Published May 13, 2018Super game for anything and trusting in the writing, Amy Schumer was an excellent host and Kacey Musgraves was dynamic and alluring on a surprising, fun, and almost completely Trump-free episode. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live.
The cold open
Instead of a political sketch, the show began with a special Mother's Day message from the cast of SNL featuring Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villasénor, Mikey Day, Luke Null, Chris Redd, Kyle Mooney, Colin Jost, Beck Bennett and Pete Davidson. Each appeared with their respective mothers and, in a sweet and fun gesture, each mom complained about the show, particularly its heavy-handed politics, which echoed some criticisms the show has actually received of late.
Amy Schumer talked a lot about her recent marriage and the institution generally. She described weddings she and her peers have attended, and a New York "tradition" for women to wait to tie the knot until their mid- to late 30s. She made some funny jokes about gender inequality, urging parents to teach young boys to be nicer to young girls, and she had the crowd in the palm of her hand during the entire monologue.
Mother Knows Best
Schumer played the host of a game show called Mother Knows Best, featuring teens and their moms. Mikey Day and Kate McKinnon play John Christopher and Ebisaleth, a disturbingly close son and mom who kiss on the lips and are physically demonstrative. Once the premise was set, this was a visual bit that was predictable but no less odd.
Handmaids in the City
A funny, well-executed idea, this sketch imagined a crossover between The Handmaid's Tale and Sex in the City. The performances here, particularly Cecily Strong conjuring Kim Cattrall, were strong and worked well as a stark riff on the glum empowerment women are occasionally treated to via television shows.
The day you were born
This amazing idea found Schumer and Mikey Day playing a couple whose son brings his mom Mother's Day breakfast in bed. When the boy asks her about the day he was born, Schumer tells him it was the greatest day of her life. Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal that her labour was a horror show and her husband was rather slack in the parenting department. It was an uproarious, clever dose of reality and included a note at the end that moms would definitely appreciate.
This was a somewhat elaborate musical sketch that seemed a bit half-baked. Kenan Thompson and Leslie Jones played singing pastors who also run a deeply unhealthy cooking TV show and, after kicking an atheist chef (Cecily Strong) off of her segment, they eventually welcomed Schumer who played a kind of gentile, younger version of Paula Deen who wasn't racist. Other than a sight gag about a pecan pie smoothie that seemed to be hobbled by a faulty blender, there wasn't any real payoff to this.
Backed by a 12-piece band, Musgrave initially appeared as a country disco queen. With a mirror ball saddle hanging above them, Musgrave and her cohorts grooved to the robotic gallop of "High Horse," whose four-on-the-floor beat coupled with the band's sartorial aesthetic brought us all back to some romanticized 1970s.
She was more grounded on the more traditional folk-country of "Slow Burn," playing open chords on her sunburst Gibson acoustic and more earnestly recalling Shawn Colvin than Cher. The fact that one artist might invoke comparisons to both people on separate songs from the same new album, Golden Hour, without coming across as pandering, is rather remarkable in and of itself.
Kacey performing High Horse on SNL last night! pic.twitter.com/VNj9uxsXkF— Kacey Musgraves Updates. (@KaceySource) May 13, 2018
Colin Jost and Michael Che highlighted the week that was Donald Trump, lamenting that his Korean hostage negotiation made him look a little too good. The best joke of the first few minutes was a bit of a throwaway line, where Che astutely described Melania Trump as "sexy-ass Michael Jackson." Heidi Gardner reprised her high-strung and emotionally volatile teenaged YouTube star character, Bailey Gismert, and Gismert proceeded to have one of her captivating mental breakdowns, which is more of an acting than comedic tour-de-force.
If this seemed long, it was no match for a cameo by Melissa McCarthy as Che's loving stepmom. Her physically and commitment to the bit was rather astounding, given the interminable length of WU this sucked up, but it's easy to see why McCarthy is bound for the SNL hall of fame.
Good Morning Denver
Tied to nothing topical, this seemed like an idea that had been kicking around the pitch meetings a while and finally got to get up on its feet. Cecily Strong played a morning show correspondent reporting on the launch of a production called Lil Rent, which was the musical Rent staged by a grade school teacher and his students. The darker aspects of the story, which reflect the onset of HIV/AIDS, are softened; the disease in Lil Rent is diabetes. Schumer was amusing as a child raised to hate Obama/Clinton progressives and this whole thing, which was random, had its moments.
Ah, Donnelly's. This end-of-show bit of ribald physicality normally reserved for 12:55 was five minutes earlier than usual (maybe so Schumer would have enough time to get into the gorgeous, form-fitting dress she wore when the show closed) but no less intense. McKinnon reprised her horny barfly who is one of two customers left at Kenan Thompson's bar at closing time. Schumer played a butch woman resigned to the fact that she has but one last option for a hook-up and so she and McKinnon get entangled, ridiculously. Props to the prop department for the Raiders of the Lost Ark joke at the end.
James Madison High School Graduation
This unusually scheduled remote ended the show, imagining a high school graduation ceremony that has all the punctuated flair of an ad for a monster truck rally. Just silly and funny, this really must be seen to appreciate how ridiculous and satisfying it was as an idea brought to fruition.
The season finale