Musical guest Kid Cudi pays subtle tribute to the late Kurt Cobain in both of his performances on the anniversary of the Nirvana frontman's tragic death by suicide in 1994.
Certain hosts lead you to expect guest stars, but Carey Mulligan was definitely not one of them when she stepped on the “Saturday Night Live” stage this weekend.
Nevertheless, by the end of the night, she’d seen her monologue invaded and hijacked by her husband -- and three-time musical guest with Mumford & Sons -- Marcus Mumford, as well as a surprise appearance by Timothée Chalamet that’s almost too “weird” to describe.
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The night also gave us Chris Redd’s stellar Barack Obama, opposite Beck Bennett’s bizarre Bruce Springsteen, and an “Update” showcase appearance for newcomer Punkie Johnson. It’s always nice to see the featured players getting their shot to prove what they can do.
Speaking of featured players, Bowen Yang -- one of the best cast additions in years -- had us rethinking the entire Titanic disaster with his appearance as the Iceberg. Yes, it’s absurd. But this is an episode that did a sketch about L’Eggs (and more than half its audience probably has no idea what those words mean).
Many fans found themselves touched by musical guest Kid Cudi’s performances. In his first appearance, he wore a Chris Farley t-shirt under a green cardigan like the one Kurt Cobain wore during the band’s “MTV Unplugged” appearance, and in his second he chose a floral dress, which also evoked a look made famous by Cobain.
Cudi’s appearance comes the week of the anniversary of Cobain’s death on April 5, 1994. In September (Sucide Prevention Month), Cudi reiterated is oft-spoken love of the late Nirvana frontman by getting a tattoo of him in his honor, which he showed off on his Instagram.
You can check out Cudi’s Cobain tributes, and performances, below.
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.
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Weird Little Flute
They told us right in the title of this song/sketch, but we still weren’t prepared for just how weird it would be. Honestly, Timothée Chalamet was probably the highlight of the bit, and that’s not necessarily a great thing when your best moment is, “Hey look, I know that guy.” The rest of it was just odd, and not even in a compelling or funny way. It didn’t really go anywhere meaningful and left us feeling flat.
We’re not gonna lie, we didn’t expect the “kids” to get on board with the idea of becoming brand ambassadors for hosiery. Are pantyhose going to make a comeback? Even their sales pitch was incredibly outdated. We’d have probably enjoyed the sketch more if the kids had stayed completely uninterested and a little weirded out by these “old” people who thought they were nine trying desperately to be hip and cool with their products out of another century.
The War in Words
Not as sharp as previous installments, but Mikey Day is always a lot of fun when he gets to play exasperated frustration. This is still a fun sketch format, allowing for the imagination of increasing absurdities, though this one didn’t go nearly as far as we’ve seen the sketch go before. It was perhaps because of that the whole thing felt a little underwhelming when it reached its conclusion. Perhaps the next time a female British host drops by, they could just skip this altogether if it’s run its course.
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Monologue: Carey Mulligan
Carey Mulligan was doing a perfectly fine job on her monologue, lamenting constantly being mistaken for Michelle Williams, but that didn’t stop her husband, Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford, from becoming “that guy who takes his acoustic guitar out at a party.” It was actually her own fault for mentioning him as he then appeared like Candyman in the audience. They had a very cute back-and-forth with him beaming an infectious smile that never left his face. Carey delivered some solid jokes and had a very light ease to her presence, despite talking about how much she needs to express her dramatic side (in bedtime stories, no less).
Lesbian Period Drama
If you name your film “Lesbian Period Drama,” at least everyone knows what to expect going in. Nevertheless, this faux trailer breaks it down for you, revealing all the tension, long walks on rocky beaches, meaningful looks and culminating in a graphic reminder that a man directed it. The male gaze penetrates even lesbian period dramas -- so who is the film for, again? Carey Mulligan and Heidi Gardner were perfectly in the mood of the genre and era, while Kate McKinnon blasted in with an in-your-face attitude that was both jarring and refreshing. Honestly, as awful as it’s supposed to be, we’d watch it. It looks like it would be in that so-bad-it’s-good sub-genre of trash.
Star Trek Spinoff
Over-privileged and over-entitled white kids hijacked the show with their whiny, incessant neediness. That’s pretty much what this was about, but Carey Mulligan and Mikey Day were so invested in those roles -- and Chloe Fineman joining them later -- that we were ready to airlock them right away. We also loved Bowen Yang’s helmsman dismissing their dramatics outright as the meaningless display it is. Hopefully, they are not indicative of the present or future of this society or we are all in trouble. Certainly, our space exploration is going to be impacted!
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Michael Che countered Mitch McConnell’s claim that corporations should stay out of politics by adding, “Stay out of politics is also Georgia’s new rule for Black people.” Colin Jost dug in again on Matt Gaetz and offered criticism of gun kits. It’s like the anger you build up while trying to build a dresser, only at the end (your most furious) you have a gun!
