Sydney Sweeney and Kacey Musgraves Enlivened Tired Jokes on 'SNL'

March 2, 2024

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews

BY Vish KhannaPublished Mar 3, 2024

Sydney Sweeney was an effervescent host navigating few sketch ideas that really popped, and Kasey Musgraves returned to Saturday Night Live for two modest, understated performances. Here’s everything that happened on SNL this week.

The Cold Open

Heidi Gardner appeared as Dana Bash, the host of CNN’s Inside Politics, and interviewed California governor Gavin Newsom (Michael Longfellow). Newsom was there to spin hyperbolic yarns about the vitality of President Joe Biden. From there, Bash spoke with close colleagues of Biden’s, all of whom said some semblance of "behind closed doors, Biden is vigorous." The show’s insistence on ridiculing Biden’s old age is getting old, particularly while his political rival, Donald Trump, repeatedly misspeaks and short circuits to a far more disturbing degree on the campaign trail. Maybe they’re giving resident Trump impersonator James Austin Johnson a breather, but they need a new angle on this Biden thing.

The Monologue

Sydney Sweeney made a good joke about the failure of her film Madame Web, and then told us the story of how she became an actor. Later, she dispelled a few rumours, including one involving her and her Anyone but You costar Glen Powell (who made a non-speaking cameo). Overall, this was more charming than funny, but Sweeney was likeable enough to get a pass here.

NYPD Interns

Sweeney and Chloe Fineman played interns for the NYPD, who seemed able to solve cold cases using social media. Whenever a case was presented, the two disaffected young women would say, “found him,” about prime suspects. This was one-note but also amusing.

please don’t destroy: funniest death

The boys were mourning a late friend when Sweeney arrived in their office. Unable to trust their story about the ridiculous nature of his death, Seeeney was finally convinced of its merit by Chef Boyardee.

Air Bud 

Sweeney played Rochelle, the head cheerleader at a high school who tried to seduce the new star of the basketball team. Oddly, that star was Air Bud, the dog from the movie, and Rochelle seemed deranged for flirting with him. Some good performances by all involved.

Big Bench

A court room show had an odd twist, as the bench had not one judge, but 17 (including another dog). Sweeney played a plaintiff, but the case wasn’t the main point of this silly stunt, which was just absurd enough to be okay.

Bowen’s Straight

In this solid remote, Sweeney pined for Bowen Yang, who revealed he wasn’t actually gay. Chaotic and absurd, with a spirited if oddly ill-fated affair, this was amusing.


A bride-to-be played by Heidi Gardner got the bad news that her fiancée had left her right before their wedding. Sweeney and Sarah Sherman played insensitive makeup artists who were tone-deaf and kept asking for business things at this most inopportune time. This wasn’t very good.

Kacey Musgraves

Backed by a band of seven men, Kacey Musgraves brought her wholesome camp counsellor vibe back to SNL with a pleasant folk song called “Deeper Wells,” which was light and harmless.

Somewhere between Sufjan and the Stray Gators, when Musgraves and her band returned, they performed the earnest and ambient “Too Good to Be True,” which was nice enough.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost launched Update with a dig at Trump and Biden visiting the US-Mexican border at once, but mostly trashed Trump. Michael Che reported on Mitch McConnell leaving the senate, and he and Jost did a series of their trademark McConnell photo gags that was funny.

Che took a dig at Mitt Romney, and then Jost introduced A Woman Who Is Aging Gracefully, who was manically played by Heidi Gardner. Ostensibly appearing to cover a season of Golden Bachelorette, this was just a bizarre bit of frenetic comedy by Gardner.

Che made a good South Korea/Nick Cannon childbirth joke, before Jost ridiculed the death of Flaco the owl. Che set up a risky Women’s History Month joke and accepted the risk, before introducing us to Charlotte the pregnant stingray. Ego Nwodim played the stingray, who alleged, in graphic detail, that Che was the father, who wouldn’t accept this information. Nwodim was excellent in this.


Chloe Fineman and Sarah Sherman played Hooters waitresses assessing their tips, which were much lower than the ones the more buxom Tina received. Sweeney played Tina and this was about the most predictable sketch SNL could come up with for a guest of her proportions, which was kind of a sad eye-candy bit, really.

Interior Design for Airbnb

In this remote, Sweeney and Chloe Troast played Chanel and Chanel, interior designers who promoted their bland work for Airbnb. An amusing skewering, both were solid in this.

Date Night

Andrew Dismukes and Sweeney played a couple on a date at a restaurant when he confronted a table full of loud guys and shut them up by getting them to tap into their emotions. When a table of ladies were being similarly obnoxious, Sweeney went over there for a similar display of psychological manipulation. Unfortunately, the couple didn’t last due to a surprise twist in what was somehow one of the strongest ideas of the night.

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