This week’s SNL was lousy, one of the lousiest in a season that’s already seen a few lousy episodes. It wasn’t exactly John Cena’s fault. He was very enthusiastic, but enthusiastic seemed to be his only speed all night. The writing also seemed geared toward Cena’s enthusiasm, and yet, it still didn’t work.
Cold Open: In tonight’s SNL cold open, Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway sits down with Jake Tapper to discuss Trump’s confounding cabinet choices, which leads to Trump’s choice of Head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Walter White (with Bryan Cranston reprising his character). I love Walter White. I love Bryan Cranston, and it’s not a bad joke as a one-liner on “Update.” But Dear God, it’s too early to bring back Cranston’s character to deliver iconic lines (“I am the one who knocks”) as cheesy catchphrases. Also, the show totally wasted its best opportunity to go political — and cover the week’s insane political news — with a lame sketch built around the Cranston cameo. Watch here. (Score: So Many Wasted Opportunities out of 10)
John Cena: “I’m John Cena, and for those of you who voted for Hillary, I’m a WWE wrester.” OK, that was a funny line. It would, sadly, be the only funny part of the entire monologue, which sees various SNL actors come out as wrestling characters and challenge Cena. The most notable thing about it was how much taller Leslie Jones is than John Cena. Also, based on the monologue, I do not have a good feeling about tonight’s show. (Score: Ooof out of 10)
Hook a Hunk — I don’t even know what this was — a Kyle Mooney sketch — but it was incredibly bad. Cena plays a dating-game host who flirts with the contestant. Watch here. Score: Zoning Out Already out of 10)
Karate Kid Parody — A pre-taped Karate Kid parody doesn’t work, either — not even a little bit — but Cena does have an unusually strange likeness to William Zabka’s Johnny. Watch here. (Score: No Mercy out of 10)
Science Presentation — John Cena plays a star college football player for Alabama, who refuses to play in the bowl game unless he gets an A in his class, so the teachers judge the other students harshly while praising Cena’s project: Bananas nailed to a board. Obvious joke is super obvious. Tonight’s episode is stupidly bad. I really think this is one of those weeks where the sketches are written for Cena’s audience instead of the SNL audience. It’s way out of whack. (Score: Yikes out of 10)
Dyke & Fats Save Christmas — This was such a terrific sketch the first time around, but it doesn’t work quite as well this time around. Still, it’s Dyke & Fats. (Score: 6.5 out of 10)
Speaking of Cena’s typical audience, I’m not sure they get the joke. Or I don’t get their joke.
Weekend Update — Che and Jost take a few decent swipes at Trump, but they’re mostly the kind of jokes that even Trump supporters could laugh at, like “Ha ha! Yeah. Our guy is a garbage fire! Pretty funny, right?” The jock delivery blunts even the most effective jokes, and then Jost makes a TERRIBLE joke comparing the impeachment of South Korea’s president to what might have happened if Hillary got elected. Given what is going on with Trump, and you’re going to make a joke about Hillary being impeached if she had been elected? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, JOST? (Score: Jesus Christ out of 10)
Embedded for annoyance (it’s the second joke):
Here’s the first half of “Weekend Update,” which is all Trump jokes.
Here’s McKinnon’s Angela Merkel.
The best part of “Weekend Update,” was actually Cecily Strong’s Cathyanne on #Pizzagate and the Alt Right. It’s actually probably the best bit of the night.
Where’d Your Money Go? — Charles Barkley plays a game where he asks rich athletes questions about how to invest their money more wisely. Cena plays Gronkowski. Moynihan plays John Daly. Watch here. Watch here. (This is Turrible out of 10)
Office Christmas Party — Aidy Bryant plays an employee who falls out of a skyscraper window while putting the star on a Christmas tree. She ends up hanging on a ledge, and her co-workers screw with her while she’s hanging. There’s about 45 seconds of this sketch that’s actually very funny, which is more than we can say for most of the rest of the episode. (Score: 5 out of 10)
Through Donald Trump’s Eyes — A pretaped sketch where we see the world the way that Trump sees it. He sees himself as John Cena. It’s a short sketch and not that funny, but easily the most insightful sketch of the night. (Score: 7 out of 10)
Erotic Book Store — An erotic book store where Cena plays a Fabio lookalike. Aside from Cena’s resemblance to Fabio (he is very versatile when it comes to wigs), it’s another sketch that doesn’t work. Watch here. (Score: 3 Bodice Rippers out of 10)
Talent Show — I stopped paying attention as soon as the Kenan character was introduced as Tay Tay Dubbs. Watch here. (¯\_(ツ)_/¯ out of 10)