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  • Tracy's Back!

    Saturday Night Live, Ep. 41.03, “Tracy Morgan/Demi Lovato”

    All Tracy Morgan had to do was stand up on stage and crack a few jokes. No had any right to expect Morgan to reach the kind of lunatic heights he did in his prime. But to watch Morgan come on SNL tonight, trot out all of his old staples from the show, and absolutely slay is one of the warmest, uplifting moments to air in the history of TV. More

  • Best Friends

    Saturday Night Live, Ep. 41.02, “Amy Schumer/The Weeknd”

    Amy Schumer is one of the most versatile, intelligent comedians of the most recent comedy boom, and probably the most deserving of the kind of national fame that she is amassing. Between her lights out sketch show on comedy central and writing and starring in one of the summer’s best movies, hosting SNL seemed like only a natural extension of Schumer staking her claim to all things funny. More

  • A way too accurate depiction of how the show actually goes down

    Saturday Night Live, Ep. 41.01, “Miley Cyrus”

    Unless the ratings for this puppy are just gargantuan, Miley Cyrus isn’t going to be hosting anything again anytime soon. The whole point of SNL having a celebrity host is to draw in viewers who are fans of that host and see how they operate in the strange worlds the show’s writers create for them. So rarely does the show, though, push its host to the side, to the point where an argument can be made that Hillary Clinton acts as more of a host than Miley. More

  • in

    Saturday Night Live, Ep. 40.21, “Louis C.K./Rihanna” just absolutely crushes it

    Throughout this Louis golden age, SNL has been an integral part creative space, because the show is practically the only place where he is able to satisfy his sketch comedy itch, whether that be a shoemaker who is doing all he can to resist dominating his worker elves or a Lumberjack with a Glory tear because people no longer by wood products. Louis’ energy permeates SNL whenever he hosts the show, giving the writers and performers implicit permission to go all out resulting in the hands down best episode, soup to nuts, of the season. And there is no better way for the show to end its 40th season than with a real barn-burner of an episode. More

  • in

    Saturday Night Live, Ep. 40.20, “Reese Witherspoon/Florence + The Machine” has both the best and worst sketch of the season

    Reese Witherspoon is a type of host that blends in with the cast and feels at home, similar to how Cameron Diaz’s episode played earlier in the season — Witherspoon’s outing even shares a sketch with Diaz’s. Unlike last week’s episode where there was always this nagging that the writers had no idea what to do with the talent they had on hands, Witherspoon settles perfectly into her role as support, best seen in her monologue where she simply introduces the cast and their mothers so that they can tell cute and embarrassing stories, like how Jay Pharoah was always throwing the artfully crafted sandwiches his mom would make for him. Witherspoon still gets a handful of laugh lines throughout, particularly in a rare-for-a-host appearance on Weekend Update, but her real strength comes from not hijacking the evening, allowing the sketches to live or die on their own merit. More

  • in

    Saturday Night Live, Ep. 40.19, “Scarlett Johansson/Wiz Khalifa” wastes the charisma of its host

    Scarlett Johansson is a mother in lots of films — that’s what MILF means right? — and that’s because she is supernaturally talented. Her 2013-2014 run of Don Jon, Under the Skin, Her, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Lucy (Chef is in there too as the only arguable demerit) will likely be the greatest string of films by any actor this decade. So it would make sense that with so much star power and charisma in the studio this week, SNL would use it to their advantage. The monologue would seem to indicate that the show would be smartly taking advantage of Johansson’s presence as she sings what turns out to be a very sexy lullaby that will keep Keenan Thompson up for the rest of his life. But the show that follows chooses to just use her as a supporting player for most of the night. More

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