Well, yes, this was disappointing, especially with Julia Louis-Dreyfus hosting. This has felt like a strangely long season – and a sort of quietly very good season – but maybe people are tired. Let’s hope everyone rallies when Brie Larson hosts on May 7. Here is today’s Scorecard:
Sketch of the Night
“Match.com Event” (Louis-Dreyfus, McKinnon, ensemble) As I’m typing this, I can’t decide if this is the Sketch of the Night or the worst thing that aired on the show. Seriously, I have no idea how to grade something like this. I find myself in awe of it and repulsed by it at the same time. Okay, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to flip a coin because I need fate to intervene. No mere humble human can make this choice alone. Okay, here goes … “heads.” Funny thing, I forgot to assign what heads would mean. This is getting stupid. You know what, screw it, it’s going at the top because at least it’s memorable. I’ll probably never forget this sketch as long as I live. It will haunt me.
“Pool Boy” (Louis-Dreyfus, Davidson) This grew on me as I watched. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is pouring her heart out, while Pete Davidson’s dope of a pool boy seems oblivious to the whole thing – just there to do whatever she wants. He’s cool with it either way.
“God is a Boob Man” (Bayer, Killam, Rudnitsky, ensemble) A version of this aired at dress rehearsal during the Russell Crowe show. It’s good! And it’s a wonder how this got cut from that show, other than, “Let’s just use it later.” Which is what happened. Vanessa Bayer should put this on her Emmy reel.
“Heroin AM” (Louis-Dreyfus, McKinnon, Bennett, Moynihan) Okay, sure, this was an easy laugh. Whatever, it worked.
“Weekend Update” (Jost, Che, Thompson, Pharoah, Bryant, Strong) Jost and Che used to have a massive problem of letting the momentum of the show dictate how Weekend Update would go. If the show were going poorly, Jost especially would wear it on his face. They’ve gotten better at this. Last night wasn’t as rollicking as it has been in the last few weeks, but this was still a pretty solid “Update.” That’s a good sign. Jay Pharoah’s Shaquille O’Neil is just one of the funniest things. (Funniest things!) Aidy Bryant’s passive-aggressive animal expert was fun. She had an iguana with a little hat! And this was the most on point Cecily Strong has been with her One Dimensional Female Character. (And I wish they’d turn this into a full sketch.)
“Julia Louis-Dreyfus Monologue” (Louis-Dreyfus, Hale) Fun fact about Troll: the main character’s name is Harry Potter. That’s weird! Anyway, it was fun to look at some of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ early work. (Though, I was hoping for some Day by Day references.)
“New Mercedes” (Louis-Dreyfus) This was clever. And it looked really great. A couple of times, before the punchline, I thought it might be a real commercial.
“Cold Open: Brooklyn Democratic Debate” (McKinnon, David, Bennett, Thompson, Louis-Dreyfus, Bayer) Look, I still watch Seinfeld. It’s comfort food television. But those specific episode references, 20 years after they aired, didn’t seem to play super well. (Also, this sort of felt like it was written for another famous Seinfeld alumnus to show up.) (Another also: Larry David has had more screentime than some cast members this season. Maybe it’s time to add his name to the credits. “And featuring Larry David.”)
“Cinema Classics” (Louis-Dreyfus, Thompson, Killam, McKinnon) This sketch encapsulates this show more than any other. This should have been great: Julia Louis-Dreyfus was great. Taran Killam was great. Kate McKinnon was great. Kenan had his patented reaction shots. Yet, it was so off. The pacing and timing seemed slow for some reason. And this didn’t become as absurd as I had hoped.
“Who Works Here?” (Louis-Dreyfus, ensemble) I am forced to shop at CVS from time to time. There’s a lot of truth in this sketch. But this didn’t land. Though, I did enjoy Leslie Jones’ little dance. That was a fun dance.
“Huge Jewelry” (Louis-Dreyfus, McKinnon, Strong, Bryant, Jonas) I’ve never really understood SNL’s fascination with making fun of Long Island and Long Island accents. I live in New York, I know that’s a thing people do, but I didn’t grow up here so I don’t really get it. Most people who watch SNL didn’t grow up here. I don’t know, these always seem like very localized, specific jokes that. (I know jokes about accents work for some people, but I’ve never been a fan.)
Average Score for this Show: 5.71
· Ariana Grande 7.21
· Tracy Morgan 7.12
· Larry David 7.08
· Elizabeth Banks 6.98
· Amy Schumer 6.53
· Peter Dinklage 6.37
· Chris Hemsworth 6.35
· Ryan Gosling 6.07
· Adam Driver 5.98
· Tina Fey and Amy Poehler 5.90
· Melissa McCarthy 5.79
· Matthew McConaughey 5.78
· Julia Louis-Dreyfus 5.71
· Russell Crowe 5.56
· Miley Cyrus 5.41
· Ronda Rousey 5.09
· Jonah Hill 4.80
· 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.