‘SNL’ Asks “What Even Matters Anymore?” with Host Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain really commits to the bit! I don’t know why I’m surprised. Her whole career is based on accent work and representing extreme points of view. But I never thought Chastain could be intentionally silly. She has always struck me as some kind of porcelain egret, which maybe Julio Torres could do something with, but isn’t “funny” in the traditional sense. Does this make me a looks-ist and part of the problem? Almost certainly. This was the first time I was happy to be wrong in 2018, and I hope it isn’t the last.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders is back to tell us everything is fine and hey look over there! Today’s distraction: our healthy and virile prez. “It’s my expert medical opinion that the president’s got a rockin’ bod,” says Beck Bennett as the improbably named Dr. Ronny Jackson, “with the perfect amount of cushion for the pushin’. And if given the chance, I would.” Jackson fielded questions from disbelieving members of the press, including Pete Davidson from the respected news source, Saturday Night Live. Although I respected this sketch’s brevity, I would have liked more questions from Davidson, just asking every question the press pool won’t.
I’m glad we’ve had more songologues this year. I’m also glad the two songs we’ve gotten thus far have been certified bops. Last week it was the only good Elvis song, and this week it’s queer icon Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” Kate McKinnon truly got her Diane Keaton on, which was delightful.
I love these Bachelor sketches so much. Like the Real Housewives series and Mad Men, The Bachelor is something I’ve only consumed through podcasts and online criticism. I tried to watch one episode and got too many Manson vibes and had to bounce. The various “Hunk” sketches dissect this televised love contest and show me all the yucky bits so I don’t have to get my hands dirty. And Chastain’s tiny cartoon mouse voice was very good. However, there was a Tide pod joke in the Cold Open, and another in this. You only get one, guys. If there’s a Tide pod joke on Update, I’m gonna puke up all the pencil protectors I had for dinner.
That took some twists and turns, huh? Chris Redd plays our favorite son of West Philadelphia (born and raised), who encounters more some more dire consequences for interrupting gang basketball than Will Smith ever did. Jessica Chastain raps without making it a big deal, and Uncle Phil kicks some serious ass. Hey, I have a question: What was Method Man doing there? Some more questions: Why did nobody “woo” in recognition of Method Man? Was that Sam Jay playing Carlton? And can both SNL and Drunk History stop using fake CGI blood spurts? I get that they don’t want to ruin rented costumes, but the CGI looks worse than people just falling down and sticking their tongue out to signify deadness.
A discussion on bullying gets derailed by a man who looks just like Bart Simpson. The blocking of Bart during the intro to the sketch was so well done. I also appreciated how the rest of the audience was dressed in the millennial muted palette of navy blue/mustard yellow/maroon, and then Bart just popped in his cartoonish red shirt. I couldn’t tell whether Pete Davidson almost breaking was part of the sketch or not, but sometimes a little mystery adds to the art.
What Even Matters Anymore?
Tonight I learned that Jessica Chastain can chug wine like a pro, which is something I look for in prestige actresses. A game show to determine what, if anything, the president does that could possibly have any repercussions ever. Chastain’s performance is extremely gif-able, as her sanity slowly erodes with the rest of America.
Update covered the shutdown, Stormy Daniels, and Trump’s physical. Cecily Strong also stopped by the Update desk as Daniels, explaining that she is what we deserve as Americans. “Things are so bad right now, there so many women desperately trying to figure out how to be empowered by me,” she says as she points at herself with French tip-manicured hands (love the attention to detail). “The best they can say is I’m a female director.”
William and Harry also came by to discuss …Suits? The point of the bit was that the two bros got distracted from their message by inter-sibling bickering, but I felt like the whole thing lagged. I appreciated Mikey Day’s fervent belief that Prince Harry is the kind of dude who is always air drumming, but the endless bald jokes were whatever.
Finally, Kate McKinnon comes through, playing Max Headroom playing Robert Mueller. She brought fun energy to the piece, but I couldn’t get lost in the goofs because of the very distracting prosthetics.
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Everyone gets an accent in this formless mess! Sketches like this, the endless parade of weirdos, do nothing for me. Good goofs get lost in the “and now Pitbull is here” of it all. It was like there were two hats, an accent hat and a #spon hat. Everyone picked a place to be from and a brand name to mention. So the Atlanta folks hold up a bag of Chick-fil-A and it gets a huge scream of approval. Fine.
Two women declare that their New Year’s resolutions are to get smarter, then cannot understand how buy-one-get-one offers work. One wants chicken, the other beef. They cannot wrap their minds around a BOGO where you can order two different kinds of taco, which to be fair to them, isn’t exactly how BOGOs usually work. Heidi Gardner’s character would normally eat a beef taco but she ate a ton of raw beef last week and got really sick. Why? “I was like, being funny,” she explains. Then Aidy Bryant comes along to explain/demonstrate that in the world of this sketch, not all women are idiots. It’s just these two.
Chad! Chad Chad Chad! I enjoy Chad. Not only is his flat affect a perfect fit for Pete Davidson, Chad is a surprisingly good example of affirmative consent. A woman mentions wanting to fuck him, Chad is down. The woman expresses doubts, Chad stops and is fine with that too. This is probably why so many accomplished and beautiful people have fallen for him. Go Chad.
Kenan Thompson wears a slightly different wig than his last effete weirdo in this 10-to-1. Seriously, Kenan has played a riff on this Andre Leon Talley-looking motherfucker in the Sam Rockwell’s fashion panel sketch, and the live-action Chad piece when Saoirse Ronan hosted. Maybe this sketch fully devoted to Thompson bugging his eyes out and doing triple- and quadruple-takes will get it out of his system.