Saturday Night Live: Sam Rockwell, Halsey
January 13, 2018 10:24 PM - Season 43, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Host: Sam Rockweel, Musical Guest: Halsey

  • Morning Joe - Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Mikey Day, Chris Redd, Fred Armisen, Bill Murray, Leslie Jones
  • Opening Monologue - Sam Rockwell
  • Science Room - Sam Rockwell, Cecily Strong, Mikey Day
  • Tucci Gang - Pete Davidson, Sam Rockwell
  • Fashion Panel - Cecily Strong, Sam Rockwell, Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villaseñor, Kate McKinnon
  • My Drunk Boyfriend - Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Beck Bennett, Luke Null, Kyle Mooney, Melissa Villaseñor, Heidi Gardner, Alex Moffat
  • Halsey - Bad At Love
  • Weekend Update - Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Aidy Byrant
    • Lavar Ball - Kenan Thompson

  • Peter Pan - Kyle Mooney, Sam Rockwell, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Luke Null, Kenan Thompson, Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon

  • ATM - Kate McKinnon, Sam Rockwell, Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd

  • Halsey - Him & I

  • Meet the Parents - Sam Rockwell, Aidy Bryant, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd

  • Dog Head Guy - Cecily Strong, Beck Bennett, Kenan Thompson, Sam Rockwell, Aidy Bryant, Mikey Day, Melissa Villaseñor

  • Chantix - Cecily Srong

posted by DizzyOnBugSpray (18 comments total)
You missed Oprah & Stedman on Weekend Update. It's a good impression by Leslie.

I've never seen the real Lavar Ball, but I love Kenan's performance.

Really strong episode overall.
posted by Gary at 11:59 PM on January 13, 2018

There were some bits I liked, like the dog guy, and it's always fun to watch Sam Rockwell dance, but a lot of this was just painful. I imagine Trump was pretty pleased about that cold open, where the Morning Joe people are idiot hypocrites who don't really care about letting POC have a voice, Micheal Wolff is all but admitting his book is full of lies and Steve Bannon is a down-and-out loser. During the week of Trump's "shithole" debacle, THIS was what they came up with? Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of Morning Joe, I am aware that there's questionable stuff in Wolff's book and Bannon is awful. But the focus here was wacky as shit, like they were ticking off conservative talking points.

Then we had that E! thing where the hosts were so absurdly p.c. that they were booing the birth of a male baby (unless he was gay). And the Peter Pan thing where the pirates all get creeped out about the homo pedo overtones of the story and jump overboard. Oh, and let's not forget the ATM bit where the black guy shames a white guy for being racist, and then the punchline is that the black guy gets the shit beaten out of him by black toughs. This stuff gave me bad flashbacks to the Adam Sandler era of fratboy conservative comedy.

Rockwell is fantastic in movies but his energy was weird here. It seemed like they were having teleprompter issues or something. During his Steve Bannon bit Bill Murray hit some weird pauses and at times it kind of seemed like he was improvising and fumbling to remember his lines.

God, I could go on! There were some funny lines throughout and I did love the dog guy eating a sandwich, but overall this was kind of a train wreck. Is this weird conservative tilt Che's fault? It's Che, isn't it?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:00 AM on January 14, 2018 [8 favorites]

I thought this was a very good episode. Weekend update was strong and brutal, as it should be. Weird to hear them say "Shithole." I wonder if that was planned or were they like "Rockwell just used an F-bomb so we can say shit now."

Tucci Gang was nice and silly. I like silly. Some good fake commercials as well. Loved the Chantix one especially. Cecily is amazing.

Nice to see Aidy doing a bit on WE. She's great.

I have no idea who that musical guest was. I have no idea if she's some obscure person they're trying to push, or if she's super mega popular and I've just never heard of her. She seemed quite forgettable, at least in my middle-aged-out-of-touch-dad mind. It is the children who are wrong. She seemed like she was trying to act all erotic but, well, was that erotic? I enjoy some eroticism now and then but that just seemed kind of... not that.

I really thought there wasn't one dud all night.
posted by bondcliff at 7:35 AM on January 14, 2018

I still don't get the idea that Che is a conservative. His thing, as I see it, is point out white liberal hypocrisy, and he's kinda doing us a favor by doing so. But while I strongly believe that, I admit I may be pouring my own anger at the liberal hypocrisy of the Times Up thing into that E! bit.

I loved the Mister Wizard sketch. Cecily was adorably professional when she did earmuffs in reaction to Sam Rockwell's F-bomb. I think Colin Jost was all fuck it I'm going to say shithole now after that. Loved Aidy on WE.

Halsey's fairly popular. My 16 year old is a fan and I hear her on the radio often enough. The musical guest next week is a primarily a YouTube star with a huuuuge following. He does have a new album coming out, but I'm surprised they booked him. (Kid Ruki adores him, so I've actually seen him live. It was right after the 2016 election. Troye Sivan is openly gay, so there were a lot of pride flags in the audience, and he gave a speech about love and unity and acceptance that actually made me weep. It was the first moment post-election that I felt hope again.)
posted by Ruki at 8:38 AM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Dog Head Guy made me laugh so ridiculously hard, I frightened the cat.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 10:11 AM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

> Then we had that E! thing where the hosts were so absurdly p.c. that they were booing the birth of a male baby (unless he was gay). And the Peter Pan thing where the pirates all get creeped out about the homo pedo overtones of the story and jump overboard. Oh, and let's not forget the ATM bit where the black guy shames a white guy for being racist, and then the punchline is that the black guy gets the shit beaten out of him by black toughs.

Ursula Hitler nails my thoughts. These sketches left such a bad taste in my mouth that I was unable to enjoy the rest - I kept flashing back to them like, "How is that the punchline? How do you even think to write that?"

Like with the Dog Head Guy - it opens up with Cecily leading the tour and she says she's done talking and Beck is like "finally ...." and then ... nothing? That was supposed to be a joke? That women talk too much? It had nothing to do with the rest of the skit and felt like a mean jab for no reason.

Really disappointed in this episode.
posted by komara at 11:41 AM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Great line by Aidy in 'Meet the Parents.'

'Dog Head Guy' was adorbs.
posted by porpoise at 12:35 PM on January 14, 2018

Rockwell was great, but I don't think the writing rose to his talent and energy. I don't know if I'm holding them up to an impossible standard due to the craziness of everyday life, but that's the way it goes.

Morning Joe is now rehashing the Cheri Oteri/Chris Kattan Suggestive Couple skit. Don't like it.

Heidi Gardner's simple "My Drunk Girlfriend" line, "Are you mad at me?" just killed me. Perfect.

Overall I'm in the "middling" camp.
posted by rhizome at 4:43 PM on January 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

Ursula Hitler covered my main problem with this episode.

So, earlier this week I made a comment about how they shouldn't give awards to movies about acting or making movies, and one of my friends piped in that music has a similar problem with traveling songs, since they're basically just about touring.

You've got four sketches about worrying about a backlash for saying or doing the wrong thing, which strikes me as the writers room of SNL writing for an audience of SNL writers. But anyway, the argument "I'm not offending group X, it's just virtue-signaling SJWs getting offended on behalf of group X" is bad enough coming from 4chan trolls and owners of NFL franchises with racist team names, I don't need it from supposedly lefty late-night comedy shows, too.

I enjoyed the dog head guy sketch, though.
posted by ckape at 9:35 PM on January 14, 2018

During his Steve Bannon bit Bill Murray hit some weird pauses and at times it kind of seemed like he was improvising and fumbling to remember his lines.

Yes! He was obviously blanking, but he wound up pulling it out for the most part. The part which was mostly playing The Bill Murray Character.
posted by rhizome at 9:58 PM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I single out Che because in his monologues he often strikes me as kind of a South Park Libertarian, a cranky sexist pothead who is socially liberal/everything else conservative. Like, maybe he doesn't like guys like Trump, but he hates "hippie" types even more. In a thread for a recent episode I was talking about this weird divide in the sketches between the rather preachy feminist stuff and the anti-feminist bro stuff, and since Che got in as co-head writer it does seem like the balance is rapidly shifting toward the bros. Maybe I'm blaming him too much. It may be that somebody else is really pushing this stuff, and as they're pushing it that just allows Che to open up about his own not-exactly-lefty politics. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Lorne Michaels told the writers, "Look, we're getting a rep as a liberal show. This is supposed to be comedy for EVERYBODY, so start going after lefties more!" But the thing is, in 2018 the conservatives have gotten so nutty and evil that you really can't play the "both sides" game. I have a lot of issues with modern feminism and the left (even though I consider myself a feminist and a leftist), but while I see obnoxious and ridiculous elements within those groups Trump and his goons are a zillion times more terrifying and ripe for satire. If your sketch plays like something that Trump would sign off on, you're doing it wrong.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:13 PM on January 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

The way I see it, the guest who's the head of a shelter is the key to the E! sketch- the hosts are aware that their shit isn't flying anymore, but they don't understand how to actually be good people, so they're taking stabs in the dark and failing miserably as she incredulously responds.

