‘SNL’ Scorecard: John Cena Powers Through An Uninspired Show

Another week. My goodness there have been a lot of SNL’s this fall. It is unusual for the show to go this long without more than just one week off and, well, it’s starting to show. (Look, it’s always fun to see Bryan Cranston, but that was a pretty uninspired cold open.) And this is the second week in a row (and third show in a row) that SNL has seemed uninspired, but was saved by a great host. Speaking of: John Cena is right on that cusp now of crossing over into mainstream success, like Dwayne Johnson did before. If you saw Trainwreck you already know he’s funny and the fact he can host SNL effectively should come as little surprise. We are now in store for many, many years of John Cena buddy cop movies. Anyway, we have one more show (next week’s Christmas show hosted by Casey Affleck) until this cast finally gets some time off. And I don’t mean this in a glib way, but they do need it. Here is the penultimate Scorecard of 2016.

Sketch of the Night

“Through Donald’s Eyes” Having Alec Baldwin as Trump will lead to some interesting interpretations of Trump. I’m under the impression Baldwin will be around pretty much anytime they need him, but I can also see the show not wanting to use him as a crutch. And to put in some context, it’s not like SNL in the early 2000s did a George W. Bush sketch every week. Anyway, for whatever reason, this was a week that the show wanted to do something different with Trump and this was different! It was almost an experimental film. It’s a surreal piece of comedy that’s also probably true. Anyway, my point is that if Baldwin’s absence in any given week leads to sketches like this one, I’m all for that.

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Score: 9.0

Other Highlights and Lowlights

“Dyke and Fats Save Christmas” I just now noticed that Aidy Bryant’s character’s “real” name is Velvy O’Malley. Her longtime boyfriend is former Late Night with Seth Meyers writer Conner O’Malley. I like to think this is related. It’s nice. Maybe it’s not, but I’m going to pretend it is anyway. Anyway, I’m glad this is back. Also, I’m surprised it took this long.

Score: 8.2

“Joanne and the Tree” I laughed out loud twice in this sketch that maybe had no business being this funny. First, Aidy Bryant crashing through a window was both surprising and a great piece of physical comedy. Second, when Beck Bennett swaps presents and gives Joanna a 30-pound kettlebell as she’s hanging on for dear life, then immediately falls. I was expecting this to go on another couple of minutes! So I didn’t expect the 30-pound weight to do that so quickly! Anyway, this sketch is so dumb and I laughed and laughed and laughed.

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Score: 7.0

“John Cena Monologue” I only bring this up at all because how long to you think Bobby Moynihan has been waiting to dress up as Rowdy Roddy Piper? His whole life? I’m going to guess his whole life. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bobby Moynihan happier than he was during this monologue.

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Score: 6.8

Normally I’d maybe choose at least another sketch to write about, but I’m just going to end it here. Looking through the rest of the show, there’s not anything else really worth mentioning. There are some fine sketches, but nothing else that really stands out much either way. So, instead, I want to talk about a cut sketch from Elizabeth Banks’ dress rehearsal back from November of 2015 that I can’t believe never wound up online. Remember when Jeb Bush killing baby Hitler was a news story? (And we wonder how Trump won … anyway.) There was a sketch in which Elizabeth Banks played the mother of baby Hitler and random time travelers kept showing up to try to kill her baby and, for the life of her, she just couldn’t figure out why this kept happening. Anyway, I’m sad we will never see this sketch.


Average Overall Score for this Show: 6.38

· Dave Chappelle 7.44
· Tom Hanks 7.35
· Lin-Manuel Miranda 6.99
· Margot Robbie 6.95
· Emma Stone 6.46
· John Cena 6.17
· Kristen Wiig 6.12
· Benedict Cumberbatch 5.73
· Emily Blunt 5.45

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