Published Jan 20, 2019Rachel Brosnahan was an understated but eager host, and Greta Van Fleet lived up to the derision. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.
The cold open
Kenan Thompson's Steve Harvey hosted a government shutdown version of Deal or No Deal. Alec Baldwin's Trump is the contestant, and is foiled by the likes of Kate McKinnon's Nancy Pelosi, Alex Moffatt's Chuck Schumer, Beck Bennett's Mitch McConnell and Melissa Villaseñor's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Every bureaucrat satirized here came off poorly in this so-so sketch.
With a strong cast assist, Rachel Brosnahan engaged in a musical monologue about 2019 being the year of fun. Joined by Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, and Aidy Bryant (plus a brief, humorous cameo by Kyle Mooney), Brosnahan made a fruitless attempt to forget about how terrible life is in a somewhat amusing song.
An earthquake strikes Sacramento and a local news crew covers the incident at a government building that houses a name change office. This hilarious idea seemed like a Mikey Day invention, as he starred as the on-the-scene correspondent, reporting back to Kate McKinnon's pun-happy anchor. Many of the names that were meant to be changed are amazing, and you must see them to appreciate how funny this bit, the best one of the show, really was.
Leave Me AlUrn
A fake ad, the Leave Me AlUrn is meant to ward men off from hitting on grieving women, or at least women pretending to grieve so they avoid creeps. This remote was more of a good message sketch than particularly funny.
This game show about the poor job and overall future prospects for millennials was really a pretty clever teardown of baby boomers. Hosted by Kenan Thompson, who is always a great fake game show host, the contestants were played by Brosnahan and Pete Davidson. Aidy Bryant sang an excellent folk-rap explaining what a boomer is and, as the show went on, there were further sharp jabs poked at boomers, generation X, and millennials.
The Raunchiest Miss Rita
In a satiric spin-off of Brosnahan's award-winning day job on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Leslie Jones played a raunchy rookie comedian in 1958 who destroys in NYC's bohemian coffee house scene. This remote was stylized and edited well and, thanks to Jones' censored jokes, rather amusing.
Greta Van Fleet
To their credit, Greta Van Fleet don't behave like four young men who have anything to be embarrassed about. Sure, they're a band from Michigan who look and sound like they're British in 1969, and they dress like the kind of insufferable cock rockers the world has done everything to rid itself of — open shirts, douchebag accessories, flowing locks. Often compared to Led Zeppelin, mostly because of Josh Kiszka's vocal approximation of Robert Plant (though tonight, in his tassels, he looked more like the Who's Roger Daltrey), Greta Van Fleet are not in that band's league at all. They're a high school smoking section manifesting itself as a rock knockoff hitting their stride just as rock has never been more powerlessly unpopular. Neither their big charged-up number nor their ballad impressed here. It was uncomfortable to watch, this last gasp of Rolling Stone-bred boomerism, fooling generations of younger people to worship classic rock at the expense of contemporary cultural expression.
Colin Jost began Update with a slew of jokes about the government shutdown, Trump's burger orgy, and even R. Kelly. Michael Che ridiculed Trump's speech earlier in the day and his slat border wall. The BuzzFeed fiasco was addressed with some good if snobby jokes about the news outlet.
Kate McKinnon's Elizabeth Warren did a desk piece, which was rather astounding, as both a spot-on impersonation and for its great writing.
Pete Davidson dropped by for his own desk segment, initially by himself to address his mental health and suicidal impulses, but was then soon accompanied by comedian John Mulaney. The pair then went ahead and conducted a very amusing review of the new Clint Eastwood film, The Mule, and criticized Andy Garcia's manners when people at Lakers games just want to get to their seats.
𝘕𝘰𝘣𝘰𝘥𝘺 𝘙𝘶𝘯𝘴 𝘍𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳. pic.twitter.com/YTEH7yREMb— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 20, 2019
Leslie Jones plays a daytime talk show host whose new book, The Obedient Husband, has become a bestseller. Tabitha treats her husband Craig, played by Kenan Thompson, like he's a dog. Her guests, played by Brosnahan and Cecily Strong, also relate stories about husbands who have been trained to act a lot like dogs. Men are dogs was the main premise here.
SNL apparently had to do something with the past week's Gillette commercial controversy and so spoofed the rude, wall-busting behaviour of the Kool-Aid man. This was funny and well done on one hand, but also seemed like the show's writers mocking the very notion of addressing such concerns about men's behaviour with any sensitivity. Then again, perhaps they were right to question the way Kool-Aid men act. It's pretty intrusive when you think about it actually.
The show has done this one before but this time the Mattel Corp. was looking to its staff to caption the first Instagram post by Ken. Noticeably absent all night, Heidi Gardner played a dim employee, Pete Davidson also played dumb, while Brosnahan pitched outlandishly dark and conspiratorial ideas to frustrated execs played by Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson, all of which was marginally amusing.