While one of Hollywood’s most notorious stoners hosted “Saturday Night Live” last Saturday, it was the writers who seemed to be under the influence of marijuana. Not only was the topic included in Woody Harrelson’s monologue, but many of the sketches seemed to suffer from what so many burn-outs get chastised for: no follow-through.
First, there was the cold open, with Obama (Jay Pharoah) and Mitch McConnell (Taran Killam) sharing drinks following the midterm elections. While Killam does a fine job, I much prefer the Mitch McConnell impression performed on “The Daily Show,” which usually includes a turtle.
These days, cold opens are living up to their monikers. They don’t warm you up for laughter.
In his monologue, Woody Harrelson performed a song about 1989, since that was the last time he hosted, and in order to sing the song, he got his Mockingjay co-stars (all born AFTER 1989) to help him sing, including Jennifer Lawrence. If she ever hosts SNL, we got a preview of what we’re in for: flubbed lines and giggling (she must have trained under the Fallon method). But because it’s J.Law, it’s adorable.
It’s interesting that SNL’s “The Dudleys” sketch, about a CBS sitcom that seeks help from Twitter commentary, didn’t poke fun at NBC instead, considering CBS knows what its audiences want and NBC clearly doesn’t, given its ratings. In the sketch, the family of four—mom and dad and two daughters—evolves into two gay dads—one black, the other white—and two daughters that include a staff sergeant off to Afghanistan and Crazy Eyes from “Orange is the New Black.”
The next sketch “Match’d,” about an MTV dating show where the father of the prospective date hosts, was pretty weak, except for Kyle Mooney, whose “Yes, sir” responses were some of the most genuinely funny work I’ve seen him do on the show.
However, despite SNL’s failings with political humor, its “New Marijuana Policy” sketch was actually pretty funny commentary on New York’s 25 grams law. Stoners like Pete Davidson came out of hiding and took to the streets of New York City, only to realize that while they can possess 25 grams in public, they cannot smoke it.
Everyone was taking a bong hit Saturday night, even Taran Killam , who during Weekend Update did a spot-on impression of bongo-playing nudist Matthew McConaughey.
What’s ironic? Despite all of the weed talk, the musical guest was Kendrick Lamar, a rarity among rappers in business in that he refrains from booze and ganja. A sketch addressing this quirk might have been interesting if they wanted to throw him in, but instead we got a bad sketch about a crackhead, a bad sketch about football head injuries, and another bad one about a campfire song.
However, probably the best sketch of the night was “Last Call,” with Woody and Kate McKinnon as Sheila Sovage. Given the title, I understand why they put this skit at the end, but it’s some of the best work on the series right now and deserves to be seen by more people. McKinnon often gets compared to Kristen Wiig, but her physical comedy is on another level.
What did you think of Woody Harrelson’s episode? Are you burned out on political cold opens like we are?