The answer to the question posed in the headline is yes, to a point. And that point seemed to be around 12:20, when “Weekend Update” ended the the rest of the show went to hell. That’s not unusual for the back half of Saturday Night Live, however. What is almost unusual for SNL is the last few seasons is a strong first half, and that’s exactly what Schumer gave the show last night, although they pulled it off mostly by avoiding live sketches (there were only two in the front half, and they were the weakest parts).
SNL also did something else unusual last night: They went after guns. They actually used the show to make political hay. It’s hard to say if that was the influence of Amy Schumer, or if the writers on SNL — sick of the rash of mass shootings in the United States — felt compelled to finally say something. In either respect, they were hellbent on going after guns.
Fox and Friends Cold Open — For the cold open, SNL pulled out a can’t miss sketch in Fox and Friends and covered the Speaker of the House vote (even touching upon the Constitutional wrinkle SLW covered). Bobby Moynihan, as usual sells the sketch, but it’s Kate McKinnon’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz that is the recipient of most of the mockery. I’m going to go easy on it because I’m hopeful about the rest of the night and I like the word “transvaginal wand.” I’m also gonna give it an extra point for the corrections roll. (Score: 6/10)
Amy Schumer Monologue — Amy Schumer smartly eschews a musical number and instead does a stand-up routine about women in Hollywood, female role models, and the Kardashians. Also butthole washing and Bradley Cooper. It’s very funny. It’s the funniest SNL has been since Louis C.K.’s stand-up monologue. (Score: 9/10)
Airline Attendants — Two flight attendants’ (Amy Schumer, Vanessa Bayer) song about in-flight service goes horribly wrong when a plane door opens and the flight attendants gets sucked out. I laughed out loud several times and I’m not drunk yet, so I’m pretty sure that was a good SNL sketch. (Score: 7/10)
Porn Teacher — A precocious student repeatedly interrupts a porn shoot starring a teacher and her student. It’s a Kyle Mooney sketch. Schumer is over-the-top enough to kind of make it work, but it’s still a Kyle Mooney sketch, so … (Score: 5/10)
Gun Commercial — From first loves to new beginnings - and wherever life takes you - guns are there. It’s basically a Hallmark commercial for guns, and it’s the most politically subversive sketch SNL has done in a long while. The gun nuts are not going to appreciate it, but I doubt they’d appreciate Amy Schumer much, anyway. (Score: 8/10)
Weekend Update — In light of the rash of mass shootings, Colin Jost and Michael Che are actually using “Weekend Update” to argue for gun control. It’s as political as “Weekend Update” has been in a very long time. It’s refreshing, and different. Beyond that, Colin Jost spends way too much time on Justin Bieber’s penis, but the jokes are solid, even if Jost still seems drugged. (Score: 8/10)
Solomon — Jay Pharoah is a travel correspondent who doesn’t travel. It’s not much of a character, but it’s interesting to see Pharoah do something that’s not a celebrity impression. (Score: 4/10)
Mrs. Santini on Overcrowded Apartments — McKinnon plays an upstairs neighbor of Jost who complains about her neighbors through notes. It’s a new character! And she hates babies and marijuana. (Score: 6/10)
Lincoln’s Assassination Reenactment —Amy Schumer plays Mary Todd in a Lincoln reenactment who ad libs an alternative timeline where she saves the day. (She’s not supposed to ad lib). Eh. (Score: 5/10)
Hands Free Selfie Stick Ad — It, uh, sticks out of your butt. (Score: 4/10)
Bakersfield Citizen’s Forum — I’m not sure how this is a sketch. Amy Schumer is not doing much to save the back half. The last three sketches have sapped my goodwill for this episode. This particular sketch seems to exist so that Schumer can make another joke about guns. (Score: 3/10)
Baby Shower — Someone at a baby shower thinks her purse was stolen, and her friend (Schumer) stars accusing everyone. Schumer throws a couch pillow and this sketch is horrible. (Score: 2/10)