Despite some human and technological awkwardness, this was an entertaining Saturday Night Live, with a few satisfying surprises, including one of the most impactful cameos in the show's history. Here's everything that happened when Kristen Stewart and Alessia Cara appeared on the show last night.
The Cold Open
Alec Baldwin appeared as Donald Trump in the Oval Office and greeted his advisor Steve Bannon, who continues to be portrayed as the Grim Reaper. This soon emerged as a satire of Trump's contentious calls to world leaders, which all devolve into him threatening war against Australia, Mexico, Germany and Zimbabwe. The highlights here were an appearance by Kate McKinnon's Angela Merkel, who was annoyed and horrified, and Kenan Thompson, representing Zimbabwe's dictator, angrily putting Trump in his place. The thing ended with a good sight gag about Bannon occupying the president's desk while Trump actually uses a tiny child's desk.
Kristen Stewart destroyed with a bit about Donald Trump's series of 2012 tweets about her relationship with Robert Pattinson and, most notably, appeared to come out on the show. A secondary bit involved Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant ingratiating themselves to seem as cool and disaffected as Stewart often appears to be. Ironically, Stewart suggested they didn't need to be so badass before accidentally dropping an audible "this is the coolest fucking thing ever" on air while excitedly ending her monologue to get the show started.
Kristen Stewart used her first #SNL monologue to: mercilessly mock DJT, proclaim herself "super gay" and drop an f-bomb. Instant all-timer.— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) February 5, 2017
The Immigration Video
SNL went after the Muslim ban by imagining what an updated and edited immigration orientation video in which Cecily Strong portrayed a friendly airport employee while Beck Bennett played an overzealous Homeland Security representative, way too into Bannon's new world order. This was almost too real to be funny; it's hard to laugh at this shit. But the spoof was effective.
UCONN Dry Fridays
At a group meeting for students who have been caught doing dumb things while drunk, Krisen Stewart's Courtney keeps citing examples of her own indiscretions, which are increasingly disturbing, and exacerbated by her hideous "no-hawk." With the premise established, it was up to Stewart's nervous, spazzy presence to nail her jokes, which she mostly did.
Totino's Pizza Rolls
This classic ad series starring Vanessa Bayer as an overcompensating homemaker who tends to her "hungry guys" while they watch a big game on TV is upended when she's swept off her feet by Kristen Stewart's Sabine and an intense, French lesbian short film suddenly emerges. This is one of the funniest and most well-executed sketches ever.
Press Briefing with Sean Spicer
In an ingenious bit of stunt casting, Melissa McCarthy appeared to play Sean Spicer. Every line of this was hilarious, as McCarthy did an amazing turn as the press secretary/propaganda minister for a fascist dictator. The mockery of the circular logic and plain-as-day lying and obstruction by Spicer was humorous and culminated with a series of amazing physical comedy bits, including Spicer literally attacking reporters with his podium. This rollicking thing kept going, with Kate McKinnon emerging to play a clueless Betsy Devos and McCarthy, who was stunningly funny, squirting a reporter with a water gun. What the hell, this was an all-time great.
Melissa McCarthy has a 108 MPH comedy fastball.— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) February 5, 2017
A Brampton, ON kid, Alessia Cara clearly relished her turn on SNL, showing off her pop bona fides. The posi vibes and anthemic quality of her songs were custom-made to inspire young people to feel better about themselves and, with its infectious and powerful structure, it's hard to argue against. Even if you're not a mainstream pop fan, there's something quite alluring about Cara's rich voice, impassioned performances, and weighty lyricism.
Something of a mess technically with both Colin Jost and Michael Che messing up jokes and cues, there were still some solid jabs at President Trump and the farcical and depressing week that was. Even in spite of the screwups, the low point here was Kenan Thompson reprising his one-note role as Boston Red Sox David Ortiz (he says food names in a funny Spanish accent) for a desk piece. After it concluded, a confused Jost tried to end Update about ten jokes prematurely. No wonder.
Celebrity Family Feud
Set up as a contest between Falcons and Patriots fans, this was a slight excuse for a cavalcade of impressions. These ranged from good (Stewart's Gisele Bündchen) to eerily pitch perfect (Alex Moffatt's Casey Affleck) but nothing really incisive came of this.
Pete Davidson's Steve and Stewart's Claire bond over a shared a coffee order and, sensing soul mates in each other, make plans to meet that night. Unfortunately, they don't share any contact info at all, sending Steve on a mad scramble to try to find a woman whose last name he doesn't know in Manhattan. A nice showcase for Davidson's manic presence and a funny premise.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
This, on the other hand, was just obviously filler to get the show safely to the end of airtime. Stewart played Charlie, who presents a Chocolate Factory golden ticket to his elderly, bed-ridden relatives. Once he discovers that most of them can actually walk, he feel betrayed. As a sketch scrutinizing a pop culture movement, this had no real payoff.