This past Saturday, Saturday Night Live returned from a short break with host Benedict Cumberbatch, accompanied by Solange as the musical guest. This show was not good nor was it particularly bad — it was just okay. SNL is not going to put on an amazing show each week and it is okay for shows to be off if there are funny moments within the episode, which was the case for this past weekend’s show. However, compared to other episodes this season, it was not amazing. Anyways, I think that if Cumberbatch comes back and hosts again, the show will be much better. It was just an off week. Below is my review of Cumberbatch’s episode
“SUPERSTAR!” (The Best Sketch of the Night)
“Surprise Bachelorette”: Honestly, I do not know why I loved this sketch so much. This sketch was ridiculous and had absolutely no point to it, which I think made it that much better. Look, Aidy Bryant played a very convincing elderly woman who is getting remarried in her eighties and the fact that she was surrounded by a bunch of millennials, minus Kate McKinnon’s character, made the atmosphere really awesome. And, Kate McKinnon was just awesome in this sketch and she owned the classic jumpsuit look that we’ve all come to love with our grandparents. What made this sketch work was that the viewer figured out early what was going on and the cast members did not let it stop them. They went all out! And then there were the Chicago Cubs, but I won’t delve into that since I’m a Clevelander, except to say that it was fun to see them acting.
“I gotta have more cowbell!” (Good Sketches)
“Criminal Mastermind”: If I were a criminal mastermind, this would probably be me. Benedict Cumberbatch was really solid in this sketch and he owned his character well. The riddles that Cumberbatch came up with, coupled with the side comments by his criminal partners made this sketch work. I’d love to hear what Kyle Mooney’s character thought of Stranger Things though.
“Weekend Update”: I thought that Weekend Update was quite good this week. Colin Jost and Michael Che had good chemistry and they definitely delivered the political humor really well. But perhaps the best part of this edition of Weekend Update was the return of Church Lady, played by Dana Carvey! America needs the wisdom of Church Lady in times like these and sure did she deliver. Even though Carvey really just repeated all of Church Lady’s famous lines from his time on the show, it was so great to see Church Lady in this context. The Chicago Cubs also made another appearance, accompanied by Bill Murray, which was a nice, simple, addition. Also, I hope to hear more wise words from Che and Jost in the future, as what they said made sense, even though it was said through a satirical lens.
“Why is Benedict Cumberbatch Hot?”: What I liked most about this sketch was that every cast member was themselves, which does not happen often in shows. Regardless of if this was a pressing issue throughout rehearsals all week, Beck Bennett sure did a convincing job of showing that he was jealous of Cumberbatch. This sketch I think was put in to relieve some of the pressure surrounding the episode, which I think did wonders for the remainder of the show after the rough monologue.
“Well, isn’t that special” (Hit or Miss Sketches)
“Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton Cold Open”: Remember in my last review I wrote that the show needed to move on from the Clinton/Trump parody in the cold open? Well, they did it again. Although this sketch was not a total trainwreck, it was not amazing either. Sure, there were funny moments, but it felt like Alec Baldwin and McKinnon were trying to force their portrayals of Trump and Clinton respectively, rather than it coming more naturally. I think that this spawns from the fact that they have done five episodes of these parodies, which is a lot. I am almost certain that Baldwin and McKinnon were actually excited to end the parodies during the second half of this sketch. It was a nice way to close out a series of cold opens, but this trend could have ended back with Episode 4.
“Office Hours”: This sketch was okay and what made it survive was the completely opposite characters of Cumberbatch and Pete Davidson. Davidson played a normal stereotypical college student while Cumberbatch played a over-analytical about life professor. I did not quite understand the need to add a romantic undertone within the sketch, but the sketch continued to go on even after that brief moment.
“Buh-bye” (Bad Sketches)
“Benedict Cumberbatch Monologue”: Cumberbatch’s monologue was not good at all. I think a lot of it had to do with him being nervous but he just did not seem natural on stage. And the concept of the monologue where Cumberbatch bragged about himself probably looked funny on paper, but it was not executed well. The timing seemed off and it went on for too long. But monologues are a hard gauge for the overall quality of the show, as they appear so early on each episode. The whole cast did a good job of rebounding the rest of the episode.
“Gemma and Ricky”: This is one of those sketches that I write about every single week that has little to no point, is not funny, and is purely added in as a time filler. There did not seem to be any chemistry between the cast members in this sketch and I think that this is why the sketch was not good. Along with this though, the idea for the sketch was superficial and just did not produce anything memorable.
“Meeting with Mr. Shaw”: Some critics absolutely loved this sketch. I did not. I actually fast-forwarded through it, which I never do unless I just cannot bear watching it. I get the concept of it: a statue that you’re supposed to talk to like it’s a person, but I just see no point in including a sketch like this. It appeared last in the show’s lineup, so by then everyone was winding down. I just did not care for it, which seems to be the opposite opinion of most fans out in the SNL universe.
After an okay show hosted by Benedict Cumberbatch, SNL will look to rebound this Saturday (post-election) with host Dave Chappelle.
Dylan’s Ranking of the Episodes:
- Tom Hanks
- Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Margot Robbie
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Emily Blunt