Singer on saturday night live last night

KeepReading…

We’re deep into the 45th season of “Saturday Night Live” now, and also deep into the holiday season. In the most recent episode of “SNL,” which aired on Jan. 25, Adam Driver hosted for the third time, and gave us a rare instance where the host appeared in a cold open sketch. Driver played Jeffrey Epstein in the sketch, which focused on Jon Lovitz as Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz paying a visit to hell to appear on Satan’s podcast and encountered Epstein and others.

In season 45, Alec Baldwin has made four appearances as Donald Trump thus far — he’s shown up in the last two episodes, as well as in the premiere episode, and in the cold open on October 26, when he shared the stage with Darrell Hammond, the former “SNL” cast member who played Trump on the show for years. Baldwin popped up less often in season 44 than he did in the previous two seasons, when he would appear as Donald Trump in the cold open most weeks. Thus far he’s made one appearance per month in season 45.

This week, on Saturday, January 25, there WILL be a new episode of “SNL.” The first new episode of the new year will be hosted by Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt, with Luke Combs as the musical guest. It’ll be the first time on “SNL” for both Watt and Combs. Yes, it’s pretty unusual for a football player to host, though not unprecedented with Peyton Manning having hosted an episode a decade ago.

Since it’s a new episode, “SNL” will be simulcast from coast to coast, meaning it’ll air at the standard 11:30 p.m. on the East Coast and 8:30 p.m. out west.

Also Read: ‘SNL’: Eddie Murphy Gets Even With Bill Cosby in Monologue – ‘Who’s America’s Dad Now?’ (Video)

Next week, RuPaul will host, with Justin Bieber coming on as the musical guest.

While season 44 saw “SNL” seemingly tire of doing political commentary late in the season, season 45 has seen it return its politics-heavy form. Every cold open this season has been political, and each has featured some surprise celebrity cameos. Including, perhaps most shockingly, Darrell Hammond’s brief appearance — Hammond was devastated three years ago when it picked Baldwin to play Trump over him. We’ve also seen Lin-Manuel Miranda and Billy Porter feature in one cold open, and Matthew Broderick in another.

While it certainly was surprising how light “SNL” was on politics in the back half of last season, it’s certainly no surprise that it’s back to its old ways given that we’re now neck deep in a new presidential election cycle. So the focus has been not just on mocking Trump, but also the circus that has been the run up to the Democratic primaries.

Not that the sketch show has in any way shied away from mocking Trump. The impeachment has certainly been a common topic for cold open sketches this season. There was the one where Baldwin’s Trump went through his contacts list trying to find a fixer who could make the impeachment stop, ending with a call to Liev Schreiber playing himself — Trump thought his character Ray Donovan, a fixer on the eponymous Showtime series was actually a real person.

There was also that one where “SNL” sent up the impeachment hearings by doing a “Days of Our Lives” parody that starred Jon Hamm.

As for the madness with the Democratic primary, we’ve had numerous big cameos in the debate sketches, as presumably “SNL” is already preparing for how season 46 will handle the general election this fall. So we’ve had Woody Harrelson make a couple appearances as Joe Biden, as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda as Julian Castro, Larry David as Bernie Sanders, Rachel Dratch as Amy Klobuchar, Fred Armisen as Michael Bloomberg, Mara Rudolph as Kamala Harris and Will Ferrell as Tom Steyer.

That’s a lot of cameos, and “SNL” actually managed to jam nearly all of those folks into a single sketch — a 12-minute debate parody from a late November episode. Miranda did not appear in that one, but he had previously popped up as Castro in October in a parody of the Democrats’ LGBTQ town hall that was moderated by Billy Porter in character as himself.

Meanwhile, the show is staying in-house for Elizabeth Warren, who has been played this season by “SNL” cast member Kate McKinnon several times, including a town hall sketch that she had all to herself.

‘SNL’ 5-Timers Club: Most Frequent Hosts, From Alec Baldwin to Will Ferrell (Photos)

  • In the world of sketch comedy, there is no fraternity more prestigious than the “Saturday Night Live Five-Timers Club.” Those who have proven their worthiness by hosting “SNL” five times are invited into an elite circle, where they don luxurious satin robes, smoke expensive cigars and, for their entertainment, watch current cast members fight to the death.

    NBC

  • Alec Baldwin – 17

    Not counting his many guest appearances to play guys like Donald Trump, Baldwin has hosted 16 times, passing Steve Martin’s record in 2011. Martin was there that night to demand a surprise drug test.

    NBC

  • Steve Martin – 15

    The esteemed president of the Five-Timers Club was also the fastest to get to that milestone, hosting his fifth less than two years after hosting his first. In total, Martin has hosted fifteen times, most recently in 2009.

    NBC

  • John Goodman – 13

    Goodman ranks third on the all-time “SNL” hosting list with 13 episodes, behind only Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

    NBC

  • Buck Henry – 10

    From 1976 to 1980, it was tradition for the “Heaven Can Wait” director to host the “SNL” season finale. In total, Henry hosted 10 episodes, including a Mardi Gras special.

    NBC

  • Tom Hanks – 9

    Hanks’ fifth go-around as host in 1990 was what spawned the Five-Timers Club sketch. But now his most famous contribution to the series is definitely David S. Pumpkins.

    NBC

  • Chevy Chase – 8

    The original anchor of “Weekend Update” hosted “SNL” eight times after being the first original cast member to leave in the middle of the show’s second season.

    NBC

  • Christopher Walken – 7

    Walken was the first person to join the Five-Timers Club in the 21st Century after making his fifth appearance in May 2001.

    NBC

  • Drew Barrymore – 6

    Though we haven’t seen her in a Five-Timers’ robe, her portrait is in the club’s luxurious quarters. She holds the record for youngest host ever, having appeared on the show at age 7 following the release of “E.T.” in 1982.

    NBC

  • Elliot Gould – 6

    Gould hosted the show five times in the ’70s, but his sixth appearance was his last after being blindsided by the sudden departure of Lorne Michaels from the show in 1980.

    NBC

  • Danny DeVito – 6

    Shortly after playing The Penguin in “Batman Returns,” DeVito joined the club with an “SNL” appearance in January 1993.

    FX

  • Tina Fey – 6

    Arguably the most famous “SNL” cast member among millennials, Tina Fey joined the Club in 2015 after a hosting career that included (and still includes) her famous Sarah Palin impression.

    NBC

  • Scarlett Johansson – 6

    The actress made her fifth appearance in 2016, and kicked off her monologue by putting on a Five-Timers jacket handed to her by Kenan Thompson. (She hosted again with then-fiancé Colin Jost in December 2019.)

    NBC

  • Candice Bergen – 5

    Bergen was the first woman to host “SNL” and hosted five times from 1975 to 1990.

    NBC

  • Bill Murray – 5

    After starring on the show in Seasons 2-5, Murray returned to host five times in the ’80s and ’90s.

    NBC

  • Ben Affleck – 5

    The man “SNL” once mocked for his film “Gigli” joined the Five-Timers club in 2013, shortly after winning the Best Picture Oscar for “Argo.”

    NBC

  • Justin Timberlake – 5

    The pop star’s fifth appearance in 2013 saw “SNL” bring back the “Five-Timers” sketch, as Timberlake’s induction was celebrated with a brawl between cast members Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam.

    NBC

  • Melissa McCarthy – 5

    After a season of guest appearances as Donald Trump’s White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, McCarthy grabbed her Five-Timers jacket in Season 42.

    NBC

  • The Rock – 5

    Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson hosted the finale of the 42nd season of “SNL”

  • Jonah Hill – 5

    Hill’s five appearances as host spanned a decade, with the first coming in 2008 and the fifth on Nov. 3, 2018.

  • Will Ferrell – 5

    One of the most successful “SNL” alums of the ’90s, Ferrell joined the club on Nov. 23, 2019. Among his most famous “SNL” bits were his George W. Bush impression and his recurring role as Alex Trebek on “Celebrity Jeopardy.”

  • Paul Simon – 4

    Technically, Simon only hosted four times, but he’s been included in “Five-Timers Club” sketches since he was the musical guest on a fifth show. He also owns arguably the most emotional moment in the history of “SNL”: his performance of “The Boxer” in the cold open of the first post-9/11 episode.

    Getty

1 of 22

TheWrap looks back at those who’ve joined the most elite club in sketch comedy

In the world of sketch comedy, there is no fraternity more prestigious than the “Saturday Night Live Five-Timers Club.” Those who have proven their worthiness by hosting “SNL” five times are invited into an elite circle, where they don luxurious satin robes, smoke expensive cigars and, for their entertainment, watch current cast members fight to the death.

Halsey Performs ‘You Should Be Sad’ & ‘Finally // Beautiful Stranger’ on ‘SNL’: Watch

Halsey paid a visit to Saturday Night Live on Jan. 25 to perform songs from her latest album, Manic.

During the Adam Driver-hosted episode, the first SNL of 2020, Halsey performed new songs “You Should Be Sad” and “Finally // Beautiful.” The singer also appeared in a hilarious sketch titled “Slow,” where Driver and SNL’s Kenan Thompson spoof an extremely slow-moving R&B song. Watch the clips below.

For the country music-themed “You Should Be Sad,” the singer came out sensually riding a mechanical bull while wearing a black leather bodysuit with a rhinestone-encrusted cowboy hat. Later, she traded in the mechanical bull for an acoustic guitar and slowed things down with the heartfelt ballad “Finally // Beautiful.”

The superstar singer released her third album, Manic, on Jan. 17. Spanning 16 tracks and with a running time of 47 minutes, the new LP also features interlude assists from BTS’ Suga, Alanis Morissette and Dominic Fike.

Halsey will support the new album with the Manic World Tour, with the North American leg launching June 2 at White River Amphitheatre in Seattle.

