After last weekend's much ado about nothing that went by the name "Elon Musk," there was something especially refreshing about having a sketch comedy assassin like Keegan-Michael Key taking the stage to host NBC's Saturday Night Live this weekend. First, the writers knew they could be more open, honest, and brutal with the content because Key has the skills to pull it off- and that was on display last night even in sketches that were either very narrow in their audience or were missing their mark. Key has a way to draw you with these little moments here and there that allows the viewer to look past the weak spots.
On top of that, musical guest Olivia Rodrigo not only continued the long line of quality performances this season but also had two serious breakout moments- especially with "good 4 u." Was it a perfect episode? Of course not, but then again- has it ever been? Yes, I'm including those beginning "golden years" that too many SNL fans try to rewrite as "never missing." But after having to endure the pain of everything that led up to last week's show and the show itself, we're going a different route with this week's review and offering the five must-watch sketches from this weekend instead. Now to be clear, a sketch that didn't make the cut doesn't mean it was bad- it just wasn't "Top 5" good enough (and some of these weren't easy)- so in no particular order (except for the last sketch), here's your look at "'SNL' Lite" (minus Rodrigo's performances, which you should check out without the need for a ranking:
As someone who in his past life was responsible for planning, organizing, and running graduation ceremonies- and who had to tell two parents they couldn't bring a float to celebrate their kid graduating? I can say with full authority that Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson, Punkie Johnson, Ego Nwodim, and Key could not have represented the collective body of parents that attend any better. The "a white girl named Laticia" line gets bonus laugh points.
Not only a great sketch but one that all fuels our belief that Michael Jordan would've had serious issues playing in the NBA in the social media era. Can you imagine if he had to deal with people constantly posting (real or otherwise) over how Jordan bets on the number of pads of butter he gets at a restaurant or how many episodes of Ridiculousness MTV plans to marathon this Sunday?
It will be a sad day when we realize that we will never have Kate McKinnon and Dr. Anthony Fauci on the same stage together for a sketch (make that happen next week, Lorne!) because this one was made for it. Great way to have the cast together at the end, and McKinnon commands that stage for a six-minute-plus cold open that felt less than half that- not sure we could come up with a better compliment to McKinnon's skills than that right now.
From the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to Chicago releasing feral cats to control the city's rat crisis, Colin Jost and Michael Che once again kept the righteously well-aimed venom flowing throughout "Weekend Update." Another reason why this duo works so well? They seem legitimately confused about why some of their jokes get groans for being too cutting- and they don't care.
While we didn't rank the previous four, there is no way anything else that went on during those 90 minutes came close to Statler and Waldorf (Beck Bennett, Mikey Day) finally getting some comeuppance after a heated argument with The Muppet Show bouncers (Key, Kenan Thompson). If there are such things as "comedy rules" then cursing puppets and violence involving puppets are always funny.
BONUS: In the following taped sketch that was cut for time, Key's rapper releases a fiery diss track to his enemy, played by Chris Redd. This is the type of comedy sketch you need to find time for, SNL: