Whether you consider Adam Driver’s first Saturday Night Live hosting gig a massive success, a stunning failure or somewhere in between, there’s one fact in which the guy can take comfort: His latest film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has a current international box-office take of $1.8 billion and rising.
OK, money isn’t everything, but at least Driver could focus on those lofty sums during some of the episode’s less successful moments, including an opening monologue where the actor didn’t have much more to do than react to regular cast members’ Star Wars-fueled buffoonery. Still, I wish Driver (or somebody on the SNL staff) had nixed the icky punch line about his gay porn star character’s HIV-positive status in the night’s final sketch. (If you’re going to be offensive, at least be funny, yes?)
The episode’s almost willful refusal to tackle topical material made for a peculiar, but still sometimes very funny, installment.
Below, my picks for best and worst sketches (with video):
BEST: AMERICA’S FUNNIEST CATS
Driver played against type as a prickly host of a long-running, feline-focused America’s Funniest Home Videos-style show, faced with two very dark-minded French guests (Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon). “She’s quietly backing out of this world!” they cried about a tabby with her head stuck in an ice-cream pint. “She will not be missed!” These black-clad twisted sisters, on the other hand, will definitely be mourned if they’re not back in the next few weeks.
BEST: GOLDEN GLOBES GONE BAD
Driver and Vanessa Bayer played a husband-and-wife writing team gong after-party crazy — and leaving their little kids (Kate McKinnon and Kyle Mooney) home alone following their win at the Golden Globes. Liev Schreiber’s end-of-skit, apron-clad appearance as the couple’s debauched hookup partner elevated this pre-taped bit to DRV-rewind worthy.
BEST (IF THIS WAS 1992): “A WHOLE NEW WORLD”
I’ll admit I chuckled audibly at the sight of Disney’s Princess Jasmine (Cecily Strong) getting doused in the mid-air evacuation of airplane sewage during a duet with Driver’s Aladdin — because apparently I’m an eight-year-old — but a huge question remains: Why now?
WORST: NFL PLAYOFFS INJURY
There’s probably a good sketch to be written about the way in which networks play and replay gruesome athlete injuries. But beyond the goofy, mannequin-esque figure of
Kyle Mooney‘s Pete Davidson’s inexperienced quarterback getting repeatedly pummeled — and his legs bent backwards — it felt like there was nothing sly or clever or insightful being said here.
WORST: OPENING MONOLOGUE
Surely, there had to be a funnier concept to build around the rabid Star Wars‘ fandom than having a few cast members mildly geek out and pump Driver for spoilers, yes? (I’m looking forward to reading in the comments what you might’ve pitched for Driver’s first at bat. No, seriously, I’m curious!)
Your turn. What did you think of this week’s SNL? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!