Jost:

The impeachment trial started this week, and am I crazy or was Adam Schiff on my TV for 100 hours straight? Even when I turned the TV off, there was still an outline of him burned into the screen. What happened was, Democrats spent three days laying out in great detail how they believe President Trump has been the most egregious abuser of power in American history. And then Republicans laid out their defense, the shrug emoji. Mitch McConnell, seen here calmly watching an orphanage burn, defended his plan for the trial, saying, “The country is waiting to see if we can rise to the occasion.” I would maybe say you’re not rising to the occasion, considering one senator fell asleep, Rand Paul was doing a crossword puzzle and some Republican senators even brought fidget spinners to play with. I assume this symbolized how the Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves.

Che:

You’re better than me, Colin. I didn’t watch one minute of that trial. It was like a four-day long PowerPoint. This is supposed to be Trump’s punishment, not mine. This whole impeachment is like a bad episode of “Maury.” There’s all this evidence that Trump clearly cheated and Republicans are still like, “But Maury, he loves me.” Trump is so confident he’s going to win, he’s using Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyer to represent him. Talk about credibility — who’s his character witness, R. Kelly?

‘Weekend Update’ Deskside Bit of the Week

Melissa Villaseñor appeared as herself in a segment where she sang a series of songs about this year’s crop of Academy Award nominees. Each tune was set to the same bouncy bossa nova beat, like this catchy ditty about “The Irishman”:

This movie has a lot to offer

Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa

Gangster life gets kinda messy

Robert De Niro and lil’ Joe Pesci

It’s three hours long

They’re old and they’re young

And it’s white male rage

White male rage

White male rage

If you listen to Villaseñor’s other songs, which also address “Joker,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “1917” and Greta Gerwig’s snub for directing “Little Women,” we think you’ll see a pattern emerge! (Hint: It’s white male rage.)

It’s too hot in the hot tub! Photo: NBC

The news that Eddie Murphy is hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live this season and returning to stand-up has comedy fans of a certain age breathless with anticipation. By “a certain age,” I mean someone over 50. This is not a slight against Murphy or his level of celebrity. It’s just that a confluence of the passage of time, the circumstances of Murphy’s tenure on the show, and his hesitancy to return to host again has rendered his work on Saturday Night Live more obscure than it should be.

The era of SNL that Murphy lorded over was tumultuous at best. Dick Ebersol had taken over as the producer from Jean Doumanian, who had the unenviable task of trying to reboot the show after the departure of Lorne Michaels. The cast around Murphy was talented, but full of names that faded into obscurity or became famous for work outside Studio 8H. Robin Duke, Tony Rosato, and Gary Kroeger are names known to SNL obsessives and sketch-comedy completists. Julia Louis-Dreyfus came and went, then took off on Seinfeld. Tim Kazurinsky is a name you might recall as the actor who played “Sweetchuck” in Police Academy. Joe Piscopo is best known for being a resident of New Jersey.

In short, there’s a reason you haven’t seen much of Eddie Murphy’s work on Saturday Night Live. Besides the sketches Murphy was in, the show kind of stunk. He was so crucial, so powerful, and so undeniable on SNL that instead of padding the show with extra material in case the show ran short, Ebersol would just send Eddie out in front of the crowd to ad lib on live TV. He’s also the only cast member who’s ever hosted the show while being an active member of the cast, when he filled in for Nick Nolte in 1982.

In lieu of combing through the four Murphy-led seasons, we’ve compiled a list of some of his best sketches to prepare you for his triumphant return.

James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party

If there’s a joke to be had in “James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party,” it’s that there’s really no joke. Nothing much happens, save for Murphy’s only mildly committed James Brown impression. In a way, this was a direct progenitor of Kenan Thompson’s “What Up With That?” recurring sketch: a series of escalating musical absurdities in lieu of the talk-show premise you’ve been promised.

That said, there’s plenty of pyrotechnics to keep your attention. He dances, sings, and mugs for the camera, but what sticks with you is Murphy’s knowing smile. He gets that this is a completely ridiculous premise that goes nowhere, but he’s having fun anyway. His obvious joy at getting to play pretend R&B star is completely and utterly disarming. This is one of many SNL moments where Murphy carries a thin premise on star power alone. It’s not memorable because it’s clever. It’s memorable because it’s Eddie Murphy.

Buckwheat Dead: America Mourns

Photo: NBC

Today, SNL isn’t known for running jokes that carry from sketch to sketch. Each piece exists on an island, designed to be enjoyed by someone flopping on the couch after a night out or a person aimlessly rummaging through YouTube. Whether it was due to the change in producers or the fact that the show was in danger of losing its place in the pop-culture zeitgeist, the Eddie Murphy era of SNL took chances with the form. The death of Buckwheat was a runner that lasted through the March 19, 1983 episode and into the following week, taking the form of news bulletins hosted by Joe Piscopo as Nightline host Ted Koppel.

Ostensibly a parody of America’s fascination with celebrity and the macabre, Murphy’s immensely popular recurring character, an adult Buckwheat from The Little Rascals, is murdered. Eddie plays both Buckwheat and his assassin, John David Stutts, who is also murdered on the next episode. Both daring and hilariously dark, the Buckwheat saga is one of the rare sketches from this era that would fit comfortably next to anything from the first five years of SNL. (Watch it here.)

Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood

As the only African-American cast member on Saturday Night Live at the time, Murphy had both the burden and the opportunity to be the show’s standard-bearer for the entire culture. “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood,” a parody of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was likely one of the only windows many Americans had into a black world. The first appearance of Mr. Robinson was on the February 21, 1981 episode, which is infamous for being the episode where the late Charles Rocket said “fuck” on live TV and ensured he would be let go when Ebersol took over SNL from Doumanian.

Instead of teaching kids about manners and kindness, Mr. Robinson schools his viewers on the harsh realities of getting by in the inner city — drug deals, theft, unpaid bills, and the ever-present threat of violence. Yes, this is comedy. Its ability to mine racial injustice for laughs makes Mr. Robinson (and “urban” movie reviewer character Raheem Abdul Muhammad) resemble a sketch from In Living Color more than anything you’d usually see on SNL.

The Gumby Story

Like Buckwheat, Murphy’s impression of beloved children’s character Gumby was both wildly popular and completely irritating. That could be said of many of SNL’s recurring characters from the past. They capture the public imagination and then ossify into dull catchphrase machines designed to sell T-shirts at Spencer’s Gifts. Murphy’s Gumby — the claymation hero reimagined as a salty New York showbiz castoff — was a sensation. In what’s perhaps the best Gumby sketch, Gumby directs his own biopic, smoothing out the edges of his life and presenting himself as a plucky romantic hero rather than a surly comedian perpetually chomping on a cigar. The “Gumby” sketches might not have been brilliant comedy, but they showed audiences that Murphy could disappear into a role, both with accents and impressions, but also in layers of makeup and costume trickery — a preview of things to come in his career.

Velvet Jones

Photo: NBC

I hate that I love Velvet Jones. It’s easy to look at this recurring character — a slow-witted pimp selling how-to books on becoming a sex worker — as an anachronistic, misogynistic bit of garbage that should be buried in the same desert where Atari left all those extra copies of the E.T. video game. And yet … I laugh every time he says, “Hi, I’m Velvet Jones.”

In the span of three months, Velvet Jones was on SNL four times. Eddie Murphy doing a funny voice and alluding to prostitution was good enough in 1981. And 1982, when the character was retired. And 1983, when he was brought back to sell a porno tape masquerading as an exercise video. Murphy was so famous that all you had to do was put a wig on him and you had a successful TV show. (Watch it here.)

White Like Me

Where sketches like “Velvet Jones” or “Gumby” are relatively toothless on the page, the very idea of this pre-taped short film from the December 15, 1984 episode remains incendiary. In a precursor to his work in whiteface in Coming to America, Murphy plays himself going undercover as a white person for a day. His whole life becomes different. He’s given newspapers for free, his bus commute turns into a party, and his boss treats him like an old country-club chum. From Dave Chappelle to the Wayans brothers, “White Like Me” influenced the way generations of comedians talk about the racial divide in America.

Watch Eddie Murphy Bring His Best Characters Back to ‘SNL’

The latest season of Saturday Night Live has been exceptionally spotty, which isn’t exactly surprising given the current state of SNL. But the season hasn’t been without some highlights. Phoebe Waller-Bridge gave one of the best opening monologues in years when she hosted back in October, that Joker parody was fantastic, and Kate McKinnon’s Elizabeth Warren continues to be the best part of any episode she appears in. And this weekend, Eddie Murphy returned to SNL for the first time in 35 years to cap off the show’s 2019 season—and it was absolutely fantastic.

First, Murphy kicked things off with a star-studded opening monologue that featured cameos from everyone from Chris Rock to Dave Chappelle to Tracy Morgan:

Later, Murphy reprised some of his most iconic sketches from his original Saturday Night Live days in the 1980s, including the Mr. Rogers-aping “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood,” just in time for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

“Hi, boys and girls! It’s your old pal, Mr. Robinson,” Murphy says in the sketch. “So much has changed since we last spent some time together. My neighborhood has gone through so much. It’s gone through something called ‘gentrification.’ Can you say ‘gentrification,’ boys and girls? It’s like a magic trick. White people pay a lot of money, and then poof, all the black people are gone!”

His classic Gumby also made an appearance on Weekend Update:

The episode was a great way to cap off the latest season of Saturday Night Live and an even better way for Murphy to end his landmark year. We’ll have to wait and see if the guy can earn an Oscar nom for his role in Dolemite Is My Name, but until then, watch him take his well-earned victory lap on SNL above.

Eddie Murphy Dominated ‘SNL’: Watch All the Best Sketches Here

Eddie Murphy’s estrangement from Saturday Night Live finally came to an end on Saturday, as the legendary comedian who spent five years as a cast member on the show made his return to studio 8H after 35 years. The huge audience who tuned in—the show had its best ratings in two-and-a-half years—was treated to a solid episode full of characters Murphy first introduced during the Reagan administration.

Like Will Ferrell, Eddie Murphy didn’t do his opening monologue solo. He was gradually joined by Tracy Morgan, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Kenan Thompson.

ADVERTISEMENT

The first post-cold open sketch got things started with a bang. “Mister Robinso’s Neighborhood, a parody of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that was so funny in its time that Fred Rogers himself was a fan. This is the sketch that probably did the best job of bringing a character from the ’80s into the present, as the somewhat profane children’s show host had a lot to say about the gentrification of the neighborhood.

