Tonight’s Saturday Night Live repeat is a history-making episode of SNL hosted by “Killing Eve” star Sandra Oh!
Saturday Night Live is moving deeper into its summer of reruns. The variety series is filling its hiatus with encore presentations of shows from this past SNL – Season 44. And tonight’s episode, as groundbreaking as it was, really falls into the pile of forgettable shows this season. This episode originally ran on Saturday, March 30, 2019 and it was the first time that Saturday Night Live had an Asian-Canadian host who by the way, was only the sixth person of Asian descent to host SNL in its entire history.
Sandra Oh had everything SNL EP and fellow Canadian Lorne Michaels could want in a first-time host. Her name is always in play at awards shows, being a two time Golden Globe winner and a six time Primetime Emmy Award nominee. Even though her awards and nominations were for television drama, she had just proven at this point that she could also handle TV comedy by co-hosting the Golden Globe Awards earlier in the year with Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg. Plus, for lack of a better term, Sandra Oh had been killing it in reviews as the star of her own suspense drama “Killing Eve” on BBC America, which won her a Golden Globe the same night she co-hosted the ceremony. So, she was signed on to be one of the many first-time hosts on Saturday Night Live this past season and her hosting gig came just in time to promote the new season of “Killing Eve.”
The SNL – Cold Open tonight is par for the course. It’s the standard “Alec Baldwin as Donald J. Trump” opener which has become so typical that even when Robert De Niro makes another guest cameo tonight as Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the audience reaction for him is still there, but not quite as enthusiastically as it has been in the past . This could be one of the reasons why Alec Baldwin has chosen to step down from playing the screwball SNL version of the president. The cold open this evening is a “He Said / He Said / It Said” premise. When this show originally aired back in March, it had been just a little over a week since Mueller had turned in his final report on possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign and the chief executive’s attempts to obstruct justice to Attorney General & Trump Employee of the Month, William Barr. So tonight in the opening sketch, we get three versions of the report all based on how Mueller (Robert De Niro), Barr (SNL’s Aidy Bryant) and Trump (Alec Baldwin) all interpreted it. Also, watch for cast member Kate McKinnon to bring back her spooky impression of Count Rudy Giuliani.
This evening’s monologue turns into an apologetic deflection of any compliments towards the host. Sandra Oh explains that she’s Canadian, so she should apologize to anyone making a big deal out the award-winning year she’s having and she explains that she’s also Asian which means she should try to avoid those compliments at all costs. This is where cast member Leslie Jones comes in to help her accept the praise she’s due in the standard SNL “Let’s send a cast member out on stage during the monologue to save the host who is not actually a comedian” gimmick.
Once the show is underway, the opening sketch is right out of the headlines of the day with featured cast member Chris Redd playing national punchline Jussie Smollett (wearing a MAGA cap) who, at one time, was accused of perpetrating a hate-crime against himself. This sketch was performed last March when Smollett was one of the biggest stories in the news. The sketch is pretty enjoyable with Smollett being late for a meeting with FOX TV execs and his agent played by Sandra Oh trying to protect her client. His excuse for being late? Yep, another hate-crime. We’ll have to see if this premise still holds up three months later on tonight’s repeat.
The next sketch is probably the best of the night. It’s called “Future Self” and features cast member Mikey Day as a depressed teen talking to an older, more confident version of himself in the mirror played by cast member Alex Moffat. Sandra Oh introduces a character in this sketch which earns an applause break from the studio audience. Her outrageous character will definitely become a recurring one the next time Sandra hosts SNL. The host plays the teenager’s future girlfriend, Tishee with a perpetual broken arm and who likes to give that “good goo-goo.” Just remember, “Tishee make it all squishy!”
Tonight in the other SNL sketches, Sandra Oh also plays North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s translator at a meeting with Vladimir Putin (Beck Bennett) and his Kremlin cabinet where the Russian President must break the bad news from the Mueller Report that Donald Trump is indeed not a Russian espionage specialist working in America. Later in the night, Sandra also plays an office manager who must deal with an elderly co-worker (brilliantly played by Kate McKinnon) who will be alone on her 85th birthday and has a bizarre birthday wish. “Kiss”. Sandra Oh also appears in a throw-away role in a musical sketch about the “Roots of Rock” featuring cast members Kenan Thompson and Leslie Jones as two fictional icons of blues rock. Then Sandra wraps up her SNL hosting gig as a teacher in a classroom sketch prepping overly sensitive and emotional students for the SATs.
The SNL – Digital Shorts this week include a horror parody spot which combines a Discover Card commercial with the then-recently released psychological thriller “Us” from director- writer Jordan Peele. The next short, “The Duel,” is an elaborate colonial period piece featuring cast members Beck Bennett and Pete Davidson ready to duel over the hand of their lady fair played by Sandra Oh. There’s a discrepancy in the rules of the duel which leads to horrific results. The third short is a sultry film noir tribute to an old-fashioned form of commerce called “Cheques“, the classy way to pay someone.
On tonight’s Weekend Update repeat, Colin Jost and Michael Che go over the findings, or lack there were, in the Mueller Report. Jost compares Trump’s reaction to the Mueller Report to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” while Michael Che complains about being the victim of “toxic optimism” which he got from being “around white people all the time.” It’s actually a pretty depressing edition of Weekend Update, especially if you had certain expectations from the Mueller Report that didn’t come true.
The Weekend Update news team also discussed former White House adviser Steve Bannon, Trump’s gloating over the Mueller Report, the President’s immigration plan, Apple introducing its own credit card, Alanis Morissette announcing her pregnancy, Gronk announcing his retirement, a woman with two uteruses (or is it uteri?), a zebra shot in Florida, Grindr’s 10th anniversary, McDonald’s new digital menu, Nicolas Cage seeking an annulment of his marriage, denim underwear and a Utah woman being trapped in her SUV for a week.
Cast member Cecily Strong visits the Weekend Update anchor desk as Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro, by far her best recurring SNL character ever. Judge Jeanine goes over the Mueller Report with Colin Jost and has a little trouble maneuvering her news desk chair. Also stopping by Weekend Update on tonight’s repeat is Aidy Bryant as U.S. Astronaut Anne McClain, the pilot and engineer who missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime, doing a space walk on the International Space Station, simply because there weren’t enough women-sized spacesuits. No. She’s not bitter about it at all.
Sandra Oh finishes the show with some really enthusiastic waving goodnight to the studio and home audience during the SNL curtain call and thank yous at the end of the evening.
Tonight’s Saturday Night Live repeat is hosted by Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh with musical guest, Grammy Award nominee Tame Impala at 11:30pm et on NBC!