Videos: SNL Nails Best Sketch Of The Season So Far With Host Kristen Stewart
Dare I say it… after a rough start to the season, Saturday Night Live has gotten into a real groove the past couple weeks, culminating in this weekend’s episode, one of the better installments of season 45 so far. Kristen Stewart returned to host for the first time since she dropped an F-bomb in her monologue when she hosted in 2017. There was nothing to provoke the FCC this time, but we did get a live sketch based around a dog, a reasonably good cold open, an ode to selling out, and the single best sketch of the year so far.
Let’s start with that last one: New Paint is my favorite thing I’ve seen on SNL this season (second place: the Sesame Street Joker parody from David Harbour’s episode). It’s a perfectly-realized surreal sketch that keeps peeling back layer after layer of complex backstory anchored by an incredible, melodramatic Aidy Bryant performance. It reminded me of an I Think You Should Leave sketch, a nice mix of silly and furious, in the best way possible.
Nothing else quite reached the heights of New Paint, but I’m a sucker for any live sketch featuring an animal, as they always teeter on the edge of complete chaos—and we got that here with Hero Dog Press Conference. Cecily Strong takes center stage as the translator for a dog playing Conan, the K9 commando service dog that took down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdad. Conan has some cat skeletons in his closet and is very afraid of vacuum cleaners, but is damn good at what he does: “I do this job for two reasons: One, I love my country. Two, belly rubs.”
It’s such a relief to have something positive to say about the Elizabeth Warren Town Hall Cold Open, and that’s due to a couple reasons: there was no appearance by Alec Baldwin’s Trump, the sketch wasn’t stuffed to the brim with celebrity cameos, and Kate McKinnon is at her best when she is allowed to just riff on a character. And Warren has become one of her best impressions, regardless of whether you think SNL is going too easy on her or mocking her Medicare plan.
The best pre-taped sketch of the night was Corporate Nightmare Song, about some “punk” employees rebelling against their corporate jobs… until they start getting praised for their work and moving up the ladder. Despite the peppy emo/punk music, it may have been the most depressing sketch of the night.
Hungry Jury, which is about a deadlocked jury trying to deliberate a verdict on empty stomachs, could have gone in a lot of different directions… but ended up somewhere I never, ever would have guessed. The final twist of the sketch made all those stomach rumbles worth it.
Check out the rest of the sketches below: Stewart delivers a great performance in the pre-taped commercial for Duolingo For Talking To Children; Stewart, McKinnon, and Bryant play some WWII factory workers in the underwhelming Rosie The Riveter; Stargazing has some hilarious graphics, but didn’t quite reach the Will Ferrell/Rachel Dratch “lovahs” vibe it was clearly aiming for; Stewart plays a character who makes A Proposition to a settled couple (Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim) who absolutely aren’t on her wavelength; and Stewart answers some audience questions (about herself) in the Monologue.
There were two guests on Weekend Update: Melissa Villaseñor finally got some real screentime when she unveiled a new character, five-year-old kid genius Riley Jenson, who was accompanied by her mom played by Weekend Update all-star Heidi Gardner; and Wylene and Vaneta Starkie (Bryant & McKinnon) of Smokery Farms meat gift delivery service talked about the rise of the Impossible Burger.
There was one cut-for-time sketch as well, in which Bowen Yang and various cast members got to show off their peculiar Open Mic skills.
Coldplay was the musical guest, playing two new songs from their upcoming double album Everyday Life, including the title track and single “Orphans.”
There’s no new episode next week, but SNL returns with host/musical guest Harry Styles on November 16th.