I think Saturday Night Live may have gotten it’s groove back a little this week. After the disaster that was the Donald Trump episode last week, SNL promptly bounced back with a great episode starring the talented Elizabeth Banks and featuring musical guest Disclosure, along with vocalists Lorde and Sam Smith. Unlike the Trump episode, where every skit was basically centered around one man’s inflated ego, banks came to the stage and brought a great acting and comedic presence, giving life to just about everything she performed in. Couple that with some good performances from electronic music duo Disclosure and they’re guest singers, and SNL felt great again, or at least great enough for me to come back from my recap hiatus!
SNL started out very differently this week, but showcased it’s class in doing so. Instead of the usual opening skit, Cecily Strong opened the show with a dedication to the victims of the November 13th attacks in Paris, France. To paraphrase former writer Seth Meyers from Twitter, this was SNL at its finest, being not only a beacon of comedy, but a beacon of global culture as well. I didn’t really know how SNL would handle its show given the attacks that took place just a day earlier, but I really think the show did wonderfully in handling it. It was a touching, and sweet opening, and then the show went on as planned, just as it should have. When Elizabeth Banks took the stage for her monologue, she absolutely shined, coming out for her number in a large over-sized dress. She did a song and dance bit, playing off the fact that she’s now a director and wants to call all the camera action and sound while singing, and while a lesser actress may have played that bit bland, Banks’ over-the-top charisma carried the whole scene, and played very, very well. Overall, the start of the show was very good, very true to the heart and character of the show in many different ways for different reasons.
The skit portion of the night was really on point tonight, a great improvement over the week before. We saw a few good skits return, and Elizabeth Banks really soared in some modern classics. First up was Black Jeopardy, a great skit where an unsuspecting white guest goes on a themed version of jeopardy that’s not really up their ally so to speak. I thought Banks’ character and her interaction with the host, played by Kenan Thompson were great, better than the Louis C.K. version of that skit, in my opinion. Also, the pop culture references they sprinkled into the Jeopardy board were hilarious; it was great writing and acting. Then of course there was one of my personal favorites, the High School Theatre Showcase, with Banks once again prominently featured. She really did a solid job integrating with the lunacy of that sketch, and the fact that they actually made it a bit crazier than usual made it that much better. Later performances in the Young Ben Carson sketch, and the amazing pre-taped Uber sketch, starring former writer and performer Mike O’Brien were just icing on the cake for Banks, who shined in everything, and brought a ton of energy and comedy to the screen.
The latter half of the show was very strong, featuring some wonderful performances from electronic music duo Disclosure, and also a great Weekend Update segment (as has been the usual this season). Disclosure came out with Lorde on vocals for their first performance, and I really thought they brought a nice sound to the stage. I especially liked the fact that they brought a whole line of percussionists to the performance; it really added some nice layers to the song. I’m not a huge Lorde fan, but I thought she sounded good on this track. Sam Smith sounded just as good on the second performance they gave later on, rounding out a solid spot for this upcoming duo. For a band I knew very little about going in, I was pleasantly surprised with their performance. The guys on Weekend Update kept the laughs rolling during their segment as well, working some really good back and forth banter in between great spots from resident young person Pete Davidson and Kate McKinnon’s Russian lady character. There really weren’t any noticeable bad points all night, SNL rolled through all phases of its night wonderfully.
This week’s SNL was a big success, and it was much needed coming off of a slow week. Elizabeth Banks was a wonderful host, one who deserves to get brought back again someday, and disclosure tied the show together with two very solid performances. The skits were great, the writing was wonderful, and everyone seemed to be bringing their “A” game to the stage this week, leading me to give this episode two thumbs up for sure. Next week we’re gonna see the one, the only Matthew McConaughey host the show with musical guest Adele. With a lineup like that, there’s going to be a lot of press and expectations surrounding the show, so I hope they’re all ready to deliver a great performance. This one will be a tough act to follow though, SNL was firing on all cylinders this week!