Bestinau got that-
Last week’s episode of Saturday Night Live with Jerrod Carmichael featured one of the best monologues in a long, long time, and yet also a lot of mind-boggling decisions about which sketches to air and how to play them before and after. Surely there wouldn’t be any confusion about how to handle Jake Gyllenhaal’s second hosting SNL this week, right?
What’s the deal for the? SNL Cold open for last night (04/09/22)?
The show continues to try to throw a lot of characters into this season’s cold openings, even in a week like this, when they seemingly only have one news event at the core of the premise: Ketanji Brown Jackson wins US Senate confirmation to win the next judge of the United States Supreme Court.
James Austin Johnson gets a week off from playing Trump (which even seems weird to type in the year 2022) to play President Joe Biden, while congratulating Justice Jackson (Ego Nwodim) in the White House Oval Office. Chloe Fineman interrupts to rush the president to his next appointment, but not before his desire to talk to the past spills over to the judge, who first evokes the ghost of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Kate McKinnon gets another chance to fire off RBG zingers, including pranks at Ted Cruz’s expense. Kenan Thompson appears as the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, amazed at how much hasn’t changed; Harriet Tubman of Punkie Johnson, on the other hand, is amazed at how much has changed; and Chris Redd’s Jackie Robinson warns that the racists will likely still throw batteries at her. All in all, it’s not only a nod to the nation’s progress in breaking down racial barriers, but also to how far SNL has come since a cold 2013 opening with Kerry Washington at the White House, where SNL had to mock itself for its lack of cast diversity.
How did it go? SNL Guest host Jake Gyllenhaal Do?
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in new movie Ambulance, but he didn’t even mention it! Sorry, Michael Bay. No plugs for you. Our man Jake is too busy reminiscing about his first and last presenting SNL in 2007, when he dressed in drag for a Dream women bit in that monologue, “and that was actually the least problematic thing in that episode.” Jake also dismisses his profession as “a really stupid job. It’s pretend and it’s fun and it should be filled with joy.”
And the man who called “Mr. magic” in John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch would be upbeat and musical tonight, singing four different times in the episode, including this monologue too – as Chloe, Ego and Cecily Strong backed him (in their backup dance dresses for the show) covering Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back” For me now.”
For a man who said in the monologue that he didn’t like going to Method, he wasn’t asked to portray real people we would recognize, with two exceptions. The first is this pre-recorded parody of the Property Brothers, in which Jake and Mikey Day as “Dream Home Cousins” want to give just that to a couple played by JAJ and Heidi Gardner. Only mother-in-law Bea (Kate) has other ideas, and the cousins have completely rebuilt their house to Bea’s specifications. Even importing Bea’s green electric stove and toaster to the kitchen circa 1978. And removing all the bathroom windows so “perverts and trekkers” can’t see Mama Bea “get her dirty”. Kate knows how to play old lady cray cray. But still. Yaks.
Mikey also introduces The Singers Four (Jake, Kate, Cecily, Bowen Yang) for their first major reunion performance in five years, so you should expect something special. But still. They dedicate this song to the people in the middle, winners or losers, who might be bad at sex, but at least you won’t be scared or angry? This sketch, on the other hand, would like to be in the middle.
The midnight sketch “Spring Flowers”, on the other hand, wouldn’t be a shrinking violet when it came to taking its shot like a little you’d remember. What about Bowen’s bee wiggling all four flowers (Jake, Sarah Sherman, Cecily, Chris), a dog that urinates on the flowers, Kyle Mooney like an unwanted weed (how much does he respond to this meta-commentary of his role on the show, I wonder especially after seeing his Cut For Time short again). And then there’s Chris’ flower, a late bloomer looking to make up for lost time. This sketch certainly caused just as much laughter and moaning, but did they deserve it?
This pre-recorded piece, meanwhile, felt like a 10-to-1 idea somehow moving forward in the hour. It opens in a ladies room where colleagues gossip. SNL recently did a similar sketch in the men’s room, but this time the plot turns once the ladies realize that Chucky (yes, the doll from the child’s play movies) sat in the stable listening to everything. Chucky (Sarah) starts stabbing the ladies (Chloe, Ego, Melissa Villasenor) as Chucky usually does. They are all called to HR, where Jake’s character invites them in for bullying and stabbing respectively. And everyone hates Janet (Aidy Bryant), who takes notes and eats tuna.
