Brendan Gleeson Overcame Awkward 'SNL' Monologue for Some Great Sketches

October 8, 2022

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Oct 9, 2022

Brendan Gleeson overcame some initial monologue awkwardness and emerged as a fine, committed host, while Willow's musical performances would've benefitted from more plausible commitment. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.

The Cold Open

In a somewhat unusual move, a game show parody was assigned to cold open with fair results. Bowen Yang played the host, Morgan Freegirl, helming a show called So You Think You Won't Snap and provoking his guests (played by Heidi Gardner, Chloe Fineman, Kenan Thompson and Devon Walker) to lose their tempers simply by going through news headlines. Again, beyond the novelty of kicking off an episode with a game show bit, this felt more like a preview of Weekend Update and was just okay.

The Monologue

Character actor Brendan Gleeson performed a very unique musical monologue. Clearly not accustomed to doing stand-up, Gleeson asked for a mandolin, and proceeded to perform half-liners in between tuning the thing, which was odd and open stage-y. The free-form awkwardness was accentuated by his Banshees of Inisherin co-star, Colin Farrell, whose cameo at least led this raw monologue to come to a close.

Try Guys in the News

In a CNN broadcast, Gleeson deftly played field correspondent Colin O'Doherty, whose White House report was interrupted by breaking news updates about the Try Guys. This led to an appearance by three of the Try Guys, played by Bowen Yang, Mikey Day, and Andrew Dismukes, mimicking the photo of the trio that appeared all over Twitter this week. Serving as both a parody of how pervasive this strange story became, and of the fact that most of us had never heard of the Try Guys before this pointless viral news, this sketch almost broke Yang and Day and was rather amusing.

What's It Like Being New at SNL?

In this digital short, rookie cast members Marcelo Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker told funny, horrific stories about their first weeks on the show. The comedy spine of this short was Kearney revealing that Lorne Michaels was part of a strange celebrity cabal who demanded that they assassinate Vladimir Putin. While everyone else played it straight, Kearney came across as some combination of Melissa McCarthy and Sam Kinison, which was interesting and funny energy.

Blonde (Preview)

In this parody of the new Netflix film Blonde, Chloe Fineman played Marilyn Monroe, who was read some fan mail by studio lackeys played by Gleeson and Heidi Gardner. As it happened, the mail wasn't all that complimentary, which made this short thing more sad than funny, really.

Grandpa Photos

Michael Longfellow played an actor who turned up to have headshots taken by a strange photographer played by Andrew Dismukes. When the actor's grandfather, played by Gleeson, showed up, the photographer became obsessed with shooting him instead, which led to a lot of a mugging and posing, eventually including Colin Farrell. Dismukes somehow made this flimsy premise work.

Please Don't Destroy: Senior Year

In a PDD remote, Gleeson joined the boys to portray high school seniors at a party. Things took a turn when Gleeson's "Pork Chop" finally revealed that he wasn't really 17 but, instead, 67 years old, which was a pretty hilarious premise, and this worked well. 


Fronting a three-piece emo-pop band with synthetic textures, Willow initially took on the role of lead new wave singer, bounding about the stage and singing intensely, before ending "curious/furious" on guitar for a 30-second harmony lead part. This was a bit all over the place stylistically, which made it more incoherent than dynamic.

In a somewhat more straight-ahead, Sunset Strip post-punk/nu metal manner, Willow and the band went through the motions of being dangerous on "ur a stranger," complete with what seemed to be a rehearsed bit of gear destruction at the end. This played at spirit without employing much conviction.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost began Update with good digs at Republican candidates like Dr. Oz and his dog-killing scandal, while Michael Che dealt with Herschel Walker's abortion and child care issues in a darkly funny manner. Jost highlighted President Biden's senior moments, while Che got lightly booed for criticizing Kanye West's mental illness.

Ego Nwodim stopped by to play Black Ariel from the live-action Little Mermaid film, addressing the recent racist hubbub about the casting call and made a lot of jokes about being a fish that was dumb and rich, and accused Shamu of some weird stuff.

Jost made a couple of good baseball jokes and a shaky one about Velma from Scooby-Doo, while Che stumbled over a cop bit. Marcello Hernandez appeared to do some sit-down stand-up about baseball players being more exciting when they're Cuban or Dominican. Clearly based on a strong, reliable bit that Hernandez had honed, this was thorough in its baseball coverage and impressive.

Ancient Empires

In this History Channel dramatization, two tribal factions united to take on an opponent. Gleeson and Mikey Day played representatives of each who bound themselves with a blood oath. Unfortunately and rather amusingly, Gleeson's leader cut his hand so deeply, he was distracted by the anguish of it for a spell, before it spurted blood everywhere, breaking up Day, Chloe Fineman and Kenan Thompson, who did their best to dodge Gleeson's gruesome, spewing prop, all of which was fun to watch.

Denver: Blink and You'll Miss It

At an office gathering to discuss possible new slogans for the city of Denver, Sarah Sherman played a colleague who'd had their eyes replaced by really fake, googly eyeballs, which was freaky and funny. Sherman's a gift, whose manic energy and weird ideas should be on display more.

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