Saturday Night Live: Melissa McCarthy & HAIM May 13, 2017

Saturday Night Live: Melissa McCarthy & HAIM May 13, 2017
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Melissa McCarthy returns to the hosting stage for her fifth time during a tumultuous week in American politics. And while her Sean Spicer stole the show and politics were top of mind, the second half struggled to balance comedy and outrage. Here's everything that happened.
 
Cold Open
The show opens with Part 2 of Donald Trump's interview with NBC News host Lester Holt (Michael Che). Alec Baldwin as Trump doubles down on his firing of James Comey, admitting that he did it because of the Russia investigation. "Did I get him?" Holt asks into his earpiece? "Is it over? No? Nothing matters anymore? Okay." Trump refers to Holt at various points as "jazz man," "OJ" and "Tupac," and asks for ice cream, which is delivered by Paul Ryan (Mikey Day). Trump denies comparisons to Nixon but when he brags about getting two scoops of ice cream, he throws up Nixon's double victory salute to tout that success. When he claims that he invented the term "priming the pump" (which is what he does for Melania), Holt asks if Trump is in fact trolling us. At one point, the ridiculousness calls for an "Anderson Cooper eye roll," which Alex Moffat performs in an inset image. Excellent, albeit predictable start.
 
 
Monologue
Melissa McCarthy pops out full of enthusiasm for her fifth hosting spot and the Mother's Day show to boot. From the audience she picks out Joan, a mother of two, to join her on a backstage tour. They swan past Alec Baldwin ("Put some pants on!" McCarthy quips), stop at the concierge station for foot cream and ketchup, do a shot of tequila, meet the backstage llama, randomly run into Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, have to negotiate past troll Kyle Mooney ("Tell him he's your fave to let you pass") and finally out the door behind the band and back onto the hosting stage with Joan. A fun if not hilarious opener.
 
 
Just Desserts Game Show
A dessert-themed take on '70s game show "Press Your Luck" (no whammies!), Mikey Day plays host Curt Burton; contestants Marcie (McCarthy), Todd (Bobby Moynihan) and Dawn (Kate McKinnon) try to win cash and avoid desserts, spin-the-wheel style. Marcie immediately lands on pie and gets a pie to the face. "Is there a towel?" McCarthy asks? "No." Todd wins cash and the chance to give someone else a pie: it goes to Marcie. Dawn wins cash and "take a cake" — again, into McCarthy's face. Sprinkles and a wind machine to blow out candles are added in what escalates into an attempt to recreate McCarthy's "Hidden Valley Ranch" madness from 2011. When the second round is announced as featuring deeper, heavier pie, McCarthy is heard to yell "No crust!" as the sketch ends. Hard to go wrong with Melissa McCarthy repeatedly getting hit with pastries.
 
 
Alexa Echo Silver
This pre-tape commercial parody features a new version of the Amazon Echo in-home device specifically for seniors called "Alexa Echo Silver." Features include very loud answers and the ability to respond to any name that even closely resembles "Alexa." It fields such questions as how Negro League baseball legend Satchel Paige did in the game today ("Satchel Paige died in 1982") and what those damn kids are doing across the street ("Those children are just playing.") When requested to "play some black jazz," Alexa responds "Playing… uh… jazz." A well executed piece.
 
 
White House Press Briefing
Since Melissa McCarthy was spotted around New York City dressed as press secretary Sean Spicer on a motorized podium this week, her return was certainly no surprise, but the sketch took on an ambitious three-part structure. It opens with Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Aidy Bryant) filling in for Spicer while he fulfills his Navy Reserve duties. "No he's not, he's outside in the bushes," one reporter points out. Spicer storms with in a fire hydrant and blasts a reporter in the crotch with it for "pants lyin." Spicer explains away the Russian connections by using a Trump Matryoshka doll that reveals: former FBI director James Comey, Hillary Clinton (as Malificent), Putin, Steve Bannon (as Slimer) and Jeff Sessions (as Pikachu). As Spicer defends Trump's truth-telling, a reporter asks what if Trump is lying to Spicy? What if he's gonna be fired soon and replaced by Huckabee Sanders? (Sanders appears again behind Spicer at this point wielding a large knife: "Oh bless your heart that's the first I'm hearing that.")
 
Having never considered that Trump would lie to him, this cuts deep for Spicer, who takes his motorized podium to the streets to find Trump and demand answers. Cut to a pre-tape of Sanders driving the podium through New York City streets to Simon & Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy in New York." Trump is eventually found at a New Jersey golf course, where they cut back to a live sketch now with Baldwin. As Spicer questions how he's treated, Trump teases and eventually starts tickling Spicer, who calls out "No I'm married!" They start making out, in what seems to be a completely transparent troll job on the President.
 
 
HAIM
The Sisters HAIM returned to the Saturday Night Live stage to preview new material from their forthcoming album Something to Tell You. Their delightful harmonies voices were in full effect as they showcased new tunes that continue their sunny Laurel Canyon vibes. (The prevalence of '80s-influenced production and the three voices evoke Wilson Phillips more than a little bit, but fortunately none of HAIM's fans are old enough to get that reference.) "Want You Back" featured the trio front-and-centre, while "Little of Your Love" was fleshed out with a couple of cellists. A delightful couple of tunes.
 
 
Weekend Update
Weekend Update spent about half its time on the firing of James Comey, whom Trump called "a showboat." "[Comey] looks like if the word gosh became a person," Colin Jost quipped. Michael Che took aim at Trump's habit of randomly putting quotes on words in his tweets, pointing out a big difference between "Grandma's sleeping" and "Grandma's 'sleeping.'"
 
Changes to health care prompted newly sober Pete Davidson to talk about his experiences in "horse rehab," which he ended up at because he decided what rehab to go to while high. That he turns out to be severely allergic to horses was a surprise to him. He made jokes about how many hours in a day there are when you're sober, and how he's filling them with masturbating, but this seemed flat.
 
Michael Che stumbled several times during WU, including his introduction of Kathy Ann, the Cecily Strong character "who's always yelling outside [Che's] window." The slightly bedraggled eccentric has typically misinterpreted current events, but this time wanted to make some cogent political points: about the Republicans putting party over country, that Trump's lies make him sound like "His life is what junkies at the bowling alley are yelling about — the CIA's after me! The Russians are listening!" All valid points, but kinda too coherent for who Kathy Ann is supposed to be as a character. Too real, politically speaking, and not that funny.
 
 
State of Women in Film Panel
The return of Kate McKinnon's aging screen star Debette Goldry, whose experiences of sexism are far more outrageous than those for modern women. Cecily Strong plays Marion Cotillard and Sasheer Zameta plays Lupita Nyong'o on a "State of Women In Film" panel featuring Goldry and her cohort, Gaye Fontaine (McCarthy). Doubling down on the elders doesn't make the sketch twice as funny; it gets bogged down fairly quickly in mad libs of whose outrageously horrible experience was more damaging. Goldry had her molars removed to make her face "less Polish"; Fontaine removed half her ribs to get in a movie; and they toured as spokesmodels for lead paint, which they would drink to prove it's safe. A bit of a predictable dud.
 
 
Kyle and Leslie
Another in the behind-the-scenes series of Kyle Mooney and Leslie Jones's courtship, this one features Kyle's POV worried about the state of their relationship now that they're married and have a young child named Lorne. Leslie's career is taking off with movies and standup while Kyle's has stalled. He's suspicious of her close relationship with Jost, they go to therapy and reconcile. A sweet albeit odd piece of fiction they just seem really tickled to keep exploring.
 
 
Mom Spirit Animal
Melissa Villaseñor is a mom who's recently moved into a new suburban neighbourhood and at a local gathering, the other moms help her decide who her "spirit animal" is. McCarthy (wearing a dolphin sweater) explains how recent rude behaviour came from her "dolphin nature" while McKinnon explains her affinity for ladybugs. This will determine all gifts and party themes for her future, the ladies inform Villaseñor. When she demurs, claiming she feels no such affinity, the ladies seize on a throw pillow with a country chicken on it and Villaseñor is immediately adorned in chicken-themed crap. A pretty fun late show sketch.
 
 
Lighthouse Features Pitch
Beck Bennett plays the guy who designed the Dreamworks logo, pitching film company Lighthouse Features on what their logo tease could be. Most of them feature dishevelled Melissa McCarthy in a bathrobe: "Oh no!" is her catch phrase in one; in another she pops a kids balloon with her cigarette and yells "I could kick your ass"; the next is simply "Did you hear about Donna? She's in jail"; and one is just coughing and hacking away at her hair with a knife. They kick him out when he reveals he didn't do anything with Dreamworks and just claims he did. Absurd enough for 12:55.
 
 
Goodbyes
Steve Martin shows up to present McCarthy with her official "Five Timers Club" jacket. "You're Steve Martin" she quips in surprise, to which he responds "I know!" A very sweet ending to an up-and-down show.