CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

This post was originally published on News Cult in December 2018.

Love It

The War in Words – Before Mikey Day joined the SNL cast, he was a part of the short-lived variety show Maya & Marty, and the best thing about that show was an earlier version of “The War in Words,” and it’s just as hilarious the second time around. The correspondence between Day’s World War I soldier and Claire Foy’s possibly unfaithful, definitely puzzling wife proves the viability of the letter-writing format in sketch comedy. Information is initially withheld, and then gloriously revealed, as the wacky world comes more and more into view with successive missive.

And in the sphere of Cut for Time sketches that I love, Beck and Kyle continue their satire of cheesy family sitcoms with “Cars.”

Keep It

Netflix – Jokes about Netflix having a bottomless amount of content and automatically throwing money at whatever is pitched to them are nothing new, but there is plenty of energy and unique style to this parody. Positioning “the Endless Scroll” as approaching the Singularity is certainly an apt way to put it. Plus, as “Officer Winslow” proves, it is always appreciated to see a dark take on Family Matters. While this doesn’t quite strike me as a classic immediately, it’s one of those bits that might gradually grow on me and reach that status eventually.

The Park Hyatt Argentina is certainly emblematic of the problems of Trump-era cold openings, but I do enjoy the silliness of the Giuliani and Putin impressions…Claire Foy’s Monologue is short and sweet enough to not make much on impact, positive or negative…Dad Christmas makes the scuzzy jokes you would expect about divorced kids getting shipped around for the holidays…Michael and Colin‘s highlights include the “very legal & very cool” Russian prostitutes Craigslist listing and the three cows in a trenchcoat (you can never go wrong with the “3 small things in a trenchcoat” joke)…Leslie Jones isn’t actually giving up sex, but she is making a joke about her chiropractor excusing her from twerking…As “economist” Jules, Beck Bennett might be the quote master of the season (“But if you have a roof over your heads, how are you going to see the stars?”)…The Holiday Message From the Women of SNL is most amusing when I mishear “Mueller” as “Mother” (and also, of course, when Leslie apparently mixes up Bigfoot and Santa Claus).

Leave It

Willy Wonka/Good Morning Goomah – Here are two sketches with promising germs of ideas, based on questions raised by classic movies, that are far from fully fleshed out. Specifically, those questions are: what’s the deal with all the grandparents in Willy Wonka sleeping in the same bed? And: what’s going on with the mistresses in Goodfellas and other gangster movies (and real-life mafioso society)? The answers we get are pretty much exactly what you would expect. The bed (and house) rocking in Willy Wonka is certainly explosive, but not particularly insightful. Meanwhile, Kate, Claire, and Aidy certainly sink their chops into ther goomah performances, but there are no surprises along the way.

Morning Joe is just a mess of an unfocused talk show sketch…HSN benefits from Cecily Strong’s committed breakdown, but ultimately it’s a whole bunch of shouting.

Claire Foy

On a scale of hosts that my mom is super excited about, I don’t think Claire Foy has convinced too many Crown obsessives to suddenly become SNL nerds. Although maybe she has enticed some SNL fans to check out The Crown, because if nothing else, this episode does show off her accent skills. Alas, it doesn’t show off much else of her talents.

Anderson .Paak

On a scale of artists I’ve heard plenty about but haven’t heard that much from, I think I’ve heard more of Anderson .Paak’s music than I’ve realized. I just don’t know what the names of those songs are! His two performances here are enjoyably energetic and righteously rhythmic, enough so to convince me to dive a little deeper into what I’ve been missing.

Letter Grades:

Park Hyatt Argentina – C+

Claire Foy’s Monologue – B-

Netflix – B

Morning Joe – C-

The War in Words (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – B+

Dad Christmas – B-

Anderson .Paak ft. Kendrick Lamar performs “Tints” – B+

Weekend Update
The Jokes – B
Leslie Jones – B-
Jules – B

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – C


Anderson .Paak performs “Who R U” – B

Good Morning Goomah – C

A Holiday Message From the Women of SNL – B-