Okay, time to grab a moment of silence as we say goodbye to the 46th season of NBC's Saturday Night Live. Because whatever people want to say about the past eight months worth of shows, this season will go down as the most unique in the long-running sketch comedy/music series' near half-century- a show that went from "SNL @ Home" to finally have a full audience in attendance. So how did the season finale go? Not too shabby, thank you very much. To get the negative stuff out of the way first, "Celtic Women" left me with a blank stare, and "Picture with Dad" was just good enough for a two-minute sketch- unfortunately, it went over three minutes. But other than that, everything else either worked or went above and beyond. Anya Taylor-Joy impressed and showed an excellent comedic range, while Lil Nas X's performances of "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" and "Sun Goes Down" not only proved yet again that his talent is only just taking off but punctuated a season of impressive performances with an exclamation point (and an appropriate wardrobe malfunction).
But not everything could make out the top five sketches- though this week was a tough one. Remember: just because a sketch didn't make the cut didn't mean it wasn't quality (check out all the clips here). Also, the first four are in no particular order before we get to our top choice- and make sure to stay around for a sketch with Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett, and Taylor-Joy that was cut for time. First up, a sketch looking back at a 1998 "episode" of Hollywood Squares on GSN that had us laughing uncomfortably in all the right ways with each black screen cut- and then sad realizing just how dead-on accurate it was. Special props to Taylor-Joy's Baby Spice and how regretfully honored she felt to be around "fine folks" like Bill Cosby (Kenan Thompson):
I'm curious to know how Taylor-Joy and Bryant researched their roles for this sketch because they were dead-on portraying folks I've seen way too many times in action in real life during some roundtable interviews (and extra points for reminding us of Chris Farley's "interview" with Paul McCartney).
Does Beckett's Vin Diesel take a journey through "Sylvester Stallone land" sometimes? Sure, but that running list of reasons to return (or stay very far away) theaters had me reaffirming my commitment to streaming:
In what should now be an SNL tradition for the season finales moving forward, the cast reflects on what it was like putting on the past season in the middle of a raging pandemic during the cold open. Combining self-deprecation with some interesting lines offering a bit more insight into the season's "shakier" moments (Morgan Wallen, anyone?), it was a funny, touching way for the cast to say goodbye- and damn you, McKinnon, for getting us to tear up!
But it's "Weekend Update" co-anchors and SNL co-head writers Michael Che and Colin Jost who end the season at our top spot with a vicious round of "Colin Jost and Michael Che Swap Jokes." Written by the duo for each other but not seen by the reader until they hit the teleprompter or cue cards, this exchange was the most brutally tasteless out of their run so far. But while Che looked knocked off his game with the "Blue Lives Matter" and police support lines, Jost just couldn't withstand the garage the "Black Superman" jokes. Still, they both left a little bit damaged- but not "canceled" as Jost and Che assured us (kinda) they wouldn't be.
Finally, in the following sketch that was cut for time McKinnon, Bryant, and Bennett try pitching Taylor-Joy on some The Queen's Gambit-related sketches: