Hosting for the fourth time (or fourth and one-sixteenth according to her monologue), Melissa McCarthy once again showed that she is one of the most comfortable hosts in recent Saturday Night Live history. She almost seamlessly fits into sketches with her brand of self-deprecating humor on full display, which elevates the performances of the cast members around her and also eases some of their worry while performing.
McCarthy herself was overshadowed leading up to Saturday night, due to her musical guest being Kanye West. But whether it was due to SNL’s history of poor sound, or West’s new material not being very good, both of his performances were somewhat confusing. McCarthy is one of the show’s better hosts and while she was great again this time around, this wasn’t necessarily one of the better episodes of the season. It had some very good moments, but also had a couple of hiccups along the way that sent it slightly off-course.
Cold Open: Hillary For President
Airing just 30 minutes after the end of what might have been the most insane presidential debate in US history, this cold open featuring a group of friends discussing Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders seemed a little flat. Especially when Clinton (Kate McKinnon) interjected by singing Bonnie Raitt’s hit from 1991, “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”
Best Sketch: The Day Beyonce Turned Black
No one lost their collective shit more last week when Beyonce dropped “Formation,” and then performed it a day later at Super Bowl 50, than white people — especially white people with a platform to spout whatever thoughts are bouncing around in their head.
SNL has done a stellar job this season with racial humor, which was something the show wouldn’t even have been able to address just a few seasons ago, due to Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah being the only African-Americans in the cast. The outcry over a lack of African-American women on the show led producers to hire Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones, which made the cast more diverse and the show better. It can tackle a larger spectrum of issues now, and has a wider variety of voices to do so.
Second Best Sketch: Movie Night
True story: When I was about 12 or 13, I spent the night at my aunt and uncle’s house. For some reason (maybe because they didn’t have kids), we watched The Terminator and I remember feeling totally awkward during the Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn sex scene. I stayed completely silent, which is probably what this family (McCarthy, Bobby Moynihan, and Pete Davidson) should have done.
Weekend Update Moment: Rachel from Friends
How long do you think Vanessa Bayer has been sitting on this Rachel impression? Waiting for the right opportunity (like a Friends reunion, minus Matthew Perry) to unleash its amazingness upon the world. Bayer has had a great season and her frequent appearances on Update have been some of the best segments of the show on many occasions.
Sketch That Was Better Than Either Kanye West Performance: Kyle vs. Kanye
Kanye West’s new album, The Life of Pablo, may or may not be available via Tidal when you read this, but based on the performances of “Ultralight Beam” and “Highlights,” you can probably wait a week. Not waiting a week to take on West was Kyle Mooney, who decided it was time to confront West leading to possibly the most awkward rap battle ever recorded.
West was joined onstage by several guests, including 80’s R&B icon El DeBarge, but the appearance of Chance the Rapper during “Ultralight Beam” was the best part of either performance.
Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller made an appearance during Weekend Update to discuss gravitational waves with Michael Che.
Just as I started to wonder if SNL was moving away from recurring characters, they have ended the last two episodes with two of Kate McKinnon’s recurring characters. Last week, it was Sheila Sovage making out with Larry David, and this episode ended with another installment of “Whiskers R’ We.”
Saturday Night Live returns on March 5 with host Jonah Hill, and musical guest Future.