Hallelujah Cold Open
Remember the first show after the elections when Kate McKinnon did a heartwrenching version of “Hallelujah” as Hillary Clinton? Perhaps a little wishful thinking as the season ender retooled that opening but with Baldwin’s Trump crooning the song with a little help from Kellyanne Conway and Putin. And Don Jr. and Eric. And Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Grim Reaper Bannon. And Melania and Ivanka (Scarlett Johansson reprising the part she first played in the now classic “Complicit” perfume ad). But no Melissa McCarthy to do Spicey’s probable swan song?
Dwayne Johnson Five-Timers Monologue
Yes, believe it or not this was Johnson’s fifth time hosting, giving him a place of prestige in SNL history. Baldwin returned to give him the obligatory smoking jacket, and as they bantered about Baldwin playing the president, Johnson threw his hat in the ring for 2020 with his running mate … Tom Hanks! The two made compelling arguments for their candidacy reciting what very easily could have been dialog from any movie they’ve made, with Hanks the one to assure the people with his calm yet forceful manner, and Johnson the one who can really save the world from the brink of disaster. Some good stuff to get the night rolling.
This pre-taped bit seemed like any one of those ads for jewelry but it took a turn to be about the latest fad, fidget spinners. This one, however, was a gold-plated, diamond encrusted one from Cartier. Nice build up to the unexpected payoff subverting expectations.
WWE Promo Shoot 2
Johnson and Bobby Moynihan portray two wrestlers attempting to shoot a promo for an upcoming match, and while Moynihan’s character gets into the spirit of things, Johnson’s guy takes things just a bit too personally from his opponent’s sterility to his family lineage … and it’s not what he expected at all when he learns the truth. Again, another unexpected punchline. Everyone is on a roll tonight.
Rapper Big Chris’ (Kenan Thomspon) video for his new song “One Voice” with special guests Shantasia and Yung Bitch. The joke here is the over-reliance on artists having special guests on their tracks and this one gets totally out of hand with one cameo after another from every member of the cast with rapper names like Pinsexxy, Lil’ Nitwit, Sno’Cone, HawtClown, Skiffle, and Marci Jamz. Even Katy Perry was there! And Johnson popped in as King Keef. Funniest one was Kate McKinnon’s Pregnasty, although Jost and Che’s 2 Black Guyz was close, but the best surprise was Tom Hanks reprising one of his most famous SNL characters, albeit with a rap-appropriate name. This was hilarious!
Riffing on a Marvel superhero TV show, Johnson plays new superhero Scorpio, with superpowers related to a scorpion including a deadly sting. But all the women in his office are concerned about is the fine tailoring he did on his costume, all by himself. In one night! And it even has a capelet for cold nights and a surprise in the back.
Kenan and Vanessa Bayer return as the hapless couple, this time on the Jurassic Park ride at Universal’s theme park, who always run into a man they vaguely know and his girlfriend Gemma (who also has a baby pig now). The joke plays out as usual, but with the added hilarity of Bayer getting doused with water from the ride, causing her to nearly break up a few times. We’ve seen this before … and won’t see it again, at least not with Bayer … but it’s always fun to see the performers lose it.
Erectile Dysfunction is no laughing matter … unless SNL is doing an ad for medication to alleviate the problem. Of course, the medication is not quite what it seems in this pre-taped bit that gives Johnson some pretty funny stuff to work with, even as it goes into some uncomfortable territory. But we’re just touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to uncomfortable. More on that shortly.
Colin Jost and Michael Che thought last week was the craziest week of the Trump administration, but they were wrong as the two tackled the latest woes of Trump and the FBI, insinuating that Pence is “warming up in the bullpen” to take over (calling Trump “president for now”). Trump gave them plenty of fodder from his “no politician has been treated worse” comments (you’re not a real politician) to his blabbing secret information to the Russians (he just like people to know he knows things). There was also a funny In Memoriam to those Trump has lost so far (shh, don’t tell Sean Spicer, he doesn’t know yet). And Vanessa Bayer brought meteorologist Dawn Lazarus back, again doing an amazing job with her dialog. Bobby Moynihan also closed out the segment with Drunk Uncle one last time … and perhaps it was one time too many, ending the segment on a bit of a sour note. (And his “Ghostbusters should be men” rant generated some uncomfortable reactions from the audience.)
RKO Movie Set
It’s 1948 and a classy actress and her new leading man are about to shoot a scene. But, she keeps making “mistakes” that require retakes. That the mistakes are farts is the joke. It’s not original or sophisticated, but it gave the sound effects people a chance to really screw with Vanessa Bayer, who was barely able to hold it together as she tried to keep up with the increasingly horrific sounds. I’m ashamed to say I was weeping profusely with laughter.
World’s Most Evil Invention
A meeting of the world’s maddest scientists convenes as they compete to present the most evil invention. There are the typical shrink rays and freeze rays and then Roy (Johnson) shows up with his robot. Not just any robot but … a child molesting robot. Wow. The audience did not know how to react to this at all. You want to talk about the pinnacle of uncomfortable comedy sketches, child molesting robots is pretty much right at the top. And then the whole thing took an even more bizarre twist when it turned into an ad for a major fast food establishment that may not be too happy come Sunday morning when they find out about this.
Johnson plays an awkward dude at a bar who wants to talk to a woman but can’t, so the bartender tells him that he’ll be the wingman. Except the wingman keeps trying to insert himself into the action. Some humor here as things got more outrageous with each of his attempts to woo the woman. Not bad, not great, just middling fare towards the end of the night.
But we’re not done yet. One last sketch to end the night, appropriately a sort of high school graduation event with four seniors doing a presentation and riffing on movies and TV shows from the past year, with the principal (Johnson) so happy the kids are graduating so they can be friends now. Of the four seniors, two were played by Bayer and Moynihan, a fitting way to say goodbye to them without ever really saying goodbye (but they did get a lot of screen time this week).
Perry performed two songs from her new album this week, and this was one of the best musical performances of the season. The first song, “Swish, Swish”, was a very catchy, poppy, dancey number with Perry being completely overshadowed … in a good way … by a crowd of drag queens and other performers strutting down a runway (and if you are familiar with Leigh Bowery, you would have seen some of his famous outfits) with the highlight being a stone-faced kid with the fastest arms ever. The second song, “Bon Appétit”, was a good performance with Perry laid out on a table surrounded by dinner guests doing some nice “table-ography” (I was obsessed with the older gentleman who looked like Danny Glover), but the song just sounded like random words strung together. Overall, though, two great performances for the last show of the season.
And that is a wrap for season 42. The writing team really saved a lot of their best stuff for last, thankfully, Johnson is certainly one of the best hosts they have, Perry was terrific, the surprise guests added some fun, so the season closed out on a real high note. It’s too bad they didn’t do any formal goodbyes for Bobby and Vanessa but at least they got to shine one last time. And “Weekend Update” was totally on point this week, which gives us hope for the six week “Weekend Update” series that will be airing sometime this summer to keep us all up to date on the latest goings on. We’ll see you back here in the fall!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below!