Saturday Night Live Recap: Pete Davidson, Puking Cakes, Dog-Man & More

This weekend brought Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Kim's Convenience) and musical guest Saweetie to Studio 8H for the last live episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live until December. On December 11, we have Billie Eilish doing double-duty as both host and musical guest. Then on December 18, Ghostbusters: Afterlife star Paul Rudd and musical guest Charli XCX help the SNL cast (hopefully) end 2021 on a strong note. But before we get to any of that, let's take a look back at how the long-running sketch comedy/music series wrapped things up for Thanksgiving break. Before we get to the rundown of what worked, some random thoughts. Liu had a solid opening monologue, but I was expecting a bit more from Saweetie's two performances (still quality but not at the top of the list of musical performances this season so far). And while I very much dig Kyle Mooney's contributions to the show, those Baby Yoda moments on "Weekend Update" need to be put out of their misery (and ours). The "911 Call" stoner professor sketch just kinda happened and felt like a one-note joke where the person telling it repeats the same punchline a ton of times. Considering there was the Please Don't Destroy video sketch "Touch Up" available that didn't end up making it to air, another option was available. Hmmm…

saturday night live
Saturday Night Live (Image: Screencaps)

So with that out of the way, here's a look at what worked for us on this week's Saturday Night Live and why- enjoy!

"Jeanine Pirro Cold Open": Cecily Strong's Judge Jeanine Pirro returned to kick off the show to talk about the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, but once again it was all about James Austin Johnson's damn scary take on Donald Trump that nails it. And this time, we didn't just get the ESPN-like rundown board of topics; we also got to play a little "Word Search."

"New Military Weapon": Liu's high-ranking major briefs Strong & Johnson's officials on the military new secret weapon: Project Domino: Dog Head Man.  Along with Mikey Day's scientist, we were treated to nearly five minutes of the cast trying to hold it together while an actual dog was chilling in character while an actor supplied his hands. Silly and goofy? Oh, by miles. But in between the near breaks from the cast, the sketch had a fun, 50's sci-fi movie feel to it.

"Karaoke All-Stars": If you've ever been out for karaoke more than once then you know just how on-point this sketch was. Bonus points to Ego Nwodim for "Su Soppa Layla," Alex Moffat & Heidi Gardner for "Father & Daughter Sing 'Pony'", and Kenan Thompson for being able to hold it together when they cut back to him and Chloe Fineman.

"Republican or Not": In what might be one of the show's more deeply cutting social satire sketches so far this season, Liu and Nwodim's game show contestants are perfect at demonstrating the similarities that exist among all of those Democrat and Republican differences. Bonus points to Thompson for the cynically gleeful route he went with his game show host, nearly giddy as he made his point to the contestants over and over again.

"Target Thanksgiving Ad": Day and Nwodim are all of us at the holiday time in a taped sketch where Target really, truly understands your family holiday needs this season… because hosting your family "can be a whole damn thing." And yeah, we've had the dog thing happen to us. Twice.

"Weekend Update": Once again, Colin Jost and Michael Che can do no wrong, not when we know that they're really just trying to make each other laugh and we're just along for the ride. And I like that because it works, and it's why it feels like the duo enjoys the groans and awkward silences as much as the laughter. Also, reports are coming in that… Jost slipped into a character for a few seconds?! Seriously, Jost seemed a bit more animated and punchier than usual and it worked. As for Aidy Bryant as Mother Earth discussing climate change, we couldn't ask for anything better. It's funny because as we're watching Bryant smoothly shift from loving & nurturing to menacing & threatening, we suddenly got the need to see her portray Annie Wilkes in a take on Stephen King's Misery.

"Simu & Bowen": Simu and Bowen Yang's filmed sketch takes on how they feel being named the first Asians in their respective career fields, taking it to absurdly competitive levels with some inspired categories ("Mr. Asian Panera", for example).

"Thanksgiving Baking Championship": I don't give a damn if it hurts my credibility as a television reviewer or not. If you give me a sketch with two demonic puppet cakes where one of them throws up everywhere? You're making my list. Don't judge me. And bonus points to Liu for his detached & defeated approach to handling the situation- nice contrast. That said? For some reason, I couldn't stop obsessing over Pete Davidson still eating the cake from the first round throughout most of the sketch. Still not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it made it interesting.

"Walking in Staten": While I will never quite get in any way, shape, or form Davidson's obsession with Staten Island, who cares? He loves it, vibes it, and might just be its staunchest defender (even if it seems begrudgingly at times). And he goes all-out with this music video sketch ode to his "lonely island." With Big Wet riding shotgun, we're not sure if it was the addition of "Walking in Memphis" man Marc Cohn or Wu Tang's Method Man that impressed us the most.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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