“Saturday Night Live” returned this weekend with the first new episode of 2017 featuring host Felicity Jones and musical guest Sturgill Simpson. Jones was fresh off her box office win in “Rogue One,” but learned that live comedy takes a whole different kind of force to pull off.
WARNING: Complete spoilers for the entire episode ahead
DONALD TRUMP PRESS CONFERENCE COLD OPEN
“SNL” brought back Alec Baldwin for one more Trump impression before the inauguration. The sketch was an interpretation of the President-elect’s recent press conference and featured Baldwin saying that Ben Carson, Trump’s pick to head up HUD, is “going to be the best brain surgeon to ever run the housing department.” Hat tip to Kenan Thompson for his Steve Harvey cameo.
FELICITY JONES MONOLOGUE
Felicity Jones started her monologue out on a shaky foot, awkwardly racing the through cue cards without much regard for comic timing until a Tina Fey hologram appeared and pretty much fixed everything. It’s totally understandable, Felicity. Everyone needs some Jedi master guidance when they’re learning something new.
This parody of “The Bachelor” featured Beck Bennett as “Nick” aka “The Beard Hunk.” It really turned out to be a showcase for “SNL’s” female cast members who each offered their own unique interpretation of a desperate contestant in search of a rose, interrupting each other with the line “can I steal him for a sec?”
SHONDRA AND MALIK
Kenan Thompson and Leslie Jones delved into some digital video this week with a gritty look at two drug dealers fighting over territory. The comedy kicked in when Kenan’s character Malik tossed a threatening message at Shondra (Jones), then got in his car, and couldn’t get it to start.
Felicity Jones plays nurse to a 106-year-old theater donor who makes a scene at the opening night of the latest play because—well—because he’s old. He can’t hear the lines the actors are exchanging five feet away from him, he’s messy when his nurse tries to feed him, and he flops around like a fish when she tries to change his medical socks at the height of the scene. We’ve got to admit this one was painful to watch and felt like it just devolved into some stereotypical jokes about the elderly.
THE PRINCESS AND THE CURSE
Then it was time for a fairy tale break. Felicity Jones played a princess cursed at birth and terrified to reveal her horrible secret to the Prince whom she loves. After he swears to love her no matter what, she reveals that after dark she gains 15 pounds, and he admits there’s no way he can get on board with that. It was a funny premise but not quite funny enough to justify how long this sketch went on.
SUSAN B. ANTHONY
The women of “SNL” got another sketch this week—featuring a group of them touring the Susan B. Anthony house and then summoning the spirit of the suffragette right into the room. Then, after a tender #YesAllWomen moment, the modern day ladies went back to arguing about stuff like how to VenMo each other cab fare and where they were going to stop for food before that long annoying train ride home. Anthony tries to interrupt them with more inspirational women’s quotes, but these ladies have the attention span of goldfish and blow her off. We felt a little sad for the Susan B. Anthony character in this one.
STURGILL SIMPSON – ‘KEEP IT BETWEEN THE LINE’
Country singer Simpson and his band filled Studio 8H with pure energy with his hit “Keep It Between the Lines.”
Michael Che and Colin Jost continued relentlessly roasting the President-elect this week with jokes about Trump’s latest controversies with appointees and some less than sanitary allegations about goings on in a Russian hotel room.
PETE DAVISON’S FIRST IMPRESSION
In a segment that reminded us a little bit of David Spade’s old “Hollywood Minute,” Davison ran through each of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks and shared his brief and (sometimes) hilarious first impressions of each one.
BECK BENNETT TALKS ABOUT HIS MUSIC CAREER
With a swept aside ‘do and a jacket with a lot of zippers, and talks about how his music career is blowing up right now and then gives the audience a sample of his not so great music. He’s a lot like your friend who really thinks he can sing, and there’s nothing anyone can do to convince him he’s wrong.
This one is basically just a discussion of a groundbreaking new film called “Hot Robot 3: Journey to Boob Mountain” and the actors in it who take themselves and their work very seriously.
STURGILL SIMPSON PERFORMS “CALL TO ARMS”
Another solid performance from Simpson, showing that he’s got some major chops when it comes to live performance.
The episode ended on an awkward night at a corporate retreat when the hosts let the guests provide the entertainment and tell their favorite jokes. All the seemingly polite women in the audience make lewd jokes about women who are “loose” in their lady parts.
“Saturday Night Live” returns live next week with host Aziz Ansari and musical guest Big Sean.