Scarlett Johansson Hosted Saturday Night Live

The Average

Zoo Pornographer – This is one of those sketches where the gag is given away pretty early, and the rest of the sketch is populated by variations on the same joke. In this case, Mikey Day is mistakenly referred to as an animal pornographer, both in the news broadcast and in the graphics identifying him, and that makes for some confusing soundbites from his character. There’s a great flow to this sketch, and it’s one where Scarlett Johansson proves why she’s a good host by not being the center of the jokes, but still being a key part of keeping the sketch going strong.

Alien Attack – While I commend the writers of SNL for figuring out how to use Alec Baldwin’s potentially fading Donald Trump impersonation in a way that isn’t just lifting events from the headlines this week, there still wasn’t much to this sketch that we hadn’t seen before. That’s not to say that the sketch wasn’t funny, but it basically just recycled the baffling things Donald Trump has done or said previously (and continues to say) and puts them under the guise of a fictional alien attack. It’s a clever way to get around just repeating the news, which has become the downfall of SNL‘s satire of Trump, but it wasn’t as good as the other politically driven sketches on this night.

Shud the Mermaid – Well, this wasn’t a character I was expecting to recur on SNL after first appearing in the Ariana Grande episode almost exactly a year ago, but here we are. Kate McKinnon and the make-up team at SNL certainly help make this one work, and Scarlett Johansson undoubtedly adds another fun layer as Shud’s equally gross best friend Kunk. There were plenty of laughs to be had here, but this sketch still felt rather middling to me, mostly because it’s a one-note joke. Still, that use of The Simpsons theme as a siren song was a good one.

Fire Island РFor parody this week, SNL took aim at one of those reality shows that follows around some gay dudes as they party it up in New York City. The dichotomy between the gay men in a real reality show with the fictional one focusing on some clich̩ lesbians is what makes this sketch work, though it does end up being more mildly amusing than downright hilarious.

Funeral Service – The 10-to-1 sketch this week gave Scarlett Johansson a fun character to play as she teams up with Kenan Thompson to pay tribute to a man who looks like a typical sixty-something suburbanite, revealing the deceased man’s surprising and unlikely secret career of writing sexy, thumping club music. Kenan and Scarlett really went all in on this sketch, and though the songs are amusing with well-produced music, it didn’t feel like a home run.

The Worst

Shanice Goodwin: Ninja – Rivals – This was easily the worst sketch of the night, mostly due to some awkward timing, both with regards to comedy and also with the actual direction of the sketch. This wasn’t a great sketch the first time around when Russell Crowe hosted last April, so seeing it recur is somewhat perplexing, even with the addition of Scarlett Johansson as a rival ninja to spice things up. But the decent physical comedy angle of this particular sketch isn’t enough to elevate it past being lame.

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