Saturday Night Live season 40 premiere live blog: Chris Pratt hosts, Ariana Grande sings

After weeks of announced personnel changes, anticipation and predictions, the historic 40th season of Saturday Night Live is finally upon us. And comedy fans, myself included, is expecting a lot from SNL this year. I can’t remember a time in my entire life when so many horribly tragic and disturbing things are happening all over the world all at the same time. This country is in desperate need of comic relief and perhaps more importantly, this country is in need of sharp satire.

Ushering us in to season 40 is Parks and Recreation star Chris Pratt, who has become known as the buff, tough Peter Quill of the summer blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy more than the flabby, and hilariously dopey Andy Dwyer of Pawnee. While Pratt hosts tonight he’ll be joined by Nickelodeon star-turned-pop-star Ariana Grande, who is basically everywhere. Check out Pratt below dropping some heartfelt props to SNL below. Before we get into the live blog, check out SNL veteran Jay Pharoah hang out with some of those on line waiting to get into the show!

The biggest news about Saturday Night Live‘s casting this year has to be the return of stand-up comedian Michael Che. The rising star was a staff writer at SNL before he left just a few months ago to become a correspondent at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. But less than five months after accepting the gig at Comedy Central, Che accepted an offer to become the new co anchor of Weekend Update, alongside Colin Jost (who returns for his second year behind the anchor desk). Che replaces Cecily Strong, who returns to SNL for her third season. Strong (pictured below) took to her Instagram account to say she was happy about the change.

Cecily Strong“I don’t see this as me leaving update, just as me being on update in a looser, goofier way that is a lot more fun for me and in a way I think I’m better at,” Strong wrote. “And now I get to do features with the very funny and wonderful Michael Che! No point in being angry or sad for me for something I’m genuinely happy about! Unless you are just a person who enjoys being angry or sad. Then I guess play on, playa.”

Young up and comer Pete Davidson is the only other new on-screen talent we’ll be seeing this year on Saturday Night Live. It’ll be interesting to see how the writers and Lorne Michaels use Davidson, seeing as he pretty much has zero sketch comedy experience. He’s already a well-respected comic in New York (and for good reason) and because of that has landed gigs on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and has appeared on Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, Guy Code and Jimmy Kimmel Live, among other shows.

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We’re off to a bit of a slow start in my humble opinion. I was glad to see SNL tackle the NFL situation, addressing Roger Goodell’s terrible handling of the recent domestic abuse and assault problems plaguing professional football the past couple of ¬†weeks. Aidy Bryant brought back her version of Candy Crowley, but stumbled lines enough to detract from some of the would-be laughs. I’m still confident for this episode, you guys! Watching Chris Pratt as He-Man and Taran Killem as a Thundercat pat each other’s cake-smeared dick areas was good for a laugh, albeit a cheap one. And I’m not so sure about the animal hospital sketch. I have to give it points for originality– “what if there was an animal hospital and the only thing they did was kill pets and then make owners fill out papers about their dead pets?”

Michael Che and Cecily Strong behind the Weekend Update desk together!

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Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor emeritus of Laughspin.

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