Michael B. Jordan Brought 'SNL' to Life While Lil Baby Put It to Sleep

January 28, 2023

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Jan 29, 2023

Michael B. Jordan was certainly a charismatic and affable host who'd clearly bonded with frequent scene partner, Heidi Gardner, while Lil Baby was a sleepy musical guest. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.

The cold open

Mikey Day played Attorney General Merrick Garland as a tough guy updating us on the various former officials who have been found to have classified documents they likely shouldn't have. Various cast members turned up to satirize Mike Pence, Kamala Harris, and, most cheerily, Bowen Yang playing and FBI agent thrilled to be in Barack Obama's home. Not a bad way to skewer this strange rash of incidents of late.

The Monologue

Michael B. Jordan made a series of puns about his name and played a clip of him as a 16 year-old, appearing (and howling like a wolf) on an episode of All My Children. After referencing the publicity surrounding his recent breakup, many of the show's female cast turned up to hit on him, which was predictable but amusing.

Cuisine with Francine

On a morning show, the host of a cooking segment returned to work after being stuck on a super-fast roller coaster for 18 hours straight. Featuring a deranged looking Sarah Sherman and, eventually, Jordan as a weatherman who suffered similar fate, this was a pretty striking bit of physical and visual comedy that was both surreal and gross but also very funny.

Southwest Airlines

In this remote ad, representatives from Southwest Airlines quasi-apologized for their recent and widespread service failures, and also updated us on their bizarre and frustrating new features, which was a nice blast of satire.

Towel Boys

Marcello Hernandez and Kenan Thompson played Spanish towel boys at a hotel and asked Americans about some of their most confusing trivia. Mostly making fun of such tourists, this was silly and pointless.

Jake from State Farm

In this remote ad, a married couple is visited by Jake from State Farm, but things take a strange turn when he takes over the household's patriarchal role. Jordan played the creepy agent, Mikey Day and Heidi Gardner played the couple, and this horror flick take-off ended with a funny twist.


Street Fighter VI

At a voiceover session for a new Street Fighter game, Jordan and Bowen Yang frustrate the engineers when their tone and approach don't mesh with the spirit of the game. Yang played the most disruptive actor, and he clearly enjoyed the role.

Lil Baby

Staged in an illuminated box, Lil Baby fronted a full band and sang-rapped using Auto-Tune, which made for a distracting warble of a sound on the surprisingly tepid "California Breeze."

With the stage modified with a dramatic backlit effect, Lil Baby was accompanied on "Forever" by a backing track and a pianist at a baby grand, and he oscillated between quick bursts of rapping and lip syncing to the track's hook. However theatrical, this felt slight and forgettable.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost began with an update about Facebook's decision to reinstate Donald Trump, before he and Michael Che did some light riffing on the classified documents scandal. Jost went after George Santos briefly and Che made a dark joke about sex abuse among Catholic priests.

Kenan Thompson played Carl, Che's doorman, which fell within the tradition of Thompson killing time at the desk with a so-so character.

Che earned a succession of groans for items about abortion laws in Texas, Kanye West and polar bear extinction, all of which were solid jokes. Heidi Gardner appeared as her character Every Boxer's Girlfriend from Every Boxing Movie Ever, lamenting about her boyfriend Tommy and calling out for Adonis Creed, which prompted Jordan to appear as his character, but this wasn't a particularly strong closer.


Male Confidence Seminar

Andrew Dismukes played the leader of a male confidence seminar, which was interrupted by a water jug deliveryman, played by Jordan. When he was insulted by the seminar host, the water jug deliveryman began heckling and undermining him, which led the whole room to turn on him, all of which was vaguely amusing.

Bachelorette Party

At an intimate bachelorette party, Jordan played an exotic dancer who was doing his thing when his heavily pregnant wife, played by Heidi Gardner, turned up to charge her phone. The awkward and weird energy caused Chloe Fineman to lose it a few times, and this chaotic idea was charmingly funny.

King Brothers Toyota

Andrew Dismukes and James Austin Johnson (doing his best Will Forte character) played the co-owners of a Toyota dealership whose TV is mostly fixated on making sure customers take the correct exit, lest they accidentally wind up at a Raising Cane's restaurant.

Falling Down

In this remote, Jordan roamed the SNL halls but kept falling down, with Andrew Dismukes witnessing each and every collapse. Eventually, Bowen Yang and Sarah Sherman confronted Dismukes about how he needed to work on not seeing Jordan fall down any more. Strange and surreal, this was good.

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