A week after #SNLAtHome, tonight Saturday Night Live is back to social distancing with a repeat SNL hosted by John Mulaney!
Last weekend, Saturday Night Live pulled off the near impossible feat of airing an episode from their sequestered locations. Due to the pandemic, Saturday Night Live was remotely produced and performed from the homes of the SNL cast members. The episode brought in the second highest ratings of SNL – Season 45, right behind this season’s Saturday Night Live‘s Christmas show hosted by Eddie Murphy.
The socially distanced SNL had to be a hugely coordinated effort and something that’s probably impossible to do every week. Saturday Night Live was off for over month between their scheduled hiatus in March and the pandemic causing television shows to go dark across the world. So, the show along with its writers and producers obviously had more than a week to work on the sketches and bits we saw last week on the episode known as #SNLAtHome.
That brings us to tonight and SNL‘s return to repeat episodes. And speaking of ambitious, this evening’s SNL rerun starring John Mulaney is one of the variety series’ most adventurous episodes to date. It includes a big time production number like all John Mulaney hosted shows do. Tonight’s encore presentation is Mulaney’s third time hosting Saturday Night Live in the course of just three years.
For those who don’t know him, (a topic in tonight’s SNL monologue), John Mulaney is one of the most brilliant and successful comedians touring today. Well, not “today,” but back when comics could tour, Mulaney sold out theaters across the nation. He’s also an award winning writer who brought home a Primetime Emmy for his work on SNL while he was part of the writers’ room for six seasons starting in 2008.
In 2018, Mulaney was summoned back to Saturday Night LIve to host during SNL – Season 43. Less than a year later, the “Comeback Kid” (the name of John Mulaney’s third stand up special,) came back to SNL to host again during season 44. Then, John “Kid Gorgeous” (his 4th special) Mulaney returned to host Saturday Night Live for his third time, which you’ll witness tonight.
Mulaney claims in his monologue that he has nothing to promote. So we’ll do it for him. His latest and most unique comedy special, “John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch” is currently streaming on Netflix. If you’re down in the quarantine dumps, give it a watch on the streamer.
The original air date of this repeat episode of Saturday Night Live was February 29, 2020. Two things were happening in the country that were occupying national attention at the time. It took place at the beginning of the Coronavirus scare, plus earlier that day, voters in the South Carolina primary had turned out in force for former Vice-President Joe Biden, resurrecting his Presidential campaign and propelling him to the Democratic nomination. Veepers Creeper! It was a big day for former Veep Joltin’ Joe Biden!
Saturday Night Live took advantage of both of these lead news stories of the day and actually combined them in the SNL – Cold Open which launches this evening’s SNL Best Of show. Tonight’s opening sketch starts out as a press conference held by Vice-President Mike Pence who had been put in charge of President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force. Pence’s job in real life, was to calm America’s fears. Yeah. We should have panicked more back then. Watching the opening sketch tonight, we’ll all long for this time when the Coronavirus was still comedy material.
In this evening’s cold open, V-P Mikey P. (played by cast member Beck Bennett) has his press conference hijacked by not only the Democratic candidates for President (the ones which were still in the race back in February), but also his cabinet co-worker Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, hilariously played by cast member Kenan Thompson. After Kenan’s Dr. Carson told the nation how bad the Coronavirus epidemic was going to be, Beck’s Pence starts taking questions from the Democratic challengers posing as reporters.
The Dems are played by a host of SNL fans’ favorite cameo performers. These include former cast member Fred Armisen as former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former cast member Rachel Dratch as Senator Amy Klobuchar and Larry David as Senator Bernie Sanders. Plus add in, cast member Kate McKinnon as the perfect Senator Elizabeth Warren and cast member Colin Jost as Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
And in a rare SNL happening, the host of the show, John Mulaney made an appearance in the cold open. That never happens. Mulaney shows up as former Vice-President Joe Biden, making him the 3rd person to have played Delaware’s favorite son on SNL, joining former cast member Jason Sudeikis and Woody Harrelson as people who have played the 47th Vice President of the United States on Saturday Night Live.
