Ryan Gosling Laughed His Way Through 'SNL,' While Chris Stapleton Kept Quiet

April 13, 2024

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Apr 14, 2024


Beloved nice guy Ryan Gosling enjoyed himself immensely (perhaps even a little too much, as he broke during every sketch. Come to think of it, he even broke taping the show promos with the charming Sarah Sherman), Chris Stapleton kept things a little too minimal during his two performances and Michael Che stood trial for his sexist jokes about women's sports before basketball star Caitlin Clark. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.

The Cold Open

SNL alum Kate McKinnon returned as Miss Colleen Rafferty, one of three people who is often interviewed by Pentagon officials after they'd been abducted by aliens. Host Ryan Gosling has memorably appeared in these sketches (along with former cast member Cecily Strong) and could never contain himself. History repeated itself here, with Sarah Sherman replacing Strong, and Gosling breaking hard when his Barbie co-star, McKinnon, got physical between his legs. A funny and charged-up opening.

The Monologue

Ryan Gosling stated that he would not be discussing his role as Ken in Barbie, but then he sang a song about being Ken. Before long, his co-star in The Fall Guy, Emily Blunt, appeared to castigate him for still promoting Barbie instead of their new movie about him being a stuntman. But then Blunt was led into a tune about missing her role in Oppenheimer, which brought us back to "Barbenheimer," and was rather clever and amusing.

Harrison & Brad

Gosling played Harrison, who had just proposed to his girlfriend, Liz (Chloe Fineman), but soon confessed he'd made a mistake to Brad (Andrew Dismukes), the partner of Aubrey (Ego Nwodim). Aubrey and Liz were friends, Harrison and Brad were not, which led to some real intensity because of Harrison's whispered truths to Brad about wanting out of his pending nuptials (and Gosling breaking at near-Fallon levels).

Get That Boy Back

In this remote country music video, Chris Stapleton played the victim in an extreme jilted lover tune, led by Chloe Troast. Ego Nwodim and Chloe Fineman played Troast's singing partners and even they were stunned by her vengeful lyrics and tactics, designed to drive Stapleton and his mother (Heidi Gardner) insane, which was elaborately produced and disturbingly funny.

Cuban Papi

Gosling, Kenan Thompson and Marcello Hernández played guys at a bar, with Gosling's character adopting Cuban mannerisms even though he was a white dude. An excuse for some accent work by all involved, this was slight and endearingly silly but also scheduled early for a 12:55 bar bit.

Beavis, Butt-Head and AI

During a news broadcast panel discussion about AI, an expert played by Kenan Thompson was distracted by an audience member who resembled the cartoon character, Beavis. Gosling played Beavis and agreed to swap seats, but then Mikey Day appeared and clearly resembled Butt-Head, who was also asked to move. Playing the moderator, Heidi Gardner craned her head to look back at Day as Butt-Head and, because of his spectacular resemblance to the character, she broke harder than any cast member has ever broken in the history of the show, and Gosling and Day followed suit in this pretty amazing and random sketch. If only we could've seen the following segment, where everyone resembled King of the Hill characters. Props to the make-up team for this nice and hilarious homage to Mike Judge.

Chris Stapleton

The rocking country star and a large band ripped through the impassioned "White Horse," which possessed few lyrics (though he bellowed them for every syllable they were worth), and his band low-key conjured My Morning Jacket.

Appearing solo and finger-picking an acoustic guitar, Stapleton outed himself as a student of Willie Nelson's phrasing and arrangements, though "Mountains of My Mind," was also rather repetitive and its plaintive mode may have benefited from a distinctive bridge or something to shake it up.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost began Update digging into Arizona dredging up an 1864 law to ban abortion and he also used it as an opportunity to ridicule President Joe Biden's age. He then mocked the LA Times' OJ Simpson obit, which mistook Donald Trump for Simpson. Michael Che's somewhat subtle Mike Johnson joke about him fellating Trump was met with some confused laughter.

Covering a story about "weaponized incompetence," Resident Boyfriend Michael Longfellow spoke directly to women, suggesting that male incompetence should be accepted for what it is but also, maybe dial back the super competence there, ladies. This was good.

Jost spun a weird Billy Dee Williams story into a groan-inducing bit about Kevin Spacey. Michael Che bombed with several sexist jokes tonight, none worse than an apron one about Caitlin Clark. This drew gasps but it may have been deliberate, because the actual Caitlin Clark showed up to ridicule his long record of such sexism, asking him to recite jokes she'd apparently written for him. Though Che's poorly written misogyny tonight was a set-up and staged to some degree, it was a fascinating and funny way to confront the criticism Che has rightly deserved for his penchant for incessantly making fun of female sports. Who better than Clark to take him to task for it?

Hospital Waiting Room

Bowen Yang played a strange doctor, Dr. Please, who seemed less than sympathetic about telling a family about the death of their grandfather. His assistant Jeffrey, played by Gosling, clearly was incompetent and was also covered in blood and a stranger hairstyle that partially covered his face. This was a tad messy and Gosling breaking throughout seemed unwarranted for such a tepid idea.

Erin Brockovich Deleted Scene

Chloe Fineman played Julia Roberts' creation mixing it up with her new neighbour, George, played by Gosling. They each riffed on the film's list sequence. Again, Gosling was so overwhelmed by the hilarity on the cue cards and the cast he shared scenes with, he sputtered through his lines, breaking and making the normally composed Fineman giggle too. It's worth wondering what Lorne Michaels — famously not a fan of breaking — made of so much breaking on one episode. But then again, it's fun to see people having fun with each other on a comedy show, so long as it doesn't make it impossible for them to say their lines.

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