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Can One Sketch Save the Worst 'SNL' Episode of the Season? Kind Of!

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 19, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 19, 2023 |


Cold Open — Still not loving Mikey Day’s Joe Biden impression, here during a press conference after meeting with Chinese President Xi. Things don’t go well, so Biden brings in a Chinese panda (played by Bowen Yang). The sketch almost made a point about how people don’t want to vote for Biden even though they know that Trump will end Democracy as we know it, but mostly, the comedy curled up on a rug and took a nap. (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

Jason Momoa Monologue — The release of the next Aquaman movie is less than a month away, and has there ever been any less interest in a superhero film? Anyway, Momoa uses his monologue to talk about his campaign to end the use of single-use plastic. That’s … it. They didn’t even try to be funny this week. This is barely a monologue. (Watch here) (Score: 2 out of 10)

PBS Masters of the Pen — A PBS host and a historian watch some old-found footage of L. Frank Baum, but it’s mostly of other people showing off in front of an old-timey camera and blocking the view of The Wizard of Oz author. It’s going to be a long night, isn’t it? (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

Roman Empire — It’s a few weeks late, but here’s an amusing song/rap about what men are secretly thinking about all day: The Roman Empire. Had it not been for the Battle of the Sexes (below), this would have been the best of the night. (Score: 5.5 out of 10)

Bouncers — Marcello Hernandez plays a bouncer trying to teach a new bouncer (Jason Momoa) how to reject people at the door without hurting their feelings, but Momoa’s bouncer doesn’t get it. At least everyone looks like they’re having fun! (Watch Here) (Score: 4 out of 10)

The Hudson News Thanksgiving Week Airport Parade — Bowen and Ego play airport employees who mostly comment on the types of passengers who come through on Thanksgiving week. I like this one! There is some modestly specific humor! Or maybe I just feel beaten down by the rest of the episode and this one feels decent by comparison.(Score: 6 out of 10)

Please Don’t Destroy — One of the guys gets dumped, and the other two secretly try to order food while pretending to console him. I think the cast just checked out this week. (Watch Here) (Score: 4 out of 10)

Weekend Update — Can Che and Jost salvage the episode? Nope! This season for much of the last few seasons, the two have been really great with the non-political jokes, but their political jokes have been increasingly underwhelming. They’re just basic-ass jokes about how Biden is old and Trump is a joke. There is no bite. Worse, the non-political jokes are all lame this week, too.

Meanwhile, George Santos is a “scientist” who discovered a tiny moon orbiting an asteroid, which is just an opportunity to make fun of Santos (watch here). NBA player Draymond Green (Devon Walker) comments after being suspended for putting another player in a chokehold. They also bring out “Remember Lizards,” the backup musical guests, which are Imagine Dragon ripoffs. The Imagine Dragons ripoffs are easily the best part of tonight’s “Update.” (Score: 5 out of 10, but a 7 out of 10 for Remember Lizards).

Laird — Momoa plays a man discovered five years after being stranded on an island returning home to his ex girlfriend, who is now married, and the woman is clearly far more into him than her current husband. It is terrifically bad. (Watch Here) (Score: 2.5 out of 10)

Untold Battle of the Sexes — Before there was Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, there was Charna Lee Diamond and Ronnie Dunster. I don’t want to spoil this one, except to say that it’s amazing and my favorite kind of SNL sketch. You have redeemed yourself, episode! Obviously, this is the Mat sketch of the week. (Score: 8.5 out of 10)

Cab Driver — Momoa plays a cab driver who accepts his medical test results on speakerphone, while Kenan plays a passenger wishing that he didn’t. (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

Header Image Source: NBC