Saturday Night Live: Ariana DeBose / Bleachers
January 16, 2022 1:12 AM - Season 47, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Bleachers replaces Roddy Ricch due to COVID exposure.

  • Cold Open - Biden Press Conference: James Austin Johnson, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang, Heidi Gardner, Chris Redd, Andrew Dismukes, Pete Davidson
  • Monologue: Ariana DeBose, Kate McKinnon
  • NBA on TNT: Alex Moffatt, Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd, Bowen Yang, Heidi Gardner, Mikey Day, Ariana DeBose, Kyle Mooney
  • Urkel: Kyle Mooney, Chris Redd, Ego Nwodim, Kenan Thompson, Ariana DeBose, Andrew Dismukes, Mikey Day
  • Ron & Donna Lacatza's Formal Emporium: Pete Davidson, Sarah Sherman, Andrew Dismukes, Heidi Gardner, Melissa VillaseƱor, Ariana DeBose
  • Eric Adams Press Conference: Ariana DeBose, Chris Redd, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Bowen Yang
  • Bleachers - How Dare You Want More?
  • Weekend Update: Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Elmo: Chloe Fineman
  • Sound of Music: Kate McKinnon, Bowen Yang, Sarah Sherman, Andrew Dismukes, Chris Redd, Ariana DeBose, Chloe Fineman, Kenan Thompson
  • Bleachers - Chinatown
  • Sappho Presentation: Mikey Day, Kate McKinnon, Ariana DeBose, Chris Redd, Chloe Fineman
  • Longhorn Steakhouse: Ariana DeBose, James Austin Johnson, Heidi Gardner, Andrew Dismukes, Alex Moffatt
posted by rhizome (17 comments total)
A very average show. I wasn't familiar with the host though I guess she was on Schmigadoon!, which I've seen. I'd guess doing SNL isn't a huge deal for Broadway people, though I'm sure the cue cards and last minute changes can through them off. She did fine, though It felt like they didn't use her as much as they could have in some of the sketches.

The old open was ok. He does a passible Biden. I'm glad they're being brutal with Biden, though it's refreshing that they're criticizing his actual policies rather than whatever stupid thing he said or did that week.

There was a lot this week that went over my head. I'm not an NBA guy, I don't really know much about NYC's new mayor, I never watched Urkel (though I understand the premise and was waiting for the inevitable "did I do that?").

I enjoyed The Sound of Music, especially the Queen Latifa riff, which I think was a brilliant piece of writing.

I'm not sure what to say about Dollar Store Bruce Springsteen in the musical slot. They seemed like they were having fun, they had pretty good if a bit overdone stage presence. I guess they were fine and it's always nice to see an actual band on SNL. The world does NOT need a saxophone revival though so I was glad to see them put away the saxes for the second performance. I'm sure the next time they're on I'll have forgotten all about them.
posted by bondcliff at 9:33 AM on January 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Dollar Store Springsteen? Really?

I don't live in New York but I loved Chris Redd's Eric Adams and I suspect we're going to see a lot more of it. Also loved his gritty Urkel.

Weird to see Colin Jost being treated like a rock star? What did he do? Marry a movie star, survive covid? For that we clap and scream?

Fineman's Elmo was great. I can't imagine playing a muppet that accurately.

And the gibberish in Longhorn Steakhouse was fun. I love it when they create a dialectic like that and then really chew on it, ler.
posted by Stanczyk at 9:46 AM on January 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

Also, didn't Jost seem to have longer monologs on Weekend Update? I wonder if that's going to be permanent or if it was just a coincidence. Oh, I also don't watch the sportsball but I've seen Yao Ming on TV and Yang cracked me up.
posted by Stanczyk at 9:50 AM on January 16, 2022

Pretty solid episode, overall.

I noticed that in true muppet fashion, Elmo's arms were controlled by sticks held by people hidden under the desk.

They only really had one joke for the NBA sketch (two if you count Yao Ming is large), but managed to keep it from being old. Though thinking about it the next day, I wish one of the players was a dog, just so they could explain there's no rule saying a dog can't play basketball.

I liked the fist-bump right after singing the word "gay" (and yes, between that and the Sappho sketch I did go to Debose's Wikipedia page and check the "Personal Life" section)

I wonder if Bleachers is a smaller act that only managed to get on due to the time crunch of getting a last-minute replacement. On the one hand I've never heard of them, but on the other hand a lot of acts that show up on SNL I've never heard of. Looked like they were having fun, anyway.
posted by ckape at 9:58 AM on January 16, 2022 [4 favorites]

This Bleachers song has been one of the most useful songs I've ever quietly sung to myself.
posted by Stanczyk at 10:06 AM on January 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Bleachers is Jack Antonoff's band. He was in the poorly-named band "fun" whose songs you've probably heard (I put "fun" in quotation marks both to make that sentence easier to comprehend and also possibly to imply that there's nothing fun about listening to that band). He's made millions writing bland songs for a bunch of people more famous than him. "Dollar Store Springsteen" seems to be a pretty accurate description of that first song, between him being dressed like Springsteen on the cover of "Born in the USA" and the Clarence Clemons-influenced sax part.

