Arts & Culture, Featured

SNL Recap: 40.13 “J.K. Simmons / D’Angelo”

What a week it’s been! A Patriots Super Bowl win on Sunday, a snow day on Monday, (let’s not talk about the Beanpot), a parade on Wednesday, and to top it all there’s a new SNL review. I mean, does it get any better than this? It’s borderline ridiculous how spoiled we are. But as they say, it’s always a great day to be an Eagle.

Anyways, JK Simmons hosted this week with musical guest D’Angelo, and produced a solid show. Granted, the writers probably had a lot on their mind this week, namely prepping for the SNL 40th Spectacular-Bonanzapalooza airing in a couple weeks, so we can’t be too critical of this week’s show. That’s not to say there weren’t any funny sketches, however. So let’s get to it; on to the highlights.

The Jay-Z Story

While Mike O’Brien struggled mightily as a cast member last season, he’s really found his niche  making shorts. It seems that every week, his sweet, quirky videos stand as one of the highlights of the show. I’m pretty sure O’Brien’s low-key, goodie two shoes manner pretty much goes against everything Jay-Z stands for, which is what makes his performance so perfect. Not to mention a surprise visit from Jason Sudeikis, playing the just as charming white Kanye.

Casablanca

What I really liked about this sketch was that you didn’t have to know anything about Casablanca to appreciate it. Rather, it really showcased the acting prowess of Simmons, playing the old time character Rick Blaine. However, it was Kate McKinnon who stole the show, giving a spectacular performance as Ilsa, Blaine’s girlfriend. Her accent and commitment carried the sketch as it only got funnier as it progressed.

Weekend Update 

update

This week’s Update was full of familiar faces, with visits from the One Dimensional Female Character from a Male Driven Comedy, as well as fan favorite Jebidiah Atkinson. And while both didn’t really have any fantastic jokes, Strong and Killam’s energy carried their bits. As for the two hosts, Che won the weekend, delivering two mini stand up monologues about Saudi Arabia and lesser known black historical figures. It’ll be interesting to see how SNL does Update for their 40th special. Will it be one really long desk or will they just cut Jost and Che altogether? Stay tuned!

Totino’s Super Bowl Commercial

Vanessa Bayer always kills it playing the clueless, yet sneaky bitter housewife, and this was no exception. This was the stronger of the two Super Bowl sketches from this week, with a hilarious attack on the “subservient woman” stereotype of most Super Bowl commercials. You could almost feel the excitement radiate from Bayer as she counted her own money, spun her own top, and even slapped one of those jelly hand things on the fridge.

Teacher Snow Day

For the sake of teachers everywhere, I hope this is at least somewhat true. In terms of musical shorts this season, this was one of the stronger showings, mainly because it was a lot of fun to watch, especially when a pantless J.K. Simmons showed up to the party. One thing that bugged me however, was the weird bleep noise they used for swears. Either use the universal bleep sound or don’t swear; doesn’t get more simple than that.

A Few More Thoughts

In D’Angelo’s second song, he delivered a powerful performance, standing in front of a body outline, with his entire band donning “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts. Rarely do bands ever take a stand when performing on SNL so this was really special to see. You can watch the performance here.

Where have Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett been lately? Compared to the beginning of the season when it was almost a given that the dynamic duo would perform one of their hilariously weird sketches in the 10-1, it feels like months since they’ve had their chance to shine. Hopefully they can step up for the rest of the season and finish strong.

See you in two weeks for the SNL 40th Special, hosted by everyone. It’s gonna be huge.

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