Saturday Night Live Cast, Steve Martin, Martin Short Do Right By SNL
When it comes to this week's episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live, we were looking at things from a different perspective. Normally, we're keeping our main focus on the host & musical guest to see how they gel with the SNL cast and how that comes across to the viewers. But last night, we had Steve Martin & Martin Short (Only Murders in the Building) as co-hosts, along with Brandi Carlile as the musical guest. So I wasn't too concerned when it came to the hosts because Martin & Short work an SNL stage like it's their second skin, while Carlile could crush out hearts singing in the back of a crowded subway train. Instead, I wanted to see if an SNL cast that's been coming together nicely over the past several episodes could rise to the occasion of meeting the creative bar set by the SNL alum. I had my answer the moment the "Blocking It Out for Christmas" cold open first hit my screen, with Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong & Bowen Yang singing about how they cope with the holidays (eventually joined by Ego Nwodim and Sarah Sherman, and then Mikey Day as Santa Claus). Because instead of going with a news-related or current event-related sketch, the SNL cast & writers opened with a satirical musical that hit upon holiday fears and very current issues. And with that, the SNL honored Martin, Short & Carlile in the best way possible. By putting on a show that the two SNL Hall-of-Famers have every right to be proud of. And by the way that Martin & Short appeared to be enjoying themselves, it appears that they were. Aside from a bit of a rough spot during "Weekend Update" (more on that below), there were no "misses" this week and a whole lot of "hits." Here's a look at the five that hit us the hardest:
Saturday Night Live: Our 5 Big Takeaway Sketches
"Steve Martin and Martin Short Monologue": Martin & Short's chemistry is contagious and on full display in their opening monologue. But the biggest highlights were "dueling funeral service speeches" and a guest appearance from that OMITB co-star Selena Gomez.
"Science Room with Steve Martin and Martin Short": Obliviously honest students (Cecily Strong, Mikey Day) fuel two teachers' (Martin, Short) growing frustrations during a live episode of Science Room. While Martin & Short are effective at showing what we were feeling, it's Strong & Day who make the sketch by never wavering or breaking form.
"Please Don't Destroy – Chelsea": Have you ever heard the advice that you should be careful about shit-talking a friend's ex because if they ever get back together, then it's going to come back to haunt you? Martin Herlihy, John Higgins & Ben Marshall take that concept to a wonderfully absurd level with a filmed sketch that also drills in on how different folks are when the person who's the subject of their venom is actually standing in front of them. And bonus points for the excellent use of Sarah Sherman's dad for a true holiday-themed ending.
"A Christmas Carol": Look, if you didn't watch it yet, then we're not going to spoil it. But let's just say that Short's Scrooge can toss a coin like a ninja works a throwing star. And while we haven't looked it up yet to confirm, there is no way that this sketch wasn't a Sarah Sherman creation beyond just appearing in it (and being Scrooge's first victim). Extra points to Short for how Scrooge's reactions make the carnage even more hysterical because (as another victim points out) it's so obvious that Scrooge could just stop tossing coins.
"Father of the Bride": Looks like married life's been a challenge for Martin's daughter (Heidi Gardner), but maybe the eighth time's the charm? That's the premise behind this more "realistic" look at life after the first two films. Chloe Fineman's Diane Keaton was on point, and you can never go wrong with a Selena Gomez appearance. But having Succession star Kieran Culkin returning to his role as the younger brother was just the thing that elevated the sketch beyond being just a parody.
Saturday Night Live: Yes, Weekend Update's Colin Jost Was… Acting?
From Trump looking to go "Terminator" on the constitution, Brittney Griner being released from Russian captivity, and Kyrsten Sinema ditching the Democrats (to everyone's annoyance but to no one's surprise) to Chris Christie's niece going on a racist rant on an airplane, France giving out condoms for free, and a woman leaving a particularly "shitty" surprise for police, Colin Jost and Michael Che had a ton of topics to tackles this week. Were they up for the challenge? Are they ever not? But a bonus this week is we get a chance to sample a little "voice acting" from Jost… so surprising that even Che and the audience took note.
Ego Nwodim's Mary Anne Louise Fischer was a perfect personification of holiday shopping & prep stress levels, and I loved the part where she goes in on there not being any Black "Karens" so she can do whatever she wants. But Mikey Day & Chloe Fineman's Kurt & Deb left me feeling "eh." On one hand, I'm all about Fineman's impersonations. On the other hand, this felt like just an excuse to show off Fineman's impersonations. Which I'm normally okay with as long as the premise is strong enough for me to buy into it. For this one, it was a bit too hit-or-miss:
Brandi Carlile Performs "The Story" & "You and Me on the Rock"
Look, Carlile already won me over with their previous SNL appearance, so their performances of "The Story" and "You and Me on the Rock" (featuring Lucius) were wonderful confirmations of just how amazing Carlile's voice is and how they deserve a lot more mainstream attention.