However, the best examples of how great Jake can be came in the last half hour. Cecily Strong plays an anonymous host of “Lights, Camera, Achoo!” introduces a clip of Jake one-upping Val Kilmer’s take on Doc Holliday. Jake’s Doc Holliday, sick with tuberculosis, coughs up blood and sneezes on the bad guys, Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo (Alex Moffat and Andrew Dismukes). And while this sketch drops all sorts of modern references to Pedialyte, CVS, and Valtrex, Jake’s dedication to the character’s resistance makes this sketch stand out.
He continued that with this bit which made him read aloud the lyrics from the “Couples Counselor” (Punkie) where his and Melissa’s characters go for their first therapy session, only to become embroiled in Punkie’s even higher-octane conflict with her friend ( Ego), who threatens to appear and kill her. Thankfully no one is harmed in this sketch, and after warning Jake not to use a voice when reading “gurl”, it’s all good.
How relevant was the musical guest Camila Cabello?
L’Oréal recalled booking their ad with Cabello as the company spokesperson during the show, so that’s extra pertinent. Though not as important, timing wise, as Cabello dropping her new album, Family, on Friday. Her album release party “broke” TikTok this week. Her performances include two of the album’s new songs.
First came “Bam Bam,” which certainly sounded like an Ed Sheeran song, even if Sheeran didn’t show up. Cabello and her dancers more than made up for it with their energy. Besides, her second issue was an even bigger deal.
That’s because Willow is on board for “Psychofreak,” which contains so many autobiographical allusions and meta-metaphors. Plus, it’s a stunner that’s sure to be a hit.
What sketch will we share: “Why would you like it?”
Speaking of things on SNL that will reach millions of viewers, Kenan hosted a game show with contestants (Chloe, Chris, Jake) having to admit why they really double-clicked the like button on specific Instagram photos and accounts. Chris’s character keeps trying to “pass” his turn. Jake is under more pressure because his girlfriend (Ego) is in the audience and admonishing him, because clearly they all liked the selected photos for one and only one reason. They hoped someone would see their likes and want to have sex with them. If anything, the sketch could have hit even harder with a solid escalation of bets. The closest they came was just a tease, ending with a possible third round question: why did you comment on their Instagram story despite never meeting them? which unfortunately made me admit how I use Instagram. What a good thing!
Who stopped at weekend update?
Just one visit to the Update desk this week, and it was the pair of trend forecasters (Aidy and Bowen) reminding us of what’s IN and what’s OUT right now. But they mainly emphasize what we should no longer do. On the OUTS: Jogging to Kelly Clarkson (because she’s too busy with her talk show to motivate you); Waiting outside the fitting room for your partner; and make a sound before you sneeze that sounds like an orgasm.
Their catchphrase: “Go to bed, bitch!” Sounds a bit ominous, as if to warn viewers of what’s to come?
Which sketch filled the “10-to-1” slot?
What Came at 12:56 p.m. Eastern was a live sketch that may or may not be sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops, and definitely focuses on the long-haul truck lifestyle. Ego and Kyle play regular road trippers stunned by what they see for sale inside, but thank goodness Aidy is here for this 42-song CD collection, “Truck You, You Truckin’ Truck,” by Johnny Goblin (Jake). “Are all those songs about peeing?” asks Kyle. But wait, there’s more! Jake’s Johnny Goblin sings about sticking his hand in his pants after eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. He sings with Cecily and Andrew about blowing the horn for the kids, and about accidentally picking up El Chapo (Melissa)? it all sounds like Clancy T. Bachleratt and Jackie Snad have found kindred spirits to ride on.
Who was the MVP of the episode?
Kate McKinnon played three major characters for the first half hour, but then had the rest of the evening off. you knew Cecily Strong would show up whenever Jake sang. Ego Nwodim, however, bore the biggest burden of the evening, of centering the cold open, then immediately backing up Jake in the monologue, providing balance to the game show outline and the 10-to-1, and a important part of two other sketches . Her comic fingerprints were all over the episode. Unless you want to stop for a moment to give props to Mr. music itself, Jake Gyllenhaal. Which reminds me that the only way for a guest host to do even more in one night is…
Next week, when Lizzo is both host and musical guest!
Sean L. McCarthy is working on the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The comic of the comic† before that, for real newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel everywhere for the scoop: ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts, half-hour episodes featuring comedians revealing their origin stories: The comic of the comic presents the last things first†