Donald Trump Press Conference Cold Open
Yet another (Sigh) Trump Cold Open to start Saturday Night Live on it’s first episode of the new year. Is anyone else just exhausted by these yet? I know they have to cover Trump but maybe they could find another format or at least not always have it be the first thing we see. There was still some funny stuff here, the pee pee party stuff was pretty hilarious and calling the Trump sons Beavis and Butthead killed with the crowd. Steve Harvey and Putin were also pretty solid but I just feel exhausted by these sketches at this point.
Felicity Jones Monologue
Felicity Jones was the host this week, coming off her wildly popular film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and oddly not mentioning the newly released A Monster Calls. I have seen some awkward monologue delivery over the years but boy oh boy was this painful. As stiff and stilted as some athletes have been on the show, this was truly disappointing coming from an actress with such high profile films under her belt. Without some amusing Kenan moments as Forest Whitaker’s Star Wars character, and a cute cameo from Tina Fey, this would have been just horrible. Oh and Tina’s comment about there being way too many SNL reviews? Um … Sorry?
First sketch of the evening was “Beard Hunk,” a Bachelor type sketch they’ve done at least a couple of times now. It wasn’t that funny the first few times and it was still only mildly amusing here. Twenty four with a face of thirty six was a clever line, and Aidy Bryant’s oddly sudden sexual display was successfully shocking, but this was just dumb and dragged on way too long. Not a good sign for the evening.
Shondra & Malik
A digital short called “Shondra and Malik” was … perplexing. Feeling much like The Wire or even more like its precursor The Corner, this digital short dealt with two people arguing in a city setting much like those shows. When Kenan’s character Malik tries to tell off Leslie Jones’s Shondra and drive away, his car stalls out. His car troubles continue as Shondra even tries to help him. I actually loved how weird and awkward this piece got, until the explosion at the end sort of cheapened the whole thing. It was so dry and simple and real that last beat just threw me off.
This next sketch about a rich old benefactor for a small theatre was an absolute agony to sit through. The old man screaming questions at his nurse and going through all sorts of care in the background of this play, it all felt in very poor taste. Perhaps if they made him a jerk to start, you would be able to laugh at the old man spitting yogurt all over himself or fighting with his nurse. Instead, this just felt sad. For lack of a better term it just bummed me out.
The Princess & the Curse
“The Princess & the Curse” was a short and amusing little play on many fairy tales but Sleeping Beauty probably being the strongest influence on at least the look. I appreciated the title cards use of The Princess Bride font as well. Making her curse simply gaining fifteen pounds at night was chuckle worthy and the solution being to lose a quarter inch of the prince’s penis was a funny button to end on. In such a mediocre night what would normally be just passable rose to be one of the funnier points of the evening.
Susan B. Anthony
A Susan B. Anthony tour that quickly conjures the spirit of the suffragette would seem on the surface like a surefire hit. Somehow though they managed to turn what could have been some real biting commentary on the plight of women now compared to where they were so long ago into a bunch of women being rude and yelling at an old lady. When the biggest laugh is Kate McKinnon yelling ”What is that!” at an iPhone … you know you’re in trouble.
Weekend Update felt just about average for this episode’s outing. Not as great as it’s been recently but still entertaining. The Trump golden shower stuff killed and Jost’s “Nazi’s had the guts to go after Russia” joke got a fantastic groan/laugh combo. I even loved Jost’s terrible tree joke, well the joke was terrible, but his reaction to the audience’s deafening silence showed he probably pushed for it just because of how hacky it was. Pete Davidson’s first impressions segment was very well done. His Jeff Dunham puppet quip had me on the floor. He has become one of my favorite players on this cast. Beck Bennett’s pop star persona however was a real yawner.
“Fandango All Access” had Beck and Kyle’s fingerprints all over it. That is not a compliment by the way. Interviewing a director and stars about a sex comedy called “Hot Robot 3: Journey to Boob Mountain,” this bit was pretty one-note. The cast and director spoke with such pride and self aggrandizing on their political positions and the “art” of their work. I totally see what they were going for here, it just did nothing for me. Frankly the only thing I really laughed was when we found out Beck’s character was named Skidmark. Something just did not click.
A tropical corporate retreat sketch was literally just one long joke about genitals and loose women. Maybe one punchline about a “weak whole” made me laugh in spite of myself but this was just tasteless and not worthy of any of our time.
Musical guest Sturgill Simpson performed his songs “Keep It Between the Lines” and “Call to Arms”, and he may be the best thing about this week’s show. With an old school country rock sound, Simpson and his band had the live audience roaring. While not my normal flavor of music, I actually enjoyed their bluesy twang feel throughout. The band was great and the biggest compliment I can pay is I might seek out their music in the future.
This week of SNL was a complete bore. With barely a laugh to be found and Felicity Jones barely even present, this was a huge disappointment. After a strong first half to the season and a long winter break I expected the cast to hit the ground running. Instead we got this dredge. Such a waste.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below!