The "Avengers" star morphs into a terrible baker, a terrible teacher, a terrible cockroach and instigates a terrible barfight in a not-so-terrible episode.
The show wasted no time skewering Donald Trump's press conference where he declared a national emergency in order to divert funding for his long-promised border wall. Alec Baldwin did a send-up of the press conference itself, while "Weekend Update" laid into everything the real Trump did and said during it.
In a move that was no surprise to anyone, Trump appears to have taken offense to the latest attacks, jumping on Twitter early Sunday morning to slam "fake news" NBC and asking why there's no retribution for these kinds of "Republican hit jobs." Just another Sunday morning in the White House.
Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
The "Avengers" star joked about how he's famous and yet not quite famous enough that people can immediately place who he is in his monologue, which could be why he's been overlooked thus far, which is a shame.
This wasn't the most consistently strong episode of "SNL" we've seen, but it featured some genuinely brilliant sketches and Don was totally committed to every role he was given and proved a stellar live performer. That dude was acting and not just reading off of cue cards. Sometimes the cast can't even give that much.
All in all, it was a solid outing for the show with only a couple of total misfires in the sketch category. But we also got Kenan Thompson's Steve Harvey, which is always a treat, and a show that really let the cast's most veteran performers take a backseat to those who will lead the show in the coming years.
Cheadle also made a powerful statement that really resonated with fans online, donning a "Protect Trans Kids" t-shirt to introduce musical guest Gary Clark Jr. Neither he nor the show made any comment about the shirt, but the message was nevertheless loud and clear.
As usual, we're ranking all the sketches from worst to first, including the Cold Open and the regular "Weekend Update" segments. We'll skip the musical guests, because they're not usually funny -- unless Ashlee Simpson shows up. We wrap up with a look at the cast-member who had the strongest week.
Okay, so this was about a cheap wedding venue that's guaranteeing all those annoying little things that seem to happen anyway at most weddings. Kate McKinnon (as a man again) and Aidy Bryant gave it their all as the owners, while Don Cheadle was equally inept as photographer, chef and DJ, but the whole sketch just didn't seem to really go anywhere. This may have been funnier in the pitch than execution.
Good lord this is a disturbing premise. The fake product in this fake commercial seeks to solve the problem of people getting uncomfortable about sex with their dog in the room. The solution? Have sex inside of a giant dog-shaped tent so your dog just things it's a new friend in the room ... that shakes a lot and makes weird noises. Yeah, this was pretty dumb, but still kind of humorous.
MONOLOGUE - Don Cheadle
In setting the stage for the show to come, this monologue showed a lot of promise. Don Cheadle is a versatile actor and has always had a great deadpan delivery on more comedic material (see any episode of "House of Lies"), and he brought those subtle laughs to his story about how he's often almost recognized, and how direct New Yorkers are in asking for his autograph and pictures. Cue Leslie Jones demanding a pic right then and it ended on an expected, yet still funny moment.
Extreme Baking Championship
The descriptions of these cakes, complete with beautiful drawings, make them sound absolutely amazing, setting up beautifully the disastrous reveals of some of the most hideous cakes ever seen anywhere. These make Pinterest fails look like works of art. But then the sketch took a left turn towards weird when Don Cheadle's cake started asking to die, having come to life because it's such an abomination. That tracks. Unfortunately, the sketch didn't really have anywhere else to go so it stands more as just weirdness than a complete thought, but it did have its funny moments.
This parody of a high school television news panel show featuring Mikey Day, Alex Moffat and Kate McKinnon as freshmen being joined by Don Cheadle as one of their teachers. He quickly exposed himself as a terrible chaperone during the "Cold Sore Watch" segment, saying, "I didn't give them the vodka but I didn't take it away either," which kind of horrified the students and made them uncomfortable, as did basically everything he said and did, like trying to show his "V." Yeah, he should probably be fired, but watching the "kids" squirm at his antics made the whole sketch adorably successful.
Family Feud: Oscar Noms
We'll take any excuse to see Kenan Thompson's Steve Harvey, and pairing him with Oscar nominees just allows the rest of the cast to have some fun with their celebrity impressions, including back-to-back weeks for Melissa Villasenor's stellar Lady Gaga. On the veteran's side, Don Cheadle brought Spike Lee, while Kate McKinnon was incensed as Glenn Close. Beck Bennett's Sam Elliott and Cecily Strong's Olivia Colman lamented that no one in America knows her. On the newbie side we had Gaga and inexplicably Kyle Mooney's Bradley Cooper, who said he had the wild idea that maybe Gaga could play a singer. We cracked up immediately, even though we saw it coming, when Pete Davidson deadpanned as Rami Malek. Finally, Chris Redd was Mahershala Ali, but they probably should have saved Davidson for last. The game itself didn't bring much more, but the impressions were still fun to watch.
COLD OPEN - National Emergency
"You don't have to be smart to understand that; in fact, it's easier to understand if you're not," Alec Baldwin's Trump said of the importance of a needed wall on the nation's "brown line." In a nice twist on just having Trump ramble on and on -- though he did plenty of that -- this sketch saw him also field questions from reporters, allowing him to trash CNN and NBC while denying facts like immigrants commit less crimes statistically than native-born Americans. "Those numbers are faker than this emergency," Trump countered. Baldwin seemed refreshed and enthusiastic in the role again, carrying the sketch flawlessly. It seems this caricature is becoming better with breaks between
This was way funnier than we thought it would be, with a bar fight going awry when the wrong song is chosen on the jukebox. Instead of fightin' music, it was Mika's "Lollipop," which caused spontaneous dancing by both Beck Bennett and Don Cheadle, culminating in a bar-wide dance number. It was so theatrically over the top and somehow just perfect because of it. This is how to make nonsense work.
The opening jokes about Trump's declaration of a national emergency practically wrote itself with Trump's sing-song narrative about how he'd probably wind up in the Supreme Court before he can enact it and his rambling explanation of why it's needed. "Watching that it was as if 'School House Rocks' had a stroke," Colin Jost said. There were so many silly moments they could poke fun at, and yet Michael Che questioned the effectiveness of any deterrent when dealing with drug dealers who store their product in their anuses. That's commitment! They might even ... pass drugs through the slats?
Alex Moffat's Chuck Schumer and Kate McKinnon's Nancy Pelosi then dropped in with their response to the whole thing and it was hilarious. Their rhetoric was all about how Trump spanked them in the negotiations, while they tried to avoid giggling like school children that that's not what happened at all. Alex and Kate were just hamming it up and it was an infectious sort of laughter.
They then jumped into other news, with Che getting a huge groan when he cracked the joke that allegations of Ryan Adams texting explicitly with a 14-year-old fan was just another example of a white musician doing something a black musician did first. Cue R. Kelly pic. Honestly, it was the only strong joke of the segment, still getting the appropriately uncomfortable response.
Beck Bennett's Jules (who sees things a little bit differently) returned to make us all want to throat punch him. This time around he came off even creepier, talking about his wooden dolls with realistic genitalia and trying to get Colin to eat imaginary childhood candy.
Mikey Day's supercentenarian Mort Fellner dropped by to talk about what's going on in the supercentenarian set and you wouldn't think a bunch of jokes about people dying would be funny, but it only got better and better as it went along. Don't worry, they all died of natural causes.
This is easily one of the most absurd fake ads "SNL" has ever done, with Don Cheadle and Kyle Mooney as humanoid roaches who invade a family's house and make themselves right at home up to the point of Don replacing Mikey as the man of the house. Yeah, they went there with it. But the highlight was the climax when Don put the spray nozzle for Roach-Ex Plus on his forehead and dared Mikey to spray him.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
If we're talking the best single performance of the night, they would go to Alex Moffatt's delightfully cheeky Chuck Schumer, but this is about who really brought it throughout the show. For this week, it was a pretty well balanced among the mid-range cast-members.
Alas, we cannot decide between two of them and so we're going to simply throw in the towel and declare our first-ever tie. Beck Bennett killed it as the dancing bar fighter opposite Don Cheadle, while Jules continued to get on our nerves in his two best performances.
Mikey Day, meanwhile, was the workhorse of the week while diversifying his usual straight man schtick with a surprisingly fun take on a supercentenarian, while still doing his perfect straight man work on sketches like "Fresh Take" and "Roach-Ex," where he added hapless loser to the mix.
"Saturday Night Live" airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m .ET on NBC.
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