Adam Driver Returns In 'Saturday Night Live' Season 44 Premiere, But Matt Damon Steals The Show As Brett Kavanaugh

Saturday Night Live is back for another season, and the 44th season kicked off with Star Wars franchise star Adam Driver returning as host. Of course Adam Driver was fantastic, but Matt Damon stole the show in the cold open as Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

But what about the rest of the Saturday Night Live season premiere? For the most part this was quite the average episode, but that's not to say there weren't some great moments thanks to the passionate performances from Adam Driver in every single character he plays. So without further adieu, let's run through the best and worst sketches of the Adam Driver hosted Saturday Night Live.

The Best

Kavanaugh Hearing – Since the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary was all anyone could talk about this week thanks to the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, of course SNL was going to tackle the hot topic, and thankfully, they didn't disappoint.

Matt Damon continued the growing string of guest stars playing the rotating chair of headline-makers out of Washington DC by taking the role of the perpetually loud, angry and sarcastic Brett Kavanaugh, and you couldn't have asked for a better send-up of this walking calamity. Plus, Rachel Dratch popped in too, along with a cardboard cutout of Alyssa Milano, and the cast did a fine job of lampooning the more outlandish of the Senate personalities on the committee. It's easily one of the best cold opens SNL has done during the current administration.

80s Party – Speaking of being haunted by mistakes from the 1980s, this sketch takes the usual epilogue-style wrap-up from the end of high school and college party movies to explain what happened to all these people in the years following this party. But since we're in a time of being held responsible for our past transgressions, all of these epilogue factoids paint a picture of careers and lives ruined due to their childish behavior. The idea is clever, but it does raise of the question of which of the irresponsible mistakes we made in our younger years should come back to haunt us. Sexual assault is a no-brainer, but what about all the other irreponsible teenage behavior

Career Day – Here's a prime example of how Adam Driver's talents as an actor can make comedy that much better thanks to his dedication to playing a character so passionately. The crazed energy poured into this character makes his hilarious in such an authentic way, so much so that Pete Davidson can't help but break character a few times as Driver shouts wildly for everyone to hear.

The Average

New Look – The mockumentary exploits of Kyle Mooney continue to be one of the comedian's best contributions to the series. This time Kyle Mooney is struggling with all the attention and success Pete Davidson is finding since becoming engaged to pop star Ariana Grande, and Mooney decides to change his style and personality to basically become Pete Davidson. Again, it's the way this pre-recorded sketch is played straight that makes it hilarious. It gets a little off the rails with the Roman-esque face-off on the monologue stage, but it's still a solid entry in the continued series.

Coffee Shop – Another example of Adam Driver playing a character that is true to himself brought some good laughs as he gets enraged about being duped into drinking Burger King coffee. Initially, this felt like it was going to be a carbon copy of the famous sketch about Columbian Decaffeinated Coffee Crystals starring Chris Farley, but thankfully it took a different turn. Cecily Strong's turn works similarly as she feels genuinely confused and outraged all at once.

Neo-Confederate Meeting – In a sketch that feels inspired by Adam Driver's turn in BlacKkKlansman, these Neo-Confederate boys are looking for a new place to go where they won't be bothered. Driver's character recommends Vermont as the best place for them to be happy, but it just all sounds too good to be true. This feels a little too close to home to be as funny as it otherwise could be, but the character work done by Beck Bennett was outstanding, feeling almost like a redneck version of PC Principal on South Park.

The Worst

Fortnite Squad – The premise for this sketch is lazy. Oh, a step-father doesn't know how to play a video game? Hilarious. I'll admit that the physical comedy used to recreate the gameplay of Fortnite was mildly amusing, but otherwise the comedic timing felt off, the cuts to reaction shots felt poorly timed as well, and this feels like a sketch that was cut to pieces for time. But even without all that, it was just a lame sketch all around.

Weekend Update

As anyone could have predicted, Colin Jost and Michael Che really leaned into the Brett Kavanaugh hearing for a big chunk of the first half of Weekend Update, and rightfully so. Much of it felt like a retread of what late night talk show hosts have already covered earlier in the weeks, but there were still some clever jabs at the justice nominee. But personally, I think the best part of Weekend Update was Michael Che's frustration with how The Cosby Show was about a character named Cliff Huxtable. How have we not covered this before?

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Brett Kavanaugh – Of course you have to get Kate McKinnon at the desk as Ruth Bader Gisnburg to comment on all this Supreme Court nominee nonsense. This is an old standby for McKinnon at this point, and her patented Gins-burns in this segment are well-earned.

Serena Williams – Well, this was an odd departure. More than likely the staff of SNL thought Leslie Jones playing Serena Williams was funny, but they couldn't figure out the best way to flesh it out into a full fledged Weekend Update appearance. It was amusing enough, but it felt like an unnecessary tangent.

Pete Davidson on His Engagement to Ariana Grande – Obviously Pete Davidson's summer was quite eventful, so much that it was already brought up twice before he appeared on Weekend Update to talk about it. Honestly, I've been a bit annoyed by all the tabloid coverage and gossip, but Davidson's laid back approach to it all and his witty commentary on it made it tolerable.


Saturday Night Live - Matt Damon as Brett KavanaughMatt Damon – It was a foregone conclusion that Saturday Night Live was going to cover the Kavanaugh hearings, but whether or not it worked hinged on who they got to play the judge, and Matt Damon knocked it out of the park. One part accurate portrayal of a desperate man upset that his privilege is being called into question, another part basic parody, and you've got a great lampoon of this captivating Senate committee hearing.

The Host

The Final Word

This was just an average episode of SNL, which is a little disappointing when it comes to season premieres. Usually those come in with a bang, and while the cold open certainly helped with that, the rest of the episode felt like one you might find in the middle of the season on a slightly off-week. But even so, Adam Driver was a great sophomore host, and he proved that he works very well in the live comedy setting, despite not being the kind of comedian who usually thrives in that environment.

We'll be back next week when Awkwafina hosts on October 6.