James McAvoy hosted Saturday Night Live this week. McAvoy isn’t known for his comedy, but as an actor, he was fully committed to this week’s show. Films like Split, Glass, and the X-Men franchise made McAvoy a major star since his indie film days. The Wanted actor took the SNL stage with a lot of confidence. Unfortunately, the perennial sketch show cursed him with a lot of repeat sketches that no one wanted. As always, Laughspin is here to break down what you need to see based on our SNL star scale:
SNL Cold Open
This Tucker Carlson-themed open would have been perfectly forgettable if not for Steve Martin’s portrayal of Roger Stone. His impression is good, but you will find yourself mostly thinking in the sketch, “Is that Steve Martin?” The SNL vet is always great, but couldn’t save this political cold open from being too scattered.
James McAvoy Monologue
SNL writers let McAvoy, surprisingly, deliver a monologue about his Scottish heritage without random interruptions from the cast. He is extremely charming even when he loses his place and has to improvise with the cue-card holder. Honestly, his improvised lines are some of the funniest in this monologue. The jokes in this monologue aren’t really that funny (except the one about him being in Star Wars), but McAvoy makes it work.
SNL has done a lot of Bachelor parodies. This one probably didn’t need to happen. It doesn’t help that they use the exact same structure every time they resurrect this sketch, but because the structure relies on someone saying the most outlandish thing possible, you’re just reminded of the past sketches. It’s a nice touch that they updated it for this season’s bachelor which features Colton Underwood—a virgin.
This sketch is really silly and will have you cracking up. You will see the final twist coming, but it doesn’t dampen the enjoyment of the sketch. As Mr. H, a teacher seeing his student deal drugs on the street, McAvoy really showcases his acting talents in all the little choices he makes for the character.
Air Traffic Control
Whoever wrote this sketch should have given it another pass, but it’s still really good. The people on the plane are given a backstory that just feels a little underthought, which is almost impressive given that the only joke in this sketch is “Scottish accents are hard to understand.” While it is a super simple premise, it is really funny.
The U.E.S. is certainly not the first parody rap song ever made about living in a nice neighborhood, but it is so well done. Kate McKinnon’s verse about her cat is adorable, but the rest of the song is truly the Leslie Jones Show. Sometimes SNL doesn’t know how to use Jones to her fullest, just having her play various wives and immemorable parts. Here she truly shines.
McAvoy’s pronunciation of “Charmin” is somehow the funniest thing in this sketch—and that’s saying something. This SNL sketch features four wacky characters, all of whom are equipped with some great punchlines.
The characters robbed Michael Che and Colin Jost of the attention on this weekend’s Weekend Update. As usual. The jokes from Che and Jost are forgettable, but Chris Redd’s Soulja Boy and Cecily Strong’s Cathy Anne talking about politics are pitch perfect. Both are well done and, while Cathy Anne is a running character, it is hilarious every time. I just wish the hosts came to play as much as their ‘guests’ did.
This feels like one of those sketches that might actually become a cult hit. However, while there are a few solid jokes in there, the sketch feels messy and the reveal that Mr. Tumnus is gay at the end feels lazy. Also: did he start dating his lover when the boy was a child? If so, that’s upsetting. If not, why is he wearing a school boy’s outfit?
As the title suggests, this is the second Brothers sketch. Back in November, we didn’t rate the first one too highly and the second one loses the surprise factor that really carried this sketch. In November, Liev Schreiber played the father and, in this one, McAvoy takes on the role. No backstory is needed about why this character is played by different actors, but this sketch seems to want to try to explain. Honestly, it just makes everything more confusing.
I Love My Dog
It was good to see some Pete Davidson during this episode (even if Twitter stans are going to come for him using those bunny ears). This rap song gives Ego Nwodim a time to shine, which is great given that new cast members don’t always get a lot of screen time. That being said, this is the second rap song of the show. It isn’t quite as good as the first one, but if it may have shined more had it stood by itself.
New Orleans Vacation
SNL chose to close the show with another repeat sketch. It’s a shame since the last sketch of the night has often been reserved for something that pushes boundaries. The original sketch featured a couple coming back from Cuba with Seth Meyers. This one features a couple returning from New Orleans. Whether it is the city itself or McAvoy’s acting choices, this one might actually be funnier than the original. However, in a week with The Bachelor, Brothers, and this, it would have been nice to see more new ideas toward the end of the night.