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It’s not uncommon for a cold open to run six minutes, maybe even seven. This one clocks in at a breezy three and a half, which tells me two things: 1) it probably wasn’t worth being placed so high, and 2) the concept (Kim Jong-un, world’s greatest athlete, injured, etc.) works better as a throwaway joke during Weekend Update. Bobby Moynihan tries his hardest to save it, but no go.
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Herb Welch was never one of my favorite Bill Hader characters. Which is surprising, because not only do I enjoy seeing Hader, one of the nicest people ever, play a stubborn asshole, but also casual racism from old people is a comedy sweet spot for me. Oh well.
The Group Hopper
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Adapted from a YA novel written entirely in the comments section of The Hunger Games comes The Group Hopper, an impossible to comprehend mashup of every YA book to come out this decade. SNL sketches with high production values don’t always turn out well, but there was an attention to detail that works here. Plus, Bill Hader as Effie Trinket. There’s nothing to not like about that.
Hollywood Game Night
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I’m a sucker for “everyone gets to show off their best celebrity impressions” sketches, and “Hollywood Game Night” did not let me down. Sure, there was WAY too much Kristen Wiig, but Kate McKinnon’s Jane Lynch, Beck Bennett’s Nick Offerman, and especially Cecily Strong’s Sofia Vergara more than made up for her being the star of an episode she wasn’t even hosting, for some reason.
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It’s funny imagining the version of “39 Cents” SNL would have tried four years ago, and by funny, I mean, it wouldn’t have happened; at no point in the show’s history has there been this many black people in the cast. Diversity: good. This sketch: also good. It starts off slow, but right when the premise begins to grow stale, Hader’s Charles Daniels is captured and held hostage for $200, or the price of one cup of coffee in Brooklyn.
Love Is a Dream
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Miss you, Jan and Phil.
Weekend Update: Pete Davidson
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If he isn’t already, Pete Davidson is going to be a star. It’s unprecedented for an SNL newcomer to star in as many sketches as he did (I don’t think Brooks Wheelan was on camera four times all of last season), but Davidson nailed everything he was in, from The Group Hopper to his Weekend Update report on hip hop, guns, and chains. Related: the look Michael Che gives Davidson at the beginning is why he deserves to be a Weekend Update anchor, and why Cecily should be next to him.
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If Stefon and Puppet Class can return, why not Inside SoCal? It’s not my favorite Mooney/Bennett short, but goddamn if they don’t nail the mannerisms and speaking style of every dolt from San Diego.
Cat In the Hat
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“OK, but what if we had Bill Hader dress up as the beloved children’s book character the Cat In the Hat, except this time, he has sex with the kids’ mom, and they’re actually his, but she’s raising them with Thing 2, who goes by Jonathing now. Also, the sketch ends with the Cat implying he’s stuck his cat penis EVERYWHERE on the mom.” Sometimes you’ve got to tip your giant hat to the writers.
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Before last night, I had never heard a Hozier song. And I never will again.