Written by Mark Henely
Saturday Night Live Featuring Ariana Grande as Host and Musical Guest
The Host: Arianna Grande
I wasn’t excited about Arianna Grande hosting SNL going into the show last night. Maybe I’ve gotten to an age where I’m just not excited about seeing pop-stars do anything. I must have lost faith in my pop-stars somewhere between Kevin Federline and Lady Gaga’s second album. But, I’m happy to say that I was wrong about Arianna Grande.
Arianna Grande had a notably good monologue. She told a few jokes (very confidently and comfortably, I might add) and then sang a song. Usually, a song in the monologue is a sign of a poor monologue, but her song was well written and fun.
Overall, she was a strong addition to the cast. She has some real comedy chops from her years on Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” and “Sam and Cat” and she never detracted from a sketch.
Sketch of the Night: Sound of Music
In the best sketch of the night, Sister Maria (played by Grande) walked in on the other Nuns from the Sound of Music singing “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” Maria, who anachronistically talked like a modern tough girl, called them out for talking shit. It was a unique sketch that showcased all of the ultra-talented women on the cast. It was also clear that Grande loved playing this character and that is always fun.
A strong contender for number one was Celebrity Family Feud: Actors vs. Directors. The sketch had no point, but it showcased some incredibly impressions. It is worth a watch just for Grande’s Jennifer Lawrence and Bobby Moynihan’s Kevin Smith.
Worst Sketch of the Night: Tidal
In the worst sketch of the night, shy intern (played by Grande) had to sing songs by some of the most popular artists so that the streaming music service “Tidal” doesn’t go down. The sketch didn’t make any sense and only served to showcase Grande’s ability to do impressions of other singers like Britney Spears and Whitney Houston. The impressions were strong but this sketch was, by nature, completely self-indulgent.
Weekend Update was strong, but the stuff with Bobby Moynihan’s “Riblet” was weird. The Riblet character, Michael Che’s friend from High School, doesn’t work for me because no one in the world acts like Riblet, looks like Riblet, or is named Riblet. It’s a parody that has strayed so far from the original inspiration that comes off as false. Moynihan is an incredible performer and sells the jokes hard, but Riblet doesn’t work for me on a very basic level.
Musical Guest: Also Arianna Grande
Arianna Grande is a hell of a singer, but her songs never really connect with me (except for “Bang, Bang” with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj; that one is a banger). I thought her songs were forgettable, but they were fine as a pallet cleanser.
Oddly, I came away from this show way more impressed with her as a comedic performer that as a pop star.