Saturday Night Live (Season 43, Episode 18) : A Review

Finbarr Brennan

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Saturday Night Live had an episode this week. This was a good episode. Not to say that every episode prior to this episode was bad. But, the recent season has had its fair share of “meh” episode.

This week’s episode was hosted by former Saturday Night Live (SNL) writer, John Mulaney. Mulaney served as a writer for SNL from 2008 to 2013. This is the third time an SNL writer has hosted an episode, after Conan O’Brien and Larry David. The fact that Mulaney was obviously so familiar with the show proved very beneficial to the entire show. Each segment and sketch is listed below.

Meet the Parents Cold Open:

The show began, like it nearly always does in this day and age, with a politically satirical cold open. As an outsider to the US and having no interest in politics, it is hard to comment in a political way. What can be said is that it was a pleasant surprise to see two Hollywood big shots (Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller) making an appearance. The sketch centered on Ben Stiller playing Michael Cohen and Robert De Niro playing Robert Mueller in a parody of the famous interrogation scene from Meet the Parents (starring Stiller and De Niro). I’m sure if I was American, this scene would’ve been a lot funnier.

John Mulaney Stand-Up Monologue:

Not everyone who hosts SNL is a stand-up comedian. When a stand-up comedian does host SNL, their opening monologue is usually a short stand-up set. This isn’t a good idea. This seems a tad lazy and unoriginal in doing. The opening monlogue should just consist of a couple of jokes about the host and the show and a bit involving one of the cast members. Doing a small stand-up set, taking us away from the fact that we are watching SNL shouldn’t happen when watching SNL.

Drag Brunch:

The next sketch of the night took place in a diner that had drag queen waitresses. The sketch centers on a group of four friends who are playfully sassed by their waitress (played by Mulaney) bar one (played by cast member Alex Moffat), who is harshly breated instead. It is later revealed that Mulaney’s character used to work for Moffat’s character. This was the first scene of a some of the night that ended quite abruptly. There was no smooth resolution towards the end. That being said, the sketch set the mood for the rest of the night.

National School Walkout:

Following this sketch was a sketch that took place in a classroom of students. The sketch centers on a walkout that the students plan. However, one of the main organisers (played by Mulaney) can’t stand up due to having an erection. Though a very childish sketch, the dialogue and quick wit of this sketch didn’t let up at any point. This sketch was another indication of Mulaney’s humour that suited the themes of the night seamlessly.

Wild Wild Country:

The next sketch of the night was a pre-recorded short video. The video was a parody of a Netflix documentary and centered on a cult and its former members. Cast member Kenan Thompson was a stand out in this sketch, as he described his experience in the cult that was significantly different to the other interviewees.

Diner Lobster:

This sketch was written in 2010 by Mulaney with current cast member and head writer, Colin Jost. This skecth was yet another sketch to highlight the humour of Mulaney. The sketch centered on two friends eating at a diner where one of them orders the lobster, much to the dismay of his friend and the waiter. What happens next couldn’t be predicted in a million years. The whole sketch turned into a parody of Les Miserables, where the lobster (played by Kenan Thompson) sings about his fear of being eaten to the tune of various songs from the musical. The sketch culminates to a small ensemble of cast members singing a parody of “one day more” from the hit musical. A bizarre sketch, to say the least. But, one of the best of the night.

Weekend Update:

Every episode of SNL includes a segment called “Weekend Update”. The segment is hosted by co-head writers Colin Jost and Michael Che. The segment usually constists of the hosts reporting on the newsworthy events of the week in the US and, sometimes, globally. Since the hosts of this segment are the co-head writers of SNL, it rarely dissapoints. This week was not one of these rare occasions.

Sitcom Reboot: written in 2009

The next sketch of the night was another sketch that Mulaney wrote when he was a writer for the show that didn’t make it to air. This sketch centers on a Hollywood Reporter interview with the creator of a widely unpopular sitcom from the 1980s, Switcheroo. The sitcom centers on a father and son who switch bodies. However, instead of focussing on quirky family-friendly scenarios, the show focussed on the sexual ramifications of the situation. This sketch was excellent performed by Mulaney and cast member Cecily Strong (Mulaney playing the creator and Strong playing the interviewer). Though a very short sketch, the tongue-in-cheek nature of the sketch made it very enjoyable.

Horns:

After another contender for best sketch of the night comes a contender for worst. This sketch centered on a man with horn implants (played by new cast member Luke Null) discussing getting them removed with a doctor (played by Mulaney) and his girlfriend (played by other new cast member Heidi Gardner). Even though Null and Gardner are excellent performers and Mulaney’s performance throughout the night was fantastic, this sketch was unfunny. Not much else to say.

The Real Intros of Reality Hills:

The final sketch that made it to air was another pre-recorded video. This video was a parody of reality TV. The video consisted of character introductions to a fake reality TV show. The sketch was, once again, very short. But, the sketch didn’t need to be. Most of the cast featured, which is always nice to see. The sketch was bonkers, just like reality TV itself.

 

Cut for Time sketches:

Fish Dreams:

The first un-aired sketch (but uploaded to YouTube) was a pre-recorded video that centered on the fish man from The Shape of Water (played by the criminally underused Kyle Mooney). The sketch details the life of the fish man after the success of The Shape of Water and the struggles he has getting other acting jobs. Though excellently acted, this sketch was unfunny.

Wedding Toast:

The second sketch that was un-aired (undeservably so) was a sketch that centered on a couple at their wedding where the best man and bride confess that they are having an affair through song. This sketch had execellent comic timing and performances by all, with a cameo from Jack White. Its a shame that it ddin’t make the show, and the “horns” sketch did.

 

 

 

 

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Finbarr Brennan