Thanks for the feedback! Oops! Something went wrong. Please contact [email protected]

Murphy did well as a particularly terrible contestant on a baking show, which he followed with an amazingly relatable holiday short. In the spirit of last week’s “Children’s Clothing Ad,” the show found comedy gold in the indignities we all agree to put up with during the holiday season, from farting uncles to shitty air mattresses.

Murphy brought back Buckwheat as a contestant in The Masked Singer, which sort of worked. More successful was Gumby’s return on Weekend Update; his obstinacy aged well even if you can’t smoke on stage anymore.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Black Jeopardy!” was made for Murphy and Velvet Jones, his over-the-top pimp/self-help book author was a more than worthy replacement for the typical clueless white person who normally serves as the butt of the jokes in the sketch.

Murphy didn’t reprise any old characters in the final sketch of the show, but it was still hilarious, a simple excuse for Murphy as a disgruntled elf to rail against Santa, spread conspiracy theories, and somehow deliver lines like “We’re defenseless, and we’re small, we’re adorable, and we’re chewable!” without cracking up.

ADVERTISEMENT

All in all, this was a consistently funny, well-rounded episode that can only be considered a triumphant return for Murphy despite the glaring omission of a celebrity hot tub party hosted by James Brown, something he’ll hopefully correct the next time he hosts the show.

Oops! Something went wrong. Please contact [email protected] Thank you for subscribing Give us a little more information and we’ll give you a lot more relevant content Your child’s birthday or due date Add A Child Remove A Child I don’t have kids Thanks For Subscribing! Oops! Something went wrong. Please contact [email protected]Charles Barkley and a very horny Kate McKinnon on SNL. Photo: NBC

When J.J. Watt hosts Saturday Night Live this weekend, it’s a safe bet that the episode will follow the formula it’s mostly stuck to whenever a sports superstar is the guest of honor: They play an exaggerated version of themselves, a sketch or two involves their day job and the skills they’re known for (in Watt’s case, hitting quarterbacks with alarming force), they’ll get plugged into recurring bits and maybe, if they’re game, get a little bit weird. Watt has a leg up on most of the 30-something other athletes who’ve hosted before in that he’s done a bit of comedy, appearing in Bad Moms and on several episodes of The League, so it’s almost a gimme that he’ll be one of the better jocks to grace the Studio 8H stage.

That’s because the track record of athletes on SNL doesn’t even qualify as a mixed bag of success — most of it is better left forgotten. (To be fair, many trained actors fail at this job, too.) But still, it’s not all bad — there are some that are good team players and let the cast carry the moment, and a few where the athletes’ commitment elevates the bit. So with that in mind, we looked through all the sketches of sports stars on SNL that we could find online and picked out the best sketches where the athlete didn’t drop the ball.

Joe Montana and Walter Payton, “Church Chat” (1987)

Back in 1987, SNL enlisted NFL stars Joe Montana and Walter Payton as co-hosts, a double billing that’s only happened once in the last 15 years when Amy Poehler and Tina Fey tag-teamed the 2015 Christmas episode. The duo goes head-to-head with Dana Carvey’s Church Lady to discuss the football, a sport she doesn’t watch because it’s played on the Sabbath and “the fans scream like little Beastmasters, drink beer, and spit up.” Most of the “Church Chat” involves the discussion of how much ass-grabbing and slapping there is in football, with both players getting their hands on Carvey’s at some point. Montana does most of the acting here, though Payton’s “superior dance” moves are far better than the quarterback’s.

Wayne Gretzky, “Anal Retentive Fishing” (1989)

Photo: NBC

Phil Hartman does most of the lift as Gene, the anal-retentive public TV host who can never get through a show thanks to his obsession with neatness. The hockey star plays himself, doing very little until the end when he has to fight off a massive fish, a bit to which he commits about as well as he can. Fun fact: Gretzky and Hartman both hailed from the same city of Brantford, Ontario. (Watch it here.)

Chris Evert, “Lothar of the Hill People” (1989)

Photo: NBC

The tennis star came to SNL to celebrate her 1989 retirement, hosting the same episode that gave us the classic “Colon Blow” ad. In this briefly recurring sketch, Lothar of the Hill People (Mike Myers) commiserates with other tribal chieftains (Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz) about their lackluster “walking with women” lives and how sometimes they must “walk” alone for satisfaction. Eventually, Evert shows up as She Beast, Ruler of Courts of Clay, carrying a primitive racket to explain that women just want to be treated equally. The men are perplexed, so she elaborates: “You must first understand that women walk differently from men. You must help them prepare for the walk. Picture, if you will, a little man in boat.” Lothar then ends the sketch as Evert continues to explain the genital geography in the background, presumably with little success considering how long that joke has stayed relevant. (Watch it here.)

