Molly Shannon's Return to 'SNL' Hampered by Bad Writing and the Jonas Brothers' Half-Complete Songs

April 6, 2023

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Apr 9, 2023

Though Molly Shannon's return was sentimental, the feeling was not enough to hold up a particularly weak episode of Saturday Night Live, which also featured the Jonas Brothers performing half-complete songs. Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.

The Cold Open

Unusually, the show began with a very specifically religious sketch about Easter, depicting the Last Supper, with Mikey Day as Jesus Christ. But the dramatization was interrupted by James Austin Johnson's hilarious impression of Donald Trump, who compared his own prosecution to the persecution of Jesus, whom he called a "nepo baby." Johnson was great in this, doing his idiosyncratically idiotic Trump and getting a bit meta with the supper table cast behind him, all of which was funny. 

The Monologue 

Beloved SNL alum Molly Shannon was genuinely emotional and grateful to be back on the show, and for the career year she's had, including authoring a bestselling book. This led to a musical number, which was earnestly positive, though there were occasional cast pop-ins, and even cameos by Lorne Michaels and Martin Short, all of which was charming. 

Vincent's Valets

Andrew Dismukes played a manager training three new aspiring valets, as played by Shannon, James Austin Johnson and Kenan Thompson. The trio had trouble following the three-step rule of performing a "lil bow, lil joke, and a lil jog," which was somewhat amusing, mostly thanks to Johnson's early effort. 

Jeannie Darcy — Startage

In this remote, another live Netflix comedy special was previewed, with Shannon playing a terrible comedian named Jeannie Darcy, whose primary catchphrase was "Don't get me started. Don't even get me started." This was puzzling. But, like, puzzlingly awful? What was the point of this?

Suzy's Baby Shower

At a baby shower among office colleagues, Shannon played the expectant mother who looked ready to give birth at any moment. But one giant fart later, her tummy shrunk and it was revealed that "the baby" was just bad gas. With some silly prop comedy, this was a tad too juvenile, but amused the cast on-stage at least. 

please don't destroy – MOLLY 2K23

After several field trips over the past few weeks, the pdd dudes were back in their shared office, and, this time, they were playing video games when Shannon stopped by. She was a bit taken aback to discover that they were playing a game based on her entire life, which took a funny turn. 

A Year of a Thousand Men

Heidi Gardner was a playwright attending a staging of her new play, along with her man friend, who was played by Devon Walker. Unfortunately for him, the play chronicled her real-life promiscuity and dissatisfaction with their relationship. With a cameo by Nick Jonas, this was just okay. 

Jonas Brothers

Backed up by like 15 other musicians and singers, the three Jonas Brothers performed a trite pop song called "Waffle House" that seemed to be comprised more of vocal sounds than words, and had a vaguely 1980s scrolling-movie-credits vibe. Given the title, this performance needed a good chair-throwing fight sequence.

The JBs were more low-key when they returned to the stage for "Walls," going for a slow-building Rolling Stones vibe — but, again, actual words of substance were forsaken for human caterwauling and an anti-climactic climax. This was not a song.

Weekend Update 

Colin Jost made some jokes about the recent Donald Trump arraignment, which weren't as good as Michael Che's Barack Obama joke about the same. Jost then walked us through the Justice Clarence Thomas fiasco, with a few good runs at GOP super-donor Harlan Crow.

Bowen Yang appeared as Aladdin villain Jafar fpr a commentary about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's homophobic attacks against Disney World, which was theatrically funny.

Che then had some good bits about Rupert Murdoch's cancelled engagement and the Pope's comments about sex, before introducing LSU basketball star Angel Reese. Punkie Johnson played the college star, who made the news for her cockiness, and Johnson played her as such, but this wasn't particularly funny.

Che made a darkly funny joke about a prankster being shot, then Jost and Che had a funny, impromptu back-and-forth, and then we met Heidi Gardner's Co-Worker Who's Extremely Busy Doing Seemingly Nothing, Crystal. With manic energy and physical comedy, Gardner channelled Carol Burnett with word salads and also tossing a real salad. This was Update's highlight this week. 


At a commercial shoot, Shannon, Ego Nwodim and Molly Kearney tried to up-sell a menopause treatment called Vagerted via a musical commercial. The shoot became a tad heated when Shannon's character revealed a mean-spirited side and tense when Kenan Thompson appeared to play an ill-informed on-camera voiceover person. This was fairly silly. 

Sally O'Malley

At a Jonas Brothers' choreography session, Shannon reprised her Sally O'Malley character, whose tight fitting pants left little to the anatomical imagination. The boys too wore such pants, there was some yelling and brief dancing, but the only thing propelling this was sentimental affection for an old character that Shannon popularized. 


This remote ad lampooned everyone who clamours for Donald Trump to face actual consequences for his actions, promoting a mediation app in which many CNN broadcasters, D.A. Alvin Bragg (Kenan Thompson) and at least one print journalist (Shannon as the NY Times' Maggie Hagerman) said things that the show thought sensible people might be hoping to hear. This was pointed, but it's odd whom this show thought to jab at here; the lampooning-liberals thing felt Jost-ian and centrist and was not good. 

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