See Highlights From Rogue One Star Felicity Jones's Saturday Night Live Debut
Was The Force with the first new episode of 2017?
Hey, have you heard of that Star Wars movie Rogue One? The star of that movie hosted Saturday Night Live and if you're like me, you must set your mind straight that she is neither Felicity Huffman, Dakota Johnson, nor somehow related to Leslie Jones.
It may be that everybody is a little creatively stiff from a long holiday break or apprehensive about next week's inauguration, but this was an episode with a lot of nervous energy, weird misfires, and only a few real standouts, like "Theatre Donor," a memorable and genuinely funny deployment of Mikey Day and Felicity Jones and "Susan B. Anthony." Otherwise, it was SNL as usual, for better or for worse. Let's take a look!
No. 1 Sketch Of The Night
There was a time when I wondered if Donald J. Trump, as a news figure, could ever generate enough news every week to keep Alec Baldwin around post-election. Oh, how young and naive I was! This week's incredibly terrible press conference and news of Russian shenanigans involving urination led to a million pee jokes on Twitter and lots of stuff on the late-night comedy circuit. The show leaned in hard and as tired as these jokes should be by now, there's something about the way Alec Baldwin delivered them that completely, totally worked. Bravo. Urine the hall of legends now!
Most Nervous Energy Undercut By Reassuring Calmness Of Tina Fey
There was, surprisingly, no full-blown Star Wars sketch as when Adam Driver hosted. Instead, Tina Fey showed up to offer reassuring advice to a nervous Felicity Jones (how much of that nervousness was real and how was great acting?) in a sideways tribute to Carrie Fisher. Lest you think there wasn't a more overt shoutout, NBC aired Carrie Fisher's 1978 episode earlier in the evening. Despite Tina Fey's calming appearance (she meta-notes that the show is reviewed way too much and that none of it much matters), an appearance by Kenan Thompson as Saw Gerrera from Rogue One seemed like an excuse to trot out an elaborate costume. Not a great start to the show; it sucked the momentum from the cold open. But at least they didn't try to do a singing monologue with Felicity Jones doing a number from Mary Poppins or some shit.
Most Stolen For A Sec
It feels like there's a really great, definitive The Bachelor sketch to be done, but this isn't it. First, why call it Beard Hunk instead of just going after the real thing (especially when, weirdly, the ABC logo is used in the beginning)? It's mostly just a litany of weird bachelorette character traits and a few swipes at things the dating show does badly (like, say, casting Asian contestants). Between a misfired American accent from Felicity Jones and a static premise, it never really took off. And can we talk about how Beck Bennett was on almost every sketch this week, including a bit on "Weekend Update"? That's a lot of Beck!
Most Pete Davidson
By this point, you probably have a pretty strong opinion on whether you like Pete Davidson's tough dweeb act. I want to, really badly. I think he's genuinely funny in sketches. But his "Weekend Update" appearances feel increasingly half-assed and this one is no exception. Pete Davidson's "First Impressions" didn't even feel too accurate, and if you can't find some great jokes in Trump's bonkers cabinet appointments, you didn't do the homework.
Most Welcome Change Of Page
I may be in the minority, but I like Digital Shorts that feel like slices of life with an absurd twist. Say what you will about Leslie Jones (and all of Twitter apparently does), but she's great in filmed bits like this one. You can quibble with the stereotypes in this sketch, but you can't argue with a universal truth: you should never try to make a dramatic exit when you're having car troubles.