Michael Jordan, “Daily Affirmation” (1991)

Jordan basically played himself throughout this episode without stretching too much, outside of dancing in a hula skirt alongside Bill Swerski’s Superfans and starring in a brief parody of a douche commercial. The highlight came when Jordan could barely retain his composure as Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley, oblivious to Jordan’s incredible talent and the game of basketball itself, led him through a daily affirmation that includes “I don’t have to dribble the ball fast or throw the ball into the basket.” Like many other athlete-hosted episodes, the jokes were all in service of Michael’s greatness, so it’s fun to watch him struggle a little.

George Foreman, “Chris’ Bedtime Story” (1994)

Photo: NBC

Just a few years before he retired to a life of hawking grills, Foreman became the oldest heavyweight-boxing champ at age 45, just six weeks before he hosted this episode. In an odd sketch, Chris Elliott visits Foreman’s dressing room to take a nap while Farley, Spade, and the other young stars do the show. Elliott’s only problem is that he can’t fall asleep without a bedtime story, so Foreman agrees to read him Goodnight Moon, impatiently explaining that it’s not real. It’s a strange concept, but Foreman’s tough-yet-sweet demeanor makes it almost believable. (Watch it here.)

The Rock, “Mr. Peepers and Papa Peepers” (2000)

Yes, it might seem odd to see Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson on this list, but when he hosted SNL back in 2000, the world only knew him as a wrestler. At that point, his only acting credit outside of the ring was an episode of Star Trek: Voyager that premiered a month before he hosted the show, so even hard-core wrestling fans didn’t know how “the People’s Champ” would fare on SNL. It was a wonderful surprise, and a sign of things to come, when the Rock exceeded expectations in multiple sketches. In this iteration of the Mr. Peepers sketches, Johnson abandoned his suave, tough-guy persona to let loose alongside Chris Kattan, maintaining his comedic timing while eating, grunting, spitting, jumping, and ultimately humping Chris Parnell’s staid professor character. For further proof about just how far the Rock has come as an actor and host since then, watch his wrestling-themed monologue, which also features then-writer Mike Schur getting dragged offstage by WWF champ HHH.

Derek Jeter, “Weekend Update: Point/Counterpoint” (2001)

When Derek Jeter was recently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Seth Meyers used the opportunity to tweet out this 2001 “Weekend Update” bit where he and Jeter debate whether or not the latter sucks, à la Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd’s classic “Point/Counterpoint” segments. “Jeter sucks” was a common refrain among die-hard Sox fans like Meyers, one that rang a tad hollow considering that, at that point in time, the Yankees shortstop had won four championships in six seasons while the Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series since 1918.

The segment is terrific; though as Meyers admitted on Twitter, it would’ve been better if he’d paraphrased Aykroyd’s famous, “Jane, you ignorant slut” line.

Andy Roddick, “Z105” (2003)

Photo: NBC

Andy Roddick is absolutely believable playing himself as he faces an excruciating interview with Jimmy Fallon’s obnoxious radio host Joey Mack, who does all the voices for his “Zoo Crew” without letting his guests get a word in. Considering how many of these idiotic morning DJs athletes have to endure throughout their careers, Roddick was surely used to dealing with them making puns about his name (“trying to get some of that rod dick”) but never the racism and pants-crapping that Fallon invents, making his earnest pleas all the more entertaining. (Watch it here.)

Tom Brady, “TV Funhouse: Sexual Harassment and You” (2005)

Photo: NBC

Brady gets an A for effort as host — he’s a bit stiff overall, but he really went all out with a musical monologue and a few sketches that have nothing to do with football. The standout is a Robert Smigel–written PSA on workplace sexual harassment that demonstrates the wrong and right ways to approach colleagues. Fred Armisen’s attempts at flirting are all wrong because he’s not attractive. At first, it appears Brady is just going to repeat Armisen’s lines verbatim and get away with it because he’s good-looking, but he takes it an extra step both times, grabbing Amy Poehler’s breast and talking to Tina Fey while pantsless. It’s a simple premise that’s creepily relevant today. (Watch it here.)

Peyton Manning, “Digital Short: United Way” (2007)

Easily the best of the bunch, Manning took his famed on-field intensity to a much darker place in this spoof of the NFL’s wholesome youth-mentoring ads. Everything in this digital short seems normal until 30 seconds in, when the Colts QB pegs one of his young wards with a football, tells him to “get your head out of your ass,” and banishes him to a Porta Potty. Then it’s on to jimmying a car door, running from the cops, giving one kid a tattoo, and explaining to them why he’ll “kill a snitch.” By this point, Manning had been in a few decent commercials for MasterCard and Sprint, so people knew he had a little comedic timing, but it was still a shock to see the consummate pro get this dirty.

LeBron James, “Read to Achieve” (2007)

Photo: NBC

It’s funny watching LeBron, just four seasons into his NBA career, interact so stiffly with his future Trainwreck co-star Bill Hader, who plays commercial director Mike Underballs. There’s just so little chemistry, though James displays his natural comedic prowess as he gets increasingly angry at Jason Sudeikis’s aggressively cocky PA. It’s also hilarious, in hindsight, to hear Sudeikis crack, “We should get Dwyane Wade anyway. At least he’s got a ring,” as James was just a few years away from infamously joining Wade in Miami and getting his first championship. (Watch it here.)

