Last night marked the season finale of SNL, and the induction of Dwayne Johnson into the Five-Timers Club. The show started strong with a great cold open and monologue, indicating that a special show with a special energy was in store. It didn’t quite happen, for some reason. The show was good, but not great.
More importantly than putting a period on the show’s 42nd (!) season (and one of the craziest to date) SNL said goodbye to two cast mainstays. Last night marked the final show for Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer. While neither leapt off the screen and dominated the action like, say, a Kate McKinnon and Jason Sudeikis or a Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell, Moynihan and Bayer have been indispensable over last handful of seasons. Both have played the “straight-man” to perfection, while also creating zany, off-the-wall characters that we will always remember.
From Slappy Pappy in “Original Kings of Catchphrase Comedy” to second-hand news correspondent Anthony Crispino to Guy Fieri to the indelible (and back this week!) Drunk Uncle, Moynihan has been the under-the-radar star of the show for a while now. His willingness to do pretty much anything was remarkable and the ability to cut to him shaking his head during any sketch (which literally always got a big laugh) will be sorely missed.
Bayer has always been overshadowed by other amazing and hilarious women in the cast, but that shouldn’t take anything away from her legacy as, well, an amazing and hilarious woman in the cast. I never loved child actress Laura Parsons or Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy, but she was so damn good at those characters, it was hard not to watch and enjoy. She was always awesome as a kinky elf in any of the Christmas sketches, and losing her ability to play a wide range of characters will definitely put the show at a disadvantage heading into next season. In 2014, Rolling Stone called Bayer “Saturday Night Live’s Secret Weapon”. It’s hard to argue against that.
Ever wonder how superheroes can have perfectly tailored, custom-fit costumes? Of course you have. In “Scorpio”, Johnson plays a superhero called upon to save City Hall. However when Cecily Strong finds out he made his suit the night before, that’s all they can talk about. Aidy Bryant and Sasheer Zamata get in on the action, and Johnson (in his backless outfit) details the painstaking thought process that goes into creating a superhero costume that is not only functional and menacing, but also simple and chic.
The faux commercial for Xentrex in “Enhancement Drug” fell a little flat. Johnson asking his doctor, Kyle Mooney, about getting a prescription was pretty funny, but the whole sketch just felt like something that had been done before. I guess that’s true for most sketches, but even so, this one was a miss for me.
- Seeing Tom Hanks make a cameo in the monologue was nice. Seeing David S. Pumpkins make a cameo on the rap video “One Voice” was incredible.
- The cold open was one of the better Trump sketches that SNL has done lately. Having Baldwin sitting behind the piano, singing “Hallelujah”, and mirroring the first cold open after the election, worked out to perfection. Each new Trump crony that joined on the stage (including Scarlett Johannsen as Ivanka) added to the farce, and it was a rare case of an understated Trump sketch (or understated Trump anything, really).
- Having Trump wear a Russian flag pin in his lapel was a nice touch.
- Like, I laughed a lot at “World’s Most Evil Invention”, but I felt terrible about it afterwards. Mooney’s evil scientist not wanting to be associated with Johnson and his child molesting robot was pretty great.
- I’m always down for The Rock and Moynihan cutting wrestling promos on each other.
LINES WITHOUT CONTEXT
- “I’ve been in two movies where the plane crashes, and people are still excited to see me on their flight.” – Tom Hanks
- “All three of us are equally beloved, not a single black mark on any of our public personas.” – Alec Baldwin
- “The only bun this guy’s putting in the oven is a Cinnabon, because he’s…not…fertile.” – Dwayne Johnson
- “This sets up a real dilemma: who are you gonna believe, the head of the FBI or the guy who’s definitely lying?” – Colin Jost
- “Excuse me, is this pomegranate juice gender fluid?” – Bobby Moynihan
- “I’m going to stop, because I did too many mistakes in a row.” – Vanessa Bayer