Chris Pine Dances His Way Through a Solid ‘SNL’

©2017/Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Wonder Woman star Chris Pine hosted this week’s slightly offbeat, thankfully mostly Trump-free episode of SNL, and despite the fact that most viewers probably had a hard time identifying the actor – a fact that he addressed right up top – Pine was a playful and deft addition to the cast, smiling through typical hot-guy-host roles like hunky co-worker, hunky mechanic, hunky roommate, and hunky Russian rapper (y’know, the usual).

Pine’s comic talent shouldn’t come as a surprise; fans might know him best for roles in action/fantasy films like Star Trek and Jack Ryan, but over the years he’s chosen parts in a few low-key comedies, too, like Rashida Jones’ Celeste and Jesse Forever and last year’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. Good taste and natural talent? Someone pair this guy up with Channing Tatum on a Katie Dippold script, stat.

Morning Joe Cold Open

NBC soft news show Morning Joe knows exactly how you want to wake up: to blaring classic rock, tepid political commentary, and obvious sexual tension. In this very typical clip, recently engaged co-anchors Joe Scarborough (Alex Moffatt) and Mika Brzezinski (Kate McKinnon) face off over the AHCA, and things get heated: as the two very professional journalists eye fuck each other, fellow commentators Mike Barnicle (Bobby Moynihan), Mark Halperin (Beck Bennett), and Willie Geist (Mikey Day) look on in wide-eyed horror. A phone call from new White House publicist John Miller — obviously Trump, pretending to be his own hype man — helps diffuse the tension, til he realizes his bill hasn’t passed yet and hangs up in a panic.

Monologue

Sign #1 that Chris Pine has a good sense of humor: this monologue, which he dedicates to reminding us exactly who he is. No, not Chris Pratt; nope, not Chris Hemsworth; and no, definitely not Chris Evans – although, he can see how you got them confused, as he proves with huge posters of their faces (which are all literally identical, Pete Davidson points out). Anyways, Pine’s just glad to be here, whether you know who he is or not.

Where in the World is Kellyanne Conway?

In 2017, everything’s getting a reboot, including classic kid’s show/computer game Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Hosted by Sasheer Zamata, this latest edition of the game – where kids travel the globe to track down high-profile criminals – focuses on finding a more relevant missing person: Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s formerly outspoken advisor who seems to have completely disappeared in recent weeks.

The game show’s got everything: a peppy theme song, a cute set, a host who seems like he shouldn’t be around kids (Day), and two contestants ready to crack the case….oh, wait, they don’t care if she ever comes back? Game over!

World Peace Rap

With this digital short, Beck Bennett is officially king of the Russian impression (but he already knows he is, and he fucking hopes Putin knows it, too, as he told Seth Meyers last week). This soulful music video, for Eurovision contender “Slavic Jam Records Presents: Song for Peace by Stav D,” showcases yet another layer of Bennett’s scowling, swaggering Eastern European side – it also shows us what Kyle Mooney would look like with dreadlocks, and that Pine can even pull off goth, somehow.

SWAT Recon

Cops (Bennett and Thompson) staking out an arms dealer (Moynihan) end up having the best night of their lives when they accidentally spy on the criminal’s neighbors (Day and Pine) — and catch them having a cotton candy dance party that turns into a backpack fashion show. Yup, it’s exactly what it sounds like, but don’t worry, “the whole thing has a very innocent, 11-year-old best-friend-sleepover type vibe.” When the two stoked dudes’ fun attracts their murderer neighbor to the party, the cops can’t resist joining in.

Pine and Day deserve an award for eating about a pound of cotton candy each and dancing around for four minutes straight.

The Boy is Mine

Because this sketch was mostly Aidy Bryant and Vanessa Bayer karaoke-fighting over Pine to Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine,” there’s no video, for copyright reasons, but imagine what that’d look like in your head and you’ve basically got it.

Melissa Villasenor makes her only appearance of the episode in this sketch, for about three seconds, and is chased out of the room by Bryant screaming “Leave!!!” which could perhaps be interpreted as a bad sign for the featured player who’s barely gotten any screen time this season – but maybe we’re reading too much into it.

The House

“Original” reality show The Real World has been on for roughly 6,000 seasons, as this parody version, The House, points out, and by now the manufactured drama’s losing its luster. For example, this latest scuffle in The House, between roomies Pine, Mooney, and Bennett – over who’s making margaritas, an issue apparently as grave as an actual punch to the face.

Weekend Update

This week, Jost and Che are all over the AHCA, debating what constitutes a pre-existing condition and why we can’t just be like the rest of the happily insured world:


Apparently, Update’s been holding auditions for a new weather correspondent, and they’ve named a winner: Dana Lazarus (Bayer), whose competence is overshadowed by her manic nervousness:

And Leslie Jones stops by, to give a lot of details on her recent trip to Jamaica:

Auto Shop

After nine wildly successful seasons, an Emmy win, and a move from niche network Logo to the more visible VH1, RuPaul’s Drag Race is an undeniable hit, proving drag isn’t just for queens anymore – everyone’s obsessed with Drag Race, including a bunch of mechanics from Boston who pretend not to be into it and end up putting down pageant circuit girls and having a full-blown lip sync battle.

Seriously, Pine + Channing = gold, I’m telling you.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Hulu original The Handmaid’s Tale, adapted from Margaret Atwood’s bestselling novel, is a runaway hit less than halfway through its 10-episode run, largely because the dystopian tale of blind conservatism and legalized sexism sounds eerily similar to our own current events. This sketch approaches the show from a less political angle, asking a question a lot of us have probably been wondering as we’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale: what happened to all the clueless bros who never watch the news, and so wouldn’t know anything about the Gilead’s terrifying takeover? They’d probably endure, apparently, but we’ll have to keep watching to find out.

Star Trek Lost Episode

In this homage to Pine’s starring role in the recent Star Trek franchise reboot, Neil DeGrasse Tyson (Thompson) reveals a long-lost episode of the classic Star Trek TV show, in which Spock’s bumbling brother, Spock-O (Moynihan), tries to steal the scene.

Couples Game Night

It’s time for another edition of couples game night with Cecily Strong and her rotating cast of husbands (her friends, to their credit, never seem to mention that she’s with a different man at every gathering). This time, the couples are playing “Name That Theme” – where someone sings a theme and everyone else, you guessed it, names that theme. Everything seems fine until Strong and her husband are up: they’ve brought their own synth, which is never a good sign, and while they haven’t seen Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier, they do know all the words to the off-Broadway musical of the same name.

Etc

LCD Soundsystem made their first SNL appearance this episode, performing two all-new songs they just premiered this week, and unsurprisingly they were great. Go ahead, you know you want to watch:

Next week: host Melissa McCarthy with musical guest HAIM!

Next week: @melissamccarthy and @haimtheband!

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