TV

‘SNL’ Scorecard: Jimmy Fallon And Harry Styles Want You To Dance

Jimmy Fallon hasn’t had the best last six months. Ever since he tousled Donald Trump’s hair, it seems nothing has really gone right and ratings for The Tonight Show have fallen. (Apparently tousling Donald Trump’s hair is basically the monkey’s paw of human hair.) The hair incident hurt him, but the larger truth is in the political climate we live in today, his brand of “fun and games” comedy hasn’t translated well. It’s become the norm to pick on Fallon, to the point I’m starting to feel bad for him. Fallon is a performer who loves to entertain and, lately, he’s had a demeanor that just seems so bummed out that people are resisting. So I do think Fallon came into this week’s Saturday Night Live wanting to prove something.

On Saturday night I attended dress rehearsal. I’ve been to a few SNLs and this one had the most palpable energy. Granted, this isn’t the biggest sample size and, another “granted,” there were a lot of teenage girls there wanting to see Harry Styles. My hearing still hasn’t quite recovered from the group of teens behind me screaming at the top of their lungs. But it did feel like more of an event than it usually does anyway. Then add that to the fact this was the first time SNL has been aired live from coast to coast. (Full admission, once Bruce Chandling came out during “Weekend Update,” I became a screaming teen. Also, it’s a shame the audience at home can’t see Colin Jost off camera dying laughing at every word from Bruce Chandling.)

Also, Harry Styles obviously wanted to come into this SNL and have his Justin Timberlake moment. He was in so many sketches. (He was in another one that was cut after dress.) And he was pretty good! Though, some of the self-referential jokes were cringe inducing. The “going solo” jokes in the “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketch made me grimace. But, regardless, it was a big night for Styles.

Here is your Easter morning Scorecard:

Sketch of the Night

“Take Me Back” A few months ago, I was with a friend at a local neighborhood pub here in New York City. As we are wont to do on a Friday night, we started playing ‘90s songs on the jukebox while drinking pitchers of cheap domestic beer. My friend meant to play Savage Garden’s “I Want You,” but accidentally played “Truly Madly Deeply.” At that moment something happened that never happened before: We lost our jukebox privileges. The owner of the bar literally disconnected the jukebox mid-song and didn’t turn it back on again for another two months. This song is now a running joke for us, so of course I’m going to love a sketch that features it so prominently.

Regardless of that, I loved the double twist ending punchline. It was like The Sixth Sense of SNL sketches – to the point that if you haven’t seen it yet, I don’t even want to spoil it. I honestly think this is the first SNL sketch that should come with a spoiler alert.

Score: 9.0

Other Highlights

“Before the Show” The expectations versus reality aspect of this never got old. There were two moments during this I just couldn’t stop laughing. First when Vanessa Bayer and Kyle Mooney were on stage together looking incredibly awkward after just being told they look like a real couple. (The way Mooney puts his hand on Bayer at the end was a nice touch.) Then, when everyone was flying around on wires. As this played in the studio, Kate McKinnon was on stage (for a sketch that was eventually cut) and even she couldn’t help but laugh at herself being flung around on a wire.

Score: 8.8

“Jimmy Fallon Monologue” I am a sucker for “spectacle” monologues. My favorite monologue of all time is Mike Myers’ “I love to host” monologue (the one where Tim Meadows is upset he signed a 30-year contract). And I have to admit, in person, this really was a spectacle. Everyone who had floor seats were taken out of the studio and replaced by dancers (the floor seat people got to come back for the end of the monologue) and the whole studio was just filled with people everywhere dancing. It was sensory overload. (Though, it is funny that as soon as the cameras are off everyone has to flee the stage as fast as they can.)

Score: 7.8

“Basketball Scene” This was so dumb and I couldn’t stop laughing. So, yes, apparently I do think a basketball hitting someone in the face is funny. (The attempt at an alley-oop slam dunk was really something else.)

Score: 7.0

“Easter Message from Sean Spicer” While watching at home, did this seem a little off compared to the last couple times we’ve seen Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer? Well, this is because McCarthy wasn’t in New York. In the audience, we just watched it on a monitor like everyone else. It was a little strange. Now, it was live, but from what I understand McCarthy couldn’t get to New York last night, so she performed it in L.A. And I think we learned a lesson that this character works best playing off other cast members. I get why the show wanted a Spicer sketch this week, but there was just something missing not having McCarthy in 8H.

Score: 4.5

***

Average Overall Score for this Show: 7.08

· Dave Chappelle 7.44
· Kristen Stewart 7.38
· Tom Hanks 7.35
· Jimmy Fallon 7.08
· Lin-Manuel Miranda 6.99
· Margot Robbie 6.95
· Scarlett Johansson 6.92
· Louis C.K. 6.90
· Alec Baldwin 6.89
· Aziz Ansari 6.82
· Octavia Spencer 6.77
· Emma Stone 6.46
· Casey Affleck 6.37
· John Cena 6.17
· Kristen Wiig 6.12
· Felicity Jones 5.97
· Benedict Cumberbatch 5.73
· Emily Blunt 5.45

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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