Saturday Night Live: Anya Taylor-Joy / Lil Nas X
May 23, 2021 11:27 AM - Season 46, Episode 20 - Subscribe

Season finale

  • Cold Open - What I Remember About This Year: Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, Heidi Gardner, Chris Redd, Bowen Yang, Ego Nwodim, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Chloe Fineman, Beck Bennett, Lauren Holt, Andrew Dismukes, Punkie Johnson, Melissa Villaseñor, ???, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffatt, Mikey Day, Chris Rock
  • Monologue: Anya Taylor-Joy
  • Hollywood Squares: Beck Bennett, Chris Redd, Aidy Bryant, Anya Taylor-Joy, Kenan Thompson, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Chloe Fineman, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffatt
  • Picture With Dad: Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett, Heidi Gardner, Andrew Dismukes, Anya Taylor-Joy
  • Designing Man: Mikey Day, Beck Bennett, Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ego Nwodim, Kate McKinnon, Melissa Villaseñor, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney
  • Pride: Bowen Yang, Kate McKinnon, Punkie Johnson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Lil Nas X
  • Celtic Woman: Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate McKinnon, Heidi Gardner, Alex Moffatt, Chris Redd, Lauren Holt, Punkie Johnson, Alex Moffatt, Kyle Mooney, Chloe Fineman
  • Lil Nas X - MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)
  • Weekend Update: Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Pete Davidson
    • Judge Jeannine Pirro: Cecily Strong
  • Enid & Astrid's Brawr Barn: Aidy Bryant, Anya Taylor-Joy, Heidi Gardner, Beck Bennett, Chloe Fineman
  • NYU Film Studies: Anya Taylor-Joy, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Punkie Johnson, Heidi Gardner, Bowen Yang, Ego Nwodim
  • Lil Nas X - Sun Goes Down
  • The Movies: Beck Bennett, Anya Taylor-Joy, Melissa Villaseñor, Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson
posted by rhizome (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I watched clips out of order on YouTube and Peacock, and realized, I miss getting a feeling for the flow of the show. (And seeing the "good nights.")

My last 15 months have been Very Not Good. So I'll take any laughs I can, which is why I've watched WU Pirro 4x. Cecily's commitment to being crazed, and still being kind of sexy while doing so. (Immersing herself at the end while still singing! The perfect aim over her shoulder at Jost.) Also, last on the list of things to be afraid of coming across the border? Del Taco.

I hope she gets cast in a lot of other projects. But I'll miss her on SNL, if this was her swan song. In general, this has been an extremely strong female cast.

I also enjoyed the cold open, especially Chris Rock reminding us of what national insanity occurred just during the week he hosted. ("That was THIS season!")

Also (paraphrase of the AMC bit) - "You know that feeling when you go to a movie during the day, and your come out, and it's still sunny? Da mooovies." Beck Bennett doesn't have the star power charisma of Strong or McKinnon. But he's been a solid support, doing everything from Putin to Pence to assorted full of themselves characters.

And why are probable product placements often some of the cleverest bits of an episode? Maybe someone there writes best when assigned a topic.

I'm trying to think what else (besides QG, which I haven't finished) I recently saw the host in, another film playing an American. At any rate, she did a solid job here, I'd assume they'll have her back sometime. (PS, there's a cut for time clip out there, the cast pitching her increasingly insane variations on the QG.)
posted by NorthernLite at 12:30 PM on May 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'd heard that Lil Nas X had his pants split onstage during "Call Me By Your Name" - I watched that number, and you literally wouldn't know if no one had told you. (It was towards the front, apparently, and it was during the last minute - so Lil Nas just put his hand over his crotch for the entire rest of the number, kind of fit with the rest of the choreography anyway so it didn't seem unusual.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:58 PM on May 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

And the "Celtic Woman" one made me snort-laugh.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:02 PM on May 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Poor Colin.

Damned shame if Cecily Strong is leaving, but what a way to go.

Taylor-Joy was a great host.

Never been a super fan of Bennett but his Diesel made me lol.
posted by porpoise at 1:19 PM on May 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

I’m watching the replay on Peacock and have only made it to WU so far, but this has easily been the funniest show of the season. There was very much a “last show of the season, so let’s leave ‘em wanting more” vibe.

Hollywood Squares was fresh and funny. I wasn’t sure where the skit was going to go when the contestant picked Cosby. I thought they’d go for a gag with Cosby making remarks to the women or something, but I did not expect the direction the skit took. Really funny.

Picture with Dad was...okay, but what really saved it was the dad discovering his daughter and her boyfriend have been having sex for quite awhile now. Great back and forth there.

I was kind of disappointed with the Designing Man skit. It seemed to end abruptly, and just seemed to skip a bunch of obvious opportunities for big laughs, and it just kind of ended. And throwing Jesus in at the end for a lame “boss’ kid” gag really felt tacked-on.

Celtic Woman was a solid lampoon of that whole genre. It was pretty obvious the ladies were having a good time with it.

WU was a riot. Pete was great. I like the tradition Jost and Che have made with the surprise jokes written by the other, and this one was one of the best. Jost’s mortification is just delicious and seems utterly genuine. Che writes some damned brutal jokes. The hammering-away at the black Superman gag was hilarious.

But, as good as Che and Jost were, Cecily Strong knocked it out of the park as Jeanine Pirro. She didn’t merely chew up the scenery, she ate it alive. It was a “fuck it, just go for it” performance. Is she really leaving? Her choice, or is she being dropped? Maybe that was more of a “fuck you, this is what you’re losing” performance instead?

Be back as soon as I can get to watching the second half of the show.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:50 PM on May 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

Good ep. I take it that the NYU Film School sketch was based on something real? It felt that way.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 2:04 PM on May 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I loved this episode. I went into it thinking I didn't know the host, not realizing she was the one in Queen's Gambit. I wonder if she had been originally scheduled earlier in the season, back when QG was newer. She just seemed like such a natural fit for the show, I didn't really see any of the awkwardness that some hosts have when they're not used to cue cards and live TV. I felt like she was underutilized in a couple of the sketches though.

A couple of the sketches seemed like they weren't fully baked, as Thorzdad mentioned above about Designing Man. I also felt Hollywood Squares could have been fleshed out a bit more, maybe with some more impressions. At first I thought they were criticizing so-called cancel culture but then I realized it was more about "look at how we used to let these shitty people get away with shitty things for so long."

I will miss Aidy and Cecily, if it is indeed their last show.

The cold open almost made me cry. Sure, there were jokes, but they were real. Just about everything they said was true. What a fucking year it's been.

Lil Nas X kicked ass. I haven't yet seen the video where he gives the devil a lap dance but I assume that first performance was the same song? That was about the horniest thing I've ever seen on network TV. I imagined a million homophones turning off their TV in disgust. It was glorious.
posted by bondcliff at 2:17 PM on May 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Didn't watch the show, but did watch every clip featuring Lil Nas X. So talented! So queer! That Montero performance was hot hot hot and unapologetically gay. Like EmpressCallipygos said he handled the costume failure like a total pro, even if he did make a couple of hilarious faces. Honestly it was so smooth a little part of me wonders if it wasn't an accident, like this was his Plan B because the pole dance wasn't working out in rehearsal. He says not though, and honestly I don't care either way.

I want to also give a shout out to the writers for the Pride Month Song sketch. That also felt authentically queer to me. Lots of jokes that straight people might or might not get but the writers clearly weren't worried about them keeping up. Also the lyrics for Lil Nas X' part of the song are just phenomenal
Post hole on close friends
Post hole on main
Post hole for the countries where you can't be gay
Marsha P Johnson and Harvey Milk
They paved the way for you to shake your filth
Very sharp, hilarious but slightly mean satire of the LGBT movement in 2021. All it was missing was a cops-at-Pride joke.

(Anyone know if "post hole on main" has a specific etymology or referrent? I found uses of "post hole" going back to 2019 or so on Twitter but all fairly organic. It's presumably referencing "horny on main" (2017) but I'm thinking the "post hole" part of that may be original writing.)
posted by Nelson at 2:51 PM on May 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Cecily looked like she was about to burst into tears during that whole cold open! Her Pirro bit was a masterpiece.

It definitely felt like a changing of the guard. The cast has felt perhaps a bit oversized this season, so perhaps maybe that was a way to make next year go more smoothly for the new folks?
posted by mochapickle at 3:59 PM on May 23, 2021

Is Celtic Woman still a thing? My friends and I used to watch and heckle snippets of it on PBS (it was a staple of their pledge drive programming) like 15 years ago. I was surprised it would still end up on the radar of this mostly young Millennial writing staff.

It was hilariously spot-on, however, and I just about lost it when the jig-dancing fiddle lady showed up right at the end. She was always the highlight!
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:26 PM on May 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I watched that number, and you literally wouldn't know if no one had told you.

I saw it but we were watching this evening not-live so with a little more ability to hit stop/rewind and be like "Yup, wardrobe malfunction" He did such a great job and I just love that song I liked the choice to play the second one a little more buttoned down also, he's got a lot of talent.

I haven't yet seen the video where he gives the devil a lap dance

Treat yourself, all his videos are a lot of fun.

Other than the sort of weirdie non-ending to Designing Man and the big question about the opener (do we know that those four are leaving or do we just suspect it?) I thought it was the strongest episode of the season. A lot more women in lead roles including the host who I didn't know well but she was great. Nothing that just dragged o was awful. Even the could-be-super-trite dad shoots himself in the junk sketch had some fresh laughs in it. Did not know what Celtic Woman was but could basically intuit it. And, because I was so crabby about Carrey-as-Biden, I was happy to see them make a joke about that. Vindicated!

Here's hoping the next season can right-size the cast a little.
posted by jessamyn at 8:22 PM on May 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

This was a good episode. They have so many hosts lately that can't act then when an actual actor like Taylor-Joy shows it it's kind of a surprise. She did accents! She didn't break! She cleared a very low bar!

"Post hole on main" was both surprising and funny - SNL is starting to get a bit cruder which can be pretty funny when used in moderation. At least SNL finally has enough LGBT cast members & writers that I assume this one by them and for them rather than a more straight-centric view of pride.

Rock's opener was OK but a bit lazy IMO - "remember this crazy thing???" is weak comedy to me. Yes, I remember it. Yes it was crazy. This is a 3-glasses-of-wine level conversation between friends you haven't seen in a year.

Overall it was better than most of this season.
posted by GuyZero at 10:48 AM on May 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Has anybody figured out who that guy was in the cold open who said "This is the only line I had all year!"? Was he just an actor hired for the role, or someone associated with the show getting a brief line?
posted by briank at 11:29 AM on May 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

It looked a hell of a lot like Fred Armisen with ton of jowl makeup. It definitely wasn’t anyone in the actual cast, as shown in the opening credits. I think it was a joke.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:08 PM on May 24, 2021

Akira Yoshimura, production designer.
posted by cardboard at 2:23 PM on May 24, 2021 [6 favorites]

Chris Rock hosted the season opener, which made his appearance feel like a bookend of sorts. He's not really a great TV person to me anymore, so his awkward attempts at going home again just kind of bounce off my attention span.

I didn't like this instance of Pirro. It reminded me of that "huge chardonnay glass" bit in the Amy Schumer episode, and there are so many funnier terribles in the Pirro universe. Then again, if it's her last episode, she can be excused for taking advantage of the moment to make sure the message got across. :)

Queen's Gambit utterly transfixed me, so anything better than Elon was going to get the thumbs up from me. She seemed game for everything and really nailed her parts, including her accent in the "Brawrs" sketch. Overall I think she was underused.

WU aside, is this the first no-politics episode? I forgot to notice before.
posted by rhizome at 3:29 PM on May 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Needed more Black Phillip, but that's probably a me thing.
posted by stet at 6:52 PM on May 24, 2021 [7 favorites]

a little part of me wonders if it wasn't an accident, like this was his Plan B because the pole dance wasn't working out in rehearsal

Well shame on my cynical heart. Jimmy Fallon had Lil Nas X on the show last night including a clip from dress rehearsal of him doing the pole routine he couldn't do in the live performance. It's flawless.
posted by Nelson at 8:11 AM on May 25, 2021 [5 favorites]

Has anybody figured out who that guy was in the cold open who said "This is the only line I had all year!"? Was he just an actor hired for the role, or someone associated with the show getting a brief line?

Akira Yoshimura, production designer.

He's been with the show since 1975, hence the joke. Or in-joke, rather.
posted by ishmael at 10:04 AM on May 25, 2021 [7 favorites]

That's awesome. I was hoping it was something like that instead of yet another season-finale cameo from Fred Armisen.
posted by briank at 10:37 AM on May 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Thanks for posting the dress rehearsal clip!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:13 AM on May 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

Vulture: Who Got the Most Screen Time on SNL Season 46?

Musical Guest: 1.1%
Lauren Holt: 2.5%
Michael Che: 2.6%
Colin Jost: 2.8%
Punkie Johnson: 3%
Melssa Villaseñor: 3.3%
Andrew Dismukes: 3.5%
Bowen Yang: 3.8%
Chloe Fineman: 3.9%
Cecily Strong: 4.2%
Aidy Bryant: 4.3%
Kyle Mooney: 4.6%
Alex Moffat: 4.6%
Chris Redd: 5%
Cameos: 5.4%
Pete Davidson: 5.4%
Heidi Gardner: 5.8%
Mikey Day: 6.1%
Ego Nwodim: 6.2%
Kenan Thompson: 6.8%
Kate McKinnon: 7.4%
Beck Bennett: 7.7%
posted by porpoise at 5:30 PM on May 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

I think that list is super interesting but also it's based on a weird rubric they made so while I think it's basically accurate, it's not technically the "screen time" count (because I was like "Oh wow I am really curious how they did that counting, maybe they used some cool AI") but more like SNL importance level, since you'll get more "points" for telling a joke and/or playing a recurring character.
posted by jessamyn at 3:36 PM on May 29, 2021

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