Kristen Wiig Returned to 'SNL' with New Tricks and Famous Cameos

April 6, 2024

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Apr 7, 2024


In what seemed to be a conscious move, former (and HOF) Saturday Night Live cast member Kristen Wiig didn't revisit any of her beloved recurring characters (save for one), instead stretching out for new inventions that she shone in alongside lots of celebrity guests, while British soul singer RAYE put on two of the most memorable musical performances in years. Here's everything that happened on a well-written and imaginative SNL this week.  

The Cold Open

The NCAA March Madness basketball tournament was covered by the TBS crew, with James Austin Johnson, Devon Walker and Kenan Thompson playing Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. Heidi Gardner beamed in to play embattled LSU coach Kim Mulkey. This was admirably topical, with a fresh report of a result from a game that had ended just before airtime, and it was just amusing enough to work.

The Monologue

Kristen Wiig's Five-Timer monologue was interrupted by fellow club member Paul Rudd. A second interruption occurred via Paula Pell. Two-time host Matt Damon sported a Five-Timer jacket and then Jon Hamm, Martin Short, Will Forte, and Fred Armisen turned up alongside bemused producer Lorne Michaels too. The place went nuts when Ryan Gosling appeared with Wiig's jacket, and then this star-studded and entertaining open was done.

Ticket to Ride

At a dinner party, Wiig played someone who was afraid of being "Jumanji'd" by playing board games. This launched a huge semantic debate about how the film and narrative of Jumanji actually worked, even though the proposed game for this evening was Ticket to Ride, whose surprisingly mystical properties prompted Forte to play a train engineer, all of which was quite amusing.


In this remote fake scary movie trailer, the writers took aim at "ex-dancers and first-time moms" who get embroiled in the apparently horrifyingly intense and cult-like realm of pilates. Featuring a cameo by model Kaia Gerber, this was both random but seemingly deeply fact-checked for maximum and effective satire.

Trudy and Tooty

Heidi Gardner's Trudy, an old-school and minxy secretary from the 1960s returned, this time working for a character played by Jon Hamm. Trudy was joined by a colleague named Tooty, played by Wiig, and their clothes came off and all of the participants in this physical comedy showcase could barely contain themselves amidst all the throwback sexism and silliness.

Jerry Retires

Bowen Yang played a work colleague who made a speech at a retirement party for Kenan Thompson's Jerry. He preceded the office musical improv troupe, Gits & Shiggles, who were played by Paul Rudd, Punkie Johnson, and Chloe Fineman. Then Fred Armisen appeared as a guy dressed like Angus Young from AC/DC and made a salacious speech, before Kristen Wiig's medically addled and bizarre Catherine O'Hara-esque creation drew us in with great misdirection. Matt Damon played himself and thanked Jerry for inspiring his character in Oppenheimer. As if this wasn't uproarious enough, Will Forte stole the show with an enigmatically poetic and evil character — think He-Man meets Anton Chigurh meets Randy Savage — who promised a hellscape. This was great.


Fronting a gigantic soul and R&B orchestra including horn and string sections and backup singers (there might've been 20 people on stage), rising British star RAYE was riveting with her big-voiced and contemporary take on classic pop, crooning "Escapism," which was arresting.

Somewhere between Adele and Amy Winehouse, RAYE knowingly sang the meta "Worth It," which was as charming and playful as it was infectious and memorable. It proved to be a set-up for the dynamic "Let There Be Light," which started hard af but then landed as a swing number. Really fascinating, wonderful musical performances by RAYE tonight.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost joked about how painless the New Jersey earthquake really was, before making fun of Donald Trump's allegations that Joe Biden had done cocaine. Michael Che made a dumb abortion/Florida joke and also a dumb NCAA's women's basketball joke. Jost reported that the GOP hoped to rename a D.C. airport after Trump.

Marcello Hernández (who's really coming into his own as a featured player of late) hilariously played the New Jersey earthquake as if it were a professional wrestler, which became more apparent when it had a very funny standoff against Kenan Thompson's solar eclipse.

Jost told us about an airplane toilet leak and also that Jane Goodall fed dogs to apes, and Che made a great joke about Ye West acknowledging that the Holocaust did, in fact, occur. Che got no love from Jost after comparing his own penis to that of a mouse's.

Wiig appeared as movie-hating movie critic Aunt Linda and immediately tore into Barbie, except for Ryan Gosling. Oppenheimer fared no better before TV shows like The Bear took some hits. A movie Linda loved was Paw Patrol, but this just proved she has questionable yet hilarious taste. Still, Armisen's in the house and no Garth and Kat on Update? What gives?

FunLand Go-Karts

Andrew Dismukes played a young boy about to enjoy go-karting with his parents, who were played by Wiig and James Austin Johnson. He was primed to go until his parents mentioned they had a bad thing to tell him. It was soon revealed that Chloe Troast was their daughter and it was her birthday and she also wanted to know what the bad thing was. Just as the bad thing was about to be revealed, the funny sketch ended and now none of us know what the bad thing was.

Sonic Pioneers

A PBS show revisited an old French tv show called La Maison du Bang, which featured Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman as the singing hosts, with special guests singing and dancing oddly, played by the likes of Wiig and various cast members. A silly bit of bright colour, French dialogue and outrageous dancing, this was good.

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