Octavia Spencer on SNL: Trump Sons, Kellyanne Gag Can't Save Woeful Ep

Octavia Spencer couldn’t have asked for worse material for her Saturday Night Live hosting debut.

Save for a terrific, Forrest Gump-inspired cold open, where the Oscar-winning actress ever-so-briefly reprised her role from The Help opposite Kate McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions, Spencer was wasted in a series of uninspired, practically unwatchable sketches. And while it would be nice to say that it was the Hidden Figures star who kept us tuned in for the duration of the show, that honor actually goes to standout featured players Melissa Villaseñor, Mikey Day and Alex Moffat.

It’s also quite telling that the biggest laughs of the night came courtesy of McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway, who at no point led her own sketch, but kept popping up before various commercial breaks (as well as during Weekend Update) recreating a certain #Couchgate pose.

Poor Spencer was completely out of her element, failing to sound anything like Oprah Winfrey, Viola Davis or Judy Dench. Villaseñor singlehandedly saved this Zootopia sendup with her impressions of Owen Wilson, Kathy Griffin, SNL alumni Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kristen Wiig, and current co-star McKinnon.

Day and Moffat have appeared as President Trump’s sons before, but never before have these characters received this much screen time. Rather than mock the businessmen for their smarmy behavior, the bit instead focused on Donald Jr. having to baby his younger brother, who was incapable of keeping his mouth shut when it counted (he at one point blurted out that their father is still running the family business despite being president).

Spencer, Villaseñor and Day gave this one-note sketch their all, portraying three fast-food cashiers who couldn’t quite master the “mock transaction” portion of their training. From the randomness of Day asking Vanessa Bayer’s character if her parents were still alive, to Spencer freaking out and announcing that the airport Sticky Bun was now closed, the actors’ deft delivery ultimately justified the skit’s existence.

A dud from start to finish. The jokes just didn’t land in this sketch about Cecily Strong’s character obsessing over a new friend played by Spencer. The timing was off from the get-go and everyone involved clearly knew it. (Also among the night’s biggest bombs: “The Chocolate Man” and “Spencers Gifts HQ.”)

Would you agree that this was an unusually weak episode of SNL in an otherwise strong season? And what would you say was the absolute worst sketch of the night? Grade the episode via our poll, then share your thoughts below.

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