The cold open
And now, it's time for "What Still Works?" pic.twitter.com/4yxkD2Tma8— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
Kate McKinnon played herself, moderating What Still Works?, which aimed to determine if America still functions by going through the madness of the past, including an interview with terrible QAnon theorist/U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (played by Cecily Strong) and a new GameStop millionaire, Derrick Boner (played by Pete Davidson). After a visit from Mikey Day's Jack Dorsey and Alex Moffatt's Mark Zuckerberg to discuss the horrors of social media, McKinnon chatted with Kenan Thompson's OJ Simpson, wondering why he received a COVID vaccine ahead of more deserving citizens, and finally, John Krasinski's Tom Brady. This was all rather amusing.
Derrick Boner stopped by "What Still Works?" to talk stonks. Oh, and Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg stopped by, too. pic.twitter.com/eTY1vVd4IB— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
John takes questions from the audience about The Office and…actually just The Office. pic.twitter.com/hhUs0Mcrqz— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
After a heartfelt explanation about his longtime love of SNL, John Krasinski had to field questions by cast members posing as audience members, who peppered him with questions related to his role on The Office, and insisting he "kiss Pam." This mild idea eventually led to a kiss but it wasn't Pam and it wasn't particularly special.
🗣 KISS PAM pic.twitter.com/mOqeBMpJI8— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
A faux 1950s sitcom scene found a New Yorker, played by Pete Davidson, discovering that, since the recent election, a small-town Georgia diner is more progressive than his home state. Turning stereotypes about the state on their head and suggesting the opposite was now true, was a pretty feel-good tack to take and made sure the cheesy idea felt especially wholesome with its homespun, Andy Griffith feel, which was kind of funny.
Georgia's a little different these days. pic.twitter.com/6Tsr5GMt7U— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
In this remote, Andrew Dismukes played Damian, a high school outcast accosted by bullies who is rescued by his brother, Jonah, as played by Krasinski. Much to the chagrin of the bullies, Jonah's list of Damian's nerd-inducing afflictions is absolutely mortifying, which was somewhat funny.
Cecily Strong played a CNBC financial show host, interviewing a fellow analyst, who is beaming in from home. Unfortunately, the analyst, played by Krasinski, has some highly disturbing artwork in his background, which he explained was drawn by his twin children. As played by Kate McKinnon and Mikey Day, the twin siblings are Shining-level disturbing and keep popping up in the shot. This was quite good (and seemed like something by the Day camp).
Come and play with us, Dad— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
– these twins, probably pic.twitter.com/OlpQxAqeR2
Now That's What I Call Theme Songs Sung by the Stars of the Show
An impersonations excuse, this bit wondered what it would be like if, as Nicole Kidman has done recently on The Undoing, other stars sang their own show's theme songs. A quick succession of song bits, none of these really touched our funny bones beyond Krasinski's take on The Office.
Warren Street COVID Bubble
A neighbourhood pod gathering goes awry when Brad, played by Beck Bennett, is hauled away by the FBI for storming the Capitol. Next up, Aidy Bryant's Angela is picked up by the FBI and then more friends were arrested. That was the whole, one-note bit.
Just a regular ol' game night. Nothing to see here. pic.twitter.com/jmkh0b9GLI— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
Machine Gun Kelly
Mall punk Machine Gun Kelly performed an emo song called "My Ex's Best Friend," that, in spite of the energy he and his mates invested, wasn't very good. It came and went without leaving an impression, which was nice of it; if it was memorable or infectious, we would have it stuck in our minds. Luckily, it won't be.
Kelly, who is 30, seemed to have prepared material for a high school talent show, singing "Lonely," which reflects upon youthful issues and emotions. One could make a case for the dynamic arrangement of "Lonely," but all of the obvious longing for authenticity was palpable and distracting.
First Weekend Update of 2021! pic.twitter.com/8zXcTOk4nB— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
Colin Jost caught us up on what the world has been up to since he has been on holiday, like we didn't know. Later, he went in on Rand Paul about his opposition to a second impeachment of Donald Trump. Michael Che laughed the loudest at one of his own transgender jokes but actually made a great Harriet Tubman/cocaine pun. Mike Lindell, the MyPillow guy, turned up for a desk piece. Beck Bennett infused Lindell with his namesake's insane delusions about how democracy works and what speaking with a pillow can be like.
Marty loves Fran. pic.twitter.com/ha3KncTLUV— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
Jost had a great joke about shark attacks and then Bowen Yang and Kyle Mooney turned up at the desk as Pretend It's a City stars Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorsese, which was manically intense due to Marty's insane laughter. After a couple more headline jokes, Cecily Strong's Cathy Anne showed up to opine about the insurrection and white supremacy, which somehow felt like an updated and reversed Hee Haw bit or something. Not great.
On a 1990s game show, Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon's contestants, Kris and Gina, were clearly a gay couple hiding their relationship. Krasinski played the host, curiously navigating the "gal pals'" relationship while seemingly in denial about their status as lesbians. It's always a joy to see Bryant and McKinnon screwing around together, so that was good.
Krasinski and Beck Bennett played old-school ad reps, Rocky and Dino, threatened by Brandon, a younger rep played by Andrew Dismukes. In spite of Brandon's attempts to modernize the restaurant and its menu, Rocky and Dino want to bring disgraced pitchman and convicted pedophile Jared back. That caused most of the comedic tension here, but nice performances by Krasinski and Bennett made this fly.
You know what will bring Subway™️ into the 2020s? A bowl of ham. pic.twitter.com/3q6euR0YZi— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) January 31, 2021
Chloe Fineman and Krasinski played lovers in a post-coital discussion, when he explained that his aptitude in the sack is all thanks to a rat hidden underneath a top hat on his head, who helps him have sex with women, the same way Remi, the rat from the film Ratatouille, helps a guy learn to cook. Despite how fun that sentence was to write, this was a very dumb sketch, but it did do justice to some of the nuanced details from Ratatouille. So that was something.