Published Mar 03, 2019John Mulaney was a terrific host on one of the most consistently funny episodes of the season. Thomas Rhett was not good at music. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.
The cold open
In their depiction of Michael Cohen's testimony before Congress, the show brought Ben Stiller back for a spot-on impression of the disgraced former lawyer for the President. In a cameo, Bill Hader played Jim Jordan, the Republican congressman who raged at Cohen on international TV this week. Kyle Mooney almost stole the show with his impression of Paul Gosar, a few other cast members had some good moments as various officials, and overall, this was an amusing open.
John Mulaney returned for a second hosting appearance and came loaded with a solid five minutes of standup. From recalling his days doing cocaine, contemplating his parents' suggestion that his Jewish wife convert to Catholicism, an encounter with Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, the voices of NYC subways, and new cop car sirens and old, gay cats, this was all new and very entertaining stuff.
What's That Name?
Bill Hader returned to host a new game show, which began innocently enough as a celebrity naming game but soon got personal. Mulaney and Cecily Strong played the contestants who soon encountered friends with partners whose names they didn't know. Things soon took a turn as Hader and Mulaney's character soon jockeyed for moral superiority and this well-written piece just got more amusingly uproarious.
The Toilet Death Ejector
A wild fake ad, Mulaney played a pitchman for an unusual product. Directed at seniors who have a fear of being found dead on the toilet, a Toilet Death Ejector shoots you across the room into your bed, flushes the toilet, and makes it look like you were reading a smart book before you split. A very funny bit.
Shark Tank: Legal Edition
This was also solid, with Mulaney and cast members portraying celebrity lawyers who assess whether or not they might represent the likes of Beck Bennett's Robert Kraft or Chris Redd's Jussie Smollett. Maybe the best bit here was Alex Moffatt and Kyle Mooney, who simply mimicked Celino & Barnes, the infamous TV commercial lawyers and their sing-song jingle.
The Unknown Caller
Pete Davidson's low-energy, monosyllabic Chad starred in this dark remote. A horror sketch in the tradition of Scream, Chad is being stalked by a killer who winds up being an old classmate seeking revenge, and was played by Mulaney. This was well-written, well-shot and rather funny.
White guy, black wedding
After a slew of strong stuff, this slightly physical sketch found Mulaney as a guy accompanying his girlfriend, played by Ego Nwodim, to a wedding and dancing to the DJ's instructions. The central premise is that Mulaney's dude keeps feigning discomfort about feeling out-of-place among primarily black celebrants, but it turns out he's rather familiar with all of them and their customs. This was just ok.
A lot of bad guitar face in these two performances, which showcased Thomas Rhett's anchorless, cloying brand of pop country. While his first song was a shitty Christian rock thing, he returned for a derivative white-funk tune that ripped off Prince's "Kiss" initially before becoming increasingly watered-down and super, super, awkwardly white.
Colin Jost and Michael Che each went in on the Michael Cohen testimony and also Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-Un and there was some good stuff in here, including Che suggesting Cohen should've went out more like a boss.
After a highlight reel from Trump's bizarre CPAC speech earlier in the day, Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant appeared as meat farmers, Vaneta and Wylene Starkie, doing their best to promote the meat they sell, harvested from dumb animals, but could barely deal with the stench of the raw meat in the box.
Echoing Mulaney's last hosting appearance, where he indulged the cast in an old idea of his to perform a Les Misérables sketch, this new musical was perhaps even more over the top and also gross. A routine request to use a bodega bathroom turns out to be a fantastical musical and it was rather stunning to see Mulaney reveling in his absurdist element.
To Have and Have Not
Kate McKinnon and Mulaney played Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, re-enacting an extended scene from one of To Have and Have Not's most famous exchanges. Spinning off of Bacall's "You just put your lips together and blow" line, McKinnon put on a hell of a performance, awkwardly attempting some ridiculous double entendre or another.