SNL Weekly Review: January 14 by Dylan Zsigray ’18

SNL Weekly Review: January 14 by Dylan Zsigray 18

Felicity Jones hosted an unmemorable episode of Saturday Night Live last night.  I was conflicted going into this episode.  For one, SNL had four weeks off, so I had hoped that this episode would be a strong start to the new year.  However, Felicity Jones is an up and coming Hollywood actress who is just starting to enter the general spotlight.  I did not know if she would be as comfortable on stage because of this.  Unfortunately, the latter applied last night.  Felicity Jones just seemed super nervous and incredibly reserved, which attached a weird vibe to the episode.  It was a bleak start for SNL, so I’m hoping that they rebound next week.  A side note: kudos to SNL for putting Carrie Fisher’s 1978 episode before last night’s episode.  It was nice to honor Fisher’s legacy with this.  Now, onto my review!

“SUPERSTAR!” (The Best Sketch of the Night)

“Theater Donor”: Honestly, what made this sketch work was the enthusiasm and outgoingness of Mikey Day.  The sketch started out a bit slow, but once the perils of Day (a 106 year old man) and his nurse (Jones) started, it became incredibly funny.  Look, we all have that experience where we attend a play or a movie and there’s people near us who just won’t be quiet.  There’s people in my extended family who are infamous for this.  This sketch touched on these experiences quite well.  I laughed out loud when the nurse had to disinfect Day’s chair, causing loud bursts of disinfectant to cloud the theater.  This sketch was just very well done.

“I gotta have more cowbell!” (Good Sketches)

“Donald Trump Press Conference”: I watched President-elect Donald Trump’s entire press conference live the other day and I sat in disbelief while listening.  Here we have the President-elect putting on an elaborate 77 minute press conference where we as the general public learned nothing new and were left with more questions.  So it was important for SNL to encompass this last night with their cold open parody, and boy did they deliver. The best part of this sketch, by far (and there were many good parts), was when Cecily Strong parodied Trump’s lawyer, pointing out the massive stack of file folders.  The emotionless Strong saying how amazing it is to have all of the paper basically highlighted how none of the people watching Trump’s actual press conference believed that anything was in there.  I firmly believe that he sent Steve Bannon to Staples to pick up twenty packs of file folders to put on stage. I mean, there’s no way that anything was in them, right?!

“Shondra & Malik”: This was a very clever digital short produced by SNL.  Kenan Thompson is trying to show his toughness and intimidate Leslie Jones by having an elaborate drive-off exit, but his car won’t start.  The verbal exchanges between Jones and Thompson were well written, and the situation fit Jones’ demeanor quite well.  I could have done without the car explosion ending, but I guess that the writers had to end it somehow.

“Well, isn’t that special” (Hit or Miss Sketches)

“Susan B. Anthony”: Okay, we get it.  You bring Susan B. Anthony to the 21st Century and she is curious about every single innovation that has become second nature to us.  I just don’t think that this fact warranted a nearly five minute sketch to be produced. This sketch just went on for too long.  It was funny at some points, like when Susan B. Anthony (McKinnon) was trying to show off her desk and oven, but the overall dynamic seemed to be off.  

“The Princess and the Curse”: This sketch was funny at times, but I just did not see a strong story here.  I got even more confused when Kate McKinnon, portraying an evil witch-like creature, returned to possibly curse the Beck Bennett’s character, instead of Felicity Jones’.  I don’t think that the quality of this sketch had anything to do with the acting.  I think the lack of specificity with the writing is the culprit here.

“Weekend Update”: I give credit to both Michael Che and Colin Jost: Weekend Update has been pretty solid this season.  Last night was a bit off, but I think that that is due to the show returning from a four week break.  Once Che and Jost get back into the groove of things, we’ll see their chemistry improve.  Pete Davidson and Bennett, who were guests at the Update desk last night, were just weird to watch.  Like, I didn’t even understand the character that the writers were attempting to pull off for each of them.  I think that some recurring fan-favorite characters would have increased the effectiveness of last night’s Weekend Update segment instead.

“Buh-bye” (Bad Sketches)

“Beard Hunk”: This is one of the sketches that I would’ve fast-forwarded through, had I not been watching it live.  What even was this? A sketch like this appeared a couple of seasons ago and it wasn’t funny then, nor was it even remotely funny last night.  It dragged on for too long and the jokes didn’t even come close to hitting the mark.  I was disappointed that SNL put this sketch towards the beginning in the lineup.  This would have done better as the final sketch as the night, after everyone is zoned out.

“Corporate Retreat”: Literally, is there anyone else in the room who can say a joke that does not have some inappropriate undertone attached to it?  I was practically screaming at the television for Day to just yank the mic out of the women’s hands.  Now, I get it that the attempted joke was the unfunny jokes that the girls were saying, but it just did not work out.  The showrunners should’ve brought out Sturgill Simpson and his band (who rocked last night) to do an encore on the retreat stage before the show ended instead.

“Felicity Jones Monologue”: Felicity Jones was so nervous last night.  You could tell that she was nearly hyperventilating onstage and was having difficulty maintaining her composure.  This made her monologue extremely hard to sit through, because we didn’t know if she was literally going to pass out from her nerves on stage.  Along with this, I did not think that the writing of her monologue was good either. On the plus side, Tina Fey popped in to say hello!

“Movie Interview”: Once again, this sketch dragged on for too long and just did not resonate with me.  The movie that Jones, Bennett, and Kyle Mooney were promoting made absolutely no sense.  I just scrolled through Twitter during this sketch because it was just unwatchable.  I feel like the writers were trying to put out a bunch of unique sketches, but failed miserably with their concepts.  This trend sort of carried through the entire episode.

It was a disappointing and lackluster episode of SNL hosted by Felicity Jones last night.  Hopefully SNL will come back next week with Parks & Recreation alum Aziz Ansari.

Dylan’s Ranking of the Episodes:

  1. Dave Chappelle
  2. Emma Stone
  3. Tom Hanks
  4. Kristen Wiig
  5. Lin-Manuel Miranda
  6. Casey Affleck
  7. Margot Robbie
  8. Felicity Jones
  9. John Cena
  10. Benedict Cumberbatch
  11. Emily Blunt