Abbott Elementary's Quinta Brunson Delivers A Hilarious And Original Episode Of Saturday Night Live

Quinta Brunson has quickly become one of the most beloved names in comedy thanks to the success of her hilarious, charming, and Emmy-winning series "Abbott Elementary" on ABC. The series follows a staff of teacher's at a public elementary school in Philadelphia, where they not only have to deal with everyone's eccentric personalities but the harsh realities of the American educational system, albeit with a comedic spin. 

Because Brunson plays an eager and ambitious teacher, she's become quite the celebrated figure among America's teachers (including her own mother). But as Brunson illustrated on the latest episode of "Saturday Night Live," she's first and foremost a comedian, and she took full advantage of breaking away from her "Abbott Elementary" image. This episode of "SNL" lands somewhere near the best of the season, and perhaps the most pleasing element is that almost all of the sketches were original premises, with only a couple veering into parody territory.

All right, let's break down some of the finer points of Quinta Brunson's episode of "Saturday Night Live."

What was the best sketch of the night?

Traffic Altercation – In a great feat of physical comedy, Mikey Day and Quinta Brunson get into an angry traffic altercation in the middle of the freeway. When Brunson upsets Day in the car with his daughter (Chloe Fineman), the two engage in an argument, but neither of them rolls down their window. Instead, they interact with each other by yelling and using makeshift charades to get their point across. With the exception of Fineman's unsettling two-handed gesture to emphasize that Brunson's character "sucks," this is actually a fairly innocent sketch. There's something charming about Brunson telling Day to eat her butt while acting like she's eating a sandwich, and the fact that she says butt instead of ass somehow makes it even funnier.  

Honestly, this is something that I could actually see being used as a recurring bit. There are endless possibilities when it comes to miming language in such a primitive way, and it would be a lot of fun to try different variations. In that way, it actually feels a lot like an improv game, and I hope that this concept gets revisited sometime in the future. 

How was the rest of the episode?

Couple Goals - Not far behind was this refreshing spin on a game show formula we've seen plenty of times before. With couples squaring off against each other to see how well they know each other, yes, there's the obvious angle of seeing a couple who doesn't know each other nearly as well as they think they do. It's given a contemporary perspective by focusing on a couple who met while living across from each other during the coronavirus pandemic, which is a whole can of worms that could easily fuel the next generation of romantic comedies. But the refreshing angle comes from having Kenan Thompson's character express a rather dark fear about the potential fate of his wife. That cut to Thompson's parents in the crowd tells you everything you need to know about where this fear comes from, and the sketch is a perfect example of how to shake-up a familiar premise. 

Bosses – I didn't know how badly I needed to see Sarah Sherman and Quinta Brunson as tiny, balding, sexually inappropriate bosses until this sketch came along. Though it's ultimately a one-note joke, the elevation to absurdity in the final moments keeps it from feeling that way. Plus, I just can't get over the sight of Sherman and Brunson in costumes as these little weirdos. However, I do have one little nitpick, and that's Molly Kearney's lack of care when handling her coffee mug prop, which clearly doesn't have any coffee in it. Even her fake sipping could use a little work. It's a silly detail, but it does kinda take you out of the sketch a bit. But thankfully, it didn't ruin the hilarity. 

Bridesmaid Cult Documentary – In one of the sketches that parodied existing media, "SNL" took aim at the various documentary series about cults, from "Wild Wild Country" to "The Vow." But instead of focusing on an actual cult, the sketch frames wedding culture and the recruitment of a bridesmaid as being akin to cult activity. The tense tone of these documentaries is executed perfectly in each talking head, and the silliness of how serious some people's weddings turn out to be could not be lampooned better. 

For another solid parody, Please Don't Destroy delivered a white bread take on the restaurant documentary genre. The three boys host a "Street Eats" show, but they have absolutely no desire for any spice or flavor, and they know nothing about New York. It was solid, but not one of the best bits from the crew.

Midwife – Well, even in a great episode like this, they can't all be winners. The biggest dud, outside of the mediocre cold open dealing with Donald Trump's headline-making indictment, was this sketch that felt like a 10-to-1 sketch but landed on the disappointing side of the spectrum. Though this sketch tried to make use of Bowen Yang's typically reliable sassiness, the premise simply fell flat. There was some humor to be found from Yang breaking a couple times during the sketch, but otherwise, this was a pretty bad sketch. 

How was Quinta Brunson as an SNL host?

When it comes to "Saturday Night Live" hosts, you often can't ask for anyone better than Quinta Brunson. Not only is she a seasoned comedian who created her own successful show, in which she's also the star, but she also has sketch comedy and improv training, courtesy of the famous Second City institution out of Chicago. So it should come as no surprise that Brunson knew exactly how to act on "SNL." 

From the very beginning of her monologue, it was clear that Brunson was thrilled to be hosting "SNL." For a brief moment, it felt like she almost got emotional while acknowledging her childhood dream come true, but she maintained her composure and spouted off a fantastic monologue. The cherry on top came from a real video Brunson showed, featuring former President Barack Obama sending a video message full of respect to her mother. Does this season have the most charming home videos from hosts? I think it just might.

Michael Che pranks the hell out of Colin Jost

But perhaps the greatest moment from this "Saturday Night Live" came during Weekend Update. If it felt like Colin Jost was having a bit of an off night with his side of the first wave of Weekend Update punchlines, you're not wrong. In honor of April Fool's Day, Michael Che told the crowd in attendance to limit their laughter for Jost's jokes. After letting Jost stew in it a bit, Che finally gave away the gag, and Jost was totally floored. You could see Jost was sweating bullets, and he couldn't believe Che did this to him. 

"SNL" has only aired on April 1 one other time, and that was back in 1989, when Mel GIbson hosted the show. So this almost never been possible before, and I can't help but applaud Che for what is easily the best gag that he's pulled on Jost yet. Though it somewhat overshadowed the rest of Weekend Update, it was totally worth it, and it might have even made Marcello Hernandez's bit at the desk land a little bit better too.

That's all for now. We'll be back next week after "SNL" alum Molly Shannon returns to host on April 8, 2023. It'll be her second time hosting since returning to "SNL" as host back in 2007. For more on new episodes of "SNL," be sure to check out The Ten to One Podcast right here.