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'SNL' Highlights: Halsey Was a Terrific Musical Guest, but a Terrible Host

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 10, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 10, 2019 |


Cold OpenThe National Enquirer/Jeff Bezos story is obviously the biggest, most insane story since … well, probably since the last biggest, most insane story under the Trump Administration. So, like, two weeks? Naturally, SNL took this huge story and did the only thing they could think to do: Make a joke out of “serious” journalists discussing Bezos’ dick pics on Meet the Press. It’s mostly lackluster except for Kate McKinnon’s Wilbur Ross talking about paying homeless men $100 to trade penises with them and the visual of Matthew Whitaker being played by Aidy Bryant. I’m not even sure how to grade this cold open. They had to talk about the Bezos story, and honestly, no parody skit on SNL or otherwise could compete with the real thing. (Score: 6 out of 10, I guess?)

Halsey Monologue — I like Halsey! She’s an incredible musical performer. I have no idea why she’s pulling double duty as host and musical guest, though. Her monologue is … well, there’s not much to it. She does a Jersey impression and talks about how stoked she is to host the show. That’s it. It’s 2:20 second long, and the first 25 seconds are applause. (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

Them TrumpsThem Trumps is a returning skit inspired by Empire about a universe in which the Trumps are black. Like the first time around, it’s mostly just a setup sketch for a great punchline, although it’s not as effective now that we know it’s coming. (Score: 5 out of 10)

Virginia Ethics Chairman — The VA Chairman of Ethics asks others in the state house whether they have ever worn blackface, and … well, it doesn’t go well. This is the best sketch of the night, although it’s a low bar. (Score: 7 out of 10)

Valentine’s Song — It’s a music video about how inappropriate it is to receive Valentine’s Gifts from friends and family, because “I don’t want to think of” Mom while trying to get busy on V-Day. Eh. (Watch Here) (Score: 4 out of 10)

Parents Call — A guy receives an interrupting phone call at work from his parents, who downplay all the horrible things that have happened to them recently. Skip it. (Watch Here) (Score: 2 out of 10)

Women of Congress — On the one hand, it’s cool that SNL is covering all the women in Congress! On the other hand, this skit is a premise without a joke. (Score: 4 out of 10)

Weekend Update — This week’s “Update” mostly serves to remind us just how insane this week has been. Like, seriously: Ralph Northam, Liam Neeson, 21 Savage, and Jeff Bezos. It’s been so insane that the State of the Union barely gets any play. Meanwhile, Melissa Villasenor appears to talk about the Grammys exclusively so that she can do an incredible impression of Lady Gaga. There are actually three feature segments, but the other two are bad. Stick with the news; at least it has some great Ralph Northam callbacks. The Gaga segment isn’t available, presumably for rights reasons, as Villasenor sings “The Shallow” in its entirety, but Uproxx has it. (Score: 6 out of 10)

Karoake Night — During a karaoke night, three sorority pledges have to torture the people in the audience as part of their initiation rights. Another painfully bad sketch. This one is also not available for right’s reasons. It’s probably for the best. (Score: 2 out of 10)

Black History Month — The black cast members try to talk about the contributions of black cast members over the course of the show’s history, but Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett keep interrupting and whitesplaining Black History Month to the black cast members. Touche, SNL! (Score: 6 out of 10)

Maurice — Over dinner at a restaurant, a Dad who was laid off tells his kids about his new career in porn. (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

Riverdale Season Finale — Pete Davidson plays a corpse during the Riverdale season finale. The corpse insists upon authenticity, which means moans, farts, and spasms from the dead guy to the dismay of the director. The only thing worse than this Riverdale sketch is an episode of Riverdale. (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

As the show was short on comedy highlights, I give you this, a terrific musical performance from Halsey, where she does an entire painting during the course of singing a song (if you aren’t familiar with Halsey, Mat, ask your daughters.)

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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.

Header Image Source: NBC