, though his appearance is so haphazard that it’s confusing, especially when you consider his recent outburst got around in a movie running in 128 minutes.
On Shop TV, naughty southern hosts (Strong, Day) welcome a puppet maker (Carmichael) to show off his latest toy: Riley Rainbow. Things go smoothly until he changes the doll’s dress and reveals a giant, rainbow-colored bush sprouting out of her crotch. He explains that it is not what it looks like – a “vagafro”, as an angry caller refers to it – but simply “the end of the main coil inside … it’s an anchor point, every dollmaker wants to know”. His explanations are not convincing, but the doll nevertheless proves to be a hot object in the home – or in the case of a caller, imprisoned – the audience.
After this, the show will finally address the elephant in the room. Carmichael plays a seat-filler at the Oscars, who happens to land a seat directly behind his hero Will Smith (Redd), just as Chris Rock takes the stage. Smith’s intense kindness before, during, and after his violent outbursts gradually reveals the depth of his insanity. It’s not a particularly ingenious bid for the story, though Redd’s full rendition of “Get My Wife’s Name Out of Your Fucking Mouth!” gets some big laughs and so does his almost breakdown when he talks about his infamous interview in wife Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Red Table show from 2021.
Gunna takes the stage for a performance of Banking on Me, before the Weekend Update gives almost the entire first news overview of the Oscars debacle. Michael Che says he understands where Smith is coming from, noting “You can not expect him to sit there and watch another man jump all over his wife … without signing an NDA.” He’s also tired of pretending that everyone knew Jada was diagnosed with alopecia: “As much as we’re heard of Jada and Will’s personal lives, you can not expect us to keep everything. It’s like Kanye saying, “Don’t act like you did not know about my psoriasis!”
Meanwhile, Colin Jost is confused that the Oscars let Smith stay just because Chris Rock said it was okay: “So now we’re just asking the victim right after they’ve been hit in the head,” Hey, you are cool if the guy who just attacked you hang around a bit? You do not want to make him angry again ‘. I can not believe the academy has a worse concussion protocol than the NFL. “
They eventually move on, with Jost inviting Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn. She defends asking Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson (Strong) “What is a woman?” and doubles her sensational questions by running out on the “big, stupid, stupid boards and big, stupid, stupid pictures” that her like loves to use. Strong’s Blackburn imitation is completely impossible to distinguish from her Marjorie Taylor Greene, though it probably says less about her than it does the Republican Party.
Che returns one last time to the Oscar controversy by having OJ Simpson (Thompson) make his bid. He tries to see both sides of the issue and ingeniously notes “they both seem like good guys”, though he is quick to fly out of the handle on several points, such as when Che mentions that the academy is considering taking Smith’s trophy. Outbursts aside, there’s nothing here that matches the real OJ’s video on the subject of sheer weirdness or shamelessness.
Then a family and two morgue assistants gather at a cliff by the sea to look for the remains of their deceased grandfather. The family expects a standard spread of ashes, only to be seen in horror, while the funeral directors throw their loved ones full carcasses over the edge. A howling simple sight gag, it’s a shame the sketch could not have ended on it, for the rest pulls out awkwardly.
The same awkwardness runs through the following sketch, which sees Kyle Mooney play an awkward tourist who gets overly invested in a friend’s boring story about a lunch in New York.
Gunna returns to the stage and performs with Future Pushing P, before concluding the show with a pre-filmed sketch about gay-friendly baby T-shirts with slogans such as “Future Twink”, “Little Les”, “No Kink at Pride” and “I Heart Kristen Stewart “. It’s no less unbearable than the performative types it’s fun with, but at least it’s over quickly.
After going around the day’s big story in the first half of the episode, SNL definitely gave it plenty of attention during the back half of the series. They also did a decent job, at least when you consider how bad it could have been. The show was very clear in taking Rock’s “side” and went about as hard on Smith as they seem willing to go on anyone outside of right-wing politics. There is no doubt that many will take the upper hand with this, but you would expect SNL to stand up for one of their own.
That said, there was an air of gloomy inevitability every time the topic came up, even outside of Carmichael’s monologue, with the way our social media-driven culture completely exhausts any given story within a few days or even hours after, that it took place, which very much questions the necessity of Saturday Night Live’s continued existence.