‘SNL’ Scorecard: Adam Driver Uses The Lighter Side Of The Force

Adam Driver hosted the first SNL of 2016. The show was tape delayed because of Saturday night’s NFL game going into overtime (about 30 minutes) and I do wonder if that affects the excitement level, knowing that the show isn’t quite live. Regardless, Adam Driver turned out to be a pretty good host and somehow SNL managed to throw in only two Star Wars: The Force Awakens references. Though, I’m not sure if anything on the show was quite as funny as Driver and Kate McKinnon yelling “weeeeeeee!” during the mid-week promos. (Well, except for Vanessa Bayer’s Laura Parsons.) And this show also featured a nice tribute to David Bowie from Fred Armisen (though I do wish they would have had time to show the entirety of Bowie’s 1979 performance).

Here’s the first Scorecard of 2016:

Sketch of the Night

“Golden Globes” (Driver, Bayer, McKinnon, Mooney, Schreiber) In 20 years, we will be watching movies with the tagline, “from the mind of Kyle Mooney,” and they will be movies that a lot of people look forward to, but make very little money because they will be too special for this world anyway. (Having said that, I now know that Tim Robinson, Kent Sublette and Zach Kanin wrote this sketch and (a) that doesn’t surprise me either because Tim Robinson is wonderful and (b) that doesn’t change what I wrote about Mooney either.) Just on a surface level, I love how this sketch picks apart the “go to bed” awards speech that every winner seems to think is original and funny. And then to see those kids listening to that instruction? This is just a wonderful thing. And then it becomes weirder and weirder. And then Liev Schreiber shows up and makes eggs.

Score: 9.0

The Good

“Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base“ (Driver, Killam, Moynihan, Jones) This is really clever. What makes this really work is that it’s not too hard to imagine the real Kylo Ren doing something like this. Actually, I bet he has. This is all probably canon. (And all of this is probably a dream come true for Killam and Moynihan, who are both diehard Star Wars fans.)

Score: 8.5

“America’s Funniest Cats” (Driver, Strong, McKinnon, Thompson) Just the videos of the cats on their own was probably enough to make this entertaining. McKinnon and Strong as French cat video television hosts (what a sentence) and the differing styles with Driver’s American host actually, somehow worked. If this were a real television show hosted by Adam Driver, I would watch it religiously.

Score: 7.0

“Weekend Update” (Jost, Che, Davidson, Bayer) Jost and Che finally, finally, seem consistently comfortable. They have again, finally developed a routine. This wasn’t one of their best efforts, but it’s telling that an average show for them is now much better that what used to be their average show. (I have no idea if that makes sense. It’s early.) I do wonder what the future of Pete Davidson is on SNL. I enjoy his segments as himself. They are good! But what’s next? Is this just going to be his main thing? Does he want to be an “Update” host? I bet he’d be a good “Update” host. Also, I’m not sure what else to say about Vanessa Bayer’s Laura Parsons. I will add that I do believe it’s the best recurring character on SNL right now. Nothing consistently makes me laugh harder. I honestly cannot contain my laughter. That dramatic voice gets me every time.

Score: 7.0

“Adam Driver Monologue” (Driver, Killam, Moynihan, Jones) Driver’s monologue was charming enough and featured many Star Wars: The Force Awakens references. I’m not sure what more anyone could ask out of this.

Score: 6.0

The Bad

“Porn Doctor” (Driver, Bennett, Bryant) Now that this is a recurring sketch, what kind of universe does Aidy Bryant’s character inhabit that she keeps running into all of these situations? Is everyone in a pornographic video except her? Anyway, the concept of these sketches is brilliant, but it relies a little too much on innuendos. Okay, a lot on innuendos. Admittedly, a lot of people love innuendos!

Score: 5.8

“Awareness Seminar” (Driver, Strong, Ensemble) This was a good idea, but I kind of wish we got to see some of these ideas in action as opposed to hearing about them. I realize that would be very ambitious, but a sketch centered around “vampiring” someone sounds great.

Score: 5.0

“NFL Playoff Game” (Driver, Ensemble) What a weird thing. Part of me is fascinated by just how strange this whole thing looked. And I know this sketch is going for a kind of “football is ridiculous because of how brutal it is and we all kind of glorify it” but it just doesn’t land. Maybe it’s because we are all so distracted by how weird Pete Davidson’s legs look.

Score: 4.5

“Cold Open: Republican Debate” (Ensemble) The other night I was out with a friend watching the actual Republican debate at a local bar. It made an incredibly good bar viewing experience. If you strip away the reality that these people are trying to become the leader of the free world, it becomes amazing television. But this is when it really hit me that SNL really can’t do a direct parody of these debates anymore and should probably stop trying – because nothing SNL does can top the ridiculousness of the real thing.

Score: 4.0

The Ugly

“Aladdin” (Driver, Strong, Bennett, Jones) As Aladdin and Jasmine fly along, Jasmine is continuously pelted with objects and liquids. And that’s pretty much it. This is dumb. But sometimes dumb is good! But this wasn’t dumb enough to be good.

Score: 3.0

Average Score for this Show: 5.98

· Tracy Morgan 7.12
· Elizabeth Banks 6.98
· Amy Schumer 6.53
· Chris Hemsworth 6.35
· Ryan Gosling 6.07
· Adam Driver 5.98
· Tina Fey and Amy Poehler 5.90
· Matthew McConaughey 5.78
· Miley Cyrus 5.41
· Donald Trump 4.48

Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

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