Kristen Wiig Returns to SNL: Watch Video of Best and Worst Sketches

During her seven seasons on Saturday Night Live, Kristen Wiig crafted a series of unforgettable characters you either loved or hated. And depending on how you felt about the likes of, say, Lawrence Welk Show performer Dooneese or the #SorryNotSorry Gilly, there was cause for concern that her second stint as host would play out like a “greatest hits” compilation.

Surprisingly enough, the Bridesmaid-turned-Ghostbuster rarely had to rely on her divisive repertoire, and instead was used in a manner that made her feel no more or less important than any one of SNL‘s current repertory players. In fact, without appearances by Target Lady or those melodramatic Californians, Wiig’s return turned out to be a largely forgettable affair, with few sketches rising above the level of mediocre.

The episode, which featured cameos by fellow SNL grads Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte and 15-time host Steve Martin, also struggled with Donald Trump. Alec Baldwin’s first post-election appearance indicated that perhaps the show isn’t exactly sure how to make the president-elect funny with much of the country already fearing how he’s conducting himself.

BEST: ANDERSON COOPER 360º
This could’ve been a disaster, but the performances were top-notch. Wiig (as senior political correspondent Dana Bash), Kate McKinnon (as Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany) and Kenan Thompson (as former Obama administration official Van Jones) were the standouts in this sketch that featured a roundtable commenting on a myriad of Trump controversies. Their responses remained exactly the same, but with each talking point found themselves getting more anxious in their delivery. It was eventually revealed that they were all just hosts, like the ones seen on Westworld, and a malfunctioning Cooper was replaced by alternate host Jake Tapper.

 BEST: TARGET COMMERCIAL
There’s little to say about this one, other than the fact that it’s perfect. The best commercial parody of the still-young season advertised the retailer as an outlet for getting away from those relatives on Thanksgiving who probably won’t shut up about the election.

BEST: SURPRISE LADY
Sue might be Wiig’s most polarizing character of all, so it’s probably best she didn’t turn up until 12:55 am. This time around, she struggled to remain calm after learning that her nephew was coming home to surprise his mom on Thanksgiving. As far as sight gags go, watching Sue consume a decorative pillow in an effort to keep quiet was pretty great.

snl-trump-romney-alec-baldwin-jason-sudeikisHONORABLE MENTION: COLD OPEN
We expected more from Alec Baldwin’s first post-election appearance, which came just one day after the president-elect agreed to settle his Trump University case for $25 million, and Mike Pence made the controversial decision to attend a performance of Hamilton. The sketch touched on the latter when Beck Bennett showed up as the VP-elect and mentioned getting a “free lecture,” but that was it. Jason Sudeikis’ cameo as Mitt Romney was also a bust. The sketch’s saving grace was Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway, who clearly regretted her choice to help lead Trump to victory. (Watch and discuss it here.)

WORST: OPENING MONOLOGUE
Let’s face it: Monologue songs are just the worst. Save for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recent rap about his life’s journey that led him to SNL, there hasn’t been a single monologue song in recent years that wasn’t terrible. Wiig’s inaccurate sing-along about the history of Thanksgiving, which featured Forte and Martin, wasn’t very good, but at least it was bad in a “I won’t remember this in a week” sort of way.

WORST: SECRET WORD
How this Password parody ever became a recurring sketch is beyond us. Of all of Wiig’s characters, Mindy Elise Grayson was easily the most obnoxious, and the punchline was always the same: No matter how many times she was told not to, Mindy always gave away the secret word. It’s baffling that anyone thought having Strong do the exact same thing would freshen up the bit. The only laugh came from Bill Hader, who made a voice-only cameo as former host Lyle Round and apologized for not being there simply because “he didn’t want to” be.

What were your favorite sketches of the night? And what missed the mark? Grade the episode via our poll, then hit the comments and make your picks.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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31 Comments
  1. Basket of one deplorable Hollywood elite... says:

    What a waste of airtime. So, can SNL lay off the Trump insults now? A little respect for our new president and vp would be nice now. Let’s let the system work!

    • Diana says:

      Agreed! The cold-open did not have a single laugh-out moment. Good comedy is rooted in the truth. SNL’s coordinated effort with media’s efforts to portray Trump as incompetent and out of touch just fall flat. And when has Kellyann Conway given any impression she regrets Trump winning the election? A very lame opening.

    • Anonymous says:

      Respect? For a man who is completely racist and brags about sexually assaulting women, and another who believes in anti-Gay conversion therapy and who passed a law that would put same-sex couples in prison for applying to get married? I don’t think so.

    • Angela says:

      So Trump can go around insulting people his entire campaign and the response is, “Hey, he’s just telling it like it is! No PC filter!” But the moment anyone dares to insult and mock him, suddenly we have to “show him respect”? Suddenly we have to stop being mean? What happened to the importance of “telling it like it is”?

      When Trump starts treating people with respect, he’ll get respect in turn. Respect has to be earned, not just automatically handed out with no questions asked.

      • Diana says:

        It’s going to a long next four years for you ‘tolerant’, loving, cry-baby liberals!

        • Steven says:

          Sounds more like it’ll be a long four years for Trump and his supporters who can’t take criticism.

        • Angela says:

          Amazing how so many people seem to misunderstand the whole point people make about having tolerance for others. Why should people have to tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic beliefs? That’s a whole different thing from asking to tolerate people who are of a different race, ethnic background, or sexual orientation.
          .
          As for the “cry baby” comment, I’m sorry, remind me again, who is it that’s going on continuous Twitter rants right now about some actors making a statement at a play?