Eli Manning, “Little Brothers” (2008)

Photo: NBC

Eli Manning’s entire life was and always will be spent in elder brother Peyton’s shadow. To their credit, the siblings — whose father was also an NFL quarterback — had a decent sense of humor about it throughout their Super Bowl–winning careers, with Eli known as the kinda dopey, less-talented son. Even on SNL, he had to follow Peyton’s “United Way” hit a year later and, thankfully, SNL addressed the rivalry head on with “Little Brothers,” a slightly different charity parody. The premise is simple: After years of bullying, Manning is channeling his pent-up rage by helping kids violently exact revenge on their brothers. The kicker here is, rather than leaving the real-life circumstances unacknowledged, Eli yells, “Maybe now you’ll treat your younger brother with some respect, Peyton!” while kidnapping Andy Samberg. Manning, a massive Seinfeld fan, also showed off his comedy chops in a courtroom sketch where he’s forced to recite his horribly thirsty text messages under oath. (Watch it here.)

Charles Barkley, “Last Call” (2018)

Barkley is the only non-wrestling athlete to host multiple times, coming to 30 Rock in 1993, 2010, 2012, and 2018. It’s especially admirable considering that Kenan Thompson has impersonated him several times, poking fun at the former Sixer and current NBA analyst’s massive gambling losses. It’s hard to pick the Round Mound of Rebound’s best sketches, as he’s been pretty good in “Daily Affirmation,” “The Haney Project,” “Scared Straight: Trespassing,” and the cut-for-time “Star Warriors,” where he played a character who can’t understand the languages of Star Wars characters. So, in fairness, we’ll just go with the final sketch of Barkley’s most recent episode, a “Last Call” with Kate McKinnon’s horrifically horny Sheila Sovage. On top of the usual tragic come-ons that happen in these sketches, Barkley and McKinnon go above and beyond with a make-out session aided by dental mouth openers. Watch at your own risk of gagging.

‘SNL’ Alum Leslie Jones Debuts Netflix Special: ‘Time Machine’

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Comedian Leslie Jones is really excited.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMEDY SPECIAL, “TIME MACHINE”)

LESLIE JONES: Yeah. What’s up, DC?

GREENE: After five seasons on “Saturday Night Live,” Leslie Jones is back on stage doing what she loves best, stand-up comedy, this time on her very own Netflix special.

JONES: You don’t understand, man. I’m so nervous about it.

GREENE: Really? Why?

JONES: I’m scared that it might be too funny. Does that make sense? Like, it’s just like, the way comedy’s doing right now…

GREENE: What does too funny mean to you?

JONES: Like, it just feels like no one really wants to laugh now. Like, it feels like comedy is – like, might be in trouble or whatever. And I just feel like maybe I’m too goofy, like this…

GREENE: Don’t hold back, Leslie. Keep being funny. Don’t hold back.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: I’m just – as a person, as a viewer, I just say, we do need to laugh and keep helping us do it.

JONES: Me, too. I think so, too.

GREENE: Leslie Jones has been in this business a long time, and she does not shy away from talking about the grind, like the gigs early on, when she didn’t know if promoters would even pay her and her meteoric rise on “SNL” in 2014, which was around the time the show was acknowledging its lack of diversity. This is all why she’s called her stand-up special “Time Machine.” If she could go back 30 years, what advice would she give her younger self?

JONES: It’s something I think about all the time. You have dreams of making it this big, but you never even imagined – this is way more than I ever would expect it. The only thing that I thought that I ever was going to do was maybe be on someone’s sitcom and be, like, the funny person that comes into the scene and tour the rest of my life. Never thought that this would be what would happen to me.

So every time I think about it, I go, wow, I wish I could go back and tell myself, yo, dude, have fun. Like, stop stressing out. Like, it’s OK. You really go ahead to become, like, really big. Just like – sometimes I’m dressed up, and I go, oh, wow, I wish I could quantum leap back to the 24-year-old self so I could show myself how I look because I would be like, oh, girl, give me that ring. And I know I would rob myself. I just know I would.

GREENE: (Laughter) I have to say like – I mean, I interview a lot of celebrities, and many will say, like, I’m really grateful for where I’ve come. But, I mean, you really sound genuine about this, like, wanting to pinch yourself sometimes.

JONES: I still just can’t believe that I’m Leslie Jones. That’s really weird. I’m telling you, every time I get someone that comes up to me and is going crazy, I’m like, I – you don’t even look like you would watch someone like me.

GREENE: Who is the someone like you? Why would you not think that they would want to…

JONES: Well, I just – you know, first of all, I’m a tall black woman, loud. I mean, all the things that I think are crazy about me is just things that people ended up liking about me. I’m aggressive. I’m too honest. I’m just so in-your-face that it’s amazing to me, the demographic that I’m reaching.

GREENE: Leslie Jones told me that she doesn’t take anything in this career for granted. Even that day she got the news about “SNL,” she thought about giving up comedy altogether.

JONES: I was thinking about quitting the night that I got picked for “SNL.” Like, I – it’s always darkest before the dawn in this business (laughter). You live from a day-to-day basis of, am I going to continue this or am I going to go use my damn degree? It’s always like that.

