Jon Hamm swings by to try and add some "pizzazz" and sex appeal to the impeachment hearings after Fox News lamented they weren't "sexy" enough for the American people.
A bundle of nerves in his opening monologue, he settled in quickly for some fun character work, mixing it up with a variety of solid accents along the way. He even took his pants off for one sketch, which was worth staying up for if you're a big Harry fan. That said, there were definitely more misses than hits -- something he's probably not used to in his career thus far.
While this wasn't the season's strongest outing, with even "Weekend Update" disappointing until the final guest really hit a home run with his outrage, there were some solid sketches and even some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Jon Hamm brought the melodrama and sex appeal to the impeachment cold open, which needed some "pizzazz" after Fox News lamented it wasn't "sexy" enough.
And the night's top sketch? Well, it's one we've already watched a few times and will probably go back to again. Plus, Aidy Bryant expanded the "SNL" musical catalog with a sweet (and a little uncomfortable) song that only she could pull off.
As usual, we're ranking all the sketches from worst to first, including the Monologue, Cold Open, "Weekend Update" and any sketches that were cut for time but made their way online. 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.
MONOLOGUE: Harry Styles
"Just like all my serious relationships, we're all going to spend one incredibly night together," Harry said. "And then we're never gonna see each other again." He didn't really relax into it until he got behind the piano (before he was just painfully reading cue cards). Surprisingly, it was his one-liners that were the strongest, with jabs at the current cast of "SNL" -- they're not good anymore because they don't do cocaine -- and his former bandmates in One Direction -- he totally forgot Zayn Malik's name before settling on Ringo. There was a lounge singer charm to the whole thing, and despite a rough start he pulled it off in the end
Heidi Gardner and Harry Styles were an Icelandic couple loving every second if pregnancy, which didn't jibe at all with the other couples. And while the other dads were a little into Heidi's antics, dance moves and "juicy" butt, Ego Nwodim and Melissa Villasenor were not feeling it. Harry was again reading a bit too much, but he held the accent and only chuckled once. Admittedly, this got pretty ridiculous but it also kind of just petered out in the most predictable way possible.
The last sketch of the night, this was appropriately more weird than funny. The premise had potential, but not enough funny content to sustain it the full segment. The best bits were when Harry Styles and Chris Redd's DJs slowed it down to melancholy out of nowhere. Even the family reactions were just a bit too obvious (with Melissa Villasenor again playing the one who's inexplicably kind of into it).
We can imagine some people connecting with this piece about a social media manager at Sara Lee accidentally posting personal messages from the company account, though maybe not with disturbingly sexual messages on Nick Jonas pics. It only got worse from there. The tone of the piece was interestingly non-aggressive even as the material got more aggressive, but it set up the closing punchline well.
COLD OPEN: Days of Our Impeachment
Jon Hamm made a surprise appearance as ambassador-to-Ukraine Bill Taylor in "SNL's" attempt to bring some "pizzazz" to the impeachment hearings in response to Fox News lamenting they just weren't sexy enough. It was certainly melodramatic, but the funniest bit came when Pete Davidsion intentionally broke the fourth wall because who really remembers or cares about Michael Avenatti anymore. And that's kind of the point of the sketch. This teflon administration is impervious to scandal and the American people are apathetic, so does any of this really matter anyway?
Popeye's Chicken Sandwiches
Honestly, from the beginning this was way funnier than we thought it would be as Harry Styles' intern volunteered to go pick up 15 chicken sandwiches from Popeye's. With no context about the crazy violence these sandwiches stirred up this would make no sense, but as a timely piece of comedy it was fantastic. Kenan Thompson and Ego Nwodim slayed their reactions to Harry's kind-but-clueless offer, with an able assist by Chris Redd at the end. Unfortunately, it fell victim to the "SNL" curse of having no real end, but it was golden while it lasted.
It's kind of sad that Aidy Bryant had to emphasize that she and her new boyfriend Doug don't have sex (he's a chihauhau), but nothing can be innocently funny anymore because people have twisted mind. And this was a cute song, with Doug transforming into Harry Styles when she talked about wishing he could talk. Aidy has such a sweetness about her and she played it to the hilt here, making for an adorable sketch top to bottom.
Colin Jost was sharper at the top of the segment with some good jokes about Trump nudes and Sean Spicer finally getting eliminated on "Dancing with the Stars." Meanwhile, Michael Che looked to be playing catch-up, though he quickly settled down with good jokes on Stephen Miller's white supremacy scandal and Roger Stone's convictions.
Kate McKinnon clearly loves playing Jeff Sessions, and while she wasn't as cartoonish this time, groveling at Trump's feet was pretty hilarious nonetheless. Also, there was something so sweet and forlorn about how s/he hugged that sesame seed in longing and remembrance of the president's Big Mac.
This segment did not start well, with some weak jokes about Colin Kaepernick and Sesame Street's" 50th anniversary. Even Che and Jost seemed to know the jokes weren't that strong. Luckily, they rebounded with drugs on the shore in France before saving the whole segment with their final guest.
We weren't sure about this when it started, but Kyle Mooney stole the whole segment with his self-righteous indignation as Dean Foods' milk distribution president, chugging milk and spewing venom at America turning its back on dairy. He actually saved the season's weakest "Update" yet.
Baby Faye and Her Newsboys
Normally, "SNL" just has its adutls play kids and nobody cares, but that was the whole point of this 1920s vaudeville revival with adults still playing the roles they did as kids in the 1960s. Cecily Strong was hilarious as the out-of-shape middle-aged toddler while her news guys (Harry Styles, Mikey Day & Beck Bennett) had a lot of fun ripping into her. We've seen Aidy Bryant as the wheelchair-bound disappointed mother figure to Cecily before, but their dynamic is always funny.
Mikey Day and Harry Styles slipped in and out of their pilot voices, but forgot to turn off the intercom so the passengers all heard Mikey's spot-on Shaggy and Scooby impressions as he imagined them catching him and Velma having sex. Yeah, it went there. And then it went further and further as everything they said only freaked the passengers out more and even waded into gentle racism. And while the content was funny, it was those over-the-top "pilot voices" that really stuck the landing.
That's the Game
Chris Redd was absolutely brilliant as an inept wannabe drug lord trying to hustle his partner, Kenan Thompson, out of the game. Only dude knows nothing about the drug racket or, as it turns out, guns. For real, he tries to screw a bullet into the barrel. His confident idiocy plays beautifully off of Kenan's cool confidence, and finally "SNL" managed to craft a perfect ending that fit both character narratives beautifully.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Mikey Day and Ego Nwodim both had solid evenings, even if Ego largely played the same character in each of her appearance. Still, it's good to see her finding her footing and voice on the show. Aidy Bryant was brilliant as a variety of her favorite character types, and it was almost her show tonight.
But the standout this week had to be Chris Redd, who brought a bizarre solidarity to the Popeye's sketch and a wacked-out DJ to a funeral. But his crowning achievement was as the inept wannabe drug lord opposite Kenan Thompson in the night's strongest sketch.
Chris continues to grow as a performer and his characters are sharp and funny, bringing a fresh edge to "SNL" that it needs as it prepares to enter a new era whenever its veteran performers decide to move on. Chris is looking to be a big part of that, and we're growing more confident that it will be in good hands.
"Saturday Night Live" returns next week with host Will Ferrell and musical guest King Princess.
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