Other than a white wig and a nice suit, Mulaney barely attempts his “Joe Biden” impression. Plus, after delivering a couple of lines in standard Biden style, Mulaney disappears from the cold open sketch to head backstage to prepare for his monologue.
In his SNL monologue, host John Mulaney introduces himself to anyone who might not know who he is and talks about how his appearance is history-making for Saturday Night Live.Want to know how Mulaney made SNL history!? You’ll have to tune in tonight and find out. You already get plenty of great free content here at the IBang, we’re not giving away SNL spoilers too.
The best part of a comedian hosting Saturday Night Live is that the monologue is pure stand up. Mulaney jumps into material about those dads who are getting older. This will be a good episode to run on Father’s Day weekend when SNL is on summer hiatus this year.
John Mulaney also discusses how hard it is to make friends as an adult and the magic of Jesus. Then, “shifting topics entirely,” John Mulaney gets political, well, late 18th century political, talking about the Father Founders and the Constitution. The NRA will enjoy Mulaney’s chunk on the Second Amendment and rarely will we ever hear this much stand up regarding the 3rd amendment. Mulaney wraps his third SNL monologue by telling a sweet and funny story about the Make a Wish program. We know that seems impossible, but of course, John Mulaney can pull it off.
The sketches on tonight’s encore SNL are hallmarked by one Mulaney fans were hoping for. It’s called “Airport Sushi“, the third chapter in John Mulaney’s musical SNL opus. It completes the trilogy that also includes the sketches “Diner Lobster” and “Bodega Bathroom.”
All three of these sketches have the same formula. A person (cast member Pete Davidson) breaks an unwritten, but well-know New York City law and then the sketch turns into a huge over-the-top musical extravaganza of Broadway hits. In “Diner Lobster” which premiered during John Mulaney’s first hosting gig during SNL – Season 43, Pete ordered the lobster off the menu in an NYC diner. (ewww) In “Bodega Bathroom“, he asks for the key to an NYC convenience store bathroom. (shudders) In the latest chapter, yes, you guess it, Pete buys some prepackaged sushi at a LaGuardia Airport newstand. (gagging noises)
Host John Mulaney plays the cashier who launches this episode’s giant song and dance medley. The first song parodied is from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera.” Kenan Thompson masterfully plays “The Phantom of LaGuardia,” a combination of the Phantom and one of the geese that brought down Sully Sullenberger’s U.S. Airways flight and put it in the Hudson River in 2009.
Here’s a quick playbill, so you can tell who all the players are in tonight’s Saturday Night Live musical number. This sketch does its best to portray every horrible scenario that air travelers face. The ensemble includes cast member Cecily Strong as the Sushi Chef, cast member Alex Moffat as an airport rat, featured cast member Chloe Fineman as a flight attendant, cast member Mikey Day plays a gate agent, and cast member Kate McKinnon as Little Orphan Annie who works at the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels kiosk at the airport and who performs a parody of “Tomorrow” called “de Blasio” in honor of the current mayor of New York City.
Cast member Beck Bennett plays an unaccompanied crying baby about to board a transatlantic flight while doing a parody version of “Jet Song” from “West Side Story.” Featured player Bowen Yang parodies “Suddenly Seymour,” from the “Little Shop of Horrors,” changing it to “Profiled Asian” another shout out to the Coronavirus nightmare that would soon plague the entire country.
One of the highlights of this musical sketch is a special cameo by a major movie star who plays “Guy Who Travels in Pajamas” and who performs a hilarious parody of “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway hit “Wicked“. And it wraps with musical guest David Byrne who appears as “the baggage handler who tosses everyone’s suitcases into Long Island Sound,” who leads the entire cast in an altered version of the Talking Heads “Road to Nowhere” called “Plane to Nowhere.”
