We all know Jason Momoa is very hot. This week the Aquaman star hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time. It’s surprisingly more difficult when the host is a hot man. Not because hot men aren’t funny, but because the show often leans too heavily on the fact that they are stone cold hunks for jokes. Sometimes these jokes work, sometimes they don’t. It hinges on the host’s likeability. While the writing this week was a little hit or miss, Momoa really shined in everything he did. He committed to every bit—even the ones that will leave the audience scratching their head saying, “What did we just watch?” Laughspin is giving you all the hottest takes on what worked and what didn’t this week using our yet-to-be-patented star scale.
Disagree with us? Let us know your favorite sketches in the comments!
The cold open this week featured the Trump brothers Don Jr. and Eric. It is hard to write about sketches that feature the Trump brothers. The writing is always well-structured and you find yourself laughing. SNL has reverted Eric into a literal childlike state with Don Jr. (and Robert Mueller) trying to comfort the scared and confused Trump offspring. Don Jr. plays like a big brother reading to a child and has to explain things to him through a twisted Trump lens. At times, the sketch could be interpreted as giving Eric a developmental disability, but Alex Moffat seems careful to play it like a child rather than a slow Eric.
This week’s monologue is a little all over the place. Momoa is very charming and likable, but the monologue feels like just a string of things that happen instead of a unifying story or goal. Aidy Bryant asks him to open a pickle jar and then, out of nowhere, Leslie Jones, Kenan Thompson, and Chris Redd come in to pitch a theme song for the new Aquaman movie. The jar opening is fine (he’s strong; we get it), but the theme song is really out there and weird. The song they pitch is word-for-word the P-Funk song Aqua Boogie. In some ways, the song bit is much funnier than the jar opening, but the two don’t flow very well together.
This is not the first “first impression” sketch that SNL has done, but it will leave you asking, “What did I just watch?” The frustrating thing about this sketch is it is almost there. It feels like it is one joke away from being funny. Without that final touch though, it just feels like absurdism for absurdism’s sake. It is almost maddening that it could be good, but it is not. This also relies a little too heavily on the joke Momoa is gonna break stuff, which we are going to see a lot of through the night.
Day of the Dorks
This could have been more of a ’90s parody and less of an excuse for Momoa to break stuff, but you will find yourself laughing at Momoa’s insane energy. This sketch isn’t amazing, but it is enjoyable.
Khal Drogo’s Ghost Dojo
This reviewer doesn’t watch Game of Thrones—a crime in today’s modern era, I know. However, if you watch Game of Thrones, in my limited knowledge, this is good. The impressions are fun. The pace is great and you can tell by the audience’s laughter that the jokes land. The talk show is a classic SNL premise and this one is well-executed. Now excuse me as I frantically Google, “What is a high sparrow?”
Rudolph’s Big Night
Pete Davidson characters often don’t work. Sometimes it’s Pete Davidson playing Pete Davidson, and sometimes he’s too much of a straight man. This one works! This sketch explores the question, “What if Rudolph wanted revenge?” It certainly feels fresh. Davidson is funny and there is something visual here that makes this sketch even funnier. The simple fact that everyone is wearing fake reindeer hoofs for hands makes this sketch just so silly.
The jokes this week have their ups and downs, but like with most Weekend Updates, the memorable part is the featured characters. Bryant delivered a great child travel agent character, but Michael Che really stole the segment. He leaves his host chair and moves over to the guest chair to talk about bidets. Che gives his best Leslie Jones impression and it strangely works really well. Che’s jokes sometimes feel like rants, but the rant nature of this humor makes perfect sense in a different chair.
This is one of the best parody commercials I have ever seen. It is laugh-out-loud funny and packs a punch about the ridiculous nature of fragile masculinity. It is well-written, well-acted, and a perfect fit for a guest host like Momoa. The Aquaman star gets to show off that he is strong and also cares about feminism. What a star!
Elf on the Shelf
There were a lot of Christmas sketches on this week’s show, and this one is really weak. The premise of the elf on the shelf watching someone masturbate feels like it has been done before even though I’ve never seen it. And that is really the only joke of this sketch. It is nice that they go out of the way to say that masturbation is healthy and normal, but the whole sketch rests on the joke that masturbation is gross.
Trump has been the butt of so many jokes that sometimes it feels like every joke has been done before. But in this sketch, they imagine a Black Donald Trump and make an Empire-style show about him. Thompson really shines as Trump. The voice he does for the character is 50% Trump and 50% Terrence Howard. It is pretty amazing to watch him pull of both impressions in the same character!
Gemma Sleigh Ride
This reoccurring bit feels like it needs to be retired soon. SNL has a habit of running it’s returning characters into the ground. Gemma sketches always have the same jokes, and this time around wasn’t very different. From weird maybe-trans jokes to a slapdash ending, maybe skip this one and watch an old Gemma sketch instead.
An Extra Christmas Carol
This sketch feels like an excuse for Momoa to take his clothes off, which maybe makes it worth a watch—but it doesn’t really make sense. The joke is that he’s “extra,” but Momoa can’t really pull it off despite his commitment. The line about the two capes is funny, but this one could have been taken further. He could have been…more extra.