Saturday Night Live: Will Ferrell & King Princess

November 23, 2019

BY Vish KhannaPublished Nov 24, 2019

Bouncing back from a rough week for Harry Styles, Saturday Night Live corrected its course and wrote some great stuff for Will Ferrell, who remains a comedic wonder, while King Princess did her best to own this big moment with two musical performances. Here's everything that happened this week.

The Cold Open
Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump addressed the press near a running helicopter that he was about to board, which is something his IRL counterpart always does for some reason. It was the Sharpie'd "I want nothing" notes presser from the past week that was lampooned, and it was pretty status pro quo until Will Ferrell showed up as Ambassador Gordon Sondland. He and Baldwin seemed to screw up the bit, misunderstanding their cue cards and cross-talking until the camera cut to Heidi Gardner, who played a journalist posing a question to both men. Ferrell was onscreen for maybe 30 seconds and this was not worth the makeup and prosthetics it took to get him there.
The Monologue
Ferrell returned to the show that made him famous and was primed for his monologue, but was soon distracted by the fact that Ryan Reynolds was sitting in the audience. It turned him into a nervous teenager, and later some version of Tracy Morgan (who turned up too), which was all very amusing.

Heinz Relax
In this excellent fake ad, Thanksgiving dinner is nearly ruined when Ferrell's patriarch is mocked for squeezing a ketchup bottle that makes that farting sound we're all familiar with. The solution is a new line of products called Heinz Relax, which is supposed to make a less embarrassing sound, but instead creates an even more outlandish bodily noise, and wow, this was very satisfying in every possible way.

Democratic Debate
Melissa Villaseñor played MSNBC's Rachel Maddow who moderated this past week's crowded Democratic debate, which prompted SNL to cart out a boatload of cameos. Maya Rudolph hilariously played a viral GIF/meme-hunting Kamala Harris; Larry David was an agitated, clapper-demanding Bernie Sanders; Rachel Dratch was a spacey Amy Klobuchar; Woody Harrelson played a misspeaking, outta sorts Joe Biden; Fred Armisen was an aloof Michael Bloomberg, and all mingled among cast members and Ferrell's rather disturbing Tom Steyer. The cast, including Colin Jost's Mayor Pete, Kate McKinnon's Elizabeth Warren, Bowen Yang's Andrew Yang, and Cecily Strong's Tulsi Gabbard, was pretty much cast aside, enabling the guests to carry this frenetic and entertaining sketch.

Thanksgiving 1600s
In this period sketch, Beck Bennett played a pale face named John meeting his new partner, Pocahontas, played by Melissa Villaseñor, and her family, including a prejudiced elder played by Ferrell, and perhaps her parents, played by Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen. As Ferrell mentioned in a meta- moment at the end, there were a lot of problems with this historical comment on modern politics, but in the end, it was all about the corn and that made it silly and fun.
Mr. B at the Party
In this amusing musical remote, teens throw a house party after their parents split town, but are surprised when their high school teacher, Mr. B, shows up and circulates. Played by Ferrell, Mr. B seems cool enough, which surprises his students, but he's also going through a lot of shit, which gave this stylized music video concept a real edge.

A TV promo for a local pizza place goes sour when the family that is cast for the spot exhibit some dysfunction. Mikey Day played the earnest director trying to steer this shoot but he encountered issues when teens (Kyle Mooney and Heidi Gardner) suggest their parents are embarrassing them just by expressing themselves. Ferrell was the hapless dad who can't function once his wife, played by Kate McKinnon, becomes a passive-aggressive drama queen by guilting her children about their insolence towards her. This very funny idea for a sketch was sold particularly well by Ferrell and the cast.

King Princess
Some poor mixes and sound issues didn't seem to impact an oblivious King Princess from emoting and singing like an experienced superstar, instead of the emerging artist she really is. "1950" was a Prince-inspired expression of soul-infused pop that was light and patient in its arrangement and execution, before a fiery conclusion, and the Princess herself closed it off with a brief, distorted and basic guitar solo. For "Hit the Back," she took on more of a diva persona, singing with no guitar, stalking the stage and dancing to put an '80s-style song across with its low-key verses giving way to bigger choruses. Again, muddy mixes curbed the power of both songs, but they also felt derivative and slight on TV.
Weekend Update
Colin Jost went in on the impeachment inquiry for a slew of good jokes before Michael Che was able to get just a couple of his own off. Both anchors were generally funny, but the difference between their respective on-camera time was rather noticeable this week.
Alex Moffat's brilliant Guy Who Just Bought a Boat made a much-needed return to the Update desk to gross us out with his highly sleazy douchebaggery, and after some remarkably written sexual commentary, he introduced us to his friend, Guy Who Knows the Owner, played by a game and adept Ryan Reynolds. These are perfectly realized jerks and Moffatt is a genius.

Che highlighted the bizarre story of Julia Roberts once being considered to play Harriet Tubman with a decent bit, which preceded Jost making a funny Nazi memorabilia joke. After a few more jokes landed unevenly, Update came to an anticlimactic end.
The Wizard of Oz - Alternate Ending
In a Classic Cinemas special presentation hosted by Kenan Thompson's Reese De'What, viewers got to see the awkward alternate ending of The Wizard of Oz, in which Dorothy wakes up to tell her friends how they appeared as different characters in her dream. But who in her actual life inspired the Munchkins? Well, as this amusing idea imagined it, perhaps some not-so-pleased little people.
Hi-Hat Lounge
Ferrell played a ventriloquist putting on a show at a lounge, but it becomes clear that his puppet, Chippy, is very uncomfortable having a man's hand up his butt. Is Chippy sentient? So it would seem in this very funny idea that Ferrell gleefully sold.

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