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The Best and Worst of the Jessica Chastain Hosted 'Saturday Night Live'

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | January 21, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | January 21, 2018 |


Cold Open — Regardless of what Republicans or Democrats say, and regardless of who Trump blames for the Government Shutdown, SNL has blamed Trump, and honestly, SNL has more power to frame the narrative than any five pundits combined. Also, Ronny Jackson (Beck Bennet) — Trump’s doctor — appeared in the press conference and talked up the President’s health and mental fitness and sexual stamina and his success in the Tide Pod challenge. Decent cold open, but certainly not earth shattering, particularly given just how much they had to work with this week. (Score: 5 out of 10)

Jessica Chastain Monologue — In honor of this weekend’s Women’s March, Chastain celebrated alongside Kate and Cecily with a fairly toothless song and dance homage to First Wives Club that was appreciated even if it elicited only a, “Ha! That’s cute!” instead of a “Fuck yeah!” I’d definitely watch that First Wives Club reboot, though. (Watch here) (Score: 5 out of 10)

Car Hunk — In this The Bachelor parody, a succession of women chat briefly with the Bachelor, deliver a joke, and then make way for another candidate, who also delivers a joke. None of the jokes are at all inspiring. I don’t really get this sketch. It’s either pointless, wildly misses the mark, or I am missing something because I have never watched The Bachelor. Also, I’m either having deja vu, or this is a recurring sketch. (Watch Here) (Score: 2 out of 10)

Fresh Prince of Bel Air — Chris Redd performs a variation of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air that sees a West Philly gang follow Will to Bel Air, assault his family, put Will in witness protection, and somehow end up in a shootout with the Yakuza. It’s OK, I guess. The novelty is hilarious; the execution is middling. (Score: 6 out of 10)

Google Talk — “Google Talk” is a talk show hosted by Jessica Chastain. This episode takes up bullying, and it’s focus is on a Mikey Day character who gets made fun of because he looks like Bart Simpson. The writers are really letting Jessica Chastain down tonight. This one was straight-up painful. It feels like one of those weeks where SNL decides to go really broad with their comedy, and it is not working, so far. (Note: Those of you who like the broader comedy, ahem Mat, may more appreciate tonight’s episode). (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

What Even Matters Anymore? — Jessica Chastain hosts a show where she tells contestants something that the President did or said and they have to answer, “Does it even matter anymore?” The jokes are pretty obvious, but Chastain’s slow meltdown is fantastic. The meta-ending is a cherry on top as all the SNL cast members break character to console one another. This? This I loved. Best sketch of the night. (Watch Here) (Score: 8 out of 10)

Weekend Update — Well, Jost was great on “Weekend Update” tonight. Che? Not so much. He veers wildly of into Norm McDonald territory, but Michael Che is no Norm McDonald. Cecily as Stormy Daniels was absolute fire, though, and she’s absolutely right: Stormy Daniels is exactly what America deserves right now. Alex Moffat and Mikey Day — who often play Don Jr. and Eric Trump — show up this week as Prince William and Prince Harry. They’re better as the Trump sons, and that’s all I’ll say about that. Finally, uh: Kate McKinnon as Robert Mueller? It’s more convincing than you might think. Mueller’s assessment of the Russian investigation? “Don’t worry about it. We’re good.” (Score: 7 out of 10)

Amazon Headquarters — Delegations from a variety of cities show up in Jeff Bezos’ office in an effort to convince him that their city is the best place for Amazon’s headquarters. It’s mostly a showcase for impressions (Pit Bull, Corey Booker, Casey Affleck, Paula Deen) and not much else. (Watch Here) (Score: 4 out of 10)

Taco Math — This may be the most annoying SNL skit of the season. I mean, the point of it is that it’s supposed to be annoying, and in that regard, it is hugely successful. (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

Chad — This is a recurring short-film character, I’m 98 percent sure of it, and yet, I don’t remember the original skit that Chad was in. If they bring the character back again, I probably won’t remember this skit, either. (Watch Here) (Score: 4 out of 10)

Movie Set with Jessica Chastain — This is also a recurring Keenan Thompson character, but this one is actually funny in a daffy, over-the-top absurd way that only Keenan can pull off. Jessica Chastain’s attempts to duplicate Keenan’s acting tips are even better. This skit is bone-deep dumb, but hilarious. (Score: 6.5 out 10)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.