Written by Mark Henely and Melissa Jouben
Host: Emily Blunt
Melissa: I actually have a soft spot for Emily Blunt. I’ve never disliked her in anything I’ve seen her in and I think she’s very underrated as a comedic actress. Have you ever seen her in The Five-Year Engagement?” It’s a stupid movie but it’s also got a lot of good moments. I enjoyed her as a host last night, too. I thought the monologue was a bit of a cop-out, having her sing a song the entire time and giving the funnier moments to cast members. But for the rest of the show I was actually excited to see her and found myself waiting for her to appear in certain sketches. She seemed like the kind of host who is prepared and willing to do anything the writers could throw at her, and one of my favorite things to see in an episode is a host who is willing to trust the writers and have a great time doing it. All you need to do is watch her performance in “Escorts” or “Honda Robotics” to understand what I’m talking about. In an episode that had a lot of line misreadings, technical issues, and general sloppiness, Emily Blunt stood out to me as a very successful host.
Mark: I agree with Melissa that I thought it was a bit of a cop-out that Blunt just immediately started singing during her monologue, but I think that is where the SNL team really got it right. They played to Blunt’s strength (her amazing singing voice) and didn’t let her hang herself with a monologue that she might not have had any skill for. I actually think this is a bit of a microcosm of the entire episode. They let Blunt do what she is good at and never let her hang out to dry. She had a sucessful turn hosting where she easily nailed every shot she took.
Mark’s Sketch of the Night – Donald Trump Vs. Hillary Clinton Town Hall Debate Cold Open
Mark: At this point, it isn’t even fair. The cold opens are far and away the best things on this show. Every other sketch on the show has to create a whole world full of characters and its own interior logic. The cold opens do not. The characters, Alec Baldwin’s Trump and Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton, are established characters and they just have to take all of the bizarre things to happen during the debate and run them through their own interpretations. Everything that comes out is gold and I think McKinnon has really reached a new gear with her Clinton character and it is great to behold.
But, while I’m here, I want to give a shout out to the “Great British Bake Off” sketch for executing a perfect parody of something most Americans won’t know. Blunt and Cecily Strong play rejected Big Brother UK contestants that are forced to compete in a stuffy British baking TV. Again, I don’t know how many SNL viewers there are that know Big Brother UK well enough to know how perfect Blunt and Strong were, but they were incredible. If you have ever (for some reason) seen BB UK, you need to check this sketch out.
Melissa’s Sketch of the Night – Melanianade
I’m going to go ahead and assume this sketch was written by the same person who’s been bringing us those hauntingly beautiful “Melania Moments” sketches. If that’s true, I want you to know that the writer’s name is Julio Torres. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Julio perform before he was hired to the writing staff this year and I couldn’t be more excited to see what he’s come up with so far and the direction he’s moving the show in. And if Julio Torres didn’t write this, I still want you to know that, for future reference. This sketch, a parody of Beyoncé’s Lemonade – specifically the song “Sorry” – imagines the women in Trump’s life if they were finally fed up with and willing to distance themselves from his vile behavior. As a woman who continually needs to ask “how could these women continue to defend him at this point?” I was pleased and thoroughly entertained by the imagined reactions his wife, daughters, spokesperson, and “one black friend” would have to everything that’s been going on. I like to imagine that this sketch will reach them, and they’ll all find some catharsis in it. Except maybe Melania, who I read once accompanied her husband to a taping of Saturday Night Live and didn’t so much as smile at any point during the show. Also, I totally loved the tiny Beck Bennett as Mike Pence cameo in the song. Well played.
Melissa’s Least Favorite Sketch of the Night – Drive-Thru Window
Melissa: I actually really liked this episode, so when I tried to decide which one I disliked the most, I initially had a hard time. Then I remembered “Drive-Thru Window.” It’s not that it wasn’t good… I do like the idea of a seemingly endless train of strange characters who want Burger King but are too removed from reality to understand the menu. It just really didn’t go anywhere. The characters were fun, but they didn’t even ramp up in terms of weirdness. By the time you get to Bruno Mars the whole thing just feels like a bad setup for a Bruno Mars cameo and it feels kind of cheap. Not to mention this sketch seemed to have some awkward silences. And it doesn’t seem to know how a drive-thru works. It was just a parade of characters devoid of any plot or any logic, is what I’m saying.
Mark’s Least Favorite Sketch of the Night – Hamsters
Mark: I agree with Melissa that this was a strong episode of SNL. There weren’t any real clunkers of the night. Every sketch has something in it that is worthwhile. So, I’m just going to give my least favorite to “Hamsters.” It was the last sketch of the night, the crowd wasn’t all that into it, and I thought the whole thing was a little off.
Musical Guest: Bruno Mars
Melissa: I’ve never heard these new songs, but I did see a bunch of people wearing XXIV hats once and that apparently has something to do with Bruno Mars, which, now I know. I thought the way he started his first performance in his dressing room and then having the camera follow him dancing through the halls and onto the stage was really different and fun to watch as a viewer, but I don’t know that the audience enjoyed that a lot. Still, Bruno Mars was fine. He always brings a good energy.
Mark: I first heard Mars’ “24K Magic” (his first song of the night) for the first time Friday night and I hated it. But, over the course of 24 hours, my opinion on it changed rapidly to the point that I was legitimately looking forward to him performing the song. And he didn’t disappoint. He’s a great performer singing a great song and he really nailed it. I never thought I’d say this, but he really did show me how a pimp gets it in.