Saturday Night Live: Octavia Spencer, Father John Misty
March 5, 2017 4:30 AM - Season 42, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Host: Octavia Spencer, Musical Guest: Father John Misty

  • Forest Jeff Sessions - Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Kyle Mooney, Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett, Octavia Spencer
  • Opening Monologue - Octavia Spencer
  • Republican Movie Trailer - Kyle Mooney, Octavia Spencer
  • Employee Arbitration - Beck Bennet, Octavia Spencer, Vanessa Bayer, Sasheer Zamata, Alex Moffat, Leslie Jones
  • Girl At A Bar - Cecily Strong, Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Mikey Day, Alex Moffat, Aidy Bryant
  • Zoo-Opolis Voice Overs - Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villaseñor, Alex Moffat, Octavia Spencer, Beck Bennett
  • Youngblood - Pete Davidson, Kenan Thompson, Octavia Spencer, Sasheer Zamata
  • Father John Misty - Total Entertainment Forever
  • Weekend Update - Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Eric and Donald Trump Jr - Mikey Day, Alex Moffat
    • Laura Parsons - Vanessa Bayer

  • Sticky-Bun Training - Cecily Strong, Beck Bennett, Vanessa Bayer, Mikey Day, Octavia Spencer, Melissa Villaseñor

  • Bar Centrale - Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Sasheer Zamata, Octavia Spencer, Alex Moffat

  • Father John Misty - Pure Comedy

  • The Chocolate Man - Octavia Spencer, Kenan Thompson, Venessa Bayer, Cecily Strong, Beck Bennett, Bobby Moynihan, Aidy Bryant, Alex Moffat

  • Spencers Gifts HQ - Mikey Day, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Aidy Bryant, Octavia Spencer, Vanessa Bayer

  • Kellyanne Conway kneeling before commercial breaks - Kate McKinnon

posted by DizzyOnBugSpray (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I guess it was a conscious choice to have McKinnon do nothing after the cold open in favor of the Conway jabs, but this episode really suffered without her more active presence. Octavia Spencer was game as hell but clearly [nervous | unused to live work | thinking of the Spencer's Gifts quarterly earnings report] throughout.

Father John Misty was... I'll say "not actively bad" and leave it there.

Weekend Update was flat in performance and bad in joke selection. Che half-heartedly ripping on Jost when one fell flat was a spark, but they let it die. Bauer gamely sold that annoying kid character, but it needs to die. Day and Moffat's Trump kids works a tiny bit better than it should, but not enough.

TBD almost saved this one, but not quite.
posted by Etrigan at 7:34 AM on March 5, 2017

After some hard-hitting political episodes, how disappointing to be reminded that SNL often is just a bunch of cringey sketches that wouldn't pass muster at my local improv club. And at a time like this, no less, when the Devil could be jumping up and down pointing at Trump and screaming, "He works for the Russians," and half the country still wants to let it slide.

Yes, it was missing the extra energy of a guest star like McCarthy (and their current star, see below), but how could the same set of writers who provided the recent Spicey/Conway-type sketches have flailed THIS week?

J'adore Kate, and the show probably suffered from a lack of her presence. (Someone on the interwebs said she'd been out of town on a film?) The Sessions bit got a few good underhanded jabs in at the trumpkins' Russian connections. But still seemed a bit toothless as a [fill in a corny Southern metaphor].

There were a few other things in the first half that made me laugh. (NOT the "black names sound like patented meds" sketch.) With Kate out of the pic, we got to see a little more of some of the newer women, like in the Zootopia sketch. Even the last-half Sticky Buns bit was weirdly endearing. And on WU Vanessa Bayer's too-knowing kid is great fun. But oh, make those WU anchors go away.

Finally, as long as I'm riding the Negative Train today, I have mixed feelings about the number of filmed pieces a "live" show does, especially when none of them really popped for me. There's really no reason for some of them to even be filmed versus a sketch.
posted by NorthernLite at 7:42 AM on March 5, 2017

A Minny pie knowingly eaten with gusto. YES!!!!
posted by brujita at 7:49 AM on March 5, 2017

Weekend Update was flat in performance and bad in joke selection. Che half-heartedly ripping on Jost when one fell flat was a spark, but they let it die.

SNL feels like they are just phoning it in. It's comedy-by-numbers and they are using triggers, tricks, fillers, and hacks in lieu of actual comedy -- it works well for the flock, but it's lost its edge for a while. That show is either awesome and awful, and it's a lot more awful than it first appears. When they have to farm out for players for their best bits, you know they are in some odd holding pattern right now. They need a jolt or two right now.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:18 AM on March 5, 2017

Well, the Zoo-Opolis Voice Overs were a nice venue too show off impressions. Melissa Villaseñor had some really great ones.

In sharp contrast with Che trying to do Donnie's voice. Please, don't.

Uday and Qusay Trump characters are pretty good. I have a suspicion that Donnie might genuinely be entertained.
posted by porpoise at 10:50 AM on March 5, 2017

Huh, I thought it was a pretty solid episode with some typical flaws. I thought the bar sketch was GREAT. Zoo-topia was thrown together, but all in all fine. Youngblood was funny. Bar Centrale and Chocolate Man were underbaked.

For the Trump sons on the news, I thought they really overplayed Eric. He doesn't have to be a spaz with fistfuls of Cheerios, he can just want them.

Definitely not the worst episode of the season.
posted by rhizome at 10:54 AM on March 5, 2017

When the first live skit after the opener was a long-form run on the old joke "boy black people sure do have funny names huh?" I knew we were in for a long night.

Melissa Villaseñor came out with killer Kristin Wiig and Kate McKinnon impersonations. I wasn't even sure it was possible to impersonate McKinnon since she seems to spend so much of her time being someone else.

I also thought that Mikey Day and Alex Moffat did a good job as the Trump sons. If I can't have Charles Barkley / Shaq as my straight man / idiot duo I guess I'll take this instead.

I only saw Pete in Youngblood. I didn't stay up to catch the goodbyes - was he actually there?
posted by komara at 12:56 PM on March 5, 2017

I thought it was average. Not the worst, not the best. The Forrest Gump cold open was pretty good, though I didn't see whatever movie was referenced by the pie so didn't quite get that joke.

Spencer seemed a bit awkward and they underused her as a result. It's too bad, since she had a really great scene on 30 Rock once so I was hoping to really see her comedy chops.

The Woman at the Bar sketch seemed like penance for the Friend Zone sketch they did on the last episode. Cecely is always great.

The Zootopia sketch was just another excuse to pull out all the celebrity impersonations but I tend to not mind when they do that (see also: Family Feud, etc) because they usually do a decent job. I can totally see Melissa Villaseñor becoming a very strong player in a season or two once they really start using her more. I love love love when SNL cast members impersonate other SNL cast members.

I'd never heard of Father John Misty before and I'm not 100% convinced he isn't some sort of Andy Kaufman-ish performance artist. I just didn't know what to make of him, I have no idea where he came from, and I suspect I won't be hearing much more from him. I'm perfectly fine with that.

Enjoyed the brief Kellyanne appearances and the TDB commercial. WE was ok, though I really do enjoy seeing Vanessa do that kid and the Trump kids will make for some funny recurring characters until they start overusing them.

They still don't know how to end a sketch half the time.
posted by bondcliff at 1:12 PM on March 5, 2017

Weird energy for this one. I thought the writing was generally adequate (but not much more) and the performances were off. There were a lot of funny-ish lines that didn't land because the performers kind of botched them. Normally these performers do a fine job, and it's not rare for them to save iffy jokes instead of fumbling with decent ones. So, I don't know what the deal was. It was the kind of episode where if you found they were all secretly freaking out about a bomb scare backstage or something, you'd be like, "Oh, so THAT was it!"

It seems like half the show is short films at this point, and while those films are often the best part it also seems like a cheat. It's supposed to be a live show after all, and the films have always been spice and not the main course!

I'm also getting kind of sick of Che half-defending Trump and his goons, like with Conway last night. I'm guessing he is mostly just being contrary, knowing he'll piss of a lot of the audience, but I also get the feeling he's more conservative than one would think. Conway is a ghastly person, working for a dumpster full of rotten pork. Don't try to make us feel sorry for her, Che!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:36 PM on March 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

IIRC Che was also the one who said, "she's like if the question, "Can I see your manager?" came to life."

One thing I've been feeling is that the prep for the show might be rushed. It seems like they might be throwing stuff at the wall during dress rehearsal, which might be the host's first exposure? At one time I thought the host would spend all week with the writers and cast, but if that was ever true it doesn't seem so anymore.
posted by rhizome at 4:51 PM on March 5, 2017

Flat week, more am-dram with the cue cards than it's been in a while. The recurring McKinnon sight gag was novel and fun.

I have no idea where he came from, and I suspect I won't be hearing much more from him.

As Aziz Ansari's character put it in Master of None: "If the race war goes down and I'm at a Father John Misty show, I'm already fudged."
posted by holgate at 6:05 PM on March 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Butler's character Minny in The Help--which she reprised for the skit--served her mean employer Hilly(the villain of the work who had framed Minny for stealing a family heirloom ) a chocolate pie which included Minny's shit. Hilly ate 2 slices with relish before finding out the added ingredient.
posted by brujita at 6:06 PM on March 5, 2017

This was another episode of Saturday Night Live where the best parts were the pre-recorded bits, with TBD being the clear stand-out.

The opening was well done but upon further reflection there wasn't really much there. I enjoyed The Spencer Gifts sketch though I wish they had taken the concept further.
posted by ckape at 6:37 PM on March 5, 2017

Father John Misty is one of those artists who I hear a lot mixed in with other music I do enjoy. So I guess I should like his music but I just don't.
posted by ckape at 6:40 PM on March 5, 2017

(Someone on the interwebs said she'd been out of town on a film?)

I heard that too, but a week without Kate McKinnon is a week you really need Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy as pinch hitters. Otherwise it was a typical SNL where the first half is good and you should have gone to bed after Weekend Update.
posted by Gary at 6:53 PM on March 5, 2017

Sorry, Spencer.
posted by brujita at 12:33 AM on March 6, 2017

Yeah, we're easily a dozen timelines away from the one where Octavia Butler is hosting SNL.
posted by Etrigan at 6:01 AM on March 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

I think this one suffered a bit from expectations. They were away, stuff happened, people wondered what SNL was going to do with it. It happens a lot when they come back, that the show is just so-so, even on season premieres when they should be loaded with new stuff.

Take that away, and it was an average episode. Personally, I really enjoyed the Zoo-opolis. That the plot is just a conceit doesn't bother me with these things -- I want to see where they can go. Melissa Villaseñor looks to be the Next Big Thing -- I've loved her in everything she's done so far. Personable, relaxed, great skills, and seemingly on the verge of breaking all the time, which is the profile of so many of the show's greats.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:52 AM on March 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Melissa Villaseñor looks to be the Next Big Thing

She's super talented and really underutilized (see also Sasheer who seems to mostly get to do nose-wrinkling and doo-wop backup singer stuff) and it was great getting to see her get to do what she's really good at.

I liked the first two things of this show (excepting Father John Misty who is like an escapee from a Lumineers cosplay project?) and then it seemed to run out of ideas. Not a lot of political stuff except the opening and the Kellyanne bits which made me laugh. I thought the news was mostly good. I love Trump Sons and the Girl at a Bar sketch was a spot on story-of-my-life sort of thing with Moffat's character making me laugh out loud (not_on_display: "This sketch is repetitive" me: "that is HOW IT IS, it's perfect"). Chocolate Man and Spencer Gifts made almost no sense to me and we watched it after the fact so I wasn't just tired.
posted by jessamyn at 11:03 AM on March 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mediocre all around. Weekend Update had the sole actual laugh of the night from me:

"My ancestors didn't come to America because they were the best and brightest. They came because god took all their potatoes away. And look at them now! They have dozens of potatoes!"
"At least yours had a choice"
posted by Itaxpica at 12:57 PM on March 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

I didn't miss McKinnon because of Melissa V's SPOT ON impersonations of her (and Wiig). I think they have a great crop of featured players, between her and Day/Moffatt as the Trump Kids. The rest of the show was a mess but it was a mostly funny mess. B+ for me.
posted by not_on_display at 7:03 PM on March 6, 2017

Villaseñor always seems pretty self-conscious. She's getting out there more, but I wonder if there's some stagefright going on. If big stars can be off with cue cards, it's probably a pretty freaky thing to do.
posted by rhizome at 7:25 PM on March 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

No, I think she's just capturing that space between Nasim Pedrad and Cheri Oteri. Oteri was a constant WACKY YELLING FACTORY. Nadim Pedrad was excellent and wierd but never WACKY, even as her "crazy kid in classroom with guest teacher" character. I see Melissa as the best of both of them. Plus, the Owen Wilson schtick. It'd take a while for me to get sick of that.
posted by not_on_display at 8:06 PM on March 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Cheri Oteri is way more of a physical comedian, and Nasim Pedrad has taken a more normie path away from SNL, kinda like Casey Wilson. I think (hope) Villaseñor can do much weirder stuff than that.

Hah, I was gonna say something about her voice, which I figured was tension, but it turns out she has a bit about it. Funny thing is that her voice does drop out of her sinuses later in that set. She's definitely super funny!
posted by rhizome at 8:20 PM on March 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Pete Davidson explains why he’s “kinda been missing” on SNL

He says it's because he's now clean and sober, which I read as "and the Crohn's has been acting up and I don't do medicinal anymore, so I can't do the live show as well."
posted by Etrigan at 7:46 AM on March 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

So the opening skit is a Forrest Gump reference through and through, and at the end it has a crossover with The Help, and then when Sessions keeps adding individual people who also met with the Russians, I think that's a reference to Steve Martin's character in The Jerk talking about the ashtray and the paddle game and saying "that's all I need. I don't need one other thing" and adding item after item. I thought that was a nice touch.
posted by brainwane at 8:14 AM on March 16, 2017

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