When live TV shows you something so preposterous on Tuesday that you know it’s going to kick off Saturday Night Live, then does that make the rest of the week anticlimactic?
What’s The Deal With The SNL Cold Open for 2/13/21?
Of course we’re reliving this week’s second impeachment trial of former President Trump, but since the U.S. Senate wrapped up the trial with a speedy acquittal on Saturday, the show had to move the punchline ball rolling, and so they set their discussion within an episode of Tucker Carlson’s FOX News hour. Alex Moffat played Carlson as a “human White Claw,” and interviewed two of the Republican senators who weren’t just jurors, but also special advisers to Trump’s defense attorney. America, what a country! Kate McKinnon’s Lindsey Graham has become more disturbing over the years, echoing her real-life target, while look who’s here as Ted Cruz? It’s Aidy Bryant! Kate and Aidy strike early!
They did take a stab and re-enacting and spoofing Trump’s legal team, with Mikey Day as Bruce Castor and Pete Davidson as Michael van der Veen, but not even a more animated version of their “fight” montage video could come close to matching, much less improving upon the mockery of a sham of what the actual lawyers actually said.
Beck Bennett did generate some audible laughs out of his impersonation of a blubbering Mitch McConnell, though, so not a total waste of time.
How Did The SNL Guest Host Regina King Do?
This week’s host certainly has the chops for this. Regina King, fresh off directorial debut of One Night in Miami (she’s already up for a Golden Globe for it), and her Emmy-winning turn last year on HBO’s Watchmen, not to mention her Oscar win a couple of years ago for Best Supporting Actress in If Beale Street Could Talk. Well, Kenan Thompson did mention it, hyping up King’s monologue.
Unfortunately, the SNL writers put King in a lot of sketches without bothering to write enough comedy to actually showcase her!
She’s just another of the friends in a sketch where they’ve all given the birthday woman, Trish (Bryant), signs to place around her house, signs that she’s an alcoholic and a hot mess. In a short film, “The Negotiator,” King plays the titular character who, whoopsie-daisy, ate the gummy bear “evidence” out of another cop’s car, and her hallucinations get in the way of her negotiating prowess. It’s not a bad sketch, but she cedes the spotlight to her visions of weed gummies (Davidson and Bryant), Marge Simpson (Melissa Villasenor) and more.
The first sketch to star King has her taking part in an MTV dating show where her character is into corny white guys in their 40s. They make everyone else cringe, but that cringe makes her horny. We’re supposed to laugh at her three suitors, but they all fall too flat. King tries to make it work, tapping into her deepest acting credits for divine influence from her 227 cast mate, Jackée.
Later, as disco diva Fliona, backstage before a 1978 concert in Chicago, her tour manager Maurice (Bowen Yang) wants everything to go just right, but absolutely nothing does. This had more potential if only they’d gotten off the cue cards and leaned more into the slapstick.
On a more topical note, if you’re on the Internets, and if you’re reading this, then you are, then you likely saw and/or heard about the woman who mistook a bottle of Gorilla Glue for her hairspray. Now she has a law firm she can turn to, courtesy of Denzel and Latrice Commode (Thompson and King). Punkie Johnson’s testimonial as a woman who tried to duplicate Lil Uzi Vert’s diamond forehead implant scored laughs, but the studio audience didn’t get on board with most of this, no matter how hard everyone was trying.
How Relevant Was The Musical Guest Nathaniel Rateliff?
I’d never heard of Nathaniel Rateliff before, although it’s entirely possible I’ve heard one of his songs on the radio or via my Alexa without knowing it. I can only imagine Lorne Michaels watched that new Justin Timberlake movie on Apple TV+, Palmer, and heard Rateliff’s song on it, and said, let’s book that guy! And here’s that song for you, “Redemption.”
Nice job booking an ad for the movie with the song in the trailer, Apple TV+!
Before the second song, someone told Regina King to make sure to mention Rateliff has a band, too. The Night Sweats! I’ve had night sweats. No bueno. This song is “A Little Honey.”
Which Sketch Will We Be Sharing?
Fake ad to the rescue! Turns out not everyone really enjoys the rah-rah cheering of Peloton bikes. So for them, how about a Pelotaunt? This bike offers negative reinforcement and relentless criticism.
Who Stopped By Weekend Update?
Colin Jost introduced Stephanie Green (McKinnon) as a QAnon supporter, but turns out she’s just a witch who’s disappointed to find out there are no children to eat, despite years of claims by Q. “I’m starting to worry that QAnon isn’t real,” she worries, revealing her true name as Grismelda, who roasts kids and eats them in New Hampshire, and the cannibalism isn’t working wonders for her skin. Despite what Q would have you believe.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and Mackenize Taylor-Joy (Lauren Holt) is here with some great dating tips. Only her boyfriend just so happened to text her live on air to dump her. Uh oh.
If that wasn’t sad enough for you, then here comes drunk Tom Brady (Bennett), not-so-fresh off of his seventh Super Bowl title. So why’s he so sad?
What Sketch Filled The “10-to-1” Slot?
At 12:46 a.m. EST, we’re at a school presentation where the administrator (Mikey Day) has found a last-minute replacement for the magician who had to cancel. Too bad for him that the female theater ensemble, Femme Box, didn’t exactly come through on making their vagina monologues more age-appropriate for his students, other than replacing the word vagina with elbow. But King, flanked on either side by McKinnon and Bryant, make it work anyhow.
Who Was The Episode’s MVP?
I want to give Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd some extra credit for flying in on Friday from filming Kenan (premiering Tuesday in primetime!), but it’s another dynamic duo that really saved the night. Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant, from the start of the cold open as Sens. Graham and Cruz, to the end as elbow/vagina monologists, and multiple places in between kept the show from falling apart by holding the center.
Next week? It’s Regé-Jean Page, who stars in Netflix’s Bridgerton, with musical guest Bad Bunny.
Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.
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