This weekend saw what's expected to be the last edition of NBC's Saturday Night Live until May 8, with host Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) and musical guest Kid Cudi commanding the stages of Studio 8H with an episode that hit from the cold open until the credits rolled (though we're still on the fence with the "L'Eggs" and "Study Budy" sketches). There was a whole lot to like this week and nothing that really missed the mark- a good note to go into a break with. So let's take a deep dive into why it was worth 90 minutes of our lives…
In one of the sharper, more effective Saturday Night Live cold opens, Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd, and Ego Nwodim demonstrate both the basic difference in media coverage of racial issues as well as just how much different Black and White people still view some long-standing, divisive-for-no-real-reason issues. Extra points to Redd for hitting that "Florida Age 17" joke perfectly:
I never knew how much I needed to know what goes on during those in-between moments in IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) drug commercials until Saturday night. Thompson and Aidy Bryant go beautifully over-the-top with just how righteously bad Mulligan's IBS-suffering mom blew up the bathroom at her child's recital. But special props go to Mulligan for how she told her husband (Mikey Day) to "shut the f**k up" and her deadly-serious threat to "destroy" another mom if she tells anyone about the bathroom.
Okay, I'm just going to say that "What's Wrong with This Picture?" needs to be the new Jeopardy! sketch. Mulligan, Bryant, and Redd are just the right mix of disturbing, inept, conspiratorial, and oblivious to make this work- and once again, Thompson's in the hosting control seat while masterfully switching back and forth from straight man to joke-saver ("I said CLOCK."):
One way to win my heart if you're an SNL host or musical guest? Always be willing to be in on the joke- even if it hits a little close to home. Mulligan understands her craft so well that she knows just how to dial-up certain aspects to take things from the dramatic to the hysterical- and let's make sure to not leave out Heidi Gardner, who more than holds her own in this sketch and has been a multi-talent all season. Extra points for the "male director" line at the end and Kate McKinnon's line about the modern-day sexing going on:
I'm starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to "Weekend Update" but Colin Jost and Michael Che came out with their chainsaws and started cutting with the first joke and never let up. From President Joe Biden channeling Clint Eastwood to Tyler Perry getting ready to offer viewers a "Young Madea" series, this edition was hitting topics left and right with a well-deserved cockiness that vibed throughout the entire segment (with the best venom saved appropriately enough for Matt Gaetz). Beck Bennett and Redd said out loud what everyone's been thinking: President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen are excellent dudes- just not the first pairing you think of when you think "podcast." Punkie Johnson owned that screen as stripper Pineapple Penelope Peters, invited to discuss the ESPN/Paul Pierce situation. Johnson continues to tackle roles with skill and energy, and it showed in a sketch that could've easily failed if not for Johnson owning the moment so well (and yeah, we would party with Pineapple). But you know a segment is hitting on all cylinders when even an interview between Jost and the Iceberg that sank the Titanic gets laughs- especially when said-Iceberg-with-a-new-album-to-promote is played by Bowen Yang:
Love Star Trek but hate whiney, privileged white folks? This is the sketch you want. Day and Mulligan make you want to reach through your screens and smack their characters in the backs of their heads to knock some sense around. Side note? The airlock ending reminded us of Adult Swim's Rick and Morty– nothing else to add to that. Just wanted to share:
Yup, it's Kid Cudi, Pete Davidson, and Redd starring in a music video about their all-time favorite instrument: the "Weird Little Flute"- and that was Timothee Chalamet making a guest appearance. You're probably expecting me to offer you more details than that, but you don't need any. It really is a music video about their love of that twisted little flute sound you hear in some songs- and you buy into it even if you don't get it within the first 10-15 seconds. Davidson needs to be running point on all the filmed music videos moving forward because he just doesn't miss, and those segments really seem to give a number of cast members an even bigger stage to experiment. Mulligan showing up as the music store worker who ends up flashing the money and singing about the promotion she's going to get for selling them all of the flutes was a nice touch at the end, but it's Kid Cudi, Davidson, and Redd's moment in the sun.
Finally, a World War II documentary sketch finds separated military couple Bertie (Day) and Mary (Mulligan) exchanging letters during a time of war. Once again, a sketch that could've been filled with cast members breaking and waves of absurdity, but Day and Mulligan escalate it nicely. The combination of Mulligan's calm, near sociopathic ability to flow through any topic (or mail cocaine) with Day's growing disbelief in what the woman of his dreams is sending him offered the sketch a great build- whether it was lunch with Nazis or alluding to having actually murdered someone.