Saturday Night Live, aka SNL, featured Ronda Rousey and muical guest Selena Gomez (who also took part in the “Bland Guy” skit), along with Kate McKinnon doing her brilliant Justin Bieber, and Tina Fey reprised her spot on impression of Sarah Palin. Despite a fairly good open, with the Palin/Trumbo double act, episode 1694 had more misses than hits. Even the studio audience, who braved a blizzard to attend, seemed more bemused than amused.
Once the political mickey-take was over, Rousey began her monologue which needed all the help it could get. While Ronda is a personal favorite, her open was almost painful to watch as the cast worked overtime to make it funny.
So. Selena Gomez is the musical guest on SNL. Kate McKinnon does a wicked good impression of Gomez’s old flame Justin Bieber. During Rousey’s painful to watch open, Bieber is trotted out (and slapped making this bit the best part of the monologue, hands down) and then exits before Gomez is introduced for a mini-musical number. Why, oh why, could there not have been a McKinnon/Bieber and Gomez moment during the open? Too soon? Too late? Answers on a postcard please, or in comments below…
The monologue was followed by a brilliant satirical sketch where the “White-Oscars” and the “Black Boycott” took “best in show” for comedy. A number of African-American themed films were trotted out for nominations and in each case it was the white performer in each film that got the nod.
As the film’s were listed, each caucasian actor’s role got smaller, and more insignificant, for each “movie” (One actor being nominated for “unknown male voice on phone.”) By the end of the skit, all of the non-African-American nominees had won. SNL at it’s topical best. Sadly, the rest of the episode was not as funny, or spot on.
The next skit was the BAMM (Bullies Against Mixed Martial Arts, which should have been BAMMA surely?) and the whole thing had a Carrie-ish slant. While Ronda was “Carrie” there was no pig’s blood moment and the only destruction was that of the main bully’s face (Vanessa Bayer). It was amusing in a very limited way.
Next up was “Bland Guy” (a spoof on The Bachelor) another “miss” for all intents and purposes. While a number of female cast members, and Rousey, plopped on a bench next to “Bland Guy” Beck Bennett, the gags ran from okay to tepid. One of the best gags of the set utilized the very much underused and stunning Sasheer Zamata, and made what seemed to be another reference to the Oscars. Zamata sits down and Beck’s character asks who she is:
“I’m the black one…”
The best part of the whole sketch had musical guest Selena Gomez showing up and making a joke about being conceived during the second season of the 25 year-old show. “Bland Guy” immediately choses the young woman after she reveals who she is.
This sketch served as an intro to Gomez’ first musical number and armed with a slit dress and sexy demeanor, the singer proved, beyond a shadow of doubt, that she is all grown up. Sultry and sexy, the singer has easily moved from teen performer to impress those old enough that acne is no longer an issue.
Other comedic misfires included the party invitation skit which felt completely off and a bit like an attempt to recreate the “Wild and Crazy Guys” persona of Steve Martin and Martin Short, but without the “European” or comic flair.
The last three skits; a superhero one, where each “hero” demands their introduction time while the city is destroyed and each character’s superpowers diminish in importance/relevance, and a teen boy whose sexual exploits with two teachers has his day in court, were fairly tame and also misses. The town hall meeting sketch also felt flat and uninspired.
Perhaps the one skit that made the audience, who braved the winter storm to attend the live show, fairly uncomfortable was the one with Pete Davidson as the teenager who was “seduced” by two teachers. The jokes took a long time to reach the audience and in terms of taste, this one was quite probably a bit too close to the bone for the studio viewers.
Selena Gomez ended the show with another sexy number, both costume-wise and song-wise. Sadly, Tina Fey turning up and doing her “Palen” was not enough to save this episode. Kudos for the Oscar sketch though and major points for having Gomez sing. It is a shame that they did not allow for a McKinnon “Bieber” face-off with Selena though…
“Update” kudos to Colin Jost for his Sarah Palin dig:
“Either that or she saw an open microphone and decided to say all the words she knew in random order…”
Further kudos to “co-host” Michael Che with his Oscar joke:
“Boycott is a very strong word for not attending a party you were never invited to…”
Guest host Ronda Rousey lost something in translation, as the guest of SNL, but mad props to the world’s most beautiful fighter who gave it her best shot.