Saturday Night Live: JJ Watt / Luke Combs
February 1, 2020 11:49 PM - Season 45, Episode 12 - Subscribe

"I'm not cross-eyed, but that's the vibe."

  • Cold Open: Mikey Day, Kenan Thompson, Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Pete Davidson, Alec Baldwin, Alex Moffatt, Kyle Mooney
  • Monologue: JJ Watt
  • Frozen II: Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, JJ Watt, Kyle Mooney, Kenan Thompson, Mikey Day
  • Robbie: Beck Bennett, Mikey Day, Chris Redd, Alex Moffatt, Kyle Mooney, JJ Watt, Kenan Thompson
  • Son Talk: Kyle Mooney, JJ Watt, Aidy Bryant
  • Oil of Brolay: JJ Watt, Kenan Thompson, Beck Bennett, Alex Moffatt
  • Luke Combs - Lovin' On You
  • Weekend Update: Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Chen Biao - Bowen Yang
    • Dr. Angela Hynes - Ego Nwodim
  • The Pilot Hunk: JJ Watt, Beck Bennett, Cecily Strong, Heidi Gardner, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Melissa VillaseƱor, Ego Nwodim, Chloe Fineman
  • Madden 2021: Mikey Day, Ego Nwodim, JJ Watt
  • Food Dudes: Beck Bennett, Melissa VillaseƱor, Kyle Moone, Mikey Day, Kenan Thompson
  • Luke Combs - Beer Never Broke My Heart
  • My Fair Bigfoot: Bowen Yang, Alex Moffatt, JJ Watt, Kenan Thompson, Beck Bennett, Cecily Strong
  • Big Willie's Pizza: Heidi Gardner, Cecily Strong, JJ Watt, Kenan Thompson
posted by rhizome (14 comments total)
I feel like the best thing I can say about this episode was that it wasn't the most obvious case they've ever had of working within the (apparent) limitations of the host.
posted by Etrigan at 5:38 AM on February 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

As a Badger fan I believe JJ Watt can do no wrong and I'm going to pass on watching this episode in the interest of maintaining my beliefs.
posted by escabeche at 7:32 AM on February 2, 2020

I've seen way worse hosts, is all I can say. I came in knowing nothing about this guy except he was some kind of athlete, and left charmed. He may have limited range, but he knows it and makes up for it in what appears to be an unforced amiability and surprisingly good timing.

Wikipedia reveals why the " wheelchair kid" joke was even darker than you think .
posted by Mogur at 9:25 AM on February 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

I managed to catch the 8:30 airing this time and I'll say this: NBC airs an old episode at 10pm in between the airings and this episode was no worse than the Eli Manning/Rhianna one they slotted in.

Was this the first Nu-Country musical guest?
posted by rhizome at 1:06 PM on February 2, 2020

I don't follow sports, so aside from knowing that he was a football player (which I pretty much got from his build more than anything that I'd heard), I went in not expecting much. I thought his delivery and timing were exceptionally good for someone whom I assume has no acting training. He knew his lines better than many of the other people (athletes, actors, comedians) whom I've seen on the show, and he didn't act with just his voice or just his body, as it seems most athletes have been prone to do.

He acted with his eyes, and he often managed to fit his demeanor to the sketch character. At first I was underwhelmed by his "Frozen II Outtakes" performance until a friend who has SEEN Frozen pointed out that he actually seemed much like the not-so-animated character.

Would I nominate him for an acting or comedy award? No. But I think he's got no reason to be embarrassed by his performance.

As for Nu-Country, it depends how you would define it. Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson have performed in the last few years. Thomas Rhett was on last year. Oh, and Maren Morris! Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban have all performed in the last decade or so. Not sure if you'd count Taylor or Miley Cyrus as country anymore.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 1:45 PM on February 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

Echoing the other comments, I was particularly impressed how he seamlessly corrected his mistakes.
posted by Marticus at 2:23 PM on February 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don't know JJ Watt but that seems to be the case with more hosts every year for me. (I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was) I thought he was a pretty good host, better than several people who are performers for their day jobs. It always helps when it seems like they want to be there and are game and he sure was.

