Amy Schumer Takes ‘SNL’
Capping off an impressive summer that included the premiere of her first movie, The Oddball Tour, a vacation with Jennifer Lawrence, and a twerking session with Madonna at Madison Square Garden, Amy Schumer hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time this weekend with musical guest The Weeknd.
After diving into election season in the season premiere with Miley Cyrus, SNL let the comedian du jour do her thing, with a new standup monologue and plenty of sketches that showcased her penchant for raunch. There was also a bigger focus on gun control this week, with both a PSA and a longer Weekend Update segment on the subject — appropriate considering there have been two school shootings since last week’s episode.
Overall, the episode was a treat for Schumer fans and an easy transition for those used to watching her sketches on Inside Amy Schumer or who saw her act alongside SNL alum Bill Hader in Trainwreck. Amy fit right in at SNL and was genuinely excited to be there, something that can only be outdone when former cast member Tracy Morgan triumphantly returns to Studio 8H next weekend.
Fox & Friends: Speaker Of The House Cold Open
While nothing ever seems to top the ridiculous list of corrections at the end of this recurring cold open, it was good to see Steve Doocy (Taran Killam), Elisabeth Hasselbeck (Vanessa Bayer) and Brian Kilmeade (Bobby Moynihan) again to discuss the Planned Parenthood hearings and vacant Speaker of the House position. Bayer proves she can play just about any Fox News blonde interchangeably (Gretchen who?) but Moynihan’s Kilmeade still offers the best reactions, especially when pizza rat is involved (“I wish I had me some floor pizza!”). Kate McKinnon’s impression of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was particularly good — and she might have coined a new catchphrase for Planned Parenthood supporters: “We’re organized, we’re pissed and we’re all looking for a Pap smear.”
Amy Schumer Monologue
The best part of having a comedian host SNL is the nearly 10 minutes of new jokes we get to see in the monologue. Schumer’s was a good preview of her upcoming first HBO special (directed by SNL alum Chris Rock) in which she laments being labeled a sex comic while delivering some of the best material on women’s bodies and sexuality. She did the same on Saturday, mixing a sweet anecdote about gratefully accepting her mom’s big cheeks with jokes about the Kardashians you actually haven’t heard yet: “Is that a great message for little girls? A whole family of women who take the faces they were born with as like a light suggestion?” Her stories about meeting Hillary Clinton and Bradley Cooper were equally funny, but it makes you wonder how much more famous she can get before we buy her having awkward, star-struck moments.
As we saw in the promos for this week’s episode, Vanessa Bayer and Amy Schumer play well together. This flight attendant sketch starts out rocky (a Spice Girls parody song) but pleasantly surprises with its horrifying door malfunctions and the women’s determination to go on with the announcements. The Internet has seen enough viral in-flight entertainment videos to last a lifetime, so it’s probably about time that we saw this sketch.
Schumer really shines in this parody of a “Hot For Teacher” porno with Kyle Mooney doing way too good a job playing a sleazy 30-something high school student named Ricky. Their gratuitous “Oh yeahs” and the fact that Amy’s character is only able to speak in sexual puns are funny enough, but when Aidy Bryant enters as a confused (actual) student trying to ace a test, it reaches another level. Also worth noting: there is no mom character that Vanessa Bayer cannot play.
The most talked about sketch of the night was this pre-taped PSA for guns that features nearly everyone in the cast. The simplicity works, with vignettes of a romantic dinner, a woman in labor, and a grandfather bonding with his grandson each getting a firearm to make their lives more complete. As the country deals with continued gun violence and a lack of legislation because of the right to bear arms, those looking for a brief respite can watch this and wonder what’s more ridiculous: a gun for a baby, a game of “Spin the gun,” or literally shooting guns at shooting stars, just because you can?
