Anya Taylor-Joy Hosted Saturday Night Live

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Weekend Update

This edition of Weekend Update was fine. There weren’t any stand-out one-liners that hit me hard, but that might be because Michael Che and Colin Jost were more excited to get to the best tradition these two have created at the desk. So let’s just skip head to that, shall we?

Colin Jost and Michael Che always swap jokes at the end of the year and the end of the season. They each write jokes for each other that neither have seen until they’re reading them live on the air. They both like to give each other jokes that will damage the other’s reputation, but when Che does it, he really goes for the gold. In this case, Che really came out ahead because he did different punchlines for the same bit, and they just kept getting more blatantly racist. But Jost had some good stuff for Che too. This is my favorite thing that these two have brought to Weekend Update.

Pete Davidson on Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic – Having Pete Davidson as the Weekend Update desk is usually a good time. This wasn’t one of his better showings, but it did cause many to raise eyebrows. That’s because at the very end, Davidson’s sign-off seemed to come with a certain sense of finality. Maybe this is just something that’s going hand-in-hand with the cold open about how weird this season of SNL has been, but this felt like Davidson was saying goodbye to SNL. At the same time, he’s always said that he’ll stay at the show as long as Lorne Michaels lets him, so maybe he was just being sentimental. We’ll find out next fall.

Jeanine Pirro on the Mexico/United States Border – Speaking of cast members leaving SNL, the return of Cecily Strong as Judge Jeanine Pirro also seemed like it could have easily been her farewell from the show. A grand performance of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” feels like a big send-off, especially with that big pool of wine and all the splashing at Colin Jost was surely a dream fulfilled. Since Strong has her own musical series at Apple+ and even spent part of this season away working on it, could this be her last episode? Again, we’ll have to wait and see.

The Host

Anya Taylor-Joy didn’t feel like she was held back by the constraints that usually plague actresses known for their dramatic performances. Though she didn’t get to play many zany characters that showed a completely different side to her, she was able to dig into a few different accents and even an impression of Baby Spice from The Spice Girls. It was a little surprising that there wasn’t a parody of The Queen’s Gambit, but wait, because there was one that was pre-recorded that ended up being cut for time.

The MVP

Saturday Night Live - Beck Bennett as Vin Diesel

Beck Bennett – Not only is Beck Bennett in all three of the best sketches of the night, but his turn as Vin Diesel was good enough to get him the MVP spot on its own. His impression of Vin Diesel isn’t even uncanny, but he just does such a good job of capturing his deep voice and general vibe of someone who feels like he’s always keeping a sexy secret. Beyond that, his eagerness in the prom picture sketch combined with his endless worry about his blown off member only further solidified Beck Bennett’s greatness in this episode.

The Final Word

It’s kind of incredible that Saturday Night Live was able to make me a little nostalgic for the experience that was this past year. It was weird, but it also brought us closer together in many ways. Now we just have to come out of it a little better than when we went in and everything is going to be fine.

When it comes SNL specifically, it’ll be interesting to see how the show comes out of the pandemic when it returns for season 47 this fall. On top of the possible exits of Pete Davidson and Cecily Strong, merely as speculation based on the aforementioned Weekend Update bits, Kate McKinnon appeared to be rather emotional at the top of the show. That could have been because of the reflection on a tough year, but entertainment journalist Matt Jacobs attended the show’s dress rehearsal and said McKinnon was crying before the cold open even began. Maybe it’s because of other leaving cast members though. After all, when McKinnon leaves, there has to be come kind of grand send-off for her, right? We certainly hope so. But we also hope she’s not leaving anytime soon.

That’s all for this season of Saturday Night Live. We’ll be back this fall.

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