I thought it was a pretty average episode. It's always a disappointment when they come back from a long break with no standout sketches.
posted by jonathanhughes at 11:03 AM on January 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

I have to admit I enjoyed the musicals, Biden, Urkel and Elmo. That all worked for me.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:28 AM on January 16, 2022

I agree ... just okay episode. I liked the cold open; sometimes the sketches that run a little dadaist and flatly absurd crack me up the most. My kids really liked the cold open because they got all the Spiderman jokes (and it is exciting for them when they get the jokes).

Sarah Sherman's "crazy eyes" thing makes me giggle whether or not the underlying joke is funny.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:23 PM on January 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Sarah Sherman's "crazy eyes" thing makes me giggle whether or not the underlying joke is funny.

Rachael Dratch could be standing in the background of a sketch not saying anything and she would crack me up. I'm getting the same vibe from Sherman.
posted by bondcliff at 1:26 PM on January 16, 2022

Is James Austin Johnson's lastname Johnson or Austin Johnson?

His impersonation of Biden isn't as fantastic as his Trump, but it's still very technically solid.

Good wig episode for Yang.
posted by porpoise at 4:08 PM on January 16, 2022

I thought it was "fine," which is to say solidly average. Host didn't have a ton of personality, which probably coincides with being a good stage actor since I assume SNL involves much less direction (not to mention rehearsal). But, fine! Too much personality might be a bigger problem in a host tbh.

I wish Urkel leaned into it a little more. I looked it up and it was even not an NBC show! Maybe there's industry comity that discourages inter-network digs. Pete was as good as he's ever been in the dress shop and cold open sketches. NBA could have had more "players" akin to the man-on-the-street.

And yeah, Antonoff is somewhat big, and you've probably heard some of his songs if you've listened to alternative radio in the last 10 years. He's good at injecting melancholy and maybe even neurodivergence into more pop-type songs.
posted by rhizome at 4:09 PM on January 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

Worth noting that Springsteen actually did a version of the second song, Chinatown, with the Bleachers.
posted by Stanczyk at 8:14 PM on January 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

I wasn't familiar with the host though I guess she was on Schmigadoon!, which I've seen.

She was outstanding as Anita in the West Side Story--the best performance in the movie, IMHO.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:04 AM on January 17, 2022 [4 favorites]

And yeah, Antonoff is somewhat big, and you've probably heard some of his songs if you've listened to alternative radio in the last 10 years. He's good at injecting melancholy and maybe even neurodivergence into more pop-type songs.

I didn't know about him (once I knew he was "that guy from Fun" the penny dropped) but I loved the opening song they did, really poppy and had a 90s indie feel to it, sounded like Charlie Sexton with a bigger band. The second song (with most people on different instruments!) seemed less coherent to me and felt like it ended in the middle.

I enjoyed this episode, a lot going on. DeBose was great tho I agree they could have used her more.

Weird to see Colin Jost being treated like a rock star?

I must have missed that? I just re-watched, yeah I wonder what that was about, maybe he had friends in the audience? I was absolutely here for the digs at Eric Adams and the NBA. I only had a passing Twitter understanding of the Elmo thing but I appreciated that they brought in the Elmo/Fire meme.
posted by jessamyn at 11:25 AM on January 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

While watching the show, I bet that the band was actually one guy and a bunch of hired studio musicians who had met each other this week. Looks like I was more or less right, but a several of them have played together before on stage. They were fine musicians, but it sure showed.

It's been a few years since I've seen SNL except when other people show me specific sketches. I fear I'm now so out of touch with pop culture that almost everything is lost on me. At least they threw in the Sound of Music thing. (I only actually know who Urkel is because I watched SNL reruns making fun of the character when I was a teenager.) But, I enjoyed quite a bit of it anyway.
posted by eotvos at 3:01 PM on January 17, 2022

I had no idea who Ariane DeBose was when I sat down to watch the show. I have not seen West Side Story yet, tho everyone I know who saw it, loved it. Then I kept thinking -- she looks familiar! She was in SHMIGADOON! Which was average at best, but I remember liking her character a lot. Anyway -- I thought she was a terrific host. Confident, funny, insanely talented. The material they gave her wasn't particularly great. I didn't get Longhorn Steakhouse at all. What was the joke? That they all had goofy accents? So lame. Chris Redd was so hysterically funny as Eric Adams that you know he has job security for the next 4 years.

Dollar Store Springsteen was embarrassing. Like, get your own persona, man. There is only one Boss.
posted by pjsky at 3:50 PM on January 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

I thought "gritty reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" was a funny joke and excuse to do the Urkel bit so I was floored when I saw an actual Bel-Air promo during NFL football.
posted by mmascolino at 8:22 PM on January 17, 2022 [4 favorites]

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