With Dakota Johnson guest hosting, last night’s SNL had no shortage of 50 Shades of Grey jokes. For her part, Johnson seemed equally bemused and embarrassed by her controversial new hit, rolling with whatever the show threw at her and always coming out looking far better than her naysayers expected. Her ability to make fun of herself and the film that has turned her into an overnight movie star really came together in the only sketch of the night that required her to play herself.
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Modern SNL has one of the strongest female line-ups in the show’s history, so it’s always a pleasure when the writers give this group of extremely funny ladies a chance to shine together. This sketch is a weird one because it feels like such an odd and specific concept that must have been a real pain in the butt to pitch in the writer’s room, but the execution is simply sublime: a group of women start being brutally honest with the people in their lives and immediately celebrate to the impossibly catchy sounds of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave.”
Now that SNL’s big 40th anniversary special lies behind us, with the God of Thunder in our future, this coming Saturday will whip SNL back into shape with the expert help of 50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson. Preview our first post-40 SNL installment with all the Christian Grey references you can handle in the latest promo!
The gallant extravagance of NBC’s 40th anniversary SNL special left us less-than-enthused for 50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson to return us to normal this Saturday, but our first March host will verily bring the thunder. Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth will take the SNL stage as our March 7 host, but what musical accompaniment mayeth the Asgardian Avenger summon?
SNL’s 40th anniversary special had some real ups and downs (even “Californians” defenders can agree that sketch went on way too long), but it possibly could have benefitted from this Kyle Mooney segment, which was sadly cut for time. Mooney, who often plays socially inept/awkward characters in his SNL sketches, does his recurring bit where he interviews passerby on the streets of New York, this time about SNL’s 40th anniversary. Oddly enough, he seems to find plenty of people who are unaware of the show, as well as some who hilariously lack knowledge about a show they claim to enjoy.
SNL episodes are hard, often frenzied work, so you can imagine the sort of time and dedication and stress that went into the SNL 40 show, which featured new and former cast members along with several guest stars. One of the highlights of the three and a half hour event was the return of “Celebrity Jeopardy!” with Norm MacDonald, Will Ferrell and Darrell Hammond reprising their iconic sketch roles alongside fellow SNL stars, including Kenan Thompson doing a hilarious (and timely) Bill Cosby impression. But according to MacDonald, Thompson wasn’t originally supposed to be in the sketch: Eddie Murphy was.
One of the many highlights from last night’s SNL 40th anniversary special was the moment when new cast members Pete Davidson and Leslie Jones took to the stage, introducing a montage of audition tapes from the past 40 years. Not only did the footage include new and former cast members, but we also got a peek at the audition tapes of a few stars who surprisingly didn’t make the cut, like Jim Carrey and Kevin Hart.
SNL had itself an understandably busy weekend with all the 40th anniversary festivity, but February 28 will see the longrunning NBC sketch comedy series whipped back into shape, and appropriately so. 50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson will take the stage on February 28 as our first post-40 SNL host, and those bondage jokes are a-comin’.
Welcome back to another installment of the Monday Morning Critic. In this space each week, I’ll be looking at the week that was in addition to the week ahead in television. The format will shift each week, as the world of TV will dictate the form and content of each piece. In this week’s installment: my all-time cast of SNL.
The SNL 40th Anniversary Special had a LOT going on. It was over three hours of comedy and music and stars and tributes all packed into one night. With so much going on, if you missed something, we can't say we blame you. We've covered the big items, like Celebrity Jeopardy, Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, the new Digital Short, Wayne's World and the huge monologue, but we're here to celebrate some of the smaller moments.