Donald Trump Cold Open
Baldwin is back again, with Beck Bennett in as Pence, to reminisce about all the great thing (that’s not a typo) Trump accomplished in his first 100 days. The jokes came from Trump thinking his term was over after 100 days, and then the Grim Reaper Bannon and Jared Kushner (Jimmy Fallon) stepped in for a sort of Bachelor-style elimination ceremony, with the loser joining Kellyanne Conway in the basement (but they would return to help with Trump’s impeachment). Definitely better than last week’s coal miner opening but it’s getting harder and harder to laugh at what is already an absurd reality.
Jimmy Fallon Let’s Dance Monologue
It’s expected that when Fallon hosts, a lot of friends and SNL alumni will appear in the monologue and throughout the show. But with the occasion of this being the show’s very first coast-to-coast live broadcast, Fallon wasted no time with a standard monologue. Instead he launched into Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” with dozens of back-up dancers strategically placed all throughout the studio as Fallon sang and danced through the hallways at NBC. It was a musical extravaganza to get this party started. And gave the rest of the show a lot to live up to. And no sign of Justin Timberlake, but musical guest Harry Styles was included as was a surprise appearance by Nile Rodgers.
Celebrity Family Feud: Time Travel Edition
Kenan Thompson’s Steve Harvey is positively baffled by this mash-up of 1977 stars vs 2017 stars, with a terrific set featuring likenesses of the classic Richard Dawson era Feud and the current edition. Perhaps this sketch was a nod to the season’s plethora of time travel shows, but it gave the cast a chance to do some great impersonations. On the ’77 side, Cecily Strong was a terrific Liza Minnelli, Sasheer Zamata was a breathy Diana Ross, Harry Styles guested as Mick Jagger, and Fallon was John Travolta. On the 2017 side it was Kate McKinnon as Kristen Stewart, Melissa Villasenor as Gwen Stefani, Pete Davidson as David Blaine and … Jimmy Fallon as John Travolta. The only point of the sketch was getting Fallon back and forth as the two Travolta’s while Kenan did an extended bit of dialog as they got him in to and out of and in to the costumes. It was pretty funny stuff with Styles apparently having spasms in the background.
Before the Show
A pre-taped bit sans Fallon featuring a troupe of high schoolers about to do the very first production of Legally Blonde: The Musical in Kansas (or maybe it was Oklahoma). The piece mixed footage of the cast talking about how great it all went interspersed with the real disaster that unfolded on stage. It was a pretty humorous juxtaposition, capped with the decision to add wire work not in the original Broadway production to really spice things up. It doesn’t go well.
Take Me Back
A newly dating couple is interrupted by the woman’s ex who tries to woo her back with song and a proposal, while the other guy is sitting on the couch. While it seemed to be going absolutely nowhere, this short and sweet bit had a killer punchline … that the writers just had to push a little too far with a second punchline that was actually a call back to a bit from last week’s show. So they get points for that.
Easter Message from Sean Spicer
Melissa McCarthy put in another surprise appearance as Sean Spicer, revisiting his old job as the White House Easter Bunny and holding a press conference to attempt an apology for all of his gaffes this past week, mainly focusing on his offensive remarks to the Jewish community at this time of Passover, or as he called it, “Jewish Easter.” There was some funny stuff here — if you’re not easily offended — but the audience was oddly, uncomfortably silent for most of the bit.
Colin Jost and Michael Che were hitting it out of the park this week with some real breaking news about North Korea’s failed missile launch, or as they called it, recognition of Trump’s first 100 days in office. There were some great jabs at Fox News, Trump’s beautiful chocolate cake, the Mar-a-Lago health code violations, the inflated budget to protect the Trump family, Ben Carson stuck in an elevator, and United Airlines. There was also a great punchline about a Bloomin’ Onion for which they just held the shot on Jost for a beat longer than normal that had Che cracking up. It was all humming along nicely until Bar Mitzvah Boy Jacob showed up again to tell us the story of Passover — again — and then it all went into the crapper with the return of Kyle Mooney’s aggressively annoying comic Bruce Chandling. Why, SNL, WHY????
Civil War Soldiers
A group of union soldiers during the Civil War try to make themselves feel more at home by singing “Old New York” but one of them feels the song is missing a little something, turning it into a boy band song with the lyrics “Everybody get excited, party at my parents’ house!” joined by their Rebel prisoner played by Harry Styles.
Ever say something embarrassing and have nowhere to hide. Now you do with the Turtle Shirt, made from the same material as a turtle’s shell so it stands up while you shrink down into it. It’s a personal panic room on your back. This was a pretty funny pre-taped bit with some bizarre visuals.
Sully & Denise
A group of parents and their kids tour Harvard when Bahston’s own Pat Sullivan and his girl Denise show up. Rachel Dratch was the only SNL alum to appear this time around and they played the obnoxious parents of Little Denise (McKinnon). If you know the characters, you pretty much know what you’re going to get out of this sketch, mostly a lot of that hard Boston accent. Interestingly, the only one of Fallon’s past characters that was revived for this episode.
Fallon and Mikey Day are basketball playing background extras on a film shoot, constantly drawing focus away from the main scene. Some funny moments with the ball ricocheting off the rim and hitting them in the face, and some great sideways glances from Kenan Thompson as the school principal. And ending the night with a pre-taped piece is an interesting choice.
The former One Direction member (have they officially broken up, or are they just on a break?) returns to the SNL stage (he’d appeared once before with 1D in 2014) to perform his songs “Sign of the Times” and “Ever Since New York”. This is the first time I’ve heard him solo, and the first song was pretty impressive, with some strong vocals and a catchy tune. The second song was a bit more toned down with some tight close-ups that showcased some of Styles’ odd facial contortions while he sings (and for the first half of the song he barely even moved his mouth, singing mostly through his teeth like a ventriloquist). I wouldn’t rush out to buy his music, but he turned in a pretty strong showing to prove he has the makings of a successful solo artist.
One expects a Fallon-hosted show to be one home run after another, and while this episode did have a consistent amount of humor, there weren’t any real bombs either. Of the nine sketches (not including the monologue and “Weekend Update”), Fallon was present in all but two, but his best moment had to be the two Travoltas in the “Family Feud” sketch. Not a total home run of an episode, but funny enough. The show will be off until May 6 as we get down to the last three episodes of the season.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below!