Apologies in advance for this week’s write-up. It was one of those Saturday nights where I drank too much and ended up watching it hungover on Sunday morning, which means sketch descriptions are coming from the NBC publicist (scores and short opinions are my own). Note, also, that I knocked one point off of every sketch to account for the fact I enjoy SNL considerably more when I’m still a little drunk and I can fast forward through the commercials. All of which is to say, last night’s Woody Harrelson hosted episode may not have been the best episode in a weak season (especially the last few), but it sure felt like it to me while I was watching it.
A Drink at The White House Cold Open — Things get real when President Obama (Jay Pharoah) invites future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Taran Killam) over for a drink at the White House. The jokes in this sketch were both expected and amusing, culminating with McConnell at one point simply drunkenly blurting out, “You’re black.” It’s funny because that’s exactly what McConnell would probably say after 7 Scotches. It’s not a great sketch, but for a cold open this year? It’s all relative, isn’t it? (Score: 6/10).
Woody Harrelson 1989 Monologue — Host Woody Harrelson rewrites the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” to sing about the year 1989 with a little help from Hunger Games costars Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t give a shit if she blows a line, and that’s what makes her (and the monologue) so winning. (Score: 7/10)
The Dudleys — Family sitcom The Dudleys undergoes many makeovers after viewers share their complaints about its lack of diversity and usage of stereotypes. Guest appearance by Uzo Aduba. The sketch itself is not that funny, but the idea that drives the sketch is absolutely spot on. (Score: 5/10)
Match’d — Three horny dating show contestants (Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Taran Killam) vie for the affections of one bachelorette - until they learn her father (Woody Harrelson) is the show’s host. A superbly executed sketch, and the twist transforms it from obnoxious to hilarious. (Score: 8/10)
New Marijuana Policy — New Yorkers take to the streets to celebrate when laws against marijuana possession are amended. While it’s not a particularly funny sketch, it’s a remarkably good parody of big, cheesy, social-issue movie endings. (Score: 5/10)
Football Halftime Speech — A high school football coach (Woody Harrelson) brings in a former player (Kenan Thompson) affected by head injuries to prove the importance of tackling delicately. It’s (kind of) funny because it’s kind of true. (Score: 3/10)Weekend Update — Is it just me, or was Colin Jost really good this week? Or at least, better than he’s ever been? Or is familiarity breeding likability? He was solid, and Che was pretty good, too. (Score: 8/10)
Weekend Update: Leslie Jones on Crazy Bitches — Relationship expert Leslie Jones defends the actions of a woman who broke into the home of a man she met online by climbing through his chimney. Jost’s interactions with Jones is some of the best work Jost has done on the show so far, and while we don’t particularly need another Seth Meyers, this was him at his most likably Meyers-esque. (Score: 7/10)
Weekend Update: Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson — Matthew McConaughey (Taran Killam) and Woody Harrelson stop by to discuss the second season of HBO’s True Detective. Killam’s McConaughey impression is strong, but Woody’s reactions to his McConaughey impression are what makes this the single best bit of the night. (Score: 9/10)
Old New York — Four bar patrons (Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Kenan Thompson, Woody Harrelson) reminisce about the good ol’ days, when crack was readily available. The joke runs a little long, but Harrelson is great. (Score: 5/10)
Campfire Song — One camper (Woody Harrelson) tries to lead the others (Bobby Moynihan, Leslie Jones, Vanessa Bayer, Kyle Mooney) in a sing-along but no one else knows the words. One of those sketches that’s so terrible it comes back around to be hilarious, and that goddamn song will be stuck in my head for days, if not weeks. Aaaaples. Aaaaples. (Score: 7/10)
Last Call with Woody Harrelson — Sheila (Kate McKinnon) enjoys another messy hookup with a new paramour (Woody Harrelson) during last call. I want to see Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan show up and do Night at the Roxbury with McKinnon’s Sheila: She darts at them with her tongue while they face bob.
Also, this recurring sketch may never get old. (Score: 9/10)