SNL: Ariana Grande Double Duty Best of 2016 (Review/Video)

SNL made a wise choice in inviting Ariana Grande to host and be the musical guest. Grande’s double duty stint  was on top form, making this the best episode of 2016 hands down.

 Saturday Night Live - Season 41
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — “Ariana Grande” Episode 1698 — Pictured: (l-r) Taran Killam and Ariana Grande on March 8, 2016 — (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC)

SNL made a wise choice in inviting Ariana Grande to host and be the musical guest. Grande’s double duty stint  was on top form, making this the best episode of 2016 hands down. While most of the Internet went stupid over the one-arm jacket wardrobe malfunction during her first number,none of the site gave credit to Ariana for knocking it out of the park. Apart from a funny open and a great first number, the rest of the show was clever, funny, and (in terms of the feminist song) catchy as hell.

Despite Larry David messing up Ariana’s name when introducing her first musical spot, the former Nickelodeon star and singer proved that despite a dangling jacket the girl’s got singing chops for days son. Grande also manages to kill it in the sketches and let’s face it; girl’s got comedy, yo. (Sorry could not resist that one after re-watching the Maria sketch.)

Leaving the Scream Queens actress for a moment, Weekend Update totally rocked it out. On point political gags, Cecily Strong killed it as “The Drunkest Contestant on the Bachelor” (and Jost was no slouch during the skit with his warning about Leslie Jones) and the crazed smile, and Jost’s corpsing at it was a priceless finish.

Kate McKinnon continued as the comedy pin-up gal for SNL with her Hilary/Bern morph and her blob-maid bit (a real OMG too funny moment, that almost outshone “Weekend Update”) was beyond hysterical and proved that this woman is the definition of funny.

The big surprise was Ariana’s impression skills, not only doing a pitch-perfect Jennifer Lawrence, but killing Britney Spears, Rihanna, Whitney Houston, Shakira, and Celine Dion before being sent for coffee by Jay Pharaoh’s “Jay Z.”

Grande has done her crowd pleasing party trick before on the Jimmy Fallon show, but SNL took her talents and amped the heck out of them. Where the surprise comes in is that she was just as spot on the second time around, proving her gig on Fallon’s show was no fluke.

Sidenote: Ariana’s Whitney brought both goosebumps and a huge lump to this reviewers throat…Wow.

The SNL opening monologue, where Keenan Thompson came to crack a joke with his fellow Nickelodeon alumnus, was brilliant. The song was pithy, funny and a great nod and wink to the naughty Miley and Justin, et al.

Keenan and Ariana shared the stage again on the “Family Feud” skit where Thompson did his Steve Harvey and Grande did her Jennifer Lawrence. While she killed it, the rest of the SNL players did their caricatures of famous people. It should be noted that Pharaoh did pretty decent gangster Brit, blood.

This was Saturday Night Live on fire. A return to the days when the episode was so well paced and spot on that it ended far too quickly. It has been some time since the show really finished on a “leave em wanting more” note.

It seems that allowing the tiny (five feet nothing) talented dynamo to do double duty gave the writers a much needed shot of comic adrenaline. For the first time in a while, the show outdid the political “cold open” and it was like old times.

Ariana Grande should be allowed to host, and sing, repeatedly. Which brings us back to “Bye, bye, bye, bye, Maria out.”

SNL: Larry David, Bernie Sanders and Zoolander Too (Recap/Review)

SNL with guest/host (see the monologue) Larry David whose monologue was, perhaps the best of this season, where he spoke of being both a schmuck and a prick, also featured two brilliant cameos; Bernie Sanders and Zoolander 2 stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.

 Saturday Night Live - Season 41

SNL with guest/host (see the monologue) Larry David whose open was perhaps the best of this season, where he spoke of being both a schmuck and  a prick, also featured two brilliant cameos; Bernie Sanders and Zoolander 2 stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. This particular episode was top notch in terms of comedy and could, like David’s monologue, be a season best.

Granted the Quantico sketch was fairly middle of the road.  When then title appeared it seemed that the SNL gang could have made fun of the NBC glamor-fest of a series that airs on Sundays. Sadly, the writers opted to ignore this chance and instead offered Larry David a chance to have fun.

The Bernie Sanders set was funny, with its theme of a cranky Sanders and 2 percent (see what they did there)and could have been called the “Bleep” sketch. Keeping with the Bernie theme, the “Titanic” skit was topped off with a “not so surprise” cameo by the man himself.  The build up to Sanders’ arrival was funny however.

For example, David’s character called a kid a midget and was told off by Keenan’s character:

“Not cool sir!”

“I can say that, it’s olden times!”

This shipwreck gag was followed by what must be the best sketch ever in SNL history, combining the old comic commercial format with a brilliant television show tie-in.  Vanessa Bayer plays the snack advertising wife who provides her husband and his friends with endless munchies while watching the big game.

Saturday Night Live - Season 41
The X Files sketch..

As she brings the pizza snacks into the room, where the men have all been cheering and shouting out phrases in unison, she sees a blank television screen. Starting to freak out, the woman calls for her daughter and grabs a pair of scissors as the men, with their pupils all black and taking up the whole  eye, face her.

Cue the advertisement for The X Files.  Just brilliant.

Next up was The 1975 with their first number.

Kate McKinnon absolutely killed it in this episode.  First knocking it out of the park in the Weekend Update feature as Sturdy Barbie:

“Almost all nipple”

 Saturday Night Live - Season 41
Sturdy Barbie, Kate McKinnon

McKinnon came on after the real-life footage of the Republican Debate stage debacle  and while the entire sketch was very funny, Sturdy Barbie and the appearance of Stiller and Wilson in a brilliantly shameless plug for Zoolander 2, were the highlights of Update full stop.

Saturday Night Live - Season 41
Zoolander and Hansel, aka Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller.

Standout Moments in Weekend Update (apart from Zoolander and Sturdy Barbie):

Michael Che’s Vaginal pot suppository and the munchies punchline

Jon Rudnitsky and the entire Dirty Dancing skit, and his response to Colin Jost’s “you’re a SNL regular:

“Literally nobody knows that Colin.”

After the update, Pete Davidson and Larry David butt heads in one of the weaker, yet still funny, sketches about song writing class.

The ebony and ivory skit where “Cam Newton and Peyton Manning” do a duet in honor of tonight’s Super Bowl was clever and funny.

Cue the second number of The 1975 which one site felt sounded like a David Bowie “Fame” homage (or rip-off…).

The second McKinnon moment, that proved Kate really did rule SNL episode 1695, was also  the  last comedy skit of the night.   In the barfly sketch she matched, and over-took, guest Larry David, throughout the skit.  Final proof of this was when her character pulled up his toupee and started planting sloppy lipstick kisses on his bald pate. David could not keep  straight face.

Saturday Night Live - Season 41
McKinnon rules…

Perhaps there is hope for this long running comedy program after all. Despite season 41 having a few misses and rehashing old gags from yesteryear, this episode absolutely rocked it. McKinnon literally ran with the ball and the writers all come up with stunning set pieces. Although not every sketch was comedy gold, the ones that worked literally evoked tears of laughter.

SNL with Larry David was a win.  A clear-cut Kate McKinnon, The X Files, Bernie Sanders and Zoolander 2 win.