The Girl on the Train star played a series of thankless characters throughout the evening, including an undesirable sex worker and an obnoxious Great British Bake Off contestant. She was also present in a series of sketches which appear to have doubled as sponsored content, playing both an insufferable Burger King drive-thru customer and a demanding robot caterer at a Honda event.
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the highlight of the night was musical guest Bruno Mars, who gave the episode a much-needed boost of energy with his new single “24K Magic.” It’s no “Uptown Funk,” but the showmanship was undeniable as Mars began his performance backstage and danced his way out towards the audience with an evergrowing posse.
Though we wish we had better things to say about the episode overall, it wasn’t a complete bust. With Alec Baldwin back in another top-notch debate parody, and the return of a fan-favorite Kate McKinnon character to Weekend Update, there were at least a few laughs to be had. Don’t believe us? Just watch the following highlights:
BEST: PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE NO. 2
Baldwin and McKinnon were terrific here, especially when playing up Trump and Clinton’s non-handshake and Trump’s apparent decision to hover behind his opponent at all times. McKinnon was especially funny when she attempted to show off Clinton’s “human side,” modeling her “casual lean” before walking over to an undecided voter “just as I practiced.” (Watch and discuss the sketch here.)
BEST: OLYA POVLATSKY on WEEKEND UPDATE
McKinnon’s best recurring character made her first appearance of the season, where she weighed in on the U.S. presidential election. After expressing how she could relate to Clinton after watching the latest debate (“I have also been attacked by a dog for 90 minutes straight”), she offered up her hilarious take on the Access Hollywood tape scandal (“That was so hard to watch… a whole bus for just two people!?”). Later, she recreated Lou Bega’s 1999 smash “Mambo No. 5” with lyrics about a different Monica from her war-torn hometown in Russia.
On the page, this one probably looked like a loser, but its abrasive voiceover put it over the top. When the commercial’s narrator revealed that the name of the women’s clothing store was “CHONK!,” we nearly lost it. Subsequent mentions only made it funnier.
WORST: ELEGANT EVENINGS
For the second week in a row, one of the worst sketches of the evening followed the monologue, with Blunt and Leslie Jones cast as a pair of escorts with very specific do’s and don’ts. While Blunt’s Melanie suffered from a severe Vitamin D deficiency, which would require several milk breaks during sex, Jones’ unnamed escort touted her inability to role-play as anyone but Stewie from Family Guy. The only laughs in this otherwise mundane sketch came directly from Blunt, who broke character twice reciting a catchphrase Melanie would use during sex.
Cecily Strong’s Melania Trump and McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway could have been put to better use, but were instead wasted in this parody of Beyoncé’s “Sorry.” Blunt’s Ivanka Trump and Sasheer Zamata’s Omarosa didn’t add much to this music video either, with the only laugh generated by Vanessa Bayer, who, as frequently forgotten daughter Tiffany Trump, declared she was changing her name to “Tiff Maples.”
We’re not exactly sure how this asinine sketch made it to air, even if it was at 12:55 am. In it, McKinnon and Beck Bennett played bickering hamsters whose marital issues prevented them from getting to know the furry new additions (Blunt and Alex Moffat) to their cage. The studio audience was silent for long stretches throughout, becoming most audible when they cheered the segment’s conclusion.
What were your favorite sketches of the night? And what missed the mark? Hit the comments and make your picks.