During the Olympics, NBC cannabalizes the SNL studios to house their massive operation. The Summer Olympics are definitely an all-hands type of event, but the Winter Olympics get the same treatment. Large black boxes fill the area where stars give their monologues and the cast performs their sketches. It’s likely great for them to get some time off, but it is a poor time when you decide to take the NBC tour and everything is ruined.
The show tries to capture this feeling with Natalie Portman’s opening monologue, allowing their Olympics coverage to take over for some slow-mo replays, color commentary from Leslie Jones, and a running play-by-play from Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon. It isn’t the strongest monologue in the world, but they make the best of it and put on an admirable effort that’s worthy of praise. It’s not about winning in these monologues, it’s more about taking the risk.
SNL could’ve easily has Portman sing and dance, but they went with the network synergy and tried to make it entertaining. And it kinda worked, especially the slow-motion portion and the pee joke written by the wonderful alum from Yale, a fine school that is certainly not on the same level as Harvard but deserves some praise either way.