Last night’s SNL was OK, although somewhat underwhelming given that it was not only Alec Baldwin’s 17th hosting stint, but he’s also the most famous Trump impersonator in America. The expected Donald Trump sketch didn’t even arrive until after “Update” and it was lackluster. However, Kate McKinnon — as usual — dominated, appearing as Jeff Sessions, Elizabeth Warren, and Kellyanne Conway in the sketch of the night.
Cold Open — Even with Alec Baldwin hosting, Melissa McCarthy returns in the cold open to play Sean Spicer in a White House press briefing, a week after her depiction not only embarrassed the real-life Spicer, but pissed off Donald Trump himself. I’m not sure how wise it is to bring McCarthy out for a second week in a row — I’d be afraid that the depiction would wear out its welcome — but when SNL knows it’s got something that gets under Trump’s thin skin, it’s going to return to the well.
Worry not, however: The second time holds up incredibly well. The novelty may have worn off, but the comedy gold is still there.
Bonus points because Spicer does a QVC spot for Ivanka’s clothing line. Jeff Sessions also makes an appearance, and he’s played by Kate McKinnon. Again, Trump hates that women are depicting male staff and cabinet members, making this all the more delightful. (Score: 8 out of 10 DUMB BABIES)
Alec Baldwin Monologue — Baldwin celebrates his record 17th hosting stint, looking back at several of his highlights over the years with alongside the show’s youngest cast member, Pete Davidson, who ribs Baldwin for how poorly he’s aged since he hosted for the first time 30 years ago. Watch here. (Score: 6 out of 10)
Russell Stover’s Black History Month Chocolates — The chocolates are all shaped like famous black leaders. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Cream,” and the white chocolate piece is Bill Clinton, naturally. The joke is in the premise, but it’s a great premise. “Show her you love her and her culture with Russell Stover’s Black History Heart Shaped Box.” Would buy. (Score: 7 out of 10)
Cheetos — After all the diverse political ads in the Super Bowl, ad execs pitch commercial ideas for Cheetos that shamelessly exploit identity politics. Chester Cheeto, for instance, is now transgender. Heh. Watch out, SNL: The alt-right may start boycotting Cheetos now. Watch here. (Score: 4 out of 10)
Tapper/Conway — After Jake Tapper refuses to have Kellyanne Conway on his Sunday morning talk show, Conway goes Fatal Attraction and shows up to his house and threatens to murder/seduce Tapper for exposure. It works spectacularly mostly because Kate McKinnon plays an amazing seductress killer. It’s disturbing, but also kinda hot. Also, this is going to really anger Trump. (Score: 9 out of 10)
Drill Sergeant — Alec Baldwin plays a R. Lee Ermey type drill sergeant who screams and insults his entire platoon, except for his son, who he gives special treatment, embarrassing the hell out of him. Eh. Watch here. (Score: 4 out of 10)
Weekend Update — This is a rarity for the Che/Jost era of “Update”: I found no jokes objectionable. In fact, I found that a few of them were actually funny — Che’s first joke about Trump being the kind of guy who gets beat up in an alley and says, “Let’s take it outside,” for instance. Jost’s best: “The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Jeff Beauregard Sessions as our new Confederate General.” Plus, McKinnon does a great Elizabeth Warren and the S&M couple were amusing (“Eat your fear, toilet dog!”). Alex Moffat’s Boat Guy, however, can go. (Score: 7 out of 10)
The People’s Court — Donald Trump takes the 9th Circuit three-judge panel to The People’s Court, which is a funny idea, but not as funny as the idea of taking them to Maine Justice! Trump also brings in a character witness: Vladimir Putin. It’s a less than mediocre sketch, but the best line goes to Cecily Strong, who plays the judge: “I just want one day where I don’t get a CNN News Flash that doesn’t scare the hell out of me.” Watch here. (Score: 4 out of 10)
Beyonce’s Twins — A sonogram of Beyonce’s twins reveals what’s going on inside her uterus, namely that her babies are played Kenan Thompson and Tracy Morgan, who are talking about how awesome it is to be Beyonce’s baby. It’s good to see Morgan, but there’s a reason this sketch didn’t air until 12:42. Watch here. (Score: 4 out of 10)
Leslie Wants to Play Trump — A short film about Leslie Jones trying to take the role of Trump away from Alec Baldwin. It’s a cute sketch — probably a Kyle Mooney joint — but mostly I love the idea of Trump being upset with a black woman playing him on SNL. (Score: 6 out of 10)
Sit Up Record — A high school kid goes for the sit-up record in gym class, and farts every time he does one. It’s such a dumb, easy joke, and yet, and yet, I confess I laughed. More than once. SNL apparently know what works at 1 a.m.: Low hanging fruit. Watch here. (Score: 5 out of 10)