In a season full of surprises for Saturday Night Live, none may be bigger than when Melissa McCarthy walked out as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Feb. 4. Yes, Alec Baldwin may be annoying the president every time he appears, but we knew Baldwin would be portraying Donald Trump this season. McCarthy as Spicer was as shocking as it was brilliant.
There were no surprises this week as New Yorkers captured McCarthy riding around the city on a podium as Spicer on Friday, and both McCarthy and SNL posted numerous videos and photos of the host in her “Spicy” get-up. But five-time host McCarthy, Spicer, or Trump couldn’t save SNL from delivering an awkward and off-balance show that fell completely flat after Weekend Update.
It didn’t help that this was yet another week where the build-up to the actual show created an atmosphere ripe for a letdown with expectations set too high.
Cold Open: The Lester Holt Interview
NBC News’ Lester Holt was granted an interview with Trump this week after the president fired FBI Director James Comey, and the half-hour interview was rife with questionable answers from the president, leading some to wonder why it was even allowed. After weeks of slightly stale cold opens, SNL took the opportunity to have Holt (Michael Che) and Trump (Baldwin) decimate the president in one of the more hostile Trump sketches of the season.
Best Sketch: Amazon Echo Silver
This episode featured an actual paid sketch, but it paled in comparison to the parody ad SNL created for an Amazon Echo for “people of a certain age.” The more agitated Alexa becomes with her elderly owners, the better this sketch becomes and the “Uh huh” feature should be standard on the regular Echo.
Second-Best Sketch: Sean Spicer Returns
The highly anticipated Spicer (McCarthy) sketch was somewhat anticlimactic. Viewers got “the bushes,” an angry Spicer, and the full scope of why McCarthy was driving through NYC on the podium (with Simon and Garfunkel’s “Only Living Boy in New York” as the soundtrack). But the payoff, Spicer asking Trump if he’s going to be replaced, was weird and felt tacked on.
The highlight of this sketch was Aidy Bryant as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and if Trump ever decides to replace Spicer with Huckabee Sanders, SNL is ready to make that change as well.
Monologue of the Season: Joan
The monologue doesn’t get much love in these recaps, but it would be hard to ignore that audience member Joan stole the show when McCarthy picked her to go on a backstage tour. Twitter might have spent the rest of the night wondering if Joan was a plant due to her calmness during the whole segment, including running into Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, but it was one of the happier moments on the show this season.
The Romance Continues: Kyle and Leslie
The continuing saga of Leslie Jones and Kyle Mooney’s relationship picked up steam as it was revealed the couple got married, and have a son, Lorne. Unfortunately, a certain Update anchor may be getting too close to Leslie for Kyle’s liking. The show’s commitment to this storyline has been one of the highlights of the season.
** Bobby Moynihan may be appearing in his final episodes at SNL after his pilot, Me, Myself, and I, was picked up by CBS for the fall season.
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) May 14, 2017
** Steve Martin appeared during the good-byes to present an emotional McCarthy with her “5-Timers Club” jacket. Also, the good-byes featured one of SNL’s best jokes this season, Colin Jost on crutches with his leg in a cast.
** In early April, it was reported that SNL would produce two sketches paid for by Verizon and Apple. This week, the Apple sketch, “Lighthouse Features,” aired and it actually had very little to do with Apple.
** HAIM performed “Want You Back,” and “Little of Your Love.”
** Saturday Night Live returns for its season finale on May 20 with host Dwayne Johnson and musical guest Katy Perry.