Michael Keaton hadn’t hosted SNL since 1992 – and, before that, he hosted in 1982. So it’s kind of fitting that the current cast treated him in such high regard. I suspect they look at a host like Keaton – an actor that I’m sure a lot of the cast grew up watching – as a one-time event. There’s very little chance we’ll see Keaton as host any time in the next five years. (I hope I’m wrong, but his hosting pattern is not “frequent.”) Basically, the cast looked like they were relishing their time with him before Keaton flies back to Montana, never to be seen again. It did feel special.
On that note, off we go to the Scorecard…
Sketch of the Night
“Michael Keaton Monologue” (Keaton, Killam, Moynihan, Pharoah) This was just lovely in every way. It’s fitting that the official tittle of this monologue is “Michael Keaton Tribute Monologue,” because that’s exactly what it was. And what a great monologue in general – it was clever and with the “candid” footage of Keaton in his Batman suit, it felt like an actual sketch. It’s too bad there’s not a way to do something like this every week.
“Prom Queen” (O’Brien, Keaton, Davidson, Bayer, Ensemble) A “Mike O’Brien Film” starring Michael Keaton is pretty much a dream come true. Right now, I feel like I’m the lucky prom queen because this exists. (And this completes the 133rd entry into my personal “Have I mentioned how much I love Mike O’Brien and/or Tim Robinson lately?” journal. Tune in next week for another.)
“Easter Candy” (Keaton, McKinnon, Moynihan) Good gracious, this was an odd thing — but there has to be an appreciation for any sketch that can make a Fatal Attraction and a Friday reference within 15 seconds of each other. (Followed by Kate McKinnon “hiding” eggs by smashing them up against the wall.) Anyway, it’s nice to know that with Easter upon us and Lent over, this guy can have cocaine again, almost. (I really hope Michael Keaton doesn’t wait another 23 years to host SNL again – and I hope Bobby Moynihan’s “nut” character gets his own sketch someday.)
“Weekend Update” (Jost, Che, Davidson, Reedus, Killam) I’m starting to notice something peculiar: Jost and Che have great on-air chemistry with almost everyone else except each other. As separate entities, they both make good “Update” hosts, but now, almost a year into this pairing, I’m not convinced that they make a good team. If nothing else, they should both work on this, somehow. We see glimpses from time to time! I know we have. It’s just not consistent enough. But, hey, we got great efforts from Jebidiah Atkinson (who Che is great playing off against) and Pete Davidson (who I’m convinced is secretly 44; not that he looks it, but because of his delivery) and even Norman Reedus, for some reason.
“Ad Agency” (Keaton, Jones, Bennett, Thompson, Strong) I had to watch this one to fully appreciate how in charge Keaton is during this entire sketch. Seriously, just look at his face for the entire duration. And his hacky, sexist ideas for a commercial are funny because I have a suspicion this isn’t too far off from how a lot of terrible stuff actually gets made.
“CNN Newsroom” (Strong, Zamata, Moynihan, Keaton, Bryant, Thompson, Pharoah) Using the backdrop of real life tragedy is pretty grim, but dammit if I didn’t laugh every time the Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing” animation was used.
“Easter Hotline” (Zamata, Strong, Mooney, McKinnon, Killam, Jones, Keaton) If nothing else, this made me feel really guilty. (Though, I have spoken to my grandmother on the phone within the last week, so I feel a little better? Maybe? Not really.)
“Neurotology” (McKinnon, Bryant, Mooney, Strong, Ensemble) To understand this at all, you had to have seen Alex Gibney’s Scientology documentary, Going Clear, which aired on HBO last weekend. (I had seen Going Clear at Sundance back in January and it took me a couple of moments to remember where I had seen this video.) Anyway, this is an almost too on the nose recreation. If you compare this to the actual Scientology video, it’s pretty much the same thing. If anything, the real video might be even more unbelievable than this parody. I appreciate the effort, but I’m not exactly sure what it’s trying to say.
“Cold Open: NCAA Tournament” (Killam, Bennett, Moynihan, Strong, Pharoah, Thompson) It’s always the neatest thing when SNL can insert a line that reacts directly to something that just happened, as that Wisconsin-Kentucky game had ended about 20 minutes before SNL started. This sketch made its point about the hypocrisy of the NCAA and the “student-athlete” system and, overall, was fine (the line “I majored in volcanoes” made me laugh), but it just feels like John Oliver took on this subject much better just a couple of weeks ago. Not that both can’t exist – they are, obviously, different formats – but Oliver’s takedown was such a powerhouse.
“Smart Home” (Keaton, Strong, Bayer, McKinnon, Mooney, Bennett) This is a sketch about a rod (with eyes on it) that comes out of a couch, into a person’s butt, in an effort to identify that person and adjust the couch to that person’s specifications. And somehow it’s not (a) that weird or (b) that entertaining. I can honestly say that this was the dullest sketch that I’ve ever seen about a rod (with eyes on it) that comes out of a couch, into a person’s butt. (To be fair, I can totally see how this was hilarious at the Wednesday table read – to the point that I’m pretty sure I’d rather have watched the Wednesday table read.)
Average Score for this Show: 6.75
· Martin Freeman 6.89
· Woody Harrelson 6.75
· Michael Keaton 6.75
· Bill Hader 6.73
· Chris Hemsworth 6.55
· Amy Adams 6.52
· Kevin Hart 6.39
· Dwayne Johnson 6.12
· Chris Pratt 5.99
· Jim Carrey 5.94
· Cameron Diaz 5.92
· James Franco 5.89
· Sarah Silverman 5.86
· J.K. Simmons 5.81
· Blake Shelton 5.58
· Dakota Johnson 5.47
· Chris Rock 5.38
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.