The Luther/Turn Up Charlie star had the unfortunate task of following John Mulaney’s well-received return to Studio 8H. To his credit, Elba was a good host, but he was more often than not relegated to a supporting role. His few showcases, which came in the second half of the show, ranged from entirely forgettable (“Soccer Broadcast”) to downright awful (“Magic Show”), to no fault of his own.
Here’s hoping Killing Eve star Sandra Oh gets more to do when she hosts in two weeks. For now, my picks for the best and worst sketches…
Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant were brilliant as sixtysomething receptionists who struggled to create a simple PowerPoint presentation. Even funnier than the slides they managed to piece together (one simply had the word “cornbread” crossed out, another had Carole King’s name and a picture of Wayne Brady in one corner) were their reactions to screwing up.
BEST: THE IMPOSSIBLE HULK
What at first appeared to be a starring sketch for Elba transformed into an amusing showcase for Cecily Strong, as Elba’s Bruce Banner morphed into an Entitled White Woman who threatened to call the cops wherever and whenever she felt “aggressed.”
BEST: PETE DAVIDSON on WEEKEND UPDATE
In one of his strongest Update pieces of the season, Davidson stopped by to talk about listening to R. Kelly and Michael Jackson’s music despite the controversies surrounding them. (“If you support the Catholic Church, isn’t that the same as being an R. Kelly fan?” he asked. “The only difference is one’s music is significantly better.”) Davidson went on to argue that pretending that these artists never existed “maybe isn’t the solution,” and suggested some alternatives to “deleting” them entirely. Before it was over, Colin Jost jumped in to ask the 25-year-old about his current relationship with 45-year-old actress Kate Beckinsale — and his response was gold.
HONORABLE MENTION: R. KELLY INTERVIEW
Props to Kenan Thompson for single-handedly elevating this otherwise forgettable satire. The recurring bit where he drifted off into “Trapped in the Closet”-style music-video vignettes didn’t quite work, but portraying the embattled R&B singer as dumb — like, thinks every word begins with the letter Q dumb — did. (Watch it here.)
HONORABLE MENTION: BOK BOK
McKinnon gave off serious “Kellywise” vibes as the stand-in for viral urban legend Momo. The biggest laugh came when Gardner’s character spotted Bok Bok in the back seat of her car and immediately leapt out in horror.
WORST: MAGIC SHOW
This 10-to-1 skit — in which Elba played a Vegas magician forced to perform his act with a substitute assistant — died on the vine. Because it never quite found its rhythm (and garnered mere pity laughs throughout), the attempted murder twist landed like a thud.
What were your favorite sketches this week? And what missed the mark? Watch all of the highlights above, then grade Elba’s Saturday Night Live hosting stint in our poll.