GREENE: Why, the night you got selected for “SNL,” were you thinking about quitting?

JONES: Well, that whole “SNL” thing was so crazy. Like, I didn’t want “SNL.”

GREENE: You didn’t?

JONES: I didn’t want “SNL.” Like, when Chris called me and told me that they was going to call me for audition, I mean, I remember going off on Chris.

GREENE: Was this Chris Rock calling you? This was…

JONES: Yeah.

GREENE: OK.

JONES: And I was like – this – no, I’m a stand-up comic. I don’t do sketch. Why would you suggest me? And Chris was like, shut up and go and do the audition and let people see how good you are. So when I got to the audition, my whole intention was to go there, show them how dope I was and just leave. I mean, even if I thought they was going to pick me, I wasn’t going to take the job. And by the end of that week, they made me want it. They made me want that damn job.

GREENE: How?

JONES: Just seeing their process, just seeing the writing, just seeing – it was just – you know, I remember going to get my nails done, and I remember my phone kept ringing. It was a 212 area code. I got to the nail place, I picked up the phone, and it actually was – it was Lorne.

GREENE: Lorne Michaels, like, who…

JONES: Yeah, Lorne Michaels.

GREENE: …Runs “SNL.”

JONES: Oh – she’s like, Lorne Michaels for Leslie Jones. And in my head, I was like, oh . So Lorne gets on the phone. He was like, hey, I want you to come out and do some writing. And then I was like, I’m a performer. I want to be in front of the camera. That’s what I do. And he was like, I know that. Just come and write, and we got to figure it out, but we know something’s there.

GREENE: (Laughter).

GREENE: You were there for five seasons as a cast member.

JONES: Yep.

GREENE: And you announced recently you’re not going to be returning this fall. How did you get to that decision?

GREENE: So “SNL” is that exhausting?

JONES: Man, it’s 100 hours a week. It’s like working two jobs. They hire them young for that reason, too, (laughter) ’cause, like, it’s so tiring and not only physically; it’s mentally tiring also. So I got to a point to where I was like, I’m not even a stand-up anymore, and this job has a lot of restrictions on it. I can’t really do movies the way I want to. I can’t – I’m 52. If they had got me in my 20s or 30s, I would’ve probably did 10 seasons. But they got me when I was 47, and they got a good five years out of me. And I just was like, I want to do something else. I want to be a stand-up again.

GREENE: Leslie Jones, real pleasure talking to you. And…

JONES: Oh, damn. That’s it? (Laughter).

GREENE: …Best of luck with the special. Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: I was getting into it.

(SOUNDBITE OF !!!’S “ME AND GIULIANI DOWN BY THE SCHOOLYARD – A TRUE STORY”)

GREENE: That was Leslie Jones. Her new stand-up special is called “Time Machine.”

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

No single six-minute sketch can sum up healthcare in America, or the entirety of a political figure’s worth and character, but a six-minute sketch can be smart about the choices it makes about what’s the real joke and what’s just showy, superficial applause-bait. This cold open wasn’t perfect, but it was encouraging, and a lot better than any given Baldwin-Trump sketch.

Advertisement

I am hip to the musics of today

Where are we landing on Coldplay these days? Pretty good? Predictable but tuneful? Pleasantly exuberant? They played two songs.

Most/Least valuable Not Ready For Prime Time Player

Aidy all the way. Kate teamed with Aidy for a few sketches, which is always a footrace, but Aidy had the paint sketch, which I don’t see working nearly as well with anyone else.

Advertisement

Ego Nwodim continues to have a sketch built around her from time to time, which is encouraging—for her and the show. Of the other featured players, Fineman finally got a nice showcase in the cold open, so that’s got to be a relief.

Pete continues to slowly work his way back in, but this season hasn’t been using Heidi Gardner nearly enough.

Advertisement

“What the hell is that thing?”—Ten-To-Oneland report

Aiming for a “lovahs” vibe, the stargazing sketch was scuttled by Stewart’s reticence to hurl herself into a character, although the premise itself (Stewart and Beck’s horny old couple keeps seeing oral sex positions in the constellations) would have needed a hell of a Ferrell-Dratch boost to take off.

Advertisement

Stray observations

  • Cecily Strong’s cold open voter introduces herself as a volunteer for Kamala Harris’ perpetually overlooked campiagn, but she’s still undecided.
  • It’s promising, too, that the cold open made room for some off-topic eccentric comedy, as when Melissa’s questioner introduces her question with, “I’m terrified by the doctor and my husband is one. But that’s a separate problem.”
  • Che, showing the new skunk, oyster, and drop of blood emoji, claims that that’s the secret formula for Mountain Dew. Also probably not a paid placement.
  • Kate’s Wylene Starkie, on the cow from which her burgers were made: “This here cow chased an old lady into a pond. She later passed away. Not from that, but it didn’t help.”
  • Kyle Mooney’s juror, trying to identify “Pony”: “It’s by Magic Mike!”
  • We’re off next week, with SNL coming back with it’s second host-musical guest two-timer of the season in Harry Styles on November 16.

Advertisement