It can be a challenging thing to keep the momentum going after winning your first Academy Award, but apparently not for Brie Larson.
Two months after collecting her Best Actress statuette, the Room actress hosted one of the better episodes of Saturday Night Live‘s Season 41.
OK, her opening monologue — hijacked by various regular cast members’ Mother’s Day shout-outs — failed to ignite, but Larson otherwise proved both game and adept, and luckily got solid material to match her comedic skills.
Below are my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches. (We’ll embed video in this post as soon as it becomes available.)
BEST: THE CUT | Larson fronted this sketch as a woman getting a baby shower from her new neighbors — SNL‘s female cast members, killin’ it — and resisting their insistence that she’d soon wind up with a highly specific mom ‘do, “soft waterfall in the front, knives in the back” (or is it “curtains in front, Iron Throne in back”). Larson made funny her character’s horror at realizing she was carefully folding a gift bag for re-use, while Aidy Bryant demonically predicted “all your tank tops will sprout cap sleeves!”
BEST: CHURCH CHAT | Dana Carvey — whose First Impressions reality competition premieres next week on NBC’s corporate sister USA Network, by the bye — brought back his legendary Church Lady for the cold open. With hilarious reactions to everything from Beyoncé’s Lemonade — the Church Lady’s own brand of the tart treat is “freshly squeezed, just like Jay-Z’s naughty parts” — to interviews with Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, this was a great way to kick off the episode. Bonus points to Darrell Hammond’s presumptive Republican nominee flubbing his Gospel: “The part where Jon Snow comes back to life — that’s great Bible!”
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BEST: NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE | This Kate McKinnon-led sketch wasn’t quite as good as its predecessor — the all-time classic in which McKinnon’s character described her alien abduction, causing host Ryan Gosling to break down in laughter. But I nevertheless guffawed multiple times as McKinnon described how her walk toward the light following 55 minutes in a submerged car differed from Larson and Cecily Strong’s characters. Moral of the story? Don’t show up without pants in Dog Heaven, or face an almost-not-fit-for-this-blog fate. As McKinnon horrifically described it: “I’m fightin’ off a gaggle of cold snouts tryin’ to sniff my drainer and my stainer!” O_o
WORST: DISCREET ANNIHILATION | I won’t lie: I find most of Kyle Mooney’s digital shorts about as funny as discovering a moldy block of cheese in the back of the fridge. But this punchline-free waste of time and energy — in which Mooney’s punk-rap band sought Kickstarter funding for an EP and film – was akin to eating that block of cheese rather than tossing it in the garbage. Honestly, the test of the Emergency Broadcast System is less grating than an off-leash Mooney.
WORST: QUIZ WHIZ 2018 | Can SNL please please please reduce its game-show-spoof output by at least 50 percent? (I’ll keep begging ’til Lorne Michaels finally submits!) This one was set two years in the future and built solely around the gag that neither astute contestant could remember Ted Cruz’s name — even though Larson turned out to be the candidate’s own wife Heidi.
What did you think of this week’s SNL? Grade it in our poll below, then sound off in the comments!