SNL: Melissa McCarthy Rules as Sean Spicer (Review)

 Saturday Night Live - Season 42

You have to love SNL for trying so hard to be “un-pc” on everything. They do have a reputation to protect and this last episode, with Kristen Stewart hosting, did its best to keep the show on its rebellious path. Although it does seem that smoking on stage, something that Kate McKinnon did during Stewart’s monologue, is their standard go to move to indicate cocking the snook at convention.

This week, however, on top of Alec Baldwin’s Trump cold open (which was brilliant and topical) there was the presentation of Melissa McCarthy with her scarily accurate mickey-take of Sean Spicer – the malignant and mentally challenged press secretary of POTUS Bannon Trump.

This was beyond perfect. Had the episode begun and ended with Baldwin and McCarthy, it would have been a 42 season highlight. These two segments were not only hysterically funny but so spot on that it hurt. This was comedy with a purpose.

SNL do have a reputation to making fun of whoever is in the white house and this cabinet of Trump’s (Kellyanne Conway, Spicer, Bannon et, al) are such easy targets it is like shooting fish in a barrel. (If the violent allusion is too much feel free to replace it with “taking candy from a baby…”)

With an open that had Trump “prank” calling world leaders, at the instigation of Bannon’s grim reaper SNL could have stopped there and still won in terms of comedic genius. (That final shot of Trump sitting at his little presidential desk was perfection.)

However, opting to follow this up with the Sean Spicer sketch was a bold and brilliant move. The easy target would have been Conway with her “Bowling Green” fictional massacre. The Internet got there first and it would have been difficult to pull off a comic coup after all those memes.

Taking a shot at Spicer, who comes across as some sort of vicious and addle brained Jack in the Box who pops up at press conferences to take pot shots at the press, was SNL magic.

The episode was, overall, a hit. Stewart’s monologue dredging up old @realDonaldTrump tweets from 2012, back when she and Robert Pattinson were an item, was a good move.  Her finish, where she declares that Trump obviously had a thing for her then boyfriend and that she was now, “so gay,” was on the nose.

Stewart should have hosted SNL years ago. The actress has always come across as a grumpy, taciturn and moody performer. This spot on SNL proved that Kristen has a sense of humour and is not afraid to use it.

The rest of the show fared pretty well. “Meet Cute” was pretty cute and funny. So too was the Willy Wonka riff where Charlie gets the hump when he realizes that his grandparents have always been able to walk was funny.

The pre-recorded Totinos advert with Kristen Stewart and Vanessa Bayer (reprising her housewife huckster role) was funny, well-timed (the Super Bowl is today) and allowed Stewart to “label” herself a little.

Coming in as another one of the husband’s friend’s date, Stewart zeroes in on Bayer and the two have a sort of Bergman-esque interlude in the kitchen while the men shout at the match and query about those missing Totinos.

This gag worked on so many levels and it was pure, unadulterated SNL.

The MVP award of the episode went to Leslie Jones for her portrayal of Samuel L. Jackson on Celebrity Family Feud. The moment where she has to fight corpsing, and almost loses the battle was brilliant. We love Leslie and she never ceases to make any sketch that bit more fun. She is even more lovable when she gets caught up in the hilarity of the moment.

Weekend Update, while funny, was not the winner of this episode. Although Michael Che came a close second to Jones when he had issues with his segment. “Shut up Colin.”

Musical guest Alessia Cara was entertaining but apparently a bit of an acquired taste.

The clear winners in this episode were Baldwin and McCarthy with their “dueling sketches.” Both were very funny but Melissa won in this competition with her podium attack on the press. Just brilliant.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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