The first rule of comedy is make fun of yourself before anyone else can and, in the season opener of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, they did just that.
With the loss of seven cast members and the addition of four unknown quantities (two stand-ups, a comic actor, and a TV writer), the show’s first cold open of Season 48 went full metacomedy.
Host Miles Teller and cast member Andrew Dismukes play Peyton and Eli Manning aka the hosts of Monday Night Football‘s “ManningCast.” Normally an ESPN 2 broadcast about football, the brothers here turn their attention to breaking down the opening sketch of SNL, amid so many changes.
The SNL cold open has been in a rut for years; often churning out pedestrian and repetitive gags centered around the week’s political hot potato. There are plenty of tired tropes SNL will bring out in that first sketch — and this sketch skewers them all.
Trump (James Austin Johnson) impression? You bet. Bad impression of a largely unknown political figure? Heidi Gardner nails it. Political bias against conservatives? Yes, indeed! What’s more, Bowen Yang and Mikey Day highlight when the writers have to streeeeeeetch to squeeze in an unrelated topical happening, and Yang rolls his eyes as he tries to create a T-shirt-friendly catchphrase. (Fortunately, we won’t be seeing “It Is What It Is” in a Target any time soon.)
Peyton also calls out the lack of “fun” impressions, like Anthony Fauci, Lindsay Graham or Rudy Giuliani. Eli reminds him that those all are/were Kate McKinnon impressions. It’s not like anyone will fail to notice the huge gap in the show’s roster; might as well call it out!
There are not one, but two gratuitous cameos — from Jon Hamm (three-time SNL host and Teller’s Top Gun: Maverick co-star) and snowboarder Shaun White — filling an already full sketch to overstuffed. All of the new performers get some face time: Michael Longfellow “botches” a quick one-line door open (“The new guy’s full-on panicking. He’s just staring at the camera”); Devon Walker shows up as the 15-minutes-of-fame Corn Kid; and Molly Kearney and Marcello Hernandez do the Griddy dance.
Sarah Sherman, however, stands out in an already over-the top sketch by skulking creepily in the background
All eyes are on SNL — it’s in its 48th season, there hasn’t been a cast turnover this big in close to 30 years. But they came out guns blazing; hopefully this will be much more than a “rebuilding year.”
Watch the clip by pressing PLAY above, then grade the premiere!