Slingshot - SNL

“Slingshot” isn’t offensively bad and honestly “The Hippo” is probably worse I just cannot articulate why at the moment. The issue with “Slingshot” is that it just feels lazy. It smacks of the writers awake at 3am and unable to come up with a concept and decide to recreate a 6-year old compilation video of people passing out on amusement park rides. The sketch never escalates the comedic consequences. There is potential in the idea that he continually confesses secrets in-between passing out, but the sketch fails to develop that concept. While Kenan Thompson’s physical comedy is funny, it will never eclipse the reality of original videos. The worst part of the sketch is that after he screams he’s peeing they don’t provide a visual of him wetting his pants. Don’t tell me, show me (that is comedy 101).


Why not put her in a sketch

Weekend Update: Gina Bianchi on the Joys of Motherhood - SNL

Another high point of “Weekend Update,” is Hedi Gardner’s Gina Bianchi. As good as it is, it begs the question: Why not build a sketch around the character. Last episode Ego Nwodim’s Lisa From Temecula turned out to be a massive hit on social media and even prompted a Vanity Fair Oral History about its inception, near cancelation, and impact. Over the past few seasons the program has drifted further and further away from recurring characters. Furthermore, casting seems to focus more on stand-up comedians over improv actors, which feels unfitting for sketch comedy. Gardner’s character who obsesses over a deadbeat son instead of her accomplished doctor daughters is so specific and identifiable. Like Lisa From Temecula, it is easy to imagine Gina Bianchi in various situations such as holiday dinners, family vacations, or better yet pair Gina and Lisa in some situation. The main point is that SNL should invest in and spotlight more character work for sketches.

Submarine Launch - SNL

A showcase for the male cast of SNL, “Submarine Launch” is stupid fun. Maybe it is all the yelling, but the ridiculousness of this sketch earned its runtime. The juxtaposition between the austerity of the American military and the absurdity of internet culture makes this sketch work. It also touches on how institutions engage with audiences on social media and how social media can undermine those institutions. The underlining commentary on the democratic potential of social media against the democratic danger of social media captures something in the zeitgeist.

MVP of the night: Woody Harrelson

Image for article titled Woody Harrelson enters the Five-Timers Club on an enjoyable SNL
Photo: SNL

He’s not a tabloid fixture, part of the Marvel universe, or on a hit streaming sitcom, but there is something special about Woody Harrelson that is instantly identifiable and relatable. Harrelson is a contradiction—as he said, a “Redneck Hippie”—and has a little something for everyone. His country good ol’ boy stoner persona worked wonderfully as a prison inmate, himself in a colon cancer commercial, or even against type as a fancy gay gym member. Harrelson’s best quality is that he seems so at ease in each sketch, which creates a flow conducive to the comedy.


Stray observations: