Written by Mark Henely and Dan Gagliardi
Saturday Night Live: Host Melissa McCarthy, Musical Guest Kanye West
The Host: Melissa McCarthy
Mark: Melissa McCarthy is an incredibly talented comedian with a well-deserved Oscar nomination for her role in Bridesmaids, but she is also the lead in the bland Mike and Molly and star of comedies you would never want to see like like Tammy and Identity Thief. She is a performer who is capable of making a film as a heartfelt as last year’s Spy, but sometimes she puts on her ugliest sweater and acts as annoying as possible. Her success as a host of SNL really relies on how willing the viewer is to see her do her best “Awkward Family Photos” impression in each and every sketch.
Dan: Melissa McCarthy has proven four-and-one-sixteenth times that she’s maybe the best recurring host of the past 10+ years. How does she do this? By being a trained comedian. I can’t stress this enough: a comedy show is better when funny people are doing it.
Melissa McCarthy being as funny as she is makes it even more tragic that they wasted her monologue on another musical number. Even though this musical number had a joke in the middle of it, and made it SNL canon that the character of “Kenan Thompson, cast member” speaks a little bit like Sidney Poitier.
McCarthy was delightful throughout, and had some really brilliant physical moments in sketches that I WILL MENTION LATER, so get off my back about it.
Mark: Weekend Update was a little uneven this week. Don’t get me wrong, it still had more funny jokes than it did unfunny jokes, but there were more missed one liners than usual.
The Weekend Update guests were also a little weaker than usual. Vanessa Bayer had a really impressive Rachel from Friends impression, except she could only say like 20 words in her Rachel voice. Her and Colin Jost did their best with her limited skill set, but it wore thin towards the end. There was also a football player that guested with Michael Che who was terrible. It was like he was incapable of emoting and reading at the same. I am not a fan of football, so the chance to see Von Miller didn’t do anything for me.
Dan: I look forward to Weekend Update, and I’ve grown to really love the contentious love-hate thing that Michael Che and Colin Jost have going. But this week was mostly kind of humdrum, with them leading off with some really corny video clip-based jokes. I don’t know why Von Miller was there, although I’m now convinced that he must be the nicest man in the world because of how bad he was at delivering brags, so I liked that thing-I-projected-onto-him about him. Vanessa Bayer as Rachel from Friends was the highlight of Update for me, because I didn’t realize before she did it how badly I wanted to hear someone do a Rachel from Friends impression. Also, WEAR A DIFFERENT SUIT AND TIE, COLIN JOST.
Favorite Sketch: “Cul-De-Sac: The Movie”
Mark: I thought “Cul-De-Sac: The Movie” was easily sketch of the night. The first couple of sketches and the monologue were really weak and I was losing faith in the show,when this sketch came on and re-invigorated my faith in sketch comedy as a whole. Melissa McCarthy played a weirdo (as she did in every sketch tonight) who got too scared during a horror movie. The jokes heightened really well off of one another and the whole thing was very satisfying.
Warning: the sketch is pretty gross (my girlfriend had to walk out of the room a few times while McCarthy vomited on herself), but it is worth a watch if you can stomach it.
Dan: It’s the obvious pick because of how zeitgeisty it is, but “The Day Beyonce Turned Black” was a really smart, tight premise that was extremely well-executed. The uptick in great sketches that discuss race has been such a joy, and harkens back to the (shoot me for using this term) “glory days” of SNL when Pryor hosted and Eddie Murphy did whatever he damn well pleased.
Anyone who was being a brat when SNL was being pressed to diversify its cast and writing staff needs only to look at this as an example of how much more you can do with more than one kind of person on your team.
Least Favorite Sketch: “Pick Up Artist”
Mark: There were a lot of strong contenders for worst sketch of the night. There were sketches where I didn’t laugh once (like the cold open sketch that involved McKinnon’s Hilary Clinton singing), but I’m going to use my pick on a sketch that I actually laughed at a few times. The sketch about female pick-up artists who is incapable of teaching Melissa McCarthy how to pick up men.
Sketches about the grossness of pick up artists are hard to do because seeing a man torture a woman socially is really upsetting for audiences to watch, so I think SNL tried to circumvent that by making the pick up artists women. It is a smart move, but the execution was totally bizarre. McCarthy made me laugh with her weird moves, but it wasn’t anchored to any sense of reality. Leslie Jones was also breaking character the entire time, which doesn’t bother me in and of itself, but it will probably be distracting for many people.
Dan: Maybe the sketch on the bus, but strictly because I didn’t like the last two seconds of it when the bus exploded. Honestly, this was a real B- episode. Nothing to complain about.
Musical Guest: Kanye West
Mark: Full disclosure: I am a huge Kanye West fan. I was looking forward to his appearance on SNL (even more so than I was looking forward to Melissa McCarthy). But, even I am able to admit that Kanye West is a real weirdo. And, as a fan, you have to be willing to follow him wherever he decides to go next. So, I was completely on board with his bizarre performance on SNL last night.
His first song was a heavily autotuned, emotive performance where Kanye rapped in front of a group of five weirdos. Bustle.com has a really good article that lays out every single person on stage with Yeezy last night for those who are interested.
His second song was an absolute show-stopper. Mid-song he turned the mic over to Chance the Rapper, who absolutely killed it. It was fun to see Kanye in the background of his own SNL performance, clapping and cheering on Chance.
He also appeared in a pre-taped Kyle Mooney sketch. Mooney’s sketches are always the weirdest and it was cool to see him mix it up with a sketch that would probably be too odd for most of the musical guests to be involved in.
Dan: Apparently Kanye West has recently said some nasty things, but I haven’t really heard much about them besides his stupid tweet about Bill Cosby, so I’m pretty comfortable saying that I loved both of his performances. I’m less comfortable admitting that I had to google “who was the white guy with Kanye on SNL” only to be told that that white guy was singer and black person El DeBarge.
Anyway, yeah, Kanye goes for it every time he’s on and it’s always a treat to see him take big chances on the look and feel of his performances.
And at this point I’d just like to once again beg Colin Jost to wear a different suit and tie.