Every now and then, a host will grace the stage at 8H and just be down for anything. Let’s call it “Jon Hamm-itis”. The show is always better when it looks like its participants are having fun, and a game host can really take the show to another level. Enter Chris Pine.
It would appear that the show is basically punting on politics outside of the Cold Open and Weekend Update. I think this might be a good move, as it could make stray political sketches more impactful long-term. The effort to shy away from the politics allowed Pine to go crazy with a wide array of fun and whimsical sketches. It might be a personal preference, but I really enjoyed the departure.
Pine quipped during his monologue (before trying to help us understand the difference between all of the Hollywood Chris’s) that it wasn’t the first time he had appeared on SNL. He made a brief cameo at the Weekend Update desk before the first rebooted Star Trek movie came out in 2009. He joked that Lorne Michaels was so impressed that he allowed Pine to make his triumphant return…eight years later. Let’s hope that it doesn’t take eight more years before Pine graces the SNL stage once again.
When it comes to SNL sketches, I prefer them weird, inexplicable, and a touch nonsensical. Oh man, did this one ever deliver. Cotton candy dance party? Yep, I’m in. Backpack fashion show? Definitely. Bouncing on exercise balls while a zoot-suited Leslie Jones eats a giant gummy bear? You bet your ass.
It was the first sketch of the night that really allowed Pine to go all in. He did. And that energy carried through to the rest of the show. This might’ve been my favorite sketch this side of “David S. Pumpkins”.
THE WORST SUPPLEMENTAL BEST
There were a few sketches that didn’t quite hit, but nothing was flat-out bad enough to warrant a “Worst”.
So a “Supplemental Best” goes to the office HR meeting sketch (sadly it’s not available on Hulu due to what I’m sure are copyright issues). Pine gets called into a meeting by Vanessa Bayer and Aidy Bryant who perform Brandy & Monica’s smash “The Boy is Mine”, so he can choose between them. It’s very over-the-top and silly and great.
- Turns out Pine has a pretty decent William Shatner impression. Pretty cool.
- When Leslie Jones gets to treat Update segments as stand up bits, we all win.
- “Where in the World is Kelly Anne Conway” was short and sweet, and was jam-packed with nostalgia. I used to love that show when I was a kid. Well, the Carmen Sandiego version, Conway…not so much.
- “Auto Shop” was another awesome sketch where tough, macho mechanics debated Ru-Paul’s Drag Race (that, you know, they totally don’t watch regularly because, dudes). Pine and Bobby Moynihan absolutely crushed their lip sync finale.
- I know they have to change things up from week to week, but more Kate McKinnon, please.
LINES WITHOUT CONTEXT
- “Mika boo, you’re being a stinker, and it’s not gonna work.” – Alex Moffat
- “Negative captain, the whole thing has a very innocent, 11 year-old best friends sleepover type vibe.” – Kenan Thompson
- “They’re treating health care the way I treat an iTunes agreement.” – Colin Jost
- “But you’re fighting over me and now I have to choose whose boy I am?” – Chris Pine
- “A woman arrested for drunk driving in Pennsylvania falsely told police that her name was Hillary Clinton. Police know it wasn’t her though, because Hillary Clinton would never go to Pennsylvania.” – Colin Jost