          • Tiny says:

            And who’s supporters are rioting? Don’t remember all the racists rioting after a black man won, twice! And preaching tolerance when those opposing Trump have clearly shown they have none for him even before he has done anything? Go get your participation medal and think about how it would be reported if the roles were reversed.

          • Angela says:

            @Tiny: A few random idiots decided to riot after Trump got elected. A few. Most protesters, however, have been completely peaceful in their protests.
            .
            Don’t remember all the racists rioting after a black man won, twice!
            .
            Are you serious with this? What the hell do you call the “We’re going to take our country back!” BS that the right spouted for the past eight years? What do you call the birther crap that the right spouted for years? What do you call the people who went out and brought tons of guns “just in case” they needed them to fight the “tyranny” of Obama? Roll eyes* Don’t even try and insist that the racists kept quiet when Obama got elected both times, because that isn’t even remotely true. Hell, before this year’s election, there was talk of militia members planning armed marches on Washington if Hillary had won. That doesn’t sound like a very sane, mature method of protest to me, but hey, maybe I’m just weird.
            .
            And preaching tolerance when those opposing Trump have clearly shown they have none for him even before he has done anything?
            .
            Again, there is a vast difference between having to tolerate racist/sexist/homophobic beliefs and asking to tolerate people who are a different race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. This is really not that hard to understand.
            .
            And why should we respect or tolerate Trump, when he’s shown no respect or tolerance for anyone else? Why should I, as a woman, respect a man who thinks it’s okay to brag about grabbing women without their consent? Why should Muslims respect a man who wants to ban them from this country, or vet them? Why should Hispanics respect a man who stereotypes them as druggies and rapists? Add in the fact that Trump’s seventy freaking years old and yet still feels the need to throw tantrums on Twitter like he’s twelve or pick fights with people over the dumbest things , and no, I cannot respect or tolerate that kind of ridiculous behavior. He has not earned any respect or tolerance. If he wants people to respect him and take him seriously, he needs to start acting like a mature human being.
            .
            I’ll also remind you that the right showed absolutely ZERO respect for Obama for eight years. So to hear them demand that we must respect Trump, that NOW it’s important to respect our president no matter what, is laughable.
            .
            I’m not even going to get into your lame “participation trophy” comment that you think is a valid argument. I’m 32 years old, not some college kid, so you’re kind of barking up the wrong tree with that one. Maybe you should direct that argument to Trump, who can’t seem to handle it when anyone dares to criticize him, or can’t handle the thought of losing anything with any sort of grace or dignity (what was it he’d said before the election when asked how he’d handle it if he lost? He’d “keep us in suspense” with his response. Totally mature response there, yeah).

  2. Eric G says:

    Kellyanne Conway is d@mn proud to be an invaluable part of Trump’s WINNING team, so her characterization was extremely wrong. This episode spent so much negative time against Trump, and very little at all on actually being funny.

  3. I thought the funny sketch was the Macy’s balloons. The Target Lady definitely should have been in the Target ad.

    • Gena says:

      That was a missed opportunity — even without the character anything, just a glimpse of that face and that bowl-cut ‘do would’ve been such a hoot. :D

      Speaking of which, both Kristen and Jason were there and they didn’t get to reprise The Two A-Holes; yet we got a “Secret Word” without Bill Hader’s Lyle Round (except for a photo/voice cameo).

    • DreamRose311 says:

      These are the same two things I came to say.

  4. Gena says:

    They had Sudsy AND Forte in the house, and no Jon Bovi or Twinkle & Stink (ESPN Classic) reunion? Aww… :( (Too bad they didn’t get to host together during Jason’s run on LMOE last spring.)

    At least Will’s appearance (his first since, well, Kristen’s farewell sketch in 2012, unless you count last year’s 40th Anniversary special) gives me hope that he might get to have a more substantial cameo later this season, or even a chance to host. :)

  5. Chris says:

    Penelope is a way more obnoxious character than Mindy has ever been. Also I think monologue songs work really when done correctly i.e Justin’s song about not singing, Taylor swift had a very funny song, and there are many more, last night was just an example of how bad a song can go.

  6. metitometin says:

    Screw Trump. The sick psychopath who cheated to win the elected should be impeached or thrown in a mental institution. LOCK HIM UP. Make America Hate Again. Make America Racist Again. Make America White Again. Make America a Laughingstock Again.

  7. trista says:

    It’d be nice if SNL would get back to comedy instead of their clear liberal views. We get it, SNL! You are all democrats. You’re not going to change anyone’s views with your show. Let it go and get back to making fun of the rest of the world.

    • Angela says:

      Except making fun of presidents (of BOTH stripes, I might add) has ALWAYS been part of the show’s makeup? This isn’t exactly anything new. And who said they were expecting to “change anyone’s views”?

  8. S says:

    a target commercial that somehow didn’t feature the target lady, Sudeikas stops by but no a hole sketch? Total disappointment.

  9. laurie says:

    “Pence made the controversial decision to attend a performance of Hamilton”. That line belongs in an Onion piece, not on an entertainment article. Time to go to your ‘safe space’ but the rest of us normal folks will continue to live in the real world where we don’t agree with everyone on everything.

    Apparently the writer needs to go buy a spot in the ‘Bubble” skit.

  10. DavidSask says:

    The cat ladies one was the best!!!

  11. Sarah says:

    For once, I agree with you. Not about the best/worst, but that the whole thing was forgettable and mediocre.

  12. Dennis says:

    Lol I laughed out loud at the secret word sketch, I thought she was great!!

  13. Tara says:

    What was the name of the band on Saturday Night Live that aired November 2016 with Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin?

  14. Tara says:

    Looking for band name from November 2016 Saturday Night Live. Steve Marin was the guest along with Alec Baldwin.