Sunday, December 10, 2023

'SNL' tries to turn a week of unfunny news into comedy and gets saved by Adam Driver and Olivia Rodrigo

I posted SNL's 'Weekend Update' recaps the news from the first full week of December 2022 because I wanted to save the Christmas content for later. I plan to do that for last night's show, too, especially since there will be one more episode this year, which should feature even more skits about the holiday. I'm looking forward to that because I found last night's treatment of last week's news disappointing, beginning with College Presidents Cold Open - SNL.

College presidents (Ego Nwodim, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner) answer questions from members of congress (Chloe Troast, Bowen Yang, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow) about antisemitism on their campuses.
While I watched that, I thought "I moved my celebration of Nobel Prize Day up a day to make way for this?" While the performers did the best with the material they had, I found the source material itself dismaying and the satire of it just not all that funny. The Ivy League presidents did their institutions in particular and elite universities in general no favors, which I found distressing as an academic, and played right into the hands of the Republicans on the committee, who I think are more interested in using this issue as a cudgel to beat on higher education and progressive college students than protecting Jewish students on campus. I agree with the latter cause, but with friends like these, it hardly needs enemies. At least Chloe Troast succeeded in portraying the ridiculousness and opportunism of Elise Stefanik, who made the most of the moment while living down to my nickname for her.

Weekend Update revisited the fallout from this hearing in Hunter Biden’s Federal Indictment, UPenn President Resigns.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week’s biggest news, like New York Mayor Eric Adams’ 28% approval rating.
As Michael Che remarked, "It's going to be one of these kind of nights, huh?" Yeah, it was, which didn't stop me from embedding Weekend Update: Alaska Airlines Buys Hawaiian Airlines, Calendar of Conservative Women.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week’s biggest news, like a woman getting sentenced to work in a fast-food restaurant.
"Fast food, where your job is other people's jail" — technically, she's being sentenced to community service, not jail, but as someone who worked at Jack-in-the-Box and Wendy's in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I think it's an appropriate sentence. She should see what it's like from the other side of the counter!

The items about Sylvester Stallone visiting Philadelphia to celebrate "Rocky Day" and Nick Cannon spending $200,000 a year to take his dozen children to Disneyland qualify this entry as the Sunday entertainment feature, but follow over the jump for clips that better support my designating this post for that position.

While I thought the segments above unworthy of the episode's host and musical guest, they acquitted themselves much better than the regular cast, or at least what the writers created for them, beginning with Adam Driver's Monologue.

Fourth-time host Adam Driver shares his Christmas list for Santa.
I had no idea Driver was such a capable pianist. Maybe he should play piano while Cecily Strong sings.

I was planning on saving this segment for the Christmas compilation I promised above, except that I needed an example of Driver saving the episode, and Driver announcing Olivia Rodrigo, who he introduced in Olivia Rodrigo: vampire (Live).

Musical guest Olivia Rodrigo performs "vampire" on Saturday Night Live.
The recorded version of this song earned three nominations at the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance, so it's in direct competition in all three categories with Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" Eilish will be next week's musical guest, and I'm looking forward to her performances. In the meantime, great job, Olivia, you helped save the show!

Rodrigo's album GUTS earned three Grammy nominations for Album Of The Year, Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical, and Best Pop Vocal Album, which puts it in direct competition with Taylor Swift's Midnights. Rodrigo performed the first song on that album last night as well, all-american bitch (Live).

Musical guest Olivia Rodrigo performs "all-american bitch" on Saturday Night Live.
I'm recycling my reaction to "Good 4 U," "I know this is as much a character as it is her, but after watching this video, I don't think I want to piss her off."

I'm closing this post with Rodrigo's final nominated song, Olivia Rodrigo - ballad of a homeschooled girl (Jimmy Kimmel Live! 2023), which is competing for Best Rock Song.

Rodrigo is contending against stiff competition in this category as well, including The Rolling Stones, Queens Of The Stone Age, boygenius, and Foo Fighters. Oh, my! Good luck, Olivia, you'll need it!

Previous posts about the Grammy Awards

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