Jason Sudeikis reprises his Joe Biden to tackle over-touching while "Law & Order: SVU" stars Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T make the night's most surprising cameos.
Fellow "Game of Thrones" stars Emilia Clarke, John Bradley and Rose Leslie were just the tip of the iceberg, as Jason Sudeikis also returned for a surprise appearance as Joe Biden, while "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" stars Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T were genuine surprises on the night.
Despite a bumpy early going, Kit turned in one of the strongest overall episodes of the season, as he proved willing to do anything to get a laugh -- even stripping down to his underwear twice!
And while it's not clear if it was his influence or the cast's, he also dug deep into nerd culture throughout the night, with Dungeons & Dragons and video games as inspiration for different sketches.
The other signature element on the night was the twist ending, but more successfully than it almost ever works for "SNL." Not only did the sketches have surprises throughout the night, but they had endings that actually worked.
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.
Ummm, okay? We're still scratching our heads on this one. Even stranger, it was the first sketch after the monologue when this kind of weirdness is usually saved for the end of the show. Not gonna lie, as this one wasn't funny at all, we were pretty worried about the rest of the show at this point. At least Kit's American accent was on point. Thankfully, this proved the worst of the night as it got much better.
Music rights issues have probably kept this sketch offline thus far, but it was an absolutely bizarre treat. Thinking they were going to see a Frank Sinatra impersonator, Leslie Jones, Beck Bennett and Heidi Gardner were instead treated to some kind of Kit Harington as some kind of Frankensteined blend of Sinatra and Michael Jackson. Turns out this was a "Leaving Neverland' commentary, with Harington revealing they switched to the Chairman of the Board after Jackson fell out of favor thanks to the docuseries. This one even featured a fun twist ending, making it even more disappointing it's missing online.
Alex Moffat introduced a new character, a film critic who was macro-dosing (massive volumes of LSD) so he could watch every movie that's come out. In other words, he was having insane hallucinations that totally changed every film.
Che wasn't sure why people were surprised rich people have been scamming their kids into college ... have they never heard of lacrosse? Jost then perfectly summed up the modern news cycle with stories like "Elon Musk Releases Haramba Rap" and Jim Carrey's feud with Mussolini's descendant. "News at this point is just a string of unrelated words," he said and yeah, that's where we're at. Another joke played off of "a dangerous amount of fecal matter," asking what's a good amount? The guys were just on fire this week.
Kenan Thompson brought more enthusiasm than impression to his take on Charles Barkley. He was definitely talking way too fast, and the worst part is he didn't really have anything to say in character. Barkley is a funny dude, but this bit just fell totally flat.
So does Kit Harington just have a very weird sense of humor? This sketch featured him as Cecily Strong's fiance who surprised her by being the night's entertainment as a stripper but he was totally wearing a woman's burlesque outfit. It was all about the slow seduction as he prepared them to "edge" by taking off his gloves. He did finally wind up in boxer briefs and oversized pasties so ... that happened. Another one with a twist ending and it was even weirder than the rest of the sketch.
A Day in the Life of Theresa May
Brexit is a real thing and a big deal that most Americans have very little understanding of. What they can grasp, though, is that Kate McKinnon does a spot-on Theresa May. Musical guest Sara Bareilles helped bring the melancholy as Theresa struggles with depression after her third deal was rejected. The whole thing was bizarrely beautiful with an appropriate coda from McKinnon's May: "Well f--k you, at least I'm trying."
Employee of the Month
Did we mention that there were a lot of weird sketches on the night. Yeah, this was another one as the graphics department went all Medieval with a Dungeons & Dragons-style battle over an Employee of the Month award. Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett always seem to be at the heart of these deep dives into nerd culture and they were certainly front and center here, with an able and equal assist from Kit Harrington as their third. Mikey Day played it straight as their boss until another solid twist ending rendered him totally impotent.
MONOLOGUE: Kit Harington
Kit Harington dogged his own dubious film career before an audience member shot him down hard. "Bitch, I didn't come here for sketches, who wins 'Game of Thrones'?" a Few cast-members dropped by for this segment, including Emilia Clarke, John Bradley and Pete Davidson as the Night King. Even Kit's real-life wife and former co-star, Rose Leslie, dropped by to ask what they're going to do for money now. The guests were even funnier than Kit making for a very fun bit.
COLD OPEN: Joe Biden
Jason Sudeikis was a pleasant surprise, returning to the Biden impression he made famous during the Obama years on "SNL." "I promised I would listen and try to learn," Sudeikis said in character as Kate McKinnon's sensitivity trainer introduced him to potential voters. When they slipped in a Trump jab at his sexual assault accusations, Cecily Strong shot back, "Yeah, but unlike his voters, your voters actually care." A fun opening, Sudeikis remains clueless throughout but well-intentioned, as many have interpreted Biden's overly touchy-feely approach.
"Game of Thrones" may be over, but that doesn't mean "SNL" can't make a bunch of parody spinoffs, including knock-offs of "Riverdale," "Daria," "The King of Queens" and way too many more. But the highlights had to be Ice-T and Marsika Hargitay actually showing up for a "Thrones"-inspired "SVU" spinoff. They looked great in period gear. "We're going full 'Star Wars on this," Beck Bennett's narrator said. Honestly, while it may be impenetrable for non-"GoT fans, this was perfect satire for fans.
The joke here is that Kit Harington was needing a rectal exam and he thought Cecily Strong was his doctor with her smaller feminine hands. Nope, it was Leslie Jones with massive fingernails. This turned into a physical tour de force as Jones and Strong physically tried to force Harington into "relaxing" so Dr. Fingernails could get through her exam. And once again, this one featured a bizarre undercover twist ending we did not see coming.
You can tell the cast is getting younger as video games have been getting more prominent play, like this VR parody of an immersive zombie game that's perhaps too immersive as side characters keep killing the flow and atmosphere. Great camera work and "video game performances" from the cast kept this one looking surprisingly authentic and it was brilliant to boot. Everything about this rang true.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
You can tell when an ensemble is really settling into an early groove because no one cast-member is dominating the night. Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong both had strong nights, but clearly Kit was feeling the bromance love with the oddballs of the cast including Beck Bennett, Mikey Day and Kyle Mooney.
Beck Bennett and Kate McKinnon had strong nights with multiple great appearances but we're going to give the slightest of edges to Leslie Jones for absolutely selling her role in the Jackson Sinatra sketch and as the world's most terrifying colorectal doctor, not to mention her supporting role in Kit's Bachelorette Burlesque.
"Saturday Night Live" airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m .ET on NBC.
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