Charlize Theron is easily one of the most versatile but underrated actresses in the industry. This Oscar winning beauty has found success doing comedy, action, hardcore drama, and even science fiction. Her career is incredibly diverse. She even hosted Saturday Night Live before, but that was way back in 2000. 14 years ago, she was still developing her popularity. Paul Simon was the musical guest last time so I’m sure you can guess who was considered the big episode seller. Now is an entirely different story. Sure, the Black Keys are more popular than they’ve ever been, but Theron has some unparalleled star power behind her. Her comedic abilities alone made this episode a must watch. Bringing in one of my current favorite bands is just the icing.
Since it is Mother’s Day, the show opened up with back to back holiday themed skits. One was the Cold Open featuring Sasheer Zamata and Vanessa Bayer as Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton, and the other was a Mother’s Day themed game show. If I had to pick the two, I’d say the former was much better. Not only were Zamata and Bayer awesome in their roles, the idea that Obama and Clinton would trade bitter jabs at each other is hilarious. The repertoire between these two very funny ladies was just spectacular. Honestly, I’d be game to have the Obama/Clinton duo come back again to continue delivering snarky remarks at each other.
The Weekend Update was very “meh” for most of it. Jokes delivered by Colin Jost and Cecily Strong didn’t always stick and the Barbara Walters guest visit left something to be desired. Let me clear this up first: I absolutely loved the concept. Walters has been parodied on SNL repeatedly so giving her a little montage and a chance to respond to imitators was a brilliant move. Yet I felt so much more could have been done. Can you imagine if Nasim Pedrad came in and played off the real Barbara Walters? That would have been gold. I really was ready to declare the Update more of a miss, but then the always amazing Drunk Uncle came back. Seriously, where has Bobby Moynihan been? Drunk Uncle was woefully underutilized this year and last night proved why he’s one of the best guests currently on this show. I was in stitches.
We have had our fair share of weird skits this year. Yet very few were as bizarre as Whiskers R We. Kate McKinnon and Theron as crazy cat ladies trying to sell adorable kittens while simultaneously realizing their lives are a mess? It’s really not hard to wonder why this was left until the very end. That’s when most of the weird bits either do amazingly well or completely fail. Thankfully Whiskers R We was very much in the former category. While McKinnon and Theron absolutely slayed it, the real winners were the live kittens that were used. Whenever the two funny ladies were focusing on jokes, the kittens were legitimately trying to leave their box. You could tell McKinnon and Theron were barely holding themselves together. Also, bringing out a cat named Damien and calling him a sociopath is comedic gold.
The other Mother’s Day segment, the aforementioned game show, was really just a bore. It had the absolute perfect premise too. McKinnon is a mother hosting a game show, her kids are the contestants, and they have to prove how well they know their mom. Aidy Bryant is also the awkward neighbor who isn’t very bright. Recipe made in heaven right? Well apparently not when the kids are able to get the answers right every time. Sure the jokes were pretty clever, but it would have been nice to have at least one problem child. Someone who knows their mother so little it’s actually hilarious. I kept waiting for some big punchline too and it just never came.
Bikini Beach Party was so close to being a good skit. It really was. Yet so much of it was completely unfunny and pointless. It looked like everyone involved was really bored and only wanted the skit to reach the big joke: an exploding whale carcass. I’ll admit, I laughed the hardest all night when that whale exploded, but it was simple a brief oasis of humor in an otherwise dry bit. Maybe this skit would have done better with more whales and less dancing.
Girlfriends Talk Show was almost saved for me last night. Theron was one hilarious guest as she played the “cool” teacher who wore jeans and had a lot of deep advice. Not even her visit can save this skit that lacks so much substance though. Most of the bit was Bryant’s character Morgan being an unreasonably sexually frustrated teenager. Strong really had nothing for her character too. The banter was mainly between Theron and Bryant with Strong pushed to the background. It really amazes me how this recurring segment can make two of the funniest ladies on the show and just make them a disappointment. Perhaps it’s time for the Girlfriends to call it quits?
As I aptly predicted, Theron was wonderful last night. Why did it take 14 years to bring this woman back? She needs to do some more comedy and fast. She legitimately elevated every skit she was in, including the typically terrible Girlfriends Talk Show. I couldn’t help but notice there were quite a few verbal jabs thrown throughout the night though. They occurred during the Cold Open with Obama and Clinton, during the Update between Walters and Strong, and during Bikini Beach Party between Bryant and Strong. In truth, the first two have some novelty. Showing Obama, Clinton, and Walters as snarky powerful women is absolutely perfect. Bikini Beach Party though just felt mean. On the plus side, the Black Keys were absolutely phenomenal. Turn Blue has been on my radar and now I’m even more excited. It was also a lot of fun to have Nasim Pedrad’s Heshy Farahat back for some more absurdity. Looks like she’s found a new recurring character! All in all, this was a better than average night. I legitimately laughed out loud enough times to make me love it. Bring Theron back!
Next week is the big Season Finale with Andy Samberg and St. Vincent. My review will be a little different though because, big surprise time, I’m actually seeing it live in person that very night. Expect next week’s review to be a hybrid coverage of both the show as a whole and the experience of actually seeing it unfold with your very eyes.