The episode was my least favorite of the year though. Frozen II was pretty good and I enjoyed Ego Nwodim on Update but there wasn't really anything else I liked. I usually enjoy more sketches than the average person, but there was nothing here for me this week. Maybe it's my general mood this week. Maybe it was good and just not for me. I kind of suspect that they under-wrote (for lack of a better term) the episode expecting a wooden host who was obviously reading the cards in monotone.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 8:52 AM on February 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Bachelor bit is smart in that way, the host has one line, maybe two alternating, they repeat over and over and anybody can do it. It's not my favorite, but it did supply the "cross-eyed" quote above, so I can't complain.
posted by rhizome at 11:55 AM on February 3, 2020

I came in knowing nothing about this guy except he was some kind of athlete, and left charmed.

This was me as well. It seemed more old school SNL which is "take someone people don't necessarily know and see what you can write with him" I also appreciated that for someone who is clearly pretty jacked, he got to keep his clothes on the whole time (which I think was a complaint for Harrington and Momoa) and it worked out just fine. Pete was great in the opening (and looked good) and then disappeared! Some good parts for Ego and I liked the "pizza guy porno" routine better this time than the last time I vaguely remember is. Lots of good Kenan, not enough Chloe, and the musical guest was someone I'd never heard of and he had a great voice. Liked Watt's Kobe t-shirt, couldn't see who was on Combs shirt. Bosephus? All in all solid episode. I feel like this season hasn't been amazing but in most cases it's been solidly good.
posted by jessamyn at 5:30 PM on February 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I also appreciated that for someone who is clearly pretty jacked, he got to keep his clothes on the whole time (which I think was a complaint for Harrington and Momoa) and it worked out just fine.

He's definitely one of the strongest (and most massive) guests they've ever had, but he likely doesn't give a shit about how his muscles look or whether he makes weight, so he's probably closer to dad bod than jacked.
posted by Etrigan at 6:45 AM on February 4, 2020

I didn't know either the host of the musical guest and I enjoyed this episode for the most part. None of the sketches were standouts but I thought overall it was decent. He did as well as any non-performer should be expected to do and he was better than most.

As for the musical guest, I don't know anything about country music beyond Johnny Cash but if I had to come up with a country music stereotype it'd be someone who looks like he belongs on Duck Dynasty singing about big mouth bass, beer, and trucks. But because I'm an old man who doesn't get the music The Kids listen to these days I do enjoy anytime the SNL musical guest has a bunch of Telecasters played through loud amplifiers so I kind of enjoyed it.
posted by bondcliff at 8:23 AM on February 4, 2020

Images I have seen strongly imply jacked.
posted by jessamyn at 8:55 AM on February 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I thought JJ Watt did exceptionally well for a non-actor. He was game, he seemed to be enjoying himself, he never broke, and he came across like a fun, likable, decent guy. And yes, there have been worse hosts who had decades of acting experience -- Woody Harrelson, for one.

I didn't think this was a particularly good episode, but I'd put that down to the writing being just so-so rather than JJ not being a competent host.
posted by orange swan at 1:49 PM on February 6, 2020

I think the host pretty much nailed it. The musical guest coulda been the Eagles or Lynyrd Skynyrd with a growly big wrassler as their frontman, just good middle-of-the-road Southern Classic Rock.

And the sketches continue to be consistently good. It was especially fun to see Ego nail it on a desk piece; they need to use her talents more. Still missing Pete. This also may be a streak of shows where Kate McKinnon hasn't made me groan (e.g. sterotypical old people characters). The rest of the cast is an amazing ensemble, the writing's tight, they're risky when they need to be, but mostly a good fun set of shows lately. Not much to be overzealous about; also not much to complain about. This exemplified the kinda show where the host really does much better than they shoulda.
posted by not_on_display at 11:30 PM on February 6, 2020

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