Watch Chris Pine Sing His Way Into Our Hearts In His Debut As Saturday Night Live Host
Now you'll know him as 'The Chris Who Sings' after his SNL appearance.
Did you know Chris Pine would really rather be singing? Like, all the time? If you knew him primarily as Reboot Captain Kirk or The Jack Ryan That Didn't Quite Take, you may be surprised that this Chris has been quietly building a résumé of song, including Into the Woods and Wet Hot American Summer.
And on his first hosting gig for SNL that ambition is laid bare when he sings in three sketches in a row, including the monologue (more on that below), then sings again and then dances and sings again! You cannot stop this boy from locking phasers on those vocals and beaming up some notes straight from the diaphragm. This may be the first time an SNL host has used the occasion for the sole purpose of not just promoting an upcoming film, but creating an audition reel for the role of King George in Hamilton. Good luck on that, Piney. I would pay good money to see it! Let's take a look at how the show went:
Best Sketch Of The Night
Someone in charge of the writing staff must have cracked the whip mid-season, because the most welcome trend of late on Saturday Night Live is shorter, punchier sketches that make their point and get out before dragging on too long. An excellent example is the brilliant "Where In The World Is Kellyanne Conway?", a quick spoof of the '90s kids' show from PBS. By the time a kid contestant says, "We don't want to find her," the sketch is effectively over and it's smart to wrap it up right after. How long is the entire sketch? Two minutes. Yes, the whole show can't be a bunch of mini pieces like this, but it's a great lesson: don't drag out your best joke into a 10-minute sketch when you can do it in two.
Best Addressing Of An Elephant In The Room
When I first put this episode of the show in my calendar, weeks ago, I accidentally input it as "Host: Chris Evans." And then as the date crept up and the release of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 got closer,, I thought, "Wait, is it Chris Pratt that's hosting? That makes way more sense." Chris Pine feels my pain and smartly addresses the confusion casual moviegoers may have differentiating between Pine, Pratt, Evans, and Chris Hemsworth. He's not Thor or Captain America, but it doesn't help that the character he plays in D.C.'s Wonder Woman is Steve Trevor, not too different from Steve Rogers from the Marvel universe. In song, Chris Pine makes the case for why we should remember him among a sea of Chris types (and, why not, Ryan Reynolds), and for me, it totally worked.
Most Horny (Part 1)
Maybe you have to be a regular viewer of MSNBC's Morning Joe to get the nuance of why the sexual tension between Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski is so funny, but without that context, it just starts to feel a little repetitive. Kate McKinnon makes a great Mika, but on a week where there was no new Sean Spicer sketch (expect that next week) and only a Trump-by-phone appearance from Alec Baldwin, it didn't feel like the strongest take on government and news this week. (Most Horny Pt. 2, by the way, was a sketch in which an HR representative and president of a company woo their employee with the song "The Boy Is Mine." That one didn't make it online.)
Most Beck Bennett
One of the show's worst tendencies this season is to build a whole sketch around a Beck Bennett accent or character. That led to one of the worst sketches all season, and it doesn't do much for "Stav D," a Slavic talk-singer who reveals his online pornography addiction. Still, it gives Chris Pine another reason to sing, and that's fine, I guess. It's just not very funny.
Chris Pine's William Shatner isn't bad at all and he deploys it in a lost episode of Star Trek hosted by an amusing Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and featuring a Poochy-like character named Spocko (brother of Spock) played with giddy Jersey aplomb by Bobby Moynihan. "Now that's a Star Trek!" Extra points for the Howard Stern shoutout (Spocko's real name is Sal Dellabate). And extra extra points for the return of longtime SNL production designer Akira Yoshimura, who again plays Sulu.
Most Boy Joy
This was actually one of my favorites of the show (and at under four minutes, another short-but-sweet bit) about a SWAT mission that turns into an elegy for lost childhood joy. Cotton-candy dancing and backpack fashion shows are a thing I want to be engaging in right now. This was just silly and fun and kind of wonderful.
It's a well-known fact that men ruin everything, especially in the world of The Handmaid's Tale. Interesting choice to do a take on the Hulu show/Margaret Atwood novel where the male characters are the ones getting all the laughs and the women look like they're having the most miserable time. Meta, I guess?
Most Welcome Sketch That Drags
Speaking of guys getting laughs on the backs of other groups, this one about dudes at an auto shop revealing their love of RuPaul's Drag Race is a lot of fun, especially the lip sync battle.
This sketch felt like it went on for five days. I get that it's a play on the tropes of reality TV shows like Big Brother, but the heightened drama over absolutely nothing was just not that great. Maybe you should have had Chris Pine sing in it? That might have made me like it.