SNL Review: Scratchy Biden, Che's Knockout Joke, Horny Grinch & More

After nine episodes for the first half of its jaw-dropping 46th season, NBC's Saturday Night Live is resting its head for a long winter's nap before returning (most likely) in early February. But to get there, they had to wrap things up with the annual "holiday/we-already-have-one-foot-out-the-studio" episode- with SNL alum Kristen Wiig (Wonder Woman 1984) as host and Dua Lipa as the musical guest. But the show didn't wait until 11:29 pm ET on Saturday to start getting everyone's attention, with news coming down earlier in the day that Jim Carrey was stepping down as the show's President-Elect Joe Biden (with cast member Alex Moffat assuming the role for the first time later that night).

SNL wrapped up year this weekend (Image: SNL screencap)
Saturday Night Live wrapped up the year this weekend (Image: SNL screencap)

So how did SNL say goodbye to 2020 and welcome the new year? With a pretty decent episode that had many more fun moments than misses, but in terms of the three eps we've had since the post-election break? This outing wasn't as good as last week's with Timothee Chalamet and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, but it was still way ahead of the Jason Bateman/Morgan Wallen run. Here's a rundown of our random thoughts about the night:

Okay, two things. Moffat really needs to spend the holiday break working on his Biden because it sounded like a cross between Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. Maya Rudolph's Kamala Harris is too great of an impersonation to waste on the writing she's been getting the past few sketches.

Wiig, Rudolph, and Kate McKinnon doing twisted takes on The Sound of Music? What's there not to like about that? Also, we're not the only ones who need to see these three leading a limited series where they run a detective agency, are we? Didn't think so…

Here's your 9,283,423rd example of why Wiig is such a well-rounded comedian. Physical and verbal humor totally on point, under-selling what others would've gone over-the-top with- and that's why it works. Props to Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, and Chloe Fineman for being just the right counterbalance (even though in my family, it was my Dad who always got screwed around the holidays).

Dua Lipa held up her end of the bargain by crushing "Don't Start Now" and "Levitating" so now we worship at her altar. Definitely in the discussion for the best musical performance this season (so far).

Colin Jost and Michael Che continue to remind us why we've loved and continue to love "Weekend Update" (SNL alum Norm Macdonald was a great WU anchor, btw), and this weekend was no exception. Props to Chris Redd for a Smokey Robinson take that was on point, Kenan Thompson's turn as Che's "neighbor" Willie was just the right mix of comedy and historical discomfort. But nothing compares to this…

Che making Jost read two racist jokes followed by a swipe at his wife Scarlett Johansson possibly playing Sammy Davis, Jr. was the ultimate three-punch combo for this year's "Weekend Update: Christmas Joke Swap." Jost will need the break to heal those wounds (but props and bonus points to Jost for making climbing his way through it- and probably blocking comments on his social media for a few days).

This was one of those "We Don't Give a F** If You Like It Because We'll Make You Love It" pre-holiday sketches. We can't explain one specific reason why we enjoyed it so much, but we have lots of different reasons. From Wiig and Bowen Yang having fascinating physical chemistry together on stage and Dua Lipa making her hips move in ways that would make Shakira proud, to the military unit quickly getting into the story, and even how the sketch just decided to end without an actual ending.

Only worth it for the blood splattering on Wiig near the end and how over the top they go with it.

Last week's SNL solidified Ego Nwodim as the next big breakout star from the show in our eyes, and this sketch was another reason why. Offering a real-world perspective on Hulu's head-scratching limited series A Teacher, it felt like it read our minds and put on the screen every annoying issue we have with the streaming limited series.

It seems only fitting that we wrap this up with Pete Davidson as The Grinch. Wearing tighty-whities. After having had a threesome with Wiig and Mikey Day's Whoville residents. And now having to find a way to explain things to the kids (Mooney, Fineman). This shouldn't have worked- and at nearly four minutes, it almost didn't. Yet it went out on the edge and got us from laughing to feeling disturbed to wanting to switch over to Ridiculousness to giving in and laughing our asses off. Probably the best compliment we could offer it- here's hoping for an even stronger 2020 for the show.

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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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