Felicity Jones Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

The force was not with Jyn Erso this weekend.

Saturday Night Live kicked off 2017 with first time host Felicity Jones, who was the weakest part of an otherwise solid episode. After a very funny pep talk from Tina Fey about not letting her nerves get the best of her, the Rogue One actress spent much of the evening struggling to maintain an American accent in sketches involving Bachelor knockoffs and famous figures in the women’s suffrage movement.

In addition to Fey, Alec Baldwin returned in the show’s sharpest cold open since Election Day. Politically speaking, however, the series once again stuck its foot in its mouth with a sketch that appeared to be mocking Hollywood for speaking out in the era of Donald Trump.

Lo and behold, my picks for best and worst sketches:

This loose recreation of Trump’s mid-week press conference took full advantage of a “golden” opportunity, not letting a single “pee-pee” joke go to waste. Baldwin was at the top of his game, as was Kenan Thompson as Steve Harvey, and Mikey Day and Alex Moffat as Eric and Donald Jr. But best of all, the sketch was genuinely funny from beginning to end, which simply hasn’t been the case with other Trump-centric bits in the weeks following the election. (Watch and discuss the sketch here.)

Fey might argue that SNL is reviewed “way too much,” but she probably won’t disagree with this assessment of her cameo. The monologue worked entirely because of her presence, as she appeared via hologram to calm a nervous Felicity Jones who, ironically, had already bungled a Dropbox joke. During her brief appearance, Fey warned the host that Trump would be watching and tweeting about the show being “sad” and overrated.” Even funnier, though, was when she told her that if at any point during the evening Leslie Jones appeared in a sketch “acting vaguely horny and angry at everybody, it means the writers couldn’t think of an ending.”

Clever premise, solid execution and just about the absolute best use of Kate McKinnon. After a group of women took a tour of Anthony’s house, they held hands and said her name three times to make her appear before them. Though initially inspired by Anthony, they quickly found themselves annoyed with her trivia about historical artifacts and questions about modern day technologies. At one point, Vanessa Bayer’s character went so far as to refer to Anthony as a bitch, while Cecily Strong’s mentioned that she was “becoming such a pain in the ass.”

It’s never good when the funniest joke comes at the top of a sketch that winds up running about two minutes too long. Having Nick declare that this season’s Bachelor was going to include “a lot of drama, a lot of excitement, and as always, minimal Asians” was a great dig at the reality-TV franchise for its continued lack of diversity. Aidy Bryant would later provide the most risqué joke as one of the bachelorettes, informing Nick about her lack of gag reflex and “four very sharp teeth.” Jones was the weak link, seemingly incapable of reading her cue cards and maintaining an accent at the same time.

This pre-taped bit, about a prince who loses interest in his princess when he learns she gains 15 pounds at nightfall, was amusing enough. McKinnon was clearly having fun in the Maleficent-inspired role, and Beck Bennett earned the sketch’s sole belly laugh when he excused himself by saying “I just realized I have a thing until the end of time.”

OK, serious question here: What role does Lorne Michaels & Co. feel SNL is supposed to play in the realm of politics? As you may recall, I was tough on the show for its last pre-Election Day cold open, which found Baldwin and McKinnon breaking character to tell viewers at home that none of what the show was doing politically made a difference and that all that mattered was that they get out and vote. At the time, I referred to it as “a spineless PSA” which indicated that the Powers That Be still hadn’t realized that “viewers were hoping for SNL to take a stance during this brutal election season,” and that the show had chickened out.

Now, at a time when a segment of the population is ridiculing Hollywood for speaking up about politics, as if celebrities aren’t allowed to express their opinions openly, the show goes and does a sketch mocking celebrities — albeit from a movie called Hot Robot 3: Journey to Boob Mountain — for doing this very thing. The tone-deaf, pandering sketch essentially condemns so-called “Hollywood elites” for having an opinion.

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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  1. Carl Ellis says:

    The cold opening was terrible, like this review. Trump-is-a-fool isn’t funny. It is a pathetic reaction of sore losers and nothing more. I get that you hate him just like everyone in media is supposed to, but it isn’t funny unless you despise him. Most of us don’t.

