Ariana Grande has had quite the rise to fame. Starting on Nickelodeon playing a supporting role to Victoria Justice, Grande quickly caught the attention of the America, and transitioned into the role of a pop star. I used to be baffled by the fact that Grande blew up while Justice stayed put in the slums of children’s television (young Alex had a pretty big crush on Victoria Justice). But after watching this episode, it’s pretty clear that Grande is a superstar and deserves all the praise thrown her way. A true triple threat entertainer, Grande brought her charm, her humor, and her music to 30 Rock and absolutely killed. It was the closest SNL’s come to replicating Justin Timberlake’s legendary double duty hosting gigs. You could have made an argument for pretty much every sketch making the top five. Let’s take a look at one of the best SNL episodes of the season.
“Goodbye America, it’s been weird!” And with that, Jay Pharaoh’s Ben Carson rode off into the sunset. Gone but not forgotten. This sketch opened what would be a night of strong political satire, attacking both parties. Larry David returned once again as the Bern-Man, flaunting his popularity with “a diverse group of white people.” We can only pray that Sanders maintains a footing in the election at least until the end of this season, because every sketch with David is almost guaranteed to be a highlight at this point.
Hillary Campaign Ad
It felt like SNL had been sitting on this sketch for a while and were just waiting for the right time to dish it out. Hillary hasn’t made any sketch worthy headlines recently so maybe this was SNL’s way to keep her relevant. At this point, the joke of Clinton doing anything to appeal to millennials has been pretty played out, dating back to last season. However, for the writers to implement this joke in a clever, unique way gave it new life, and proved to be incredibly effective. Also, I think if need be, Kate McKinnon could play every Presidential candidate by herself and they would all be hysterical.
This sketch is a perfect example of how to play to your host. You have a musician hosting, so why not do something…musical? SNL actually did this exact same sketch a few years back with Bruno Mars, but that doesn’t make this one any less entertaining. It’s always fun to watch singers impersonate other singers, especially when it’s done so well. And how about the pipes on Ariana Grande? Not too shabby.
This is the last time I’m gonna talk about how far Weekend Update has come because guess what? It’s not a surprise anymore. Che and Jost have developed their own unique Update personalities and they are the most consistently funny aspect of SNL right now. The joke of the night came from Jost when he said, “Happy birthday to Mitt Romney who today turned 69, which for Mormons is a sin.” The crowd went nuts. However, the highlight of Update came from Cecily Strong, playing the drunk Bachelor contestant. Strong rivals Moynihan for best fake drunk in the cast, and watching Jost start cracking up at her glances helped this bit shine.
This was one of those sketches that’s so brilliantly weird that it reminds you why you sit through all the trash sketches that SNL throws at you. The root of the sketch is so simple: it’s just an ugly looking fish. But with the help of the writers, makeup, and terrific acting by Kate McKinnon, that simple idea turned into Shud, the blobfish mermaid. As you listen to McKinnon explain that she has two mouths, one for pooping, you can almost see the writers sitting around looking up weird facts about the blobfish. This sketch not only wins sketch of the night, but also earns a spot as a contender for best of the season.
A Few More Thoughts
-The entire Feud sketch didn’t warrant a top spot, but Grande’s impression of Jennifer Lawrence most certainly did. Just perfectly captured Lawrence’s fake super relatable persona. I mean it’s cool you like to eat pizza but you also have a gazillion dollars and an Oscar.
-How about Larry David messing up Ariana Grande’s name? Not a good look for the geezer. You could see the shame on his face when she thanked him directly at the end of the show. Oh well.
-See you April 2nd, when the Peter Dinklage, aka Tyrion aka the South Pole Elf hosts backed by Gwen Stefani.