Sam Rockwell Hosted Saturday Night Live

Weekend Update

The profanity must have been contagious this evening, because Colin Jost also dropped a “shithole” into Weekend Update while referencing one of the many stupid things Donald Trump said this week. But it didn’t throw off a fantastic rendition of the headline news punchlines that had some great one-liners from Jost and Michael Che.

Oprah Winfrey and Stedman – Why has it taken this long for Leslie Jones to play Oprah Winfrey? She’s fantastic as the media mogul, and her appearance as Winfrey twice tonight solidified that this is a role she needs to be playing far more often. Also, it was nice to see Chris Redd dig into a character who wasn’t just a rapper or some version of himself. Hopefully that happens more often too.

Aidy Bryant – As much as I love Aidy Bryant, I’m not sure this approach was the best way to address this Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams payment discrepancy situation. While Bryant offers some insightful and important commentary on the matter, the comedy behind it could have used a little more oomph. But then again, the comedy isn’t nearly as important as what’s being said, so maybe this is the better approach.

LaVar Ball on Sons LaMelo and LiAngelo – Kenan Thompson’s appearance as LaVar Ball wasn’t a favorite segment of mine on Weekend Update, but this particular edition changed my mind, at least for now. I don’t know if it was Kenan’s energy, but this was the best guest segment from Weekend Update for sure.

The Host

Sam Rockwell is one of those hosts who fits in perfectly with the cast. He wasn’t drastically thrown off by any of the technical hiccups that happened throughout the night (though he did break for a few laughs in the Genetics Lab sketch), and he handled the cue cards phenomenally. Rockwell’s long time spent as a character actor certainly helps him fit in on the comedy side, but it’s also his acting talent in general that makes him such an affable personality.

The only complaint I have, and it’s not even Sam Rockwell’s fault, was that the opening monologue felt like a misfire. While it was a fun and energetic opening, there was something about the timing that felt off the entire way through. It felt like an excuse for Rockwell to dance from the get-go but without much of a point.

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The MVP

Cecily Strong – This was a great night for Cecily Strong. Three out of the four best sketches of the night feature a variety of great comedic performances from Strong, showing her incredible range as a performer. Strong is frequently under-appreciated, but a night like this should show just how great she can be when given the opportunity to shine.

The Final Word

After the abysmal Christmas episode that ended 2017, this was a great way to kick off the new year for SNL. It’s been awhile since there were so many sketches truly worthy of being in The Best category, and even the average sketches were better than the average sketches usually are. Hopefully this means the trio of episodes from this month continues to go strong with hosts Jessica Chastain and Will Ferrell.

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