Published Apr 15, 2018Nothing could possibly top John Mulaney's astonishingly funny monologue, and Jack White made a case for snarly rock'n'roll, on an otherwise uneven episode of Saturday Night Live. Here's everything that happened.
The cold open
Ben Stiller turned up for a surprising cameo as Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen. He briefly engaged with Kate McKinnon's Jeff Sessions and Beck Bennett's Mike Pence, who tricked Cohen into wandering over to an interrogation room, where he encountered special prosecutor Robert Mueller played by Robert De Niro! Stiller and De Niro proceeded to pay tribute to their Meet the Parents lie detector scene, which oddly fit the news cycle and was very clever and funny.
Holy shit, John Mulaney was devastating with a killer standup monologue. He showed up fully loaded, with breathtakingly funny bits about watching TV and seeing Patrick Stewart introducing Salt-N-Pepa on SNL, why new songs need to take a longer view of life, why someone in Connecticut thought it was cool to build a gazebo during the Civil War, waving at ships, and an incredible 90 seconds about password security measures. Amazing.
At a restaurant where drag queens are servers, Mulaney played Tawny Pockets, who was sassy and fun with three customers, but clearly has it in for Alex Moffatt's Gary. The best bits here were dark put-downs written to belittle Moffatt and, though the sketch had a sour climax, this was entertaining enough because of Mulaney's performance.
National School Walkout Day
A group of students who scheduled a walkout protest are waylaid because one of them can't stifle a succession of boners. Mulaney played the sexually charged teen and, aside from a brief respite from McKinnon's amazingly accented and severe Swedish exchange student, this one-note idea plodded along to its inevitable climax.
Wild Wild Country
A too-long remote, this parody of the Netflix documentary series fully rested upon a character played by Kenan Thompson. While the source material is about a cult community that was established in Oregon by followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Thompson portrayed a guy who was present for its ascent, but was really only interested in having sex and partying with everyone. Again, a one-note idea that was stretched thin.
Big Nick's Greek Diner
Wow, an elaborate set piece that launched innocently when Pete Davidson's patron inexplicably ordered lobster at a diner. From there, it transformed into a bizarre and elaborate satire of Les Misérables, with cast members barely able to stifle their laughter, singing ludicrous lyrics about the plight of a lobster. Side note: Davidson broke in every sketch he was in tonight and seemed a little off.
It feels like it's been a while since an all-out rocker appeared on the show, which made Jack White's attack all the more intense. On "Over and Over and Over," he ripped into his vocals like an unleashed dog, propelled by a hypnotic riff, pounding rhythms and backup from a black female gospel vocal group. For his second song, "Connected by Love," which appeared uncharacteristically late on a lazily scheduled episode, White and his band tapped into a more introspective emotional plain, but it was also dynamic and compelling. These were mighty efforts by the last real rock star of his generation.
A spirited Weekend Update dealt with yet another weird week in American news and welcomed two guests. Colin Jost riffed on how everything "historic" about the Trump administration is actually always "unbelievably terrible" and suggested that, based on some advance excerpts, James Comey's tell-all book may as well have been co-written by Captain Obvious. Kate McKinnon appeared as free-falling Fox News host, Laura Ingraham, and the show had fun with how many sponsors she's been losing since twitter-trolling Parkland student David Hogg. After a few good jokes by Michael Che, including one about something called goat yoga, Kenan Thompson reprised his braggadocious take on Lavar Ball, which was amusing.
This was a funny sketch about a fake, rebooted '80s family sitcom called Switcheroo, whose disturbing premise rested upon a son and father swapping roles, including regularly having sexual intercourse with their home's matriarch. Mulaney played the strange showrunner who is interviewed by Cecily Strong's creeped-out reporter and those interactions made this amusing.
Seldom used rookie Luke Null has occasionally made it to air with odd character performances and Lucian fit the bill. Mulaney was a Harvard-educated doctor treating Null for the removal of horns he has had grafted onto his forehead. Mulaney must explain the procedure to Null and his equally idiotic, paint-huffing girlfriend, played by Heidi Gardner, and things went a little haywire with each new detail about Null's freakish body.
The Real Intros of Reality Hills
A fake ad lampooning vapid reality tv shows, this was written to highlight how pointless such programs really can be. In a dig at all who watch them, the sketch suggested that viewers only become immersed in reality villains for outrageous conflicts and dumb statements and so the promo simply collected all of those kinds of moments, implying that that alone should satiate fans. A decent idea, well-executed.