Saturday Night Live: Lizzo
April 17, 2022 9:52 PM - Season 47, Episode 18 - Subscribe

First-time hosting

  • Cold Open - A Message from the Easter Bunny: Bowen Yang, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Chris Redd, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Kyle Mooney, James Austin Johnson
  • Monologue: Lizzo
  • Guess That!: Kenan Thompson, Lizzo, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd
  • TikTok: Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villaseñor, Kyle Mooney, James Austin Johnson, Chloe Fineman, Aristotle Athari, Kate McKinnon, Lizzo, Sarah Sherman, Ego Nwodim, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Bowen Yang, Cecily Strong, Punkie Johnson, Andrew Dismukes, Chris Redd, Alex Moffatt, Aidy Bryant
  • Black Eyed Peas in the Studio: Lizzo, Aidy Bryant, Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson, Bowen Yang, Cecily Strong
  • First Date Grandpa: Mikey Day, Lizzo, Sarah Sherman, Ego Nwodim,
  • Please Don't Destroy - Horny Zookeeper: Lizzo, Andrew Dismukes
  • Lizzo - About Damn Time
  • Weekend Update: Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Cesar Perez: Melissa Villaseñor
  • Egyptian Orgy Planning: Bowen Yang, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Lizzo, Andrew Dismukes, Mikey Day, Aidy Bryant, Aristotle Athari, Sarah Sherman, Alex Moffatt, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney, Punkie Johnson
  • Lizzo - Special
  • Twerking Flautist: Mikey Day, Chris Redd, Lizzo, Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson, Alex Moffatt, Heidi Gardner, Kate McKinnon, Bowen Yang
  • Quit Job: Andrew Dismukes, Lizzo, Heidi Gardner, Bowen Yang, Mikey Day
Cut for time:
posted by rhizome (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I thought it started strong—everything up until the so-so Black Eyed Peas sketch was gold. First Date Grandpa was wretched, however, and to then immediately follow that up with the black hole of humor, talent, and charisma that is Please Don’t Destroy? The show really couldn’t recover after that. (With the exception of Melissa Villasenor’s delightful Weekend Update appearance—poor Carlitos!)
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:54 PM on April 17


I found the Egyptian Orgy sketch entertaining, Kate McKinnon seems up for anything. Quit Job also had maybe 1.5 laughs too.
posted by Marticus at 3:17 AM on April 18


Lizzo tweeted that she was the first ever double-duty host-musical guest to introduce themselves, which seems kinda crazy.

This was definitely a last-show-before-break letdown, and if nearly anyone but Lizzo had been hosting, would have been a complete loss. Her sheer glee at everything (even when it shaded toward corpsing) managed to raise the writing, but that was a heavy lift. Both First Date Grandpa and Black Eyed Peas were from 15 years ago, especially in the way that they tortured a single-line premise for two minutes longer than they should have and couldn't find a button.

The chapter on this era is going to be titled "Back from the Credits to the Game Show Sketch".
posted by Etrigan at 5:50 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Lizzo tweeted that she was the first ever double-duty host-musical guest to introduce themselves, which seems kinda crazy.

Garth Brooks introduced Chris Gains but that was obviously done with some camera trickery. Also, nobody gives a crap about Chris Gains.

I thought Lizzo was delightful in just about everything, monologue, musical performances, and sketches. Unfortunately though, as others said, the sketches just weren't really there.

I mostly enjoy the Please Don't Destroy shorts and thought this one was pretty good. "Can he do that?"

The cold open felt like they were just throwing in everything they had. We don't need Trump every week. MTG is a giant shitbag but I don't need SNL to constantly remind me of that. I wish they had just stuck to the Easter Bunny and made it progressively weirder.

The chapter on this era is going to be titled "Back from the Credits to the Game Show Sketch".

Seems like that's their safety zone. "We'll just get three people doing funny stuff with Keenan hosting and it'll always mostly work." They're not wrong, but, c'mon guys, mix it up a bit.

I've come to like the TikTok bits. Lots of room to do short funny bits. It's like an ensemble sketch but, well, one you might see on TikTok. Are there really a bunch of TikTok kids watching SNL though or are those sketches just for Gen-Xers who sort of know what TikTok is all about?

Lots of Bowen, not much Aidy. They don't seem to have much for Aristotle Athari to do, do they? I bet Sarah Sherman will be in the main cast within a year or two.
posted by bondcliff at 7:39 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I thought this was a pretty solid episode. Lizzo was good and while people breaking usually bothers me, it didn't as much because she just seemed to be having so much fun. I almost never like the cold opens these days and this was no exception but I've just decided they're not for me and forget about them when the opening credits roll. The only other one I didn't really like was Egyptian Orgy Planning. Everything else had at least a few funny bits.

"We'll just get three people doing funny stuff with Keenan hosting and it'll always mostly work." They're not wrong, but, c'mon guys, mix it up a bit.

Well there's a new Mayor of Gametown now, and things are going to change around here.

or are those sketches just for Gen-Xers who sort of know what TikTok is all about?

As a Gen-Xer who sort of knows what TikTok is and also likes these sketches, that seems to be at least somewhat correct.

