SNL: Machine Gun Kelly, John Krasinski, Heidi Gardner (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

It’s the end of January, and Saturday Night Live has finally aired its first new episode of 2021. I’ll let you numerologists determine what significance those digits have as far as SNL is concerned…

Host John Krasinski and musical guest Machine Gun Kelly are both making their Studio 8H debuts (as will be all the recently announced guests for the coming weeks). Krasinski was actually supposed to host back in March 2020, but that is now neither here nor there.

Here’s where my head was at while watching this episode: most days, I wake up and write my dreams from the night before down in a dream journal, but I didn’t remember them this morning, so I didn’t have to arrange my dream scribbling around my SNL viewing as I normally do. But then later while I was running, a dream came back to me, so I had to pivot a bit. But it was a pretty easy pivot.

Vaccines are being rolled out, but the pandemic is still ongoing, so my reviews will continue to be spaced out.

The cold opening was a new sketch that took stock of current events entitled What Still Works (Grade: 3/5 Derrick Boners). Kate McKinnon played herself, and I most definitely laughed at her reaction to Jack Dorsey’s beard.

In case you haven’t noticed, The Office has become the most popular show of all time ever since it went off the air eight years ago. And if you didn’t know that already, you certainly do now that you’ve seen John Krasinski’s Monologue (Grade: 3/5 Pams).

Georgia elected a couple of Democrat senators to Congress, so SNL wrote a sketch featuring liberal stereotypes in the Peach State. This thing paired with that thing, don’t you know. Blue Georgia (Grade: Avocado Toast, Y’All)

The pre-filmed sketch entitled The Loser (Grade: Too Much Inversion) really packed it on heavy, perhaps a little too heavy, but I’m glad that everyone seemed to be sympathetic towards Andrew Dismukes’ character by the end of it.

To address the recent GameStop short squeeze, SNL concocted a sketch set at a CNBC show entitled The Dividend (Grade: 4/5 Johnny Hedge Funds). The focus was less on the stock market and more on the creepy horror movie-style twins, which quite frankly I’d argue was a wise decision.

Next up we’ve got Now That’s What I Call Theme Songs Sung by the Stars of the Show (Grade: TikTok Salad and Twitter Eggs), and that title is the funniest part of the sketch. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not that’s a good thing.

The Game Night sketch (Grade: Gaudy Hats and Wigs) in which just about every partygoer got arrested for raiding the Capitol had a real “It’s a living!” vibe to it.

Now we come to the point in the review in which I discuss the point in the episode in which the first musical guest performance happens. In this case, it is Mr. Colson Baker (who goes by the stage name “Machine Gun Kelly”) doing a rendition of his hit pop punk track “my ex’s best friend” (Grade: 3.5/5 Machine Guns). I enjoy this song! I also enjoyed his pink shorts.

If you’re a regular viewer of SNL, you might notice that Weekend Update usually immediately follows the first musical performance (or to be more precise, it immediately follows the commercial break that immediately follows the first musical performance), and that was very much the case in this episode. In this edition, Colin Jost confirmed that he does, in fact, like Christmas.

There were three (count ’em: three!) correspondent pieces in this Update. The first was SNL cast member Beck Bennett as My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell (Grade: 3/5 Mustaches). Having him anthropomorphize his pillows was a nice psychotic touch.

Bowen Yang and Kyle Mooney offered up a twofer as friends Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorsese (Grade: Not Quite a Melon Wrapped in Prosciutto), and it was rather loud.

And finally Cecily Strong popped by as the beloved Cathy Anne (Grade: Glued to the TV), the Sage of Our Times.

If you thought that SNL ended immediately after Weekend Update, well, I don’t know why you would think that, because I don’t think that’s ever happened, including on this episode. With that in mind, the first post-Update sketch of the night is a parody of Supermarket Sweep (Grade: 4/5 Grocery Riddle Doctorates), which strangely enough does not reference current Supermarket Sweep host and SNL alum Leslie Jones in any way. (Perhaps she encouraged her old chums to go after the David Ruprecht era?) Anyway, the joke here is Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon as a lesbian couple who are grocery store experts thanks to the various dietary needs of their menagerie of pets, and you know the getting’s good with a premise like that.

After the game show parody, we move on to another SNL standby: the business pitch meeting! This one’s at Subway (Grade: A Surplus of Jared Fogle References), and I was most struck by how boxy John Krasinski’s suit was.

Machine Gun Kelly has one more song for us, and it’s called “Lonely” (Grade: 3/5 Machine Guns), but I did not feel lonely while watching him, and I don’t think he should either! He got to hang out with his good buddy Pete Davidson this week, after all! Anyway, I didn’t mention while talking about his first song that his microphone was pink, but that’s because I didn’t notice it until the second song. What a world we live in!

What if instead of being about a rat masterfully manipulating some human dude in the kitchen, Ratatouille were instead about a rat masterfully manipulating some human dude in the bedroom? That’s the premise behind the Ratatouille sketch (Grade: 4.5/5 Hustlers), aka the best 10-to-1 bit in ages. They even got Pete Davidson to play Anton Ego!

Next week, SNL will dare to air an episode the day before the Super Bowl, which shall feature host Dan Levy (a funny guy) and musical guest Phoebe Bridgers (a folky gal).