Saturday Night Live: Paul Rudd & DJ Khaled May 18, 2019
The cold open
After a considerable absence, Alec Baldwin returned to play Donald Trump and made a fake televised presidential address. This quickly turned into a musical political parody of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now," with assists from Cecily Strong as Melania Trump, Beck Bennett as Mike Pence, Aidy Bryant as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chris Redd as Kanye West, Kenan Thompson as Judge Clarence Thomas, Kate McKinnon as Wilbur Ross, Alex Moffatt as Eric Trump, Mikey Day as Donald Jr., and finally, Robert De Niro as Robert Mueller. It wasn't easy to pick out the laugh lines in the lyrics here and, with so many people involved, this felt like a stuffed crust pizza with old cheese.
The ageless Paul Rudd decided to turn his monologue into a "best man" speech. The piece was well-written and Rudd delivered it in a rather dry, Steve Martin-esque manner, which was amusing.
A Time Travel Event
It's been a while since we've seen Kate McKinnon's Ms. Rafferty respond to questions from scientists wondering about her latest close encounter with something strange. In this case, Aidy Bryant and Mikey Day played specialists speaking to her and hicks played by Cecily Strong and Paul Rudd, who have experienced time travel. McKinnon smoked a cigarette and, at one point, used Rudd as an apparatus to demonstrate a spirited physical encounter she had in prehistoric times. It was telling that while McKinnon-as-Rafferty normally causes everyone in the sketch to break, in this case, the jokes were so lame that this bit was limp.
Grace & Frankie
Pete Davidson appeared in a remote to rap about the end of Game of Thrones but, after being questioned by Kenan Thompson and the show's actual "Grey Worm" about his GoT fandom, Davidson admitted he'd rather bust rhymes about a show he actually likes, such as Grace & Frankie. With help from DJ Khaled, Paul Rudd, and the show's stars, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, this song was funny.
What's Wrong with this Picture
Kenan Thompson played a game show host overseeing a trio of dumb, difficult contestants. In the vein of the Will Ferrell/Darrell Hammond Jeopardy! dynamic, this was just built on the tension between how absurd the players were, and how much their conduct exasperated the host, but it worked well enough.
Music's most curiously mystifying employee, DJ Khaled had to bring out top-tier guests to put his set across. Lil Wayne and Big Sean did tiny and large things before departing the stage; Khaled hyped them and his own name, as he does, and then brought out Jeremih, Meek Mill, Lil Baby and J Balvin. The mix for all of this was horrendous, with Khaled's voice dominating everything, and the first song made the whole production almost comical in its construction.
For the second performance, Khaled, in his Ghostface-meets-Flavor Flav zone, brought out SZA, who may have been singing to a backing track, but was only onscreen for maybe 45 seconds before Meek Mill returned for energetic verses. John Legend was on hand to sing a gospel song behind an upright piano, as he and Khaled paid tribute to Nipsey Hussle, which was soon co-signed by everyone who appeared with Khaled on the show.
DJ Khaled wearing a Nipsey Hussle hoodie is everything #SNLFinale— San Juana (@sanjuanacparamo) May 19, 2019
Colin Jost skewered the Trump administration for its intention to go to war with Iran, before Michael Che made a joke about Chinese tariffs on useless American imports. Cecily Strong's really brilliant impersonation of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro elevates the energy level of Update, and this week's appearance, in the wake of her real-life counterpart's sinking TV ratings, complete with a thorough soaking of Jost (and Che), was funny.
In a reprise, Jost and Che did a bit where they each read jokes that the other had written on-air, for the first time ever, which, because Che always makes Jost sound very racist, was predictable but hilarious.
Leslie Jones appeared at the desk for a comedic commentary about the passage of the Alabama abortion bill. Jones was rightfully enraged, lashing out at the men who are violating women's rights and freedoms, and this was impactful.
Set in an antique shop, Kyle Mooney and Cecily Strong played a couple whose daughter stumbled upon a music box. Rudd appears as the store's owner and they all sing a song about gassy ballerinas. Kenan Thompson appeared too, looking a lot like Jordan Peele, to end this bit with a twist.
Many of the cast's female characters portrayed the hosts of The View and they welcomed Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, played by Rudd. With missed cues and few real jokes, this was rather messy and unnecessary.
Leslie & Kyle
Blasting us with the past, SNL gave us a new remote video in which Leslie Jones and Kyle Mooney appear to be in love. This romantic bit took on a more sordid turn when Rudd walks in on them having sex in his dressing room, and then ends up joining them. Somewhat stylized and clever in its way, this was amusing.
Marking the first appearances for Heidi Gardner and Ego Nwodim on this episode, this slumber party bit was pretty good. Rudd played a dorky dad, but the star was Melissa Villaseñor as Bealthor, who is summoned by the girls in a Ouija board mishap. The premise led to some awkward interplay and physical humour, and Rudd was solid in this too.
Thank you Paul Rudd, @ABFalecbaldwin, Robert De Niro, @RaleighRitchie, @djkhaled, @LilTunechi, @JBALVIN, @MeekMill, @sza, @johnlegend, @BigSean, @Jeremih, and @lilbaby4PF! Goodnight! #SNLFinale pic.twitter.com/4OlvMw29vu— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) May 19, 2019