Saturday Night Live is back with a very political episode. After a month hiatus, the show featured first-time host Rachel Brosnahan. The actress is famous for her portrayal of Midge Maisel on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and it was exciting to see if she would use her comedy chops on the show. As a host, they didn’t give her too much to do, which was a shame because she was great in her limited appearances. Overall, the show had some big hits and some big misses this week and, as always, Laughspin is using our not-yet-patented star scale to show you what sketches you can’t miss this week:
SNL seems to only do political cold opens now, but this one took the theme in a new direction. The game show element really worked and the whole premise felt fresh. There were a lot of jokes about the government shutdown on this episode, but this sketch was the only one that tackled it with pure absurdism. It totally worked.
Rachel Brosnahan Monologue
Brosnahan is famous for being a stand-up on TV, but the minute she started this monologue, it is obvious that she is not a stand-up comedian in real life. SNL’s writers didn’t let her shine by herself. She was joined by cast members for a song opener and, while it is cute, it isn’t that funny. She had great energy, but the monologue fell flat.
This sketch is a funny concept that wasn’t executed very well. Turnarounds on SNL are notoriously fast and that may have been the case for this pre-taped Gillette ad parody. The idea is funny, the Kool-Aid Man is iconic, and the parody is relevant in the news. This should have been a slam dunk, but something was missing and it might be the humor.
Earth Quake News
This sketch is very stupid. The only joke is that people have stupid names, but even though this bit is very dumb, you will find yourself laughing. Especially in an episode with a lot of political and socially conscious sketches, Earth Quake News is pure silliness and will have you laughing whether you want to or not.
Barbie social media sketches are the reoccurring bit that seemingly no one asked for. Brosnahan saved this sketch and Pete Davidson also delivered a solid performance. However, the idea for the sketch itself is tired. Last year when they did the same sketch with Childish Gambino, it was just okay, so rebooting it with another host just seems like overkill even if Brosnahan shined.
The joke in this is funny, but there is entirely too much premise in this sketch. Nesting the simple joke of shaming your husband like you would a dog in a fake talk show is confusing and it detracts from the funniness of a simple joke. This bit also feels too long while at the same time just kind of ending, which is too bad since the videos they cut to are funny by themselves.
Leave Me Alurn
This parody commercial is both out there and very real for women. It really works and is only helped by Brosnahan and national treasure Kate McKinnon, who both stood out in this sketch. Leave Me Alurn walks the line between social commentary and absurdism and does it well.
After Davidson’s troubling month before the holiday break, it was good to see him back on the show. His review of the film The Mule with John Mulaney stole the show. Often bringing on a celebrity guest or SNL alum is so they can reprise a certain role or do a specific impression, but this wasn’t anything close to that. It is hard to explain why this is great. On paper, it doesn’t make sense. Davidson made it clear that he isn’t here to talk about his recent and very public suicide threat and that he will be only talking about the Clint Eastwood film The Mule. After touring together, Davidson and Mulaney really do seem just like two friends. They have great chemistry and seem like they are having the most amazing time.
It’s also worth noting that McKinnon does a killer Elizabeth Warren impression, further proving that she may be the Lucille Ball of our generation.
Raunchiest Miss Rita
The problem with having a nasty sketch on NBC is that you have to bleep out half of it. That is one issue with this sketch. The other issue is that the premise doesn’t really make sense. If you haven’t seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, this sketch might be better for you. Maisel is paired with a dirty comedian, Miss Rita, but if you have seen the show, Maisel is nasty and that is part of the reason that people love her. In this sketch, they stripped her of that and made her squeaky clean, which won’t make sense to fans of the show.
This sketch has its moments, but it has entirely too many moving parts. It is hard to tell if they are making fun of millennials or on the side of young people, and it seems to switch back and forth. The constant switching distracts from the jokes making this sketch feel preachy at times.