Any of you folks ever hung around hard lefty spaces online that are being watched by G*merg*te, fascists, etc? Every week or two you'll get some shithead trying to "infiltrate" the subreddit/forum/whatever, and every time they get caught and called out instantly because they're so devoid of empathy and understanding that they can't tell the difference between actual progressive people and the caricatures they made up to get mad at, making their imposture incredibly obvious. I've seen a bunch of really awful people talking exactly like the Look hosts in that sketch because they were awful, unempathic people trying to fake being progressive and decent and empathic, and failing miserably because deep down they have zero understanding of what they're trying to imitate. The actual decent person in the sketch, meanwhile, sees them for exactly who and what they are, and is having none of it.

That's how I read the The Look sketch, and why I loved it. That said, I also think it could've been broader and more straightforward about it, since it sounds like it was pretty easy to have an altogether different reading.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:02 AM on January 15, 2018

I think the show was spending a lot of time making jokes about silly, superficial, entitled hypocrites supporting leftist causes. Oh, and I forgot the bit about Stedman being Oprah's cringing lackey and Oprah's greatest foe being bread. That was SNL's response to the Golden Globes speech!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:06 AM on January 15, 2018

When you attend an SNL performance - even dress (which is taped) - someone goes through the waiting room and picks out young, attractive, well-dressed people to sit on the main floor. (I'm an older, average-looking woman. I sat upstairs. In the back. ;))

Metaphor for Lorne Michael's current actual production of SNL? "Look, we're young & good-looking - we must be hip." Except, much of the time, as with who they "cast" to be the visible audience, it's just window dressing. There's no substance behind the illusion of being cool and edgy.

And the man behind the curtain has become a wealthy, distant older white guy who thrives on power. Deep in his brain, he probably relates much more to tRump (and other obnoxious rich white men) than women, gays, poors, POC, etc. (See also Jane Curtin's 40-y.o. anger at how he handled Belushi's awful treatment of her and the show.)

After the brief glorious moments the past decade or so, when women and gay men (if not POC) finally, occasionally, had a strong say, he's once again handed the power behind the scenes back to boring straight, mostly white bros.

tl;dr - This season I'm back to turning episodes off partway thru WU.
posted by NorthernLite at 11:13 AM on January 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I thought it was a bold, daring, solid episode. A few jokes fell flat and there did seem to be some technical glitches going on behind the cameras, but most of it held together well. I think this episode, they weren't afraid to take off the gloves, they weren't afraid to defy the "optics" of the zeitgeist in order to point out multiple ways you could take apart and examine one social phenomenon or another.

And I don't always agree with Che's conclusions, but he's damn funny in making them, and I'm glad they put him next to Jost as a head writer. I think definitely, this show was Che's fault, and I appreciated it. This is the kind of sociopolitical-skewering show I've been longing for this year. While some jokes fell flat, the sketches themselves did not leave me going, "What was that all about?!" afterward. I knew what they were about.

I want to see more O and Stedman, and dog-head-guy had me laughing harder than I'd laughed in a long time. (see also: William Wegman.) Pete's Tooch video was great – I'd like to see more of that goofiness. And though it was a musical, the monologue was really fun. Even though they're wearing it out, I liked this "dancing through the hallways" version of the musical monologue.

But yeah, in the other less-goofy bits, they took some topics they'd been dancing around over the past year, and tried unpacking some of it for better or worse, and for that, I think this show should be praised. I felt uncomfortable for a good portion of this show, and in the good way, and not the facepalmy "oh no, they're going to steer this the wrong way" way.
posted by not_on_display at 3:36 PM on January 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've been trying to figure out if I would have liked Tucci Club at all if they had parodied the Gucci Crew and made "Stanley, that guy" instead.
posted by rhizome at 3:48 PM on January 15, 2018

Does anyone know why Beck Bennett has such a decreased role this season? It seemed like he was featured much more prominently last year.
posted by Clustercuss at 9:28 AM on January 17, 2018

I barely remember the show. It was...not so good.

Was there backstage llama?
posted by elsietheeel at 10:18 AM on January 21, 2018

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