Melissa McCarthy Returns For Her Fifth, But Not Her Best SNL Hosting Gig

Written by Mark Henely and Melissa Jouben

Photo Credit: Will Heath/NBC

Saturday Night Live: Melissa McCarthy (host), HAIM (musical guest)

The Host – Melissa McCarthy

Melissa: I don’t think this was Melissa McCarthy’s best outing. I will say that right now. After five times hosting (not counting her being one of the many hosts of the SNL 40th special) she finally did a just-ok just at hosting. That being said, I don’t think she brought it any less than usual. I think the problem lies in the fact that no sketch served as much of a stand out performance. In past episodes, you can think of Barb the pizza eater or the woman who LOVES ranch, but here I was much less captivated by the characters she showed up as. Although to be fair, Donna is certainly going to be on my mind in the days to come.

I’d throw the writing this episode under the bus before I throw Melissa McCarthy under there, even though the writing wasn’t bad. Certainly, this episode is no contender for worst of the season. I’m happy to see her show up, have fun, and leave. And watching her genuine excitement at the end of the episode when Steve Martin presented her with her Five Timers Club jacket was really enough for me to walk away from this episode with warm, happy feelings. That and the monologue! I really hope that random mom plucked out of the audience to receive a backstage tour was truly a random mom, because sense of fun and excitement between them seemed palpable and I’d hate to know it was all a lie.

If I had to rate this episode on a scale of 1 to 10 I think I’d give it something like a 7. It wasn’t great, there was little there that I found memorable, but Melissa McCarthy is an absolute treasure and I’m glad to see her grace that stage every opportunity she can.

Best Sketch – Kyle and Leslie

Melissa: One of the funniest things SNL has done in recent years is to create a narrative, almost serialized story through pre-recorded sketches. What’s even funnier than that idea is making that story one about the unlikely relationship between Kyle Mooney and Leslie Jones. When they told the first chapter of this story way back, I was immediately sold on the premise and the way that it was being presented. It’s almost like that documentary about the guy who revisits the same school children several times over the course of their lives to see how they’re growing up. Kyle and Leslie’s relationship started out purely as what seemed like a one-off joke – and of course it’s totally made up – but the commitment not only to this bit but coming from this fictionalized Kyle in regards to his relationship with Leslie is not only still very funny to me, but almost riveting.

After seeing the beginning of their relationship and the ways in which Kyle has had to overcome his jealousy in the past, we come to find that Kyle and Leslie are now married with a son named Lorne. But Kyle’s jealousy seems to have only gotten worse as he feels that Leslie is pulling away and their relationship is starting to lose some of the steam and the passion that they started with. Like I said, the level of commitment in keeping this bit going while also making sure it stays fresh and funny is something that you don’t see from a show like SNL. It’s almost like an inside joke that was funny enough to get away with airing once, and now it’s just a game to see how far they can take it.

At the same time – and I may be reading into this a little too much – I think their ability to tell a running joke through these documentary-style chapters speaks to the increased viewership the show has gotten since the election. More people are paying attention to SNL than ever, and so more people are likely tuning in enough to see Kyle and Leslie go from passionate, lusty partners to a couple that has a ways to go to work out their differences for the sake of their son. It’s also very, very funny to me that the president of the United States may have watched this sketch.

Mark: I have to disagree with Melissa on this one.

I thought this was one of the weakest sketches of the night. I mean, I loved this story when it was first introduced in a previous episode and I like that they have kept it going, but I just don’t think that there were many laughs in this sketch. On paper, this sounds fun and it’s cool that SNL has broken out of what it usually does, but this sketch stands as an argument against breaking out of the form. To me, it was a dull sketch with one surprise laugh at the end.

Worst Sketch – Game Show

Melissa: If there are two things you need to remember about me as it relates to these reviews, those two things are as follows: 1. I will love anything Julio Torres wrote and 2. I hate straightforward game show parodies. There have been times where I’ve liked a game show sketch enough to name it as my favorite for the episode, but those are always in an instance where they really toy with the format of a game show and present something unexpected. The Game Show where contestants needed to guess whether a person in a CVS was an employee or a customer is one game show sketch that left me speechless because of how relatable it felt, and how completely bonkers all the characters were.

But this was a game show that served as a very flimsy premise to hit Melissa McCarthy in the face with a bunch of pies. Granted, it was funny. I enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed it just as much if the sketch was literally just Melissa McCarthy in front of a white background getting hit in the face with pies while Kenan explained “pie!” each time. It didn’t need to be done this way and for that reason, I didn’t really love it.

Mark: I have to disagree with Melissa on this one.

I thought this sketch was really funny. Sure, it’s a dumb premise that just serves as a dumb excuse to execute a dumb “pie in the face” joke, but that is what makes it great. I think it is possible to make a joke so dumb that it comes back around to being smart again and I think this one fits that bill.

Musical Guest – Haim

Melissa: I’m still not sure if they’re sisters, or cousins, or friends, or what. I was also confused as to the way their band is set up. They weren’t really bad, though. Just confusing. Their songs were a little too repetitive, especially the first one. I was actually pretty glad when it ended because it meant I’d get to stop hearing the same two lines over and over. The second song was a little better, but again, I found that little jam session in the middle confusing. It looked like they were having a lot of fun, so more power to them. After watching their performance I’m definitely curious enough to give them a try independent of SNL to see if I like it better. I probably won’t rush to give them a chance though.

Mark: I’m going to have to disagree with Melissa on this one.

I thought this group was very boring and I won’t check them out outside of SNL. Although, I may google “How tall is Haim?” after this. It looks like each one is about 6’5.

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