Herald by some as the savior of the network television comedy, Quinta Brunson made her debut on Saturday Night Live. The real test would be if Brunson’s likable, optimistic persona fits in the more cynical environment of SNL. A veteran of comedy as a writer and performer, as a stand-up who studied at Second City, Brunson quickly differentiated herself from her beloved character while also highlighting her meteoric rise to fame. She managed to stay relatable while also talking about new friends like Oprah and Barack Obama. Brunson succeeded by committing to every character and joke in roles ranging from gynecologist to game show contestant, but she was at her best playing against type in pasts like a drug dealer, victim of a bridal cult, and enraged motorist.
Best sketch of the night
Thankfully the post-production union and NBC Universal hammered out a labor agreement and averted a strike. Otherwise, the best sketch of the night would have evaporated. Just in time for the approaching wedding season, “Bridesmaid Cult Documentary,” managed to skewer Netflix crime docu-series and the American wedding industrial complex in one fell swoop. Combining wedding rituals with the practices of cults, the sketch eviscerated the financial burden, passive aggressive psychological warfare, and overwhelming time commitment associated with wedding parties. The best part had to be when the camera panned onto Molly Kearney in the bridal party photograph followed by Punkie Johnson’s delivery of “Michelle was a sociopath.”
Worst sketch of the night
The latter half of the show lost some steam. “Midwife” and “Bosses” were not terrible, but also not the best of the night. In the case of “Midwife,” it had all the makings of a good sketch from relatable social awkwardness and taking it to absurd levels. Perhaps it was the convoluted time conceit, but this one just did not gel into a cohesive sketch. Combined with the very broad “Bosses,” the end of the episode felt like the leftover sketches.
Best twist and turns in a sketch
When the “Traffic Altercation” sketch started, it was going to be the worst sketch of the night. However, as the it unfolded its simplicity, absurdity, and committed performances made it one of the night’s funniest. Juxtaposing the instantaneous fury of road rage with the prolonged attempt to communicate that rage through mime worked well in time. The fully committed performances from Brunson and Mikey Day anchored the sketch and the graphic double hand gesture by Chloe Fineman and the out-of-the-blue appearance of Ego Nwodim elevated this seemingly simple premise. The final twists where it felt almost like drifted into a rom-com meet cute story before a final jab of childish rage made for a perfect punch.
Best unscripted moment of the night
It was expected that the Tump indictment would get a lot attention on SNL, but something less expected occurred on “Weekend Update” for April Fools’ Day. At the end of a series of jokes at Tump’s expense, Colin Jost concluded with a reference to himself as a Maga protestor. There was noticeable less laughs than normal and someone yelling something from the audience. The lack of response broke Jost. Michael Che then revealed that he instructed the audience not to laugh as an April Fools’ Joke. The unscripted moment had Jost flummoxed until he eventually regained his composure. It was a new height for Jost and Che who often attempt to discomfort and throw off one another.
MVP of the night: the SNL crew
This could easily go to Brunson or James Austin Johnson, who appeared in the first four sketches as wildly different characters, but the crew of SNL deserves celebration after reaching a labor settlement. The post-production crew responsible for editing pretapped segments, Please Don’t Destroy sketches, and a myriad of promotional materials successfully bargained with executives. It’s an important achievement as the pretapped material often ranks among the best sketches each week. They crew does very impressive work in the face of incredibly tight turnarounds. The labor dispute is an important reminder of the significance of the entire crew from the set and costume designers, the hair and makeup people, editors and everyone else.
- The impassioned praise of teachers was an excellent addition to the monologue.
- “Couple Goals” really should have had Brunson and Kenan Thompson as the second couple. It would have made more of an impact if his fear was the final part of each round of questioning.
- I would binge-watch the entire “I was a Bridesmaid” series.
- Ego Nwodim did so much with so little camera time.
- The David neck movement was idiotic and hilarious.
- Speaking of the crew there were some great wigs in “Midwife” and “Bosses,” even if they were the weaker sketches this week.