Written by Mark Henely and Melissa Jouben
The Host – Alec Baldwin:
Melissa: This episode is going to be so easy to write about, guys. You have no idea. With someone who’s hosted as many times as Alec Baldwin, you more or less know what you’re getting. The Trump/political stuff is a new added bonus, but usually you know it means broad, dumb comedy with some innuendo and a hint of a middle grader’s comedic sensibility. This is not a bad thing at all. We’re talking about Alec Baldwin here, so do I need to dive into his performance? The man has a standing invite to host the show whenever he wants. If you want me to break down his monologue, all I’ll say is that it’s very much his sense of humor and it was kind of fun to see him reminiscing on past hosting experiences. Overall, this was a tried and true Alec Baldwin episode.
Mark: People were excited to see Baldwin host SNL again. Baldwin’s Trump impression has had a massive cultural impact and I think people wanted to see them take the administration down again. I think casual fans may have been disappointed that there wasn’t more Trump (maybe in a pre-recorded bit) but I think the trump we got was pretty good.
The Best Sketches of the Night – Political Sketches
Melissa: From the cold open with Melissa McCarthy reprising her Sean Spicer impression, to Trump taking the federal court judges to The People’s Court, to Leslie Jones trying her hand at playing Trump, to Kelly Anne Conway, with a little bit of socially-conscious Cheetos advertisements thrown into the mix, the show did not hold back with political commentary. At this point, this isn’t simple satire or comedy for the audience’s sake. This is protest. This is resistance. This is an organized attempt to hit the current administration right where it hurts: in their huge egos. We know they’re watching and listening and we are adjusting accordingly. Trump didn’t like a woman playing Sean Spicer, thought it made him look weak? Have a woman play Jeff Sessions as well! The People’s Court sketch was just an opportunity for the writers to vent their frustration.
In really uncertain times where people are finding it harder to enjoy themselves during day to day activities, people are turning to SNL to provide not only laughs but to help them make sense of what’s going on. SNL seems to be done trying to make sense of it and the results don’t always result in huge laughs, but I think that SNL is continuing to do the best they can with their newfound cultural responsibility and broadening audience. I’m seeing a team that wants to atone for the crime of letting Trump host back when everyone thought this was all just some big joke.
I’m still a little disappointed in them that they would fire a writer over a joke about Baron Trump after public outcry, but when you know the president is watching you, I can’t think of a better way to try and entertain him.
Mark: It’s really incredible that SNL found another impression, in Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer, that resonates with the people as deeply as Baldwin’s Trump. I was hoping that they would interact with each other tonight, but I suppose we’ll have to wait for that meeting to come at a later date.
Worst Sketches of the Night – Nothing. I really mean that
Melissa: The sketches that weren’t political were extremely broad and incredibly goofy. Keenan and Tracy Morgan as Beyoncé’s unborn babies? So silly. Or the kid who couldn’t stop farting in gym class? Love it! They all served as palate cleansers between the sometimes heavy political stuff. If you’re not familiar with Alec Baldwin’s past hosting work, it’s pretty silly and very in line with what we saw last night.
I don’t really want to knock any of it because it kept me entertained and engaged and not thinking about how bad everything is all the time, you know?
Mark: I really hate it when adults wear diapers and act like babies. I don’t know why, it just freaks me out. I understand that Melissa does not have this hang up and found a way to enjoy the Beyonce sketch, but I just could not.
Musical Guest – Ed Sheeran
Mark: I’m not someone who seeks out an Ed Sheeran in my day-to-day life, but I was impressed with him. His songs seemed relatively deep (they seemed to actually be about something) and his band looked like they were having fun. There were some big smiles coming from the drummer and the back singers during these songs.
Melissa: He’s a good boy.