SNL Weekly Review: January 21 by Dylan Zsigray ’18

Aziz Ansari hosted a very funny episode of Saturday Night Live this past weekend, a rebound from last week’s disappointing episode hosted by Felicity Jones.  I have been a fan of Ansari since his time on Parks and Recreation, another favorite show of mine.  So when I found out that he was hosting SNL, I exclaimed.  Although Ansari’s episode was not groundbreaking, it did provide some comedic relief after a long week of saying goodbye to the Obamas and hello to the Trumps. Anyways, below is my review of this weekend’s episode.  

“SUPERSTAR!” (The Best Sketch of the Night)

“Attorney Ad”: I absolutely loved this sketch, mainly because to me it was hilarious.  All of the people who had minor injuries (e.g. slipping in a store) got millions of dollars while Ansari, who had cement dumped on him, got only $6000.  I think what made this sketch even better was the fact that the injury the writers chose was the cement truck crash.  It was just so unrealistic, but we all know that it has probably happened before.  Also, Bobby Moynihan’s incompetent lawyer (who doesn’t know how to shelve a book) was on point and was extremely funny to watch.  This sketch was definitely my favorite for the night.

“I gotta have more cowbell!” (Good Sketches)

“Aziz Ansari Stand-Up Monologue”: I have always been a fan of the hosts that do a short stand-up routine as their monologue.  Dave Chappelle’s stand-up routine during his episode was awesome and set the tone for the entire episode.  Ansari’s was good, but it was not hilarious.  On a positive note, the points that Ansari brought up were genuine and he spoke to a lot of the things that Americans are feeling.  He touched on race issues and how people’s perceptions are sometimes misconstrued.  This is really important and should be talked about further.  In terms of the monologue hilarity, however, it fell flat.

“Bedroom”: The only reason that this sketch worked was because of the absurdity of Melissa Villaseñor’s lines.  Ansari was so smooth with his romantic lines and then Villaseñor just ruined it each and every time.  I would have liked to see another element added to this sketch, but for it being located near the end of the show it worked.

“Five Stars”: This was an excellent digital short.  My favorite part of this entire sketch is when Ansari (the passenger) and Moynihan (the Uber driver) ask each other a question and Moynihan wants to ask a non-confrontational question.  To accomplish this, he asks Ansari what religion he is.  He then goes on to guess what music Ansari likes and puts the stereotypical religious music that he associates with Ansari.  Everything about this sketch worked, even the subtle hint that Moynihan previously hit a kid with his car before he hits Ansari with his car at the end of the episode.

“Weekend Update”: Weekend Update was really well written this episode.  I loved how the writers wove Michelle Obama’s unsatisfied look right after a lot of the jokes.  The jokes that both Michael Che and Colin Jost were saying were delivered brilliantly and they were very funny.  Word of caution: don’t invite Leslie Jones to talk about movies with you.  She won’t talk about the topic at all.  Mikey Day’s “Live from the Friend Zone” bit was very funny as well.  This was all around a very solid edition of Weekend Update, probably one of the best I’ve seen all season.

“Well, isn’t that special” (Hit or Miss Sketches)

“Vladimir Putin Cold Open”: This sketch had some funny parts, but the Putin Cold Open sketch was not one to remember.  I understood the point of it because we all know that Russia had something to do with the outcome of the election, but I felt like the writing was a bit forced.  It was almost like the writers were trying too hard to be funny.  The jokes fell flat and the sketch went on for a little too long.  I would have liked to see Alec Baldwin instead, but that’s just me.

“Kellyanne Conway”: Had the entire sketch been Jake Tapper (Beck Bennett) attempting to interview master-pivoter Kellyanne Conway (Kate McKinnon), I would have been happy.  But, I didn’t really see the point of the musical number.  It did not even fit with the tone of the show.  McKinnon’s portrayal of Conway did not seem natural, at all.  I loved the banter between Bennett and McKinnon at the beginning.  I just wish that this would have been the entirety of the sketch.

“La La Land Interrogation”: I was going to put this sketch in the bad column, but then I realized that since I have not seen La La Land, it would not be fair to do so.   I don’t really have a ton to write about this sketch since I have no prior knowledge as to its effectiveness or not, so I’ll just leave it at this.  Once I see the film I’ll circle back to all of you.

“Pizza Town”: I got some nightmares about my childhood to come back to me while I watched this sketch.  Those animatronics were so frightening to my young childhood eyes.  I at first thought that thi was going to be another “Space Pants,” but unfortunately it wasn’t.  Although I didn’t like the storyline of the sketch, I did love the animatronics and how the owners inserted the kid’s name into the song for the birthday.  That was really well done.

“Buh-bye” (Bad Sketches)

“Beat the Bookworm”: I am in absolute disbelief that this sketch was the first one in the lineup after the monologue.  This sketch made absolutely no sense and it was not funny.  The ending was super abrupt and the acting was unwatchable.  The main culprit here is the writing, so don’t blame Vanessa Bayer or Ansari.  There was no memorable concept for this and even if there was the implementation of it was horrendous.

Aziz Ansari definitely hosted an episode that was a rebound from last week.  SNL is off this Saturday, but it will return on February 4 with host Kristen Stewart.

Dylan’s Ranking of the Episodes:

  1. Dave Chappelle
  2. Emma Stone
  3. Tom Hanks
  4. Kristen Wiig
  5. Aziz Ansari
  6. Lin-Manuel Miranda
  7. Casey Affleck
  8. Margot Robbie
  9. Felicity Jones
  10. John Cena
  11. Benedict Cumberbatch
  12. Emily Blunt

 

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