After a starting with a few political items to keep up with the House Speaker drama and get in a few Ben Carson jokes, Colin Jost and Michael Che kept the gun conversation going with some poignant material about America being obsessed with things it doesn’t need (like dog Halloween costumes) and things that are easier to get than a gun (like a driver’s license, or Kevin Hart tickets). Che gets even more real by pointing out that the people behind the 2nd Amendment were also responsible for slavery, then throws the camera to an awkward, caught-off-guard Jost. In addition to the two hosts being more comfortable with each other this season, I like the recurring theme of Jost being Che’s embarrassing white friend who’s just trying to keep things PC.
After a punny, throwaway bit called “Weeknd Update” where they threw to the musical guest, Jay Pharoah debuted a new desk character, Solomon, a travel correspondent with a pathological lying problem. Aside from his repeatable “Oh God damn, man” catchphrase, this one was mostly forgettable. But Kate McKinnon’s imitation of Jost’s neighbor lady, Mrs. Santini, is as good as it ever was. Her “nice” (a.k.a. passive aggressive) notes written on “Happy Birthday” wrapping paper are too hilarious not to be based in reality. Everything sounds funny in Mrs. Santini’s accent, but particularly the sentence, “Dear cast of the movie Friday. I so sorry that your apartment is Bonnaroo.”
Amy Schumer as Mary Todd Lincoln? Sure, why not? This sketch was pure Amy being Amy, with John Wilkes Booth (Kyle Mooney) and Abe Lincoln (Taran Killam) playing straight men to Schumer’s ad-libbing reenactment of the night the President was assassinated. I’m glad they were able to work in at least one joke about Burger King’s Halloween monstrosity (“Those black burgers that are making everybody crap green”) and each time she accuses Wilkes Booth of trying to “Blast my husband and plow me,” it gets better.
Hands-Free Selfie Stick
The second pre-recorded sketch of the night was a commercial parody that takes selfie sticks to their furthest logical conclusion: a hands-free version that you literally stick up your ass. Aside from being just mildly more disturbing than an actual selfie stick, the commercial felt like something you would see on South Park, with the pixelated backsides of Schumer, Aidy Bryant, Vanessa Bayer and Kyle Mooney making the audience laugh/groan. The highlight would have to be Amy’s singular line: “It takes pictures?”
City Council Meeting
In a classic SNL format where two straight men characters (Cecily Strong and Bobby Moynihan) sit in a position of authority while crazy characters line up at a podium, this sketch felt like a series of scraps from the writers’ room floor and a chance for the cast to throw out some new characters. Aidy Bryant caps off a strong night as Jan KRANG, a woman concerned about teens dry humping in laser tag parking lots, while Kyle Mooney plays yet another character whose accent is like nothing you’ve ever heard before, this time a dutch underground hip-hop artist. Kenan Thompson pops up as “The man in the Halloween-themed tie,” Leslie Jones makes her only appearance of the night as a lost AA member and Pete Davidson works in a joke about Justin Bieber’s dong. But, once again, Amy steals the scene as a little girl who is alarmingly concerned about guns, religion and keeping gay people from getting married. “Can we make bible a class?”
Sasheer Zamata finally makes an appearance in this ladies sketch with Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, and Vanessa Bayer, where Bayer’s character’s baby shower gets derailed by Amy Schumer as an obnoxious bartender. Cecily, who was also scarce this episode, introduces her with one of the most subtly funny lines of the show (“She works at the bar where I spend my nights”) and gets even more sad/funny when she tearfully lists all the items in her purse that went “missing.” Despite being in the 10-to-1 time slot, the sketch ended strong with Amy’s character having more than a few one-line gems such as, “Wait, they took your NARS?!”
So shoot, what else?
- This weekend marked the 40th anniversary of the first episode of SNL.
- Sasheer Zamata is definitely owed some screen time next week. And where was newbie Jon Rudnitsky this episode?
- A prediction for next week: Cecily has also been laying low. Perhaps we’re due for another “Girl you wish you hadn’t started a conversation with at a party”?
- Best line of the cold open: “Did you know they’re selling baby parts on Snapchat?”
- Most relatable line of the night: “I have an 18 month old niece and we have the exact same body.”
- Best description of how people get famous: “I moved to Hollywood when I was 14 and got tricked.”