CREDIT: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC

Hey, you. Yeah, you. Do you want to know a little secret? Will Ferrell is my favorite SNL cast member of all time! He regularly graced the Studio 8H stage from 1995 to 2002, and I don’t think it’s too out of line to say that he appeared in a lot of hilarious sketches that multiple people remember fondly. Since ending his tenure and moving on to other career ventures, he’s also made time to return for some visits, which has led up to him hosting for the FIFTH time on November 23, 2019, thereby becoming only the fourth former cast member to join the Five-Timers Club. Also appearing in an official capacity in this episode is musical guest King Princess. She’s only 20 years old currently, and I think she’s someone we’ll be noticing for a while.

Alec Baldwin-Trump showed up for the White House press conference cold open (Grade: 3/5 Large Pies, Extra Cheese), and somehow it felt somewhat fresh. It helped that it was just a few minutes long, and Will F. imbued some new energy into the proceedings as Gordon Sondland. You can always bank on an excellent Monologue (Grade: 4.5 New Blorks) from Will Ferrell (or as Tracy Morgan says, “Will fuh-RELL!”), thanks to his knack for subverting common monologue tropes. This time was no exception, as he became phantasmagorically puddly-lipped in the presence of surprise guest Ryan Reynolds.

Is the mark of a great SNL commercial parody that I want the product on my Thanksgiving table? Good job, Heinz Relax (Grade: 4/5 Sighs). Holey moley, that Democratic Debate sketch (Grade: 2.5/5 Verbatims) lasted forever (not literally, but you get the idea). I think it should have just focused on Tom Steyer; that’s a loony Will Ferrell character if I’ve ever seen one. The Thanksgiving sketch (Grade: Most of the Stuffing But OUTSIDE the Turkey) was (knowingly) skating on thin ice by inverting racial stereotypes, and then it acknowledged that at the end, and I don’t know if that set everything aright, but it was certainly so, so silly

I’ve noticed that SNL often features a pre-recorded humorous music video, and in this episode that was the Party Song (Grade: 3/5 Conversations) about the midlife crisis-stricken teacher crashing the high school party, and it’s a familiar concept, but it works when it goes extreme (“I’d kill my own mother for a time machine”). Next up, it’s time to shoot a commercial at Bertucci’s (Grade: 3/5 Slices), and the highest compliment I can grant this family played by Will, Kate, Kyle, and Heidi is that they’re very lived-in. After all those sketches, we’re finally ready for a King Princess performance. The song is called “1950” (Grade: 3.5/5 Chunky Necklaces), and that guitar solo at the end really sells it. Regarding Weekend Update, I enjoyed Michael’s police-related jokes and Colin’s bit about “ultra-black material.” Guy Who Just Bought a Boat (Grade: A Lifetime’s Worth of Shameless Puns) is back, and Ryan Reynolds as Guy Who Knows the Owner is there to join him, and I agree with Colin when he says, “Dude, what’s going on?” The Cinema Classics (Grade: 3.5/5 Tornados of Emotional Swings) bit about Dorothy struggling to acknowledge what short-statured people were up to while she was in Oz is a bit of an obvious joke, but Will F. really sells it with his patented formula of performative anger. As is custom, King Princess had a second song on tap, and “Hit the Back” (Grade: 4/5 Twirls) is a fun little danceable indie-rock style number. And how about that outfit? I mean, what sort of weather is she dressing for? She’s got a sleeveless, midriff-baring vest, pants under a skirt, and all black! As for that visible armpit hair? Rock it!

We wrap up things at the Hi-hat Lounge, and Will Ferrell’s Ventriloquist (Grade: Two Hands Up a Little Wooden Butt) has us all on edge in the best way possible.

And in case you were wondering, for breakfast I had Honey Nut Cheerios and Raisin Bran. With banana.

After a week off for Thanksgiving (gobble gobble), SNL will be back new on December 7 with host J. Lopez and musical guest Da Baby.