Melissa McCarthy’s fourth go-’round as Saturday Night Live host got off to a dubious start this week with a nearly laugh-free monologue set to the tune of Patrick Fernandez’s 1978 disco classic “Born to Be Alive.”
Thankfully, the Mike & Molly had several chances to deliver the LOLs over the subsequent 90 minutes, even if her absence from both digital shorts and all of “Weekend Update” left me scratching my head almost as hard as I did during Kanye West’s musical performances. (Am I completely past my pop-cultural expiration date, or was this a legit case of the emperor being butt booty-naked?)
While you ponder that question, let’s recap the week’s best and worst:
BEST: THE CUL-DE-SAC
McCarthy went disgustingly buckwild as a zany member of a focus group screening a horror film, throwing her soda around the theater, violently vomiting, pulling off Pete Davidson’s shirt and peeing her pants in a fit of abject terror — then agreeing to take a $250 payment to let the movie studio use footage of her meltdown in their ads. Hey, being on TV always trumps hanging onto your dignity, right?
BEST: LESLIE JONES DISCUSSES VALENTINE’S DAY
Jones’ list of qualities she’s seeking in a dream man got more and more absurd as her monologue went on, leading to a tirade against cut flowers (aka “a bag full of death”), some speculation on the impressive size of her genitals (had she’d been born a man), and an implied brutal criticism of “Weekend Update” anchor Colin Jost’s steak-cooking skills.
HONORABLE MENTION: THE DAY BEYONCE TURNED BLACK
Kudos to SNL for tackling the hysterical response to Beyoncé’s “Formation” video and Super Bowl performance being an ode to #BlackGirlMagic and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Fortunately, at the exact moment I wondered if the digital short was taking bold enough risks, there was Kate McKinnon, preparing to smother her son with a pillow and an “uh-oh uh-oh uh-oh oh-no-no.”
HONORABLE MENTION: EXPLOSIVE BUS RIDE
McCarthy and Jones rewarded viewers who stuck around after “Weekend Update” with a bit about a clueless white woman musing about “black movies” and her desire for an all-white remake of Roots and the trying-hard-to-be-polite black woman realizing that snagging a coveted rush-hour seat wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
WORST: RAP BATTLE
Kyle Mooney brought fewer laughs than a test of the Emergency Broadcast System with a bloated, incredibly irksome digital short about how the fictitious rap career he put on hold to join SNL could be revived by defeating musical guest Kanye West in a rap battle. Call Mooney aggressively unfunny if you must, but at least the dude is consistent!
WORST: OPENING MONOLOGUE
McCarthy’s aforementioned ditty – which morphed into a song about having hosted SNL 4 1/16 times (due to her participation in the 40th Anniversary special) — reached its comic crescendo when Kenan Thompson (dressed as a glittery No. 5 costume) presented McCarthy with a banana in a suit jacket. And with that damning bit of testimony, the prosecution rests.