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SNL Recap: 40.14 “Dakota Johnson / Alabama Shakes”

This week, Dakota Johnson hosted SNL with musical guest Alabama Shakes and it pretty much went exactly how one would expect an episode to go following the biggest, most star studded SNL special in the history of the show. It was obviously going to be a letdown; how could it not? It’s like when someone has a birthday at the beginning of January. It’s kind of hard to get excited and celebrate again after Christmas, New Year’s, and all the hectic chaos that goes along with the holiday season. So when looking at this episode, you have to take it for what it is: a transition. If you think of it that way, you can appreciate the fact that Dakota Johnson did a great job with the material she was given, and have a few laughs at the top sketches of the night:

Father Daughter Ad

After failing miserably in earlier attempts to make light of ISIS, the SNL writers finally got it right in this heartfelt, yet slightly disturbing commercial. What started off as a harmless daddy-daughter moment took a fantastic turn when it was revealed that Johnson’s character was heading off to ISIS. Naturally, the PC police and other people you wouldn’t want to be friends with took to Twitter to express their outrage; some going as far as to call for the cancellation of SNL (no joke).  In reality, the criticism is just a sign that the writers took a risk, which left them with a very funny commercial to show for it.

I Can’t 

This sketch really hit home with me because it’s literally what my sister sounds like. Although the writers definitely could have done more with this simple premise, Strong and Johnson did such a great job selling their characters that they were able to keep the joke going until the end.

Weekend Update


Not much has changed at the Update Desk since we last saw Jost and Che, as the two are still trying to capture that comedic chemistry that has eluded them all season long. You can tell they’re trying their best, even including a couple intentionally terrible jokes for Jost to tell, just so Che could make fun of them. But alas, nothing really seems to be working.

Jay Pharoah’s always enjoyable Kanye took the cake as best Update Guest this week, rapping the greatest apology of all time, as well as saying fam as many times as humanly possible. The desk was also visited by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, played by Kate McKinnon, who looked to be having a great time dancing and roasting everyone in sight. And lastly, we were greeted with the return of Riblet who came back to remind Che that he’s still better than him at reading jokes.

Say What You Wanna Say

This seemed like one of those random throwaway ideas that just sort of worked. The entire video is just a group disgruntled women being blunt with their friends, backed by a Sara Bareilles jam. What really elevated the sketch was the video and sound editing, with the abrupt cuts to “Brave” capturing the emotions of the women talking stands on seemingly insignificant issues (aside from the pooping in public).

Mr. Riot Films 

Finally Kyle and Beck make their long awaited return to the 10-1 spot, this time conducting a social experiment on bullying. This sketch had an unique feel to it, because although it wasn’t live, the video still had a very raw feel to it thanks to the pair’s interactions with random strangers. It made it a lot of fun to watch, even if it did feel a tad too long. If anything, it was just good to see the former Good Neighbors back to messing around with their fantastically weird sense of humor.


A Few More Thoughts

One thing that I noticed after watching the SNL 40 Special was the heavy reliance on pre taped sketches as opposed to live ones. It feels like this season the majority of funny sketches were those that were finely edited and polished. And although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, an overdependence on pre recorded videos strays from the entire premise of Saturday Night Live. There needs to be a healthy balance between the two to create a more well rounded show.

It’s a little unnerving that Riblet has already returned to the Update Desk after only two episodes. It just highlights the fact that SNL hasn’t really found a memorable or particularly enjoyable recurring character this season. The closest thing they have is Pete Davidson or Leslie Jones, but that’s more just two comedians doing standup rather than a created character connecting with the anchors. Of course, this process takes time, and maybe it has to do with how the two develop and mature, so we’ll see. Personally, I’m already sick of Riblet so hopefully he doesn’t come back anytime soon.

We’ll see you next week (assuming SNL isn’t cancelled) when Chris Hemsworth hosts with The Zac Brown Band as the musical guest!

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