You would think with this 8 minute musical spectacular, the SNL cast and host wouldn’t have the energy for anything else. As surprising as it may sound, there are other sketches in tonight’s Saturday Night Live repeat.
Tonight’s other sketches include a scene from “The Sound of Music” or as SNL calls it, “‘Fiddler on the Roof‘ for WASPs.” In the scene, Liesl von Trapp (Cecily Strong) runs off to meet her secret boyfriend Rolf Cruber (host John Mulaney) and they perform “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from the hit musical. It turns out their age difference is more than just a year. The song should actually be called “Seventeen Going on His Late Thirties“.
Also this evening, at a time when social media seems more important than ever to keep us connected in our self-isolation, this rerun episode of Saturday Night Live offers us a sketch that everyone can appreciate. In a sketch called “Uncle Meme“, host John Mulaney plays an unaware guy who has become a social media laughing stock thanks to an online prank by his nephew played by Pete Davidson. This one is good for a couple of giggles, but it’s another example of a sketch that SNL gets stuck in with no way to end it.
Tonight’s John Mulaney hosted-rerun also gives us the return of two characters played by cast members Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant. The sketch, “The Admiral“, is a supposed clip from a 1955 black & white film starring Kate & Aidy as two 1950’s Hollywood starlets who don’t like each other. In fact, the film they’re appearing in is called “Say, Those Two Don’t Seem To Like Each Other“. Their characters might as well be Bette Davis and Joan Crawford known for their infamous feud in their film heyday.
These characters were first introduced to the audience by the comedy duo of McKinnon and Bryant earlier this season in the SNL episode hosted by Jennifer Lopez shortly before Christmas in a sketch called “The Corporal.” We’ve seen SNL bring back sketches from season to season, but it’s pretty rare to repeat a premise like this within the same season. As in their previous appearance, the two sisters are bickering over the affections of a man, this time, a visiting admiral (Beck Bennett,) who they hope will select one of them for his bride.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to live up the original version of anything on Saturday Night Live and this follow-up sketch is no exception.
The sisters are so desperate, they’re willing to murder each other so that the survivor can keep the Admiral all to herself. Despite their characters trying to off one another, the only crime Kate and Aidy are committing is killing each other with laughter as they really “Fallon” it up and begin cracking up in the middle of the sketch.
In the original, Kate and Aidy’s characters are terrified that the visiting officer will choose their beautiful sister (Jennifer Lopez) over them. In tonight’s sketch, it happens again, but this time their competition is host John Mulaney who plays their twink of a little brother who’s home from World War II while serving in the Navy. He tells the girls that he got promoted from Petty Officer to “Pass Around Party-Bottom”. Yep, Mulaney’s sailor character is that kind of a gay character. The super stereotypical kind.
We may have won the war, but it’s the gays who lose in this sketch with John Mulaney’s effeminate take as his character throws out a bunch of way-too-easy gay jokes, like deep-throating a lollipop and moaning while trying to push a couch with his ass up in the air. Nice ass though Mulaney.
The final sketch of the night was a look at Black History Month on the very last day of February, called “Forgotten Figures of Black History.” The trailblazing pioneer of Black History that was being highlighted in this sketch is Terrence Washington, the first Black man to boo Jackie Robinson at a baseball game. We find out exactly why Terrance “Heart Murmurs” Washington never cared for the man who integrated major league baseball and why Terrence quit being a Brooklyn Dodgers fan as soon as Jackie joined the team.
There’s only time for one SNL – Digital Short this evening. In the short, we find cast member Kyle Mooney pretty down on himself because he’s been typecast as the show dork. After being left out of host John Mulaney’s male stripper sketch he’s planning, Kyle decides to bulk up. Really bulk up. 37 pounds of muscle in about 2 days. After getting swole (thanks to his trainer Justin Theroux) and becoming “less interesting”, Kyle has a sit-down with SNL EP Lorne Michaels. Does Kyle make it into the male stripper sketch!? Tune in tonight and find out.
