Saturday Night Live aired for the first time on Saturday since their last live episode March 7th, which featured host Daniel Craig, and, well, it did not disappoint. SNL At Home, as the episode was aptly titled, featured a bevy of socially distancing guests including Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, Larry David as Bernie Sanders, Fred Armisen as himself, a musical performance by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and kicked off with Tom Hanks as host.
I was a little skeptical about SNL’s return, primarily because, as the deluge of celebrities going live on Instagram in recent weeks has proven, remote work is not, in fact, for everyone. If nothing else, I was looking forward to, as Hanks noted in his opening monologue, getting a peek inside the homes of the SNL cast members, and while seeing where the cast was shooting their sketches from was certainly illuminating, I’m happy to say it was not the highlight of the episode.
The highlight, for me, sits squarely in the hands of one of SNL’s most recent cast additions, Chloe Fineman, who appeared as Timothée Chalamet, JoJo Siwa, and Carole Baskin in a MasterClass Quarantine Edition sketch that would make me seriously consider subscribing to MasterClass were this to actually be one of their offerings.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that Fineman’s sketch was one of the standouts, as impersonations over social media are one of the things that got her recognized in the first place (seriously, her impersonation of JoJo Siwa on Instagram haunts and delights me to this day), but I was, nonetheless, blown away. “Hey, what’s up MasterClass, I’m Timothée Chalamet, and, uh, your mom has sex dreams about me,” is a boundary-breaking line that will undoubtedly unite mothers with their daughters, and their gay sons and daughters, for generations to come.
Parodying content available on otherwise already made-for-streaming platforms was really where the episode soared. I’ve watched Heidi Gardner’s Bailey Gismert YouTube channel movie reviews bit two more times since I first saw it last night, and Mikey Day’s Cam Playz Dat Twitch stream sketch was the perfect reminder of why I will absolutely never get into gaming no matter what happens.
Ego Nwodim’s makeup tutorial and Aidy Bryant’s visualization meditation both hit a little too close to home for me in that they both made me want to laugh and also cry, and Kate McKinnon’s RBG home workout video is now what I will watch instead of trying to live stream yoga ever again.
The only part of the episode I really had to ignore was Chris Martin’s performance of “Shelter from the Storm.” Not because it wasn’t good, but because I just really couldn’t bear the nostalgic emotionality that accompanies a somber acoustic moment at this time. However, I’ll definitely revisit it the next time I’m ready to Feel Something again.
Fingers crossed that this wasn’t just a one-time thing, as there are entire social media feeds that are ripe with content to parody right now, and this is certainly better than any of the various “talk shows” that have sprung up in the stead of new original content. My only true gripe with last night’s SNL is that Bowen Yang was devastatingly absent form the broadcast. Luckily for them, they still have time to right this wrong! And luckily for you, if you missed last night’s airing, or if you caught it and would like to watch the sketches over and over and over again, as I’ve done, they’re all on SNL YouTube channel, which is almost too meta to handle.
Here are a few more of my favorites: