Jeff Sessions Gump Cold Open
The Cold Open this week was a take on Forrest Gump with Jeff Sessions sitting in for the Tom Hanks character. Kate McKinnon did a fine job as the simple Southerner. Well presented and smartly written, this was one of the highlights of the evening. Host Octavia Spencer even made a short appearance. With lines about chocolates, “there sure are a lot of brown ones,” “Kellyanne ain’t got no legs!”, and Octavia playing her Minnie character complete with pie, this was the cleverest sketch of the evening.
Octavia Spencer Monologue
Octavia Spencer set the bar for her episode with her monologue. Where she set it was very, very low. With a cute piece about all of her nurse roles and her “resting nurse face,” this was one of the most tepid, boring monologues I can remember. I feel sleepy just recalling it.
Republican Movie Trailer
“TBD” was a great piece of social and political commentary. A movie trailer about the one Republican to stand up to Trump and make a household name of himself, having the TBD repeated over and over, commenting on the GOP’s lack of a backbone when dealing with the president. “Definitely not Paul Ryan” was a perfectly delivered line with “starring Bradley Whitford, probably” as a cherry on top. A simple concept perfectly executed.
Drug Company Hearing
An arbitration over drug names was a cute idea that went nowhere with the basic premise that drug names are co-opted names from a black family a cute bit that plays on an old stereotype. The start was amusing but it never escalated or changed. Just the same lame joke over and over. I was bored to tears by the end.
Girl at a Bar
“Girl at a Bar” was fairly clever, showing the new type of male feminist. That being a man who declares all the PC pro women stances of today but expects to get laid because of it. Though repetitive it was still funny, as each man gets turned down, turning into a snarling jackass, calling the poor woman a bitch. Also it’s a concept I can’t remember seeing much of in sketch comedy before. Not terribly special but amusing.
Zoo-opalis Voice Actors
“Zoo-opolis” was a glorified impression quick fire. Doing a rough voice track for a Zootopia rip off, the cast members got to do a ton of impressions back to back. Melissa Villasenor was the true stand out here. Her Kristen Wiig was solid, and Owen Wilson was spot on, but it was her Kate McKinnon and Julia Louis Dreyfus that sealed it. Now Octavia Spencer actually did impress me with her Judi Dench but Villasenor killed it on this one. Till recently I hadn’t been impressed by the new cast member but lately she’s had some real shining moments.
“Youngblood” shows Pete Davidson take on Kenan Thompson in an old school versus new school chess match. Unfortunately, Kenan’s old man doesn’t actually know how to play chess. Taking an old idea of the seasoned elder schooling the whippersnapper and flipping it on its head, yet another entertaining pre-produced short. These are becoming the strongest part of SNL by far.
“Weekend Update” was about normal. A solid mix of topical humor and some characters. Obviously Trump heavy, but clever, smart stuff. Calling the GOP a sausage party hit hard, almost as hard as Che’s comments that Colins immigrant parents at least had a choice. Comparing the DNC response to the State of the Union address a Colonial Penn commercial worked great and the line about Hotmail being forbidden by Pence’s church had me rolling. On top of the always dependable Che and Jost, we got the Trump brothers, with poor Eric again shown as a simpleton. Even when a Capri Sun went haywire some quick improv saved the bit and actually elevated it. I even had fun with Vanessa Bayer’s kid actor character. Oh and that U2 Pro Bono joke? Perfection. A great “Update.”
“Sticky Bun” was a terrible, unfunny sketch about training a fake Cinnabon crew. Just terrible and trying to pass a line calling milk “Cold Cow Piss” as humor. Not worth anyone’s time.
A girls night out turns into a weird piece about a woman overcompensating for Black History Month by befriending a black woman. I just don’t get what they thought was funny here. I didn’t snicker, I didn’t even smile. Another complete waste of time.
The Chocolate Man
Chuckie Chocolate, or was that Jackie? (The cart actually read Tommy Chocolate, though that name was never uttered.) This was an example of a close yet total miss. The bizarreness of Beck Bennett was initially humorous, even breaking some of the cast. But the unfocused and rambling nature of the sketch led nowhere and fizzled out in the end. With a threatening presence, guns in the office and sexual assault as topics of focus there should have been plenty of material but it was all wasted.
Spencer’s Gifts HQ
Dear god, the entire back half of this episode was such a complete mess. Octavia Spencer, heir to Spencer Gifts, sounds like a great idea. But again this never went anywhere. Stupid gags about the garbage products from Spencer’s Gifts that fizzled so bad the audience didn’t even realize when the sketch was over, as the end had deafening silence until presumably the applause sign and a floor director coaxed some applause.
Father John Misty
The musical guest was Father John Misty. I was and am completely unfamiliar with the artist who performed the songs “Total Entertainment Forever” and “Pure Comedy”. With lines about bedding Taylor Swift in VR and some pitchy quality, I would call him a low rent John Denver. Exuding self importance and seeming all too pleased with himself, Misty came off as a know it all who thinks his music is saving mankind. A turnoff in quality and message.
Octavia Spencer as host was almost an afterthought and added little to nothing to this week’s sketches. A few standout pieces highlighted the cast but this was a lackluster episode. Special mention to the random Kellyanne Conway appearances from McKinnon during bumps between breaks. Overall a fairly disappointing outing for the SNL cast.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below!