Published Apr 12, 2020In something of a surprise since ceasing live production due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Saturday Night Live returned for an "at home" edition which, given their technological limitations, worked rather well, thanks to an inventive and resourceful cast, with assists from Tom Hanks and Chris Martin. Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.
In an extra surprise on this seemingly ad hoc "at home" episode of SNL, "America's dad," Tom Hanks, delivered a monologue from what seemed to be his own kitchen. Hanks, who was an unannounced participant, made some jokes about his own ordeal after recovering from COVID-19 and explained how cast members had recorded sketches and bits at home, and so the normally live show was all pre-recorded. After taking some questions from "the audience," Hanks left us with a solemn thanks to the world's frontline workers, and threw to commercial (and the SNL house band, whose members were each also performing in isolation).
A Drake Song
In a spoof of Drake's latest video/single, "Toosie Slide," Pete Davidson gave us a tour of his mom's basement and rapped about missing his ex. "Directed by Pete's Mom" with assists from the SNL band, this was a kind of clever way of doing something topical with our self-isolation issues.
Working Out at Home with RBG
Kate McKinnon gave us a no-frills version of her Weekend Update characterization of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In this case, her honour ran us through her workout routine, which was about as amusing as McKinnon's RBG usually is, which is not very much.
Salescorp first Zoom call
Mikey Day played an office worker organizing a Zoom call, which includes two elder receptionists, Henriette and Nan, respectively played by Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon. Aside from making fun of the stock home office patter Zoomers end up engaging in, this was a satire of older people having little luck or proficiency with such technology, which causes them tremendous confusion but also, apparently, despair. For any of us who've been on such multi-generational calls, this was rather spot-on.
A Message from Bernie Sanders
Aside from Hanks, as our mostly absent "host," Larry David was ostensibly the first celebrity cameo of the night, and turned up to portray Senator Bernie Sanders, addressing voters after suspending his presidential campaign. Invoking everything from Dell computers to Oliver Twist, David's Sanders gave us an on-point scolding and suggested he would indeed be voting for Joe Biden.
Chloe Fineman was rather incredible, offering celebrity MasterClasses in silly disciplines. She was a hyper-annoying Timothée Chalamet, vapidly teaching us about fashion, a super animated Jojo Siwa offering TikTok lessons while highlighting how talentless she might actually be, and a bona fide Carole Baskin, offering bike-riding lessons and denying that she killed her husband, as Tiger King might lead you to believe. This was the best thing on the show up to this point.
From his home, Coldplay's Chris Martin performed Bob Dylan's 1974 song, "Shelter from the Storm." It was a pleasant and faithful performance, which Martin cleverly flourished by posting the show's "Entrance to the Trains" set piece, in makeshift lettering, on the wall behind him.
Weekend Update at Home
From their respective homes and joined by a Zoom audience, Colin Jost and Michael Che ran through some headline jokes. They bantered a bit about how Sanders leaving the race meant "comedy gold" for the next four to eight years, which is a hack comedian talking point to make generally, but especially during a pandemic, which America didn't have the leadership to contend with. Speaking of which, Alec Baldwin joined the party, as Donald Trump, and was actually amusing. Jost made a joke about gerbilling before Che intimated that he lost his grandmother this week and that her favourite segment was when the two did "joke swaps," and so Che emailed Jost a racially charged joke, which was kinda funny.
Bailey at the Movies
After RBG earlier, this was another instance where a Weekend Update character left the desk for the first time ever. Heidi Gardner's delusional, teenaged YouTuber, Bailey Gismart, did one of her TMI film reviews from her house, which was vaguely amusing.
Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles
An animated short, the once-righteous Ninja Turtles are now all middle-aged and dealing with that kind of life stuff. Some receive calls about health tests, others have sports betting issues, all of which were decent conceptually and also short.
Cam Playz Dat
Parodying all of these YouTube and Twitch gaming influencers that our kids seem to think are cool, Mikey Day played Cam, who talks the talk but sucks at video games. He dies constantly and that was the joke in this brief but somewhat amusing bit.
Sky Sport Report
In an homage (or rip-off) of an actual British sportscaster, Andrew Cotter, who has been "calling" silly competitions of his dogs and posting videos on twitter over the last few weeks, Alex Moffatt played a British sportscaster named Bob Tisdale, doing the same kind of thing with ordinary, everyday occurrences. This might've been good if it was an original idea.
Some sports are slower. More about the strategy. pic.twitter.com/JMBaGJ1tSd— Andrew Cotter (@MrAndrewCotter) April 9, 2020
A Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney FaceTime call about what they're working on for the show turns into a catchy song with the help of Fred Armisen. Their empty Q&A takes on a rhythmic and melodious turn, which was nonsensically fun.
Visualizations with Aidy
A meditative video by Aidy Bryant doesn't quite work out the way she planned. For every calm, relaxing moment, there are allusions to giant snakes and WWI, which was stressful but, aside from Bryant's funny physicality, this wasn't so great.
How Low Will You Go?
Beck Bennett played Alex Burpee, the host of a quarantine-tainted dating show. The contestants, played by Ego Nwodim, Heidi Gardner, and Aidy Bryant, seem to have very low to no standards, which is good, because all of their suitors are losers. This was actually funny.
Make-up Tips with Ego
Ego Nwodim suddenly appeared on-screen to provide us with some basic make-up ideas. These consisted of colouring our faces with magic markers, which was ridiculous.
On his second rap video of the night, Pete Davidson came through with a funny idea about a rapper pretending they're richer than they actually are. It was also a pretty memorable hook so perhaps Andre 2000 might be able to make that next g.
A Tribute to Hal Willner
A very touching tribute to SNL's long-time music director, Hal Willner, who died this past week after exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Current and past cast members and writers, including John Mulaney, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader, beamed themselves in for this lovely farewell to a true musical giant, who had guided the show's musical voice since 1980. It was sad but beautiful.
We love you, Hal ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vwdjXteHAa— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) April 12, 2020