Riffing (badly) off the “Renegade” podcast, we got to see Chris Redd’s solid Barack Obama impression, while Beck Bennett was all grit and strain as Bruce Springsteen -- huh, that’s actually pretty spot-on -- trying to prove how interesting they could be. They could not, but the randomness of their pairing made for some fun moments. And we only wish we could have as much fun doing anything as Beck was clearly having channeling The Boss.
Michael Che touched on his own teen writings in talking about Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” re-release, while Colin Jost talked about touching at Dick’s Sporting Goods, so it was clear where their minds were by this point. They also poked fun at the Lizze Borden murder house and Tyler Perry’s new superhero franchise, “The Averngers.” Che offered a pointed criticism of will.i.am’s newly-designed Bluetooth mask (and we agree), while they boys skewered Captain Underpants, Starbucks and the woman who crawled into a Texas man’s bed naked.
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Punkie Johnson’s stripper Pineapple was apparently at ESPN’s Paul Pierce’s controversial party that got him fired, but she’s just mad that no one has stepped up to help the exotic dancer community during Covid shutdowns. At least he offered them some honest pay for honest work. Then she had to get some honest pay to talk about the scandal and maybe not talk about what she’s been getting up to at Michael Che’s apartment.
It turns out the iceberg that sank the Titanic (Bowen Yang) is into EDM now and doesn’t really want to talk about that night. In fact his publicist made it clear to Colin Jost that they weren’t to talk about that night. Bowen’s withering looks to Colin’s “unapproved” questions was worth the price of admission alone, but now we’re kind of thinking we might want to dip into his new album called … “Music.” But Colin persisted. “You came to where I lived and hit me!” he lamented. His indignation at the story was so awkwardly hilarious.
Kate McKinnon was an absolutel hoot as a pre-teen or early teen boy on the precipice of his first kiss with a girl, needing to call his best friend Jason (Aidy Bryant) for guidance. Aidy wasn’t quite as believable as a dweeby boy -- her delivery was a little too mature -- but she and Kate continued to play off of one another wonderfully. By the end of this sketch, everyone but Kate herself was struggling to keep it together, as her earnest excitement was enough to keep the girl (Carey Mulligan) holding back a giggle, while Aidy had to cover hers with a hand. Thankfully, they kept this one just short enough to not overstay its welcome, with a sweet ending. The whole thing was actually very innocent and endearing.
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Cold Open: Eye on Minnesota
“SNL’ returned to our favorite news team for their take on the Derek Chauvin trial where it looked like everyone agreed for the most part what they felt should happen, but the white anchors (Alex Moffat and Kate McKinnon) were a little naive and optimistic in believing true justice would be served. Ego Nwodim and Kenan Thompson were stellar as their Black counterparts, sharing their faith in the justice system as they’ve seen how well it’s served the Black community all these generations. It was a healthy dialogue on serious issues, and a great way to spotlight the clear divide that still exists in BIPOC and white understanding of the world we live in. Even well-meaning allies struggle to grasp how deeply ingrained white privilege exists in every institution, whereas Black people (cynically and realistically) know all too well.
We’re all sick of prescription drug ads, but this sendup of their tired format was perfectly executed, contrasting the soothing music and gentle voiceover detailing the drugs usage and side effects with the horror of whatever Carey Mulligan’s IBS did to that school auditorium bathroom. Topping it off wit Carey threatening Lauren Holt if she ever told anyone who’d been in there was the icing on this cake of relatable embarrassment taken to disturbing extremes.
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
Such a simple premise always leading to simple pleasures. The sheer stupidity of Kenan Thopmson’s contestants is always a delight on this recurring sketch, but we found ourselves particularly partial to Chris Redd’s special brand of cluelessness. His delivery was just flawless -- and we agree with Kenan that he knew Kenan had said “clock.”. Carey Mulligan settled into a fun character as well, with a strange fascination with body abnormalities like child delivery with one leg and “titty-head.” Everything Aidy Bryant said was just filthy -- like being on a list somewhere filthy. And it just went downhill from there. Satire is fun and essential, but also timely. This is the kind of timeless humor that will never not be funny.
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Mikey delivered two stellar performances outside of his usual straight-man role, which is always great to see, while Aidy was a force to be reckoned with throughout the episode, never having more fun than when she gets to work with Kate.
But this was a week that saw Chris Redd manage to step up and stand out among some of the best of all time like Aidy, Kate and Kenan. He was hilarious as the reluctant weatherman in the cold open all the way through his Barack Obama impersonation on “Update.”
In between, he offered a brilliantly stupid comic performance in Kenan’s recurring “What’s Wrong With This Picutre?” game show and got to get silly with his “Weird Little Flute.” Even though it wasn’t the strongest original song, there’s no denying that Chris was all in with his bearded performance.
It’s just further proof that the future of this franchise is in strong comedic hands for if and when some of our longer-tenured cast-members want to leave (aside from Kenan, who might just outlast Lorne Michaels at this point -- maybe he’ll take over the whole show!).