Melissa McCarthy is one of the funniest women in America, and her appearance on Saturday Night Live last night confirmed that. Her appearance both live on stage and in a pre-taped street segment as Sean Spicer was undoubtedly the highlight of the episode, and her tribute to Mother’s Day monologue was charming and lovely.
The rest of the sketches, however, continued to suffer this week, not quite up to SNL standards. SNL may be enjoying the best ratings in recent years, and they have more material to parody than any season in modern SNL history, but overall the series seems to be struggling to connect in the sketch department this year
Last night’s bits ranged from ‘eh’ to absolutely awful, but none of them were great. On the “not bad” side, a digital short about Amazon’s Alexa for old people scored some genuine laughs. The first sketch of the night involving Melissa McCarthy getting hit in the face repeatedly with pies goes nowhere, but McCarthy’s delivery alone makes it fun to watch; if you don’t agree, watch it again. It’s actually more fun to re-watch than it was the first time around. The freshest part of Alec Baldwin’s Trump cold open was seeing Michael Che as Lester Holt. Baldwin’s Trump bit continues to run on the stale side, but America loves it, so we’re not expecting to see any changes. The worst of the worst, a bit called First Birthday, an ensemble piece with the women of the cast which was so underwritten that you need to watch it to see how bad it was. It might qualify as the worst sketch of the season. A digital short about Kyle and Leslie makes our ‘why bother’ list, and a Film Panel sketch featuring actresses talking about the hardships of the business had some good jokes, but it feels like we’ve seen the bit over and over again now.
Weekend Update on the other hand, is thriving, as it should be in such bizarre times. Michael Che and Colin Jost have really hit their stride, with a combination of sharp critical comedy and easygoing bemusement at their own material that works perfectly, and gives their era of Weekend Update its own flavor. We’re still hoping for a format update for the segment, and something needs to be done about the desk characters because they’re bringing down what should be a triumphant segment. The Weekend Update guests currently seem to fall into two categories: characters with a heavy accent or speech impediment (that seem to be attempting to repeat the success that Kate McKinnon has had on occasion playing foreign women), or SNL‘s stand up comedians appearing as themselves, delivering an uninspired or repetitive spiel. This week, Weekend Update brought one of each, with Cecily Strong’s Cathy Anne talking about Comey, and Pete Davidson talking about being sober. Both were forgettable, and one was just annoying.
Congratulations to Melissa McCarthy for getting her five timers jacket. There wasn’t a big dance number or fireworks, but there was Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.
Saturday Night Live returns next week for the season finale, with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson hosting.