    • Lillian says:

      65 million might disagree with you. Only political comment from me. I was so bored by the show I turned it off after Shonda and Malik. The cold open was the only thing I liked up to that point.

    • Steven says:

      He lost the popular vote. So technically speaking, most of us do.

    • liame says:

      Your support of trump GOLDEN!

    • dan says:

      Your reaction is piss poor.

    • Christine says:

      Apparently you don’t read the polls.

    • Josh says:

      He lost the popular vote by almost three million votes(the largest gap ever). So no, most Americans do hate him.

    • brandy says:

      Eh. I definitely despise him. And I am a conservative.

    • Traditionalist says:

      Absolutely agree Carl. SNL is writing for the “hate” instead of the funny. Even the funny sketches are not funny any longer. Terrible Terrible writing.

    • Tracy says:

      Speak for yourself – there are many many many people who are finally realizing what a moron the man is and a disenfranchising themselves from his camp.

    • Carrie says:

      Oh, please. Says you. As other people have already pointed out, he did not win the popular vote. He says and does so many ridiculous things, particularly on Twitter, that you can’t blame a comedy show for taking jabs at him. It’s their job and he makes it so freaking easy.

    • A fan of TV says:

      Satire. It’s why Trump himself watches every single weekend, so he can watch himself being satirized and has a reason to moan at the world on Twitter Sunday morning, pretending he’s being unfairly victimized. It’s all part of the show, he’s involved in its success by promoting it weekly, because deep down Don loves himself so much, even when it’s unflattering satire he can’t get enough.

  2. Shondra & Malik was sooo bad and sooo loooooong

  3. Ed says:

    Ryan is absolutely wrong, SNL does need to mock celebrities who bore us with their political thoughts. Of course they are “allowed” to have them but many of them are so pompous and arrogant and righteousness it’s annoying (I voted for Hilary BTW). I just want to be entertained – I know they hate Trump but I don’t care. Yes the Robot movie sketch wasn’t that funny but it was NOT tone deaf – it was the right tone.

    • Fairmont1955 says:

      Well, if we can have a reality star/celebrity as a president, then you are in for a world of hurt the next four years.

      • Haz says:

        You do understand he was a businessman way before he did The Apprentice? They could have had a good angle mocking Meryl’s pompous speech with play by play reactions from Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson.

        • Emily says:

          LOL Businessman should be in quotes. He was a pretty piss-poor one. He had bankruptcy after lawsuit after bankruptcy. The only thing he was good at was reality tv celebrity.

  4. dsrbroadway says:

    This was nowhere near a solid episode. It barely made it to Weekend Update and was dead right after. I have no idea if Felicity was just too stiff to be funny, or the writing was DOA.

  5. A. D. says:

    Jones looked really uncomfortable in the monologue.

  6. liame says:

    They should’ve included subtitles for the musical guest.

  7. Kevin says:

    I give the Felicity Jones episode of SNL a C. Terrible episode to start 2017 and I hope Aziz Ansari should do better next week.

  8. Morisot says:

    Waaaaaa, Ryan. How terrible that SNL would make fun of (your) celebrities. Double standard much!

  9. Penny says:

    SNL mocking celebrities talking politics actually seems pretty accurate. Tina Fey was pretty honest herself about her dislike of going to awards ceremonies to watch celebrities win awards for acting in front of a camera but instead talking politics, global warming, etc. SNL mocks politics why wouldn’t they mock celebrities for talking about them?

  10. Jk says:

    I find it so hilarious that this reviewer thinks the sketches that go along with his political point of view are wonderful but hates the ones that go the other way. At least admit your biased if you’re going to go there.

  11. DarkDefender says:

    I gave it a B, just for the cold open.

  12. A fan of TV says:

    I have long felt that Felicity Jones was a tad overrated, but I assumed that was because she got pulled into an Oscar nomination on the strength of someone else’s performance, then beat out Tatiana Maslany for the role of June. Now I’m beginning to realize that my initial assumptions about her overall skills are in fact not amplified by my personal bias preferring other people. She IS that overrated, and even ended up being the weakest link in Rogue One.