Saturday Night Live, Sunday Night or Later: Episode 9


General Overview:
“It wasn’t the Christmas show that you expected, but that’s the beauty of this place. Like life, it’s unpredictable. As my good friend Tom Hanks once said in a movie, ‘Life is like a big, weird chocolate bar. Sometimes it’s delicious, other times it’s got that orange cream filling in it and it’s like “Ok, it’s not what I would have chosen, but it’s better than nothing.”’”
—Paul Rudd, 12/18/21

This episode was the last episode of the year, and it was supposed to be a big, fun Christmas episode but unfortunately the gods of the pandemic did not smile favorably upon “Saturday Night Live” this week. There was a COVID-19 outbreak in the cast, and to keep everyone safe they nixed the audience and sent most of the cast home.

There was a show! Tom Hanks and Tina Fey joined Paul Rudd, Michael Che and Kenan Thompson to give small blurbs before each sketch and even have a semblance of a cold open and “Weekend Update” segment. It was small and sweet and succinct, and I don’t know how they could have done better on such a short notice.

There were two kinds of sketches this episode, and both had their ups and downs. First, there were the new sketches. None of them were particularly funny, and they all needed some work before being live, but unfortunately there wasn’t time for that. Hopefully they cut their losses and saved some of the non-Christmas ones for next year so that they can use them in a real episode.

Second, there were the old sketches that they brought back. The problem with these is that the good ones have been overplayed and the bad ones are, well, bad. Sometimes humor just doesn’t age well, whether it’s because of an off-color joke that looks even worse now or because a nearly 10-minute sketch is too long to hold a modern attention span in the days of 15-second comedy bites.

Best (New) Sketch:

“HomeGoods.” While it could have used some more workshopping and a few more consistent jokes, Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon’s delivery never fails to make me laugh. The way Bryant emphasized “grandCHILdren” got me every time.

Best (New) Joke:
“I want to say something weird that makes my grandchildren want to have a confrontation with me and then do the math and decide not to bother!”—Kate McKinnon

Overall Score: N/A

It’s not fair to judge this episode as I would a regular one, especially since I don’t know how they could have handled this better. It would have been far easier for them to have just cancelled the show entirely, but instead they had a “make it work” moment à la Tim Gunn and scrape something together in the nick of time. I would not recommend watching this episode, but I respect and commend the effort they put into giving us that something even if it wasn’t the best.