Even though coronavirus forced pretty much all movies and television shows to stop production last month, late night TV made a comeback with at-home versions of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Conan and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. But for a little while, we were still missing the late night comedy antics of Saturday Night Live. Thankfully, that changed this weekend.
Saturday Night Live at Home rounded up the cast and writers of the late night sketch series to produce a full-length episode, complete with sketches produced from each of the cast members’ homes, a musical guest, and even a host in the form of a fully recovered Tom Hanks, who was the first major celebrity (along with his wife and actress Rita Wilson) diagnosed with COVID-19 while shooting the forthcoming Elvis Presley biopic from Baz Luhrmann down in Australia. The result was a weird and wonderful experiment featuring the usual highs and lows, and it really was a delight to behold.
So to keep things as normal as possible, let’s run through the best and worst Saturday Night Live at Home sketches.
Before we get to the regular show, we wanted to highlight special tribute that SNL used to end the program.
The late night sketch series recently lost their longtime sketch music producer Hal Willner due to complications caused by coronavirus. Cast members from various seasons remembered Hal, the time they spent together, and his love for music. Interspersed between the cast memories are little moments with Hal himself. It’s a wonderful tribute to a man who helped make many great sketches over the years. Hal will be missed, and our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this hard time.
But Hal loved SNL, so let’s get on with our regularly scheduled review.
Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles – It may be a little bleak for our current times, but holy shit, this animated sketch that imagines the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all grown up with adult problems is a top notch piece of comedy. Even more impressive is that they were able to pull it off for this at-home version of SNL. The animation style of the original series is perfectly recreated, and it even feels like it’s faded in quality since the 90s. This absolutely cracked me up.
Zoom Call – Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon stole the show with this sketch. As two secretaries who clearly don’t know how to use Zoom and are easily worked up, they made physical comedy work masterfully within their computer screens, and the little character touches that they added themselves were pitch perfect. Some of the expressions on Aidy Bryant’s face alone were making me laugh.
Twitch Stream – Another sketch taking advantage of the format of Saturday Night Live at Home, Mikey Day sat in a room at his house and pretended that he had a Twitch stream playing video games. In this case, we’ve got CamPlayzDat trying to show off his skills in the new Call of Duty Warzone, but he’s absolutely terrible at it.
MasterClass Quarantine – If you’ve thought about taking a MasterClass from Martin Scorsese or Steve Martin while you’re stuck at home, you might want to wait and check out these new additions from actor Timothee Chalamet, kids’ online sensation Jojo Siwa, and the now infamous Carole Baskin from Tiger King, all portrayed fantastically by Chloe Fineman.
Whatcha Cookin’ – It’s always great when Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney get a little weird. In this case, they used the premise of trying to figure out what to do for Saturday Night Live at Home to create a makeshift song using various exclamations and lines to create some rhythm. Fred Armisen even joins in and he undoubtedly helped with the music. It’s like a longer version of the “Cool Beans” scene from Hot Rod, and it was just plain fun.
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