Saturday Night Live: John Mulaney & LCD Soundsystem

February 26, 2022

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Feb 27, 2022

John Mulaney made his triumphant fifth return as host of Saturday Night Live (though his friend Pete Davidson was conspicuously absent from this episode and a recurring Mulaney sketch he's never missed), and LCD Soundsystem came to move people's bodies but also tickle their funny bones. Here's everything that happened on a cameo-heavy, SNL this week.

The cold open

Rather than perform any comedy, Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong introduced the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York, who sang a solemn hymn to honour Ukraine.

The monologue

In the unenviable position of doing standup after one of the most sombre cold opens in the show's history, John Mulaney was greeted with a huge ovation for his fifth hosting turn. Mulaney recounted the intervention he experienced in December 2020, which was amusing, and then talked about how the January 6 insurrection would not have happened had he not been in rehab for his drug addiction. The story he told about breaking up with his drug dealer, who may have only become a drug dealer out of concern for the comedian, was very funny. Looking a bit like the proud but tired new dad he is, Mulaney also discussed his newborn son, Malcolm, and his unique brand of politeness, all of which made for a swiftly amusing monologue.

Monkey Judge

Melissa Villaseñor played an injured client and Kenan Thompson played her lawyer, who had brought a case about a residential monkey attack to court. Unfortunately the presiding judge was a monkey named Tango, played by Mulaney, and monkey chaos ensued. This was very detail-oriented, physical and funny.

Blue River Dog Food

In this remote ad parody, Cecily Strong and Heidi Gardner played friends who run into one another at a pet store, where they engage in a debate about the significance of Blue River dog food. Strong was the pushy one here, but she got some support from her husband, played by Mulaney, and this elaborate fake ad had some darkly amusing twists.

How We Will Talk About COVID

At a restaurant gathering among three couples, a tricky discussion about how to even talk about COVID-19, masking, vaccines and social norms ensued, which was rather amazing. All of the questioning of what we did and why we did it, and predicting how post-COVID conversations and reflections are likely going to go, was rather hilarious.

Please Don't Destroy: Good Variant

The PDD crew stumbled upon a news report claiming that the next COVID variant is actually really dope. Delivered by an anchor played by Mulaney, the news prompts an excited party to break out, featuring cameos by Paul Rudd and Al Roker among others, which made for a good remote, which was viewed by…

The Five-Timers Club

Steve Martin, Candace Bergen, and Rudd turned off the PDD video to discuss their membership in the Five-Timers Club, and the prospect of welcoming Mulaney into the fold. Surprising cameos by other members like Tina Fey and Elliott Gould, made this rather exciting, despite some stilted line reading by some rusty, senior performers. Some strange camera malfunction kind of spoiled the biggest cameo of all, as Conan O'Brien burst through the door to extol the virtues of SNL's acclaimed writing staff, but he and the rest cohered to make this silly, meta sketch eye-catching and memorable.

LCD Soundsystem

An eight-piece version of LCD Soundsystem returned to SNL to play songs from their self-titled 2005 debut. A spirited version of "Thrills" approximated a slow-building party.

For "Yr City's a Sucker," James Murphy came off like Frank Zappa fronting the Plastic Ono Band, as his crew settled into a steady groove and he played a sloganeer on a mic, all of which was rather hypnotic.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost took a big shot at NBC for airing the winter Olympics after a slew of material about Russia invading Ukraine, which led to Michael Che doing a run on the crisis and later making a good joke about Donald Trump flushing stuff down the toilet. Some wild jokes this week, including Jost's about a guy who got a battery stuck in his penis and Che making one about a condom custom made for anal sex. It was that kind of Update and, without one single desk correspondent to interrupt the proceedings or kill time this week, it breezed by with nothing but well-honed, edgy jokes.

Subway Churros

In a now-classic setup for a Mulaney musical number, Chris Redd and Andrew Dismukes (filling in for a missing Pete Davidson, who normally plays this character) were down in the subway system when Dismukes's character pondered buying a churro from some random woman. Of course, this questionable decision kick started a NYC-centric musical satirizing its transit system and comprised of familiar tunes from a variety of other famed productions. Even LCD Soundsystem stopped by to play the Guardian Angels street enforcers (with Murphy impersonating leader Curtis Sliwa, who was a GOP mayoral candidate) in this visual and comedy spectacular that worked well.

Behind the Slime

In a documentary special about the history of Nickelodeon's famed falling slime, various cast members and Mulaney had to endure being covered and/or attacked by all sorts of iterations of this stuff, which had vastly different consistencies. Whether being clocked on the head, blasted in the face, or absolutely smothered by the goo, this was silly, physical humour with funny performances and some sly commentary about how harsh 1980s television could be.

Robinson Family Reunion

In her first and only appearance on this episode, Ego Nwodim paired with Mulaney, as the two attended a family reunion and then engaged in a choreographed dance routine with everyone in the brood. With some snappy dialogue, this was done at least once before in recent years but was a fine show closer.

Latest Coverage