We are the DeVry Institute Orchestra!
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 8:29 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


I've been watching SNL more or less regularly since the mid-1980s, and this episode is the first time I've thought 'you know, this show would really benefit from a new showrunner': Lorne Michaels' formula for an episode (and process for making a show) no longer works very well. For example, the cold open--as a thing--needs to go, it's a very narrow and specific framing for the show opening that no longer yields many funny results. (Personally, I think we're actually moving past the age of widespread political satire; at least, I am, because it's just not very funny to me to laugh at our big problems anymore, as they are existential and urgent on a global scale, and I don't want to see any version of Trump or Greene or etc. if possible, real or satirized.) The cold open has too much pressure, and too much tradition of being politics/impressions-oriented, and not many versions of that are especially funny anymore. (I.e., sure, a million Americans have died from COVID, but isn't Kate's Fauci impression cute?)

Also, his method of producing much more material than makes it to air favors sketches with best immediate appeal, quick laughs, but does not often produce much that rewards repeated viewing and sharing. Saturday Night LIVE is mostly producing content for YouTube views now (video clips get way more views than an episode's airing on TV does, and TV viewership continued to decline this season), and Lorne's working week methodology does not lend itself to producing that kind of content (skits that are slow burn, or weird, or anything else that doesn't produce immediate, out-loud laughter, really). It also clearly burns everyone out, so no one is doing their best writing, and it's obvious no one invests too much in any single idea/sketch/performance, because until Saturday no one really knows what will make it to air.

The strain is really showing lately, the "digital shorts" have always been an awkward fit in the old-fashioned episode format, but trying to just plop internet video-based sketch comedy into the mix has really exposed the nonsense of continuing a 1970s variety show framing of each episode. Michaels still obviously knows what he's doing, still finds and showcases excellent comedic talent, but his conceptualization of a "sketch comedy show" is increasingly anachronistic in a medium he's done so much to shape; a peculiar kind of creative blindness, I think, that can only happen later in a very long and successful career, but is not uncommon.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:40 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


Yeah, SO much breaking this episode. But not only was Lizzo clearly having the time of her life, but the cast members around her were also infected by her joy and struggling not to break, which made the breaking more enjoyable than usual. (And I like breaking.) When she managed to play things serious/straight, she was really good at driving absurd sketches towards hilarity -- I hope they have her back, several times, as she improves as an actress and gets better at keeping a straight face.

I was kinda eh on "First Date Grandpa" but my kids ADORED it. (I am always particularly fascinated by what sketches catch their attention and make them laugh the most, since I remember being in junior high and discovering SNL and falling in love with really stupid sketches that appealed to me at 12, that are objectively dumb from an adult perspective, but you will never convince me they're not hilarious because they helped me learn what was hilarious when I was 12.) My kids also particularly liked the "Guess That!" sketch and the way it escalated to absurdity.

I liked Please Don't Destroy this week (they're hit-and-miss for me). Egyptian Orgy Planning was my favorite sketch this week, although Melissa Villasenor's Cesar Perez's "Carlitos!" was a close second.

Big ups for how often Lizzo played flute. Also my kids always adore the tiktok scrolling sketches (which is a clever way to show off weird random characters that can't support a whole sketch).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:33 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Lizzo tweeted that she was the first ever double-duty host-musical guest to introduce themselves, which seems kinda crazy.

Garth Brooks introduced Chris Gains but that was obviously done with some camera trickery. Also, nobody gives a crap about Chris Gains.


Chance the Rapper also introduced Chance the Rapper.

I was visiting my parents over the weekend, so I ended up watching with my Mom. She apparently had forgotten about Mr. Six, so she looked it up on youtube on her phone. Then she saw the thumbnail and decided not to watch it.

I was a little surprised by the game show sketch, simply because the game itself was straightforward and all the joke was just in the character work.
posted by ckape at 7:20 PM on April 18


Well, I just developed a huge crush on all of the first date grandparents.

I dug Villaseñor's Cesare pulling a camel's nose.

Not sure how they did it, but Dismukes looked like a 12 year old boy.

Cool that Lizzo's mom got to introduce her!

Twerking Flautist 👍👍
posted by porpoise at 11:40 PM on April 18


We bailed pretty early this week.

More Aristotle, please.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 5:45 PM on April 19


The Game Show sketch format is interesting. It seems like it generally doesn't require strong acting skills - it's more carried by the concept and writing. The characters are mostly normal people with some quirks, so it seems like a good format for hosts who aren't strong actors. This example was pretty funny and Lizzo did great in it.

The Black Eyed Peas sketch was definitely dated. Didn't Kenan and Andy Samberg do a sketch about this song 10+ years ago? That aside, it was clever and pretty well done.

First Date Grandpa: I lol'ed at the first dance break. The gag was solid. But it didn't work as a sketch for me, and each instance was less funny. It didn't seem to really even make sense internally. How do they ever drink tea?

Egyptian Orgy seemed dumb and went on too long.
posted by Horselover Fat at 1:53 PM on April 23


Game Show sketches are definitely a crutch. The turn based nature of the game makes for a natural reason to switch between characters and the static nature makes it incredibly easy to block and shoot. The art department has a big set to build and decorate but at this point they should be well skilled at building game show sets.

The biggest crutch is that it is a template that generally can only go a few ways so you can just plug your idea into it. Also, since games or round of games end there is a natural place for the sketch to end…even if it doesn’t hit a button or turn at the end. If you watch closely most of these types of sketches just abruptly end. The best counter argument is Tom Hank’s Black Jeopardy sketch. There was actual rising action and then a proper button to finish.

Of course that is a tough comparison because that was one of the best sketches in the show’s history.
posted by mmascolino at 4:33 AM on April 25


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