The lead story on this evening’s repeat edition of Weekend Update is the Coronavirus. Almost two months later, nothing’s really changed. Colin Jost talks about President Trump’s press conference that he held to ease Americans’ fears about the disease. But as Jost puts it, “Hoping Trump can calm people down is like hoping cocaine can fight insomnia.”
He went on to discuss how Trump’s press conference left people even more confused about the Coronavirus and other ailments than they were before the President started talking. The biggest laughs were coming from the in-studio audience reacting to the clips of Trump’s actual inane words and bullshitting. Often times, Trump’s own words can be more ridiculous than anything the SNL writers’ room could come up with.
Also this edition of Weekend Update may be co-anchorman Michael Che’s best performance to date. First of all, Michael Che is a prophet, a genius or both. In this SNL episode from nearly two months ago, he perfectly captures all the feelings that the rest of us are dealing with from the isolation and the pandemic. Especially the part of just wanting to drink. And drink a lot. Che is at his absolute funniest in this evening’s repeat.
Michael Che has his own approach to the virus tonight. Pure hypochondria. He’s not sure that he doesn’t already have the Coronavirus already, so he didn’t want to make jokes about the disease so that his comments wouldn’t be played on the news while his death was being reported. He also throws in a joke about the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin which the live audience lets him know is too soon.
The Weekend Update news duo also reported on the Coronavirus hitting the stock market pretty hard with huge record breaking drops which Jost labeled as the “Trump Slump.” Meanwhile, Michael Che lamented about Vice-President Mike Pence being put in charge of the Coronavirus task force. Just because your head looks like a cotton swab, that doesn’t count as medical experience. Che also insisted that Americans stop blaming the Chinese for the worldwide outbreak.
The Weekend Update commentary in this SNL repeat also covered topics like the South Carolina Democratic Primary results, Mike Bloomberg reportedly spending $3.5 million on campaign ads on black media outlets, Hillary Clinton’s new podcast, the redesigned Phillie Phanatic mascot, a kid who found a bag of meth in a school library, a new policy at Costco food courts, Ash Wednesday, and Donald Trump Jr. getting a permit to hunt bears even though he seems a lot more like the guy who hunts “wascally wabbits.”
Weekend Update only had one character drop-in during the news segment on this SNL rerun and it was cast member Chris Redd playing himself. He stopped by to reflect on Black History Month on the very last day of February. He felt that February, 2020 was a trash month and that the Black community shouldn’t let this lousy February where African-Americans said goodbye to NBA legend Kobe Bryant and the Coronavirus stole the spotlight, represent them as a people. He had several other complaints about February that he shares tonight with Colin Jost.
Note to SNL wardrobe: Why were two different performers wearing backwards baseball caps during Weekend Update? An odd choice. Like it’s the official uniform of black comedians.
The first promo for tonight’s repeat episode of Saturday Night Live finds a suspicious host John Mulaney dropping in on cast member Pete Davidson in his dressing room. He finds Pete working with Guru Gary and really cleaning up his act. Even Pete’s monkey is gone. Pete loves showcasing his dark side, so we get plenty of that in this promo. The writers even work in Pete’s latest controversy where he claimed that everyone at SNL thinks he’s dumb.
Our next SNL promo is a nearly 3 minute John Mulaney highlight reel that not only features his work from his previous times hosting Saturday Night Live, but it also takes us back to his days as a writer on the show and making appearances on Weekend Update. We get Mulaney in drag, as a stalker and as a piss artist / lawyer. Enjoy.
In the final set of promos, host John Mulaney and cast member Heidi Gardner try to be cool in front of musical guest David Byrne. It’s also a momentous occasion for Heidi and the three try to enjoy just hanging out. If only Mulaney had brought his puppet!
John Mulaney hosts a repeat of Saturday Night Live tonight with musical guest David Byrne at 11:30pm et on NBC!
SNL will remain dark until further notice due to the virus that’s ruining everything or until Lorne Michaels decides to have the cast do another show from home during the pandemic.