The aging oil baron didn’t make a comeback this weekend, but the Marriage Story actor channeled that same explosive rage into some of his other characters, including a children’s TV-show personality and a Method community theater actor working at Medieval Times.
Overall, the first episode of 2020 was an above-average affair. Driver went to Hell and back (with Jon Lovitz’s Alan Derschowitz!) before his very “chill” monologue. The remainder of the broadcast took advantage of his knack for deadpan, and featured an A+ follow-up to a modern-classic sketch.
BEST: UNDERCOVER BOSS — WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Star Wars‘ Kylo Ren went back undercover, this time as entry-level intern Randy. The sketch won me over as soon as Kylo referenced “OK boomer” in an attempt to fit in with his fellow interns. What followed was an extremely amusing montage of him doing “bitch work,” which included a failed attempt to wrangle some droids.
BEST: THE SCIENCE ROOM
The last time SNL entered The Science Room, Sam Rockwell dropped an F-bomb on live television. Driver managed to avoid a similar slip-up during his hilarious outburst as Professor Adams — but it was Mikey Day and Cecily Strong who stole the sketch as his dimwitted helpers. I just about lost it when Strong answered the question, “What comes first in the science room?”
The latest Chris Redd/Kenan Thompson music video collaboration is an R&B song about lovers (including musical guest Halsey) who take things realllllll slow — especially Driver, whose character is “really slow, kissin’ slow, barely movin'” as he sings his verse in slow motion.
BEST: MEDIEVAL TIMES
Driver gave off Abraham H. Parnassus vibes during his turn as Cameron Bistle, an overly eager, SAG-AFTRA eligible actor who refuses to stay on script during a Medieval reenactment. Best of all, though, were Bowen Yang and Chris Redd’s reactions when Cameron proved himself to be racially insensitive.
HONORABLE MENTION: DEL TACO SHOOT
Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett’s latest team up relies on a single joke — but it gets funnier each and every time that Bennett (as commercial director) and Driver (as Del Taco’s VP of branding) insist on characters insist on Mooney trying out his line a different way.
WORST: MARRYING KETCHUPS
This five-to-1 sketch needed to be even weirder. Driver and Strong were great, and I love a good pun (“You’re not even Heinz, you dirty Hunt!”), but I was hoping to see it morph into something zanier and more grandiose, a la “Diner Lobster.”
What were your favorite sketches this week? And what missed the mark? Watch all of the highlights (and lowlights) above, then grade the episode in our poll.