Even Coldplay Couldn't Spoil an Excellent 'SNL' Episode with Pedro Pascal

February 4, 2023

BY Vish KhannaPublished Feb 5, 2023

Pedro Pascal was a terrific host and the writing staff and cast did everything they could to help him shine, while Coldplay's painful positivity was far too airy to land. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.


The Cold Open

Chloe Fineman appeared as MSNBC correspondent Katy Tur to cover the Chinese spy balloon incident. Kenan Thompson played a military general, who explained the process behind shooting down the balloon, and also why it may have gained entry into U.S. airspace, which was emphasized via some good physical comedy. Bowen Yang soon turned up, as the damaged balloon itself, which was sentient, sad and sassy, and, after exploding in the sky, floating in the ocean. Conceptually interesting and well written, this spy balloon sketch was solid.

The Monologue

Pedro Pascal took to the stage to mildly self-mock his role in The Last of Us, and to delightfully allude to his roles in The Mandalorian and Game of Thrones. He discussed his 34 Chilean cousins and their views of his career as a character actor, which made him visibly emotional, before closing off a personal and pleasant warm-up.


The Big Hollywood Quiz

Bowen Yang played the host of a classic Hollywood game show, which highlighted how little most people seem to know about fleeting modern pop culture, compared to its established history. This was exemplified by the "2020s" category, which, following a streak of correct answers about eras that preceded it, prompted all three contestants to draw blanks when asked anything about ubiquitous streaming services and our seemingly dwindling star system. This was sharp and funny.

Mario Kart

With a riff on HBO's The Last of Us, a hit series adaptation of a video game, this satirized what it might be like if Mario Kart received the same dark and dystopian treatment. Visually impressive, this was rather well done, actually.


Coma Conversation

Pascal played Charlie, a coma victim who wakes up with a totally different personality and voice affectation, which was ridiculous. Bowen Yang, Heidi Gardner, Kenan Thompson, Sarah Sherman and Pascal could barely contain themselves in this absurd thing that was, in fact, very funny.

Student Technology Use

Pascal played a popular high school teacher who led an assembly about social media use, based specifically on his concerns about students making affectionate fan cams about him (and at least one other administrator).

Trying desperately to comprehend his students' modern online vernacular about daddies and mommies, Pascal's teacher was soon joined by a teaching counterpart, played by Sarah Paulson, and together they brought this crowd-pleaser home.


Wing Pit

In this remote ad, a Wing Pit promotion took a horrific turn when a Super Bowl order got more and more outrageous and, well, demonic. Visually perfect, written well, and featuring great performances (particularly by Heidi Gardner, who played the unhinged Wing Pit spokesperson), this was hilarious.


As they have on previous SNL stints, Coldplay brought an up-with-people vibe to the show, this time accompanied by a coterie of guests, including Jacob Collier, the Jason Max Ferdinand Singers, and also a few aliens, which was all a ruse to mask how tepid and cloying a song "The Astronaut" is.

After Pascal introduced Coldplay's medley of "Human Heart" and "Fix You," Chris Martin appeared, again surrounded by the Jason Max Ferdinand Singers, and together sang a few motivational verses a cappella, as a choir. The band eventually kicked in with a very U2 arrangement to emphasize the tune's feel-good vibe, but it was ultimately trying too hard to be earnest to work or feel genuine.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost made a pretty incredible gender reveal / Chinese spy balloon joke, before Michael Che followed it with a good one about George Santos's flamboyant fabrications. Che made a joke about Donald Trump's large ass, while Jost made a decent quip about Florida gun laws and then one about his racist family boycotting the Super Bowl.


Michael Longfellow played a very depressed Punxsutawney Phil, who was very pessimistic about life and full of existential angst, which was amusing.


Jost covered the bear who took 400 selfies and then winced at himself for making a chicken wings pun. 

James Austin Johnson and Devon Walked played fictional British rappers, Milly Pounds and Shirty, who were there ostensibly to discuss the British monarchy but wound up making strange knife stabbing sounds and divulging their allergy to dairy, which was very funny.


Meeting Mama

Marcello Hernandez and Chloe Fineman played a young couple going to meet the former's mother, who was played by Pascal. With Pascal and Hernandez speaking in Spanish peppered with English terms meant to make fun of Fineman's Britney and her whiteness, this was a clever premise that was executed well.

Big Boy Chili

Five women seated at an Italian restaurant are all fawned over by their male servers, except for one member of their party, Jen, played by Sarah Sherman. While her friends are praised to feel beautiful, Jen is cast as the table's black sheep, which was mean-spirited but funny.

Lisa the Lawyer

In this dinner party sketch, Ego Nwodim played eccentric Lisa, who sent her steak dinner back three times until it was extra extra well done. The tough meat was so tricky to carve, Lisa repeatedly shook the table trying to cut it up, which left Pascal, Bowen Yang, Molly Kearney, Punkie Johnson and Nwodim in such hysterics, they could barely deliver their lines, which was charming to see.

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