'SNL' Scored a Comedic Touchdown Thanks to Travis Kelce

March 4, 2023

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Mar 5, 2023

NFL star Travis Kelce was as enthused as any host could possibly be, with some acting chops to boot, and country pop singer Kelsea Ballerini kept viewers on their toes during her two performances. Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.

The Cold Open 

The Fox & Friends crew spent some time discussing how embattled their network has been of late, what with the revelations and allegations about journalistic impropriety. The true star of this so-so open was James Austin Johnson who played MyPillow weirdo Mike Lindell, though Kenan Thompson got big laughs for mugging as family murder expert O.J. Simpson. 

The Monologue 

Travis Kelce of the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs sent up his on-field patter, showing a clip of him yelling "more" at his teammates repeatedly. Kelce then presented his family in the audience, including his football rival and brother, Jason, which was funny. Travis expressed genuine emotion for the opportunity to host SNL, and his monologue was eventful and entertaining in its own way. 

American Girl Cafe

Kelce played a patron at an American Girl Cafe, accompanied by two dolls and weirded out his waiter, played by Mikey Day. After being rude to a mother, played by Sarah Sherman, Kelce's character was cheerily interrogated by Heidi Gardner's cafe manager, and then disturbed a father and daughter, the former played by Kenan Thompson. Kelce was rather good in this, which made it work. 

please don't destroy: Self-Defence

Sick of being disrespected by SNL interns, the pdd trio wound up leaving their office (for the second week in a row), to take a surreal self-defence class taught by Kelce's violently abusive Kurt Lightning. Frenetically written with plenty of physical comedy, this was very funny. 

Miss Glenda 

Kelce appeared as a speaker at a funeral service, admitting that he'd had an affair with a late, elderly woman in his care, much to her gathered family's chagrin. Featuring Ego Nwodim as a quasi-animated corpse, this was strange and quite amusing. 

Straight Male Friend 

In this remote ad, Bowen Yang played a gay man who was exhausted playing a support role for straight women friends. As such, he promoted a service called Straight Male Friend, which promised a low maintenance dynamic instead, and had some good laugh lines.
Graham & Abby

Heidi Gardner played Abby, who spotted her ex Graham (played by Kelce) while out at a bar. It seemed that Abby was not as over Graham as she pretended to be, bursting into a shower of tears upon learning more about him and his fiancée, played by Chloe Fineman. A nice bit of physical and prop comedy by Gardner here, who had her cast mates breaking up. 

Kelsea Ballerini 

With plainspoken lyrics and a country-pop vibe, Kelsea Ballerini confidently stalked the SNL stage with "Blindsided," a song was both banal (with a chorus based on a lyric that would've been clever if it appeared once in a verse, instead of recurring) yet adventurously arranged. 

Backed by a piano player at a white baby grand, Ballerini too appeared in a white gown, and passionately sang a love song, "Penthouse," again inspired by modern country, and often and boldly a cappella, which made it surprising if a bit slight. 

Weekend Update 

Colin Jost started in on the banning of drag shows in Tennessee with some good jokes. Michael Che told a funny joke about not eating bats, and then both anchors tackled the Scott Adams/Dilbert saga. Jost did a TikTok dance and later made a sight gag about Alex Murdaugh.
In a make-up feat, Michael Longfellow played a put-upon Dilbert, commenting on his relationship with his creator, Scott Adams, and made lame office jokes, which was biting and funny.

Che made a couple of prison and zoo jokes, and Jost made a great James Bond joke, invoking the name "Cooter Aplenty." Mikey Day and Punkie Johnson appeared as themselves to discuss how little Johnson knows about celebrities and their names. This resulted in an amusing game with Jost. 

Che made two absurd black penis jokes, and Jost joked about Cardi B's wet ass patty. Sarah Sherman appeared to provide the Sarah News, in which Sherman figured out ways to villainize Jost endlessly, which was still funny. 

The Song

At a family gathering, a middle-aged couple played by Ego Nwodim and James Austin Johnson notify their three children that they're now in a throuple with a character played by Kelce. The message is delivered via a jaunty song that Johnson, invoking Michael McDonald, particularly shone in.
Garrett from Hinge 

Kelce and Heidi Gardner played a couple in a post-coital glow who are confronted by Garrett, a psychotic person played by Bowen Yang, who was furious about having his Hinge date with Gardner blown off. A study in strangeness, this was pretty good. 

Too Hot to Handle

In a send-up of the Netflix series, contestants on this show about abstaining from sex are freaked out by the coupling of characters played by Kelce and Chloe Fineman, because her Glenn is filthy and off-putting. This was okay. 

Cut for time: The NFL Gives Back

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