The Koohl Toilet

This review was originally posted on News Cult in November 2016.

Love It

Over 30 years later, how can we possibly make a relevant parody of perhaps the most iconic commercial of all time? We now have an answer, and it is koohl: The Koohl Toilet. The word “sheeple” gets thrown around a lot today, and it is usually uncalled for. But there is in fact one way in which we all conform, as we are just too busy taking care of business. No more, though! There is another way, and it is not just a ridiculous idea for a comedy sketch, but a real revolution.

I am not surprised that Beck Bennett is asking, Why is Benedict Cumberbatch Hot? And I am happy that he figures out the answer without too much strife. I am even happier that he realizes how much competition he has from Kyle Mooney in the looks department…The saga of Mr. Shaw is the most appropriately weird 10-to-1 sketch in a good long while, and it is orgasmically worth it for the “one salmon he couldn’t eat” joke alone.

Keep It
Erin Burnett OutFront – First off, is there anyone who is not a 24-hours-news junkie who has ever heard of Erin Burnett OutFront? SNL has this weird habit of parodying lesser-known CNN programs that do not actually make fun of the show itself but just exist to house the political material of the week. Anyway, the last cold opening before the most apocalyptic election ever has more than a whiff of exhaustion, so Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon decide to break character and go outside and use hugs to try and bridge the divides that ail America. That’s a respite I’ll take.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Monologue featured his own Shaft-by-way-of-James-Bond-style theme song, and it was bit of a mess, but a loopy, fascinating enough mess…We last saw Pete Davidson’s ever-chillaxing Chad as Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ pool boy; now, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch’s tortured professor in Office Hours, he shows just how far melodramatic clichés alongside nonchalance can go…Michael and Colin are in the mood for making a big statement in the last pre-election Update, but they have already said so much – what else is there to do?…There was a segment that supposedly featured the “Winners of Weekend Update’s The Voice Contest.” In reality, of course, this was just a random framework for the Cubs and Bill Murray to sing a song. Nothing really funny here, but they’re so joyous right now, let’s just let them do their thing…The scene at Bobby Flay’s Steakhouse is the sequel to a concept that was excellent when Dwayne Johnson did it, pretty bad when Louis C.K. did it, and now perfectly fine with Benedict Cumberbatch…The parody of a Riddle-prone action movie villain got a lot of leverage out of its goofy side characters.

Leave It

Church Lady – The problem with presenting Church Lady’s general take on the 2016 election is that it feeds into a pattern of false equivalency. It is not hard to believe that Dana Carvey’s judgmental zealot could find fault, fairly or not, with Hillary Clinton, but when simply lumped together with the sins of the Donald, the bit loses track of whatever comedic point could be made. Plus, the bits about Hollywood homosexuals are so obviously outdated. It is not as bad as full-on gay panic, but it is just as hacky. This is a deservedly legendary character, but she needs to be treated with more care than just feeding her the most obvious jokes.

I appreciate whenever SNL goes all-out balls-to-the-wall as they do in Surprise Bachelorette Party, and the Cubs cameos is unique as far as cameos go, but why does nobody ever realize that Grandma Aidy Bryant is dead? That’s the sort of thing that makes a sketch just peter out and make me say, “Let’s get back to the drawing board.”

Benedict Cumberbatch
Sherlock Holmes, Alan Turing, Stephen Strange – Benedict Cumberbatch plays a specific type, and he plays it well. SNL calls upon him to play a variety of goofy roles, and that approach does not quite work out. Look, I will never complain when an actor is willing to commit to the silliness, even when it is beyond his range, but it is no surprise that the sketches happen when Cumberbatch is at his most debonair.

This Ms. Knowles does not command the same devoted army as her big sister, but it is not for lack of fierceness, or for lack of accolades. Her jazzy brand of R&B is catnip to a certain subset of audiophile. This subset may not be large enough to overwhelm the cultural conversation, but it is passionate enough for what Solange deserves. Her retro-futuristic performances of “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair” are the kind that make me applaud while watching TV by myself at home and then make me go right out and buy the album.

Letter Grades:
Erin Burnett OutFront – B-
Benedict Cumberbatch’s Monologue – C+
The Koohl Toilet (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – A-
Why Is Benedict Cumberbatch Hot? – B+
Office Hours – B
Surprise Bachelorette Party – C
Solange performs “Cranes in the Sky” – A-

Weekend Update
The Jokes – B
Church Lady – C-
Winners of Weekend Update’s The Voice Contest – B-

Bobby Flay’s Steakhouse – B-
Criminal Mastermind – B
Solange performs “Don’t Touch My Hair” – B+
Mr. Shaw – B+