After a season full of her show-stopping Sean Spicer cameos – and after video emerged last week of her, in character, cruising around NYC on a motorized podium – there was no doubt that Melissa McCarthy would be the perfect host to help wind down this season of Saturday Night Live. And with this latest episode, one that saw her induction into the prestigious Five-Timers Club, McCarthy was completely in charge: as confident on the 8H stage as 17-time host Alec Baldwin, and the undeniable star of every scene she walked onto, McCarthy’s latest SNL appearance continued to cement her already well-earned role as one of the most gifted comedic voices around right now.
That’s not just my opinion – over 10 million viewers tuned into see McCarthy host the show’s third ever completely live episode (airing simultaneously on the east and west coasts), making it SNL’s biggest May edition in seven years. (Vanity Fair, incidentally, has a great piece on how much it must kill Trump that SNL gets better ratings than he does.)
And thankfully, after four episodes with a dismayingly high ratio of sketches that were essentially three-beat fat jokes, SNL rose up to McCarthy’s level by writing sketches that played to her skilled physicality without the easy punchlines.
Lester Holt Cold Open
In a rare character appearance, Michael Che subs for NBC interviewer Lester Holt in what may be one of our last Baldwin-Trump cold opens ever (though we doubt the actor’s claim he’ll be backing off the role for good). As he’s known to do, Trump demands Holt’s undying loyalty and reminds him he won the election, before completely bungling what should be a simple Q&A on why he fired FBI director James Comey. When Trump seems to implicate himself, an overjoyed Holt checks with his producers: “Did I get him? Is this all over? Oh, no, I didn’t? Nothing matters, absolutely nothing matters anymore?” Cue a wild applause break, because it’s less a joke than an acknowledgement of how we all feel right now.
In honor of this pre-Mother’s Day episode, host/mom McCarthy chose the coolest looking mama in the audience to take on a very special backstage tour. McCarthy rushes Random Mom Joan through the halls, giving her the full SNL experience: peeking into Alec Baldwin’s changing room, demanding personal items from pages, meeting the official show llama, giving a forlorn-looking Kyle Mooney a quick pep talk. They also run into Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who we assume are just always dropping by the studio, and take what we hope were some very real tequila shots, before breathlessly returning to stage to start the show.
In this clip from lesser-known Game Show Network competition “Just Desserts,” a sort of Press Your Luck/Uno hybrid, one contestant (McCarthy) loses big when the wheel hands her only whammies. “Just Desserts” version is, of course, pies, and when McCarthy’s fellow contestants (Bobby Moynihan and Kate McKinnon) keep landing on spots that pass their pies to her, things get real messy. McCarthy gamely makes her way through a sketch that covers her in whipped cream and confetti, blasts her with leaf blowers and seltzer, and leaves her completely blind for like four full minutes – all without breaking! – which should at least earn her another Emmy nom.
The latest Amazon Echo upgrade makes the device even more helpful to the people who need it most: the elderly, who always have some question that needs answering. The Amazon Echo Silver, a collab between the online retailer and AARP, makes it easy for anyone to use the device. It won’t remind them why they’re using it, or what they asked for in the first place, but it will play jazz and listen to their rambling stories, which is still pretty helpful.
Sean Spicer Returns
Following a particularly hectic week in the White House, Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Aidy Bryant) is filling in for Sean Spicer – but the press secretary, presumably out hanging with the Naval Reserve, as overweight grown men often do, can’t stand seeing someone else at his podium, so Sanders lasts about two seconds before Spicey pushes his way back into the spotlight. Immediately irate, Spicey (McCarthy) bullies anyone who dares ask him a question, turning to a set of cartoon-emblazoned Russian dolls to explain what’s going on with Russia. As usual, he’s all eye rolls and denials whenever someone else speaks – until he’s asked about the persistent rumor that he’s on his way out of the White House.
Unwilling to believe his BFF Trump would ever do anything to hurt him, Spicey takes to the streets, motoring his podium up to NYC to get the truth in person. In one of the show’s most beautiful moments, of the season and maybe ever, McCarthy floats around Times Square, soundtracked by Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York,” shouting at cabs and sticking sidewalk gum into his mouth. Of course, Trump hasn’t been to his NYC Tower in months, so Spicer heads to the golf course, where he delivers a passionate plea to his beloved boss – ending in a very passionate kiss with a very handsy Baldwin, though we’re sure it was just impeccably accurate character work.
This week on Update, Jost and Che remind us that every week is worse than the last, covering Trump and Comey, the definition of a “basic atrocity,” and why the news needs more sound effects:
Pete Davidson stops by to discuss being sober, and to explain that “horse therapy” isn’t as fun as it sounds; he also talks about why it’s important to masturbate as much as possible after getting clean – “to get the bad kids out” – which seems scientifically sound to us:
And Che’s neighbor, Cathy Anne (Cecily Strong), visits Update to share her conspiracy theories about the FBI:
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is hosting another enlightening discussion on women in film, and this time a special guest is joining regular panelists Marion Cotillard (Strong), Lupita Nyong’O (Sasheer Zamata), and silver screen icon/“would-be victim of the Black Dahlia killer” Debette Goldry (McKinnon): Gaye Fontaine (McCarthy), a legendary actress who holds the record for most on-screen love scenes. As usual, it quickly becomes clear that Cotillard and Nyong’O live in a very different Hollywood than their more experienced peers, who regale them with tales of exchanging sexual favors and undergoing odd surgeries for unpleasant roles.
Kyle and Leslie
America’s favorite celebrity couple, Leslie Jones and Kyle Mooney, are hitting a bit of a rough patch, as Mooney explains in this latest installment of the ongoing doc following the SNL cast members’ unlikely love.
As we’ve seen earlier this season, Jones and Mooney are true soul mates, but no relationship is without its difficulties. Following an on-set wedding and the birth of their son, little Lorne, things are tense as Jones’ fame is rising and she’s spending more late nights on set with former crush Colin Jost. And when Jost shows up at little Lorne’s big recital…well, Mooney just can’t take it – but it turns out his overreaction was just what he and Jones needed to put the passion back in their marriage!
It’s Mother’s Day, so SNL is sharing a little-known secret: the story of the Mom Animal, the one every mom chooses to emblazon on their pillows and sweaters and personalities. When one young mom (Melissa Villasenor) seems confused by the concept of a Mom Animal, her new neighbors describe the moment they discovered their own Mom Animal. For McCarthy, it came when she called to bug her son before a big meeting – just like a dolphin. Bayer dreamed about meeting her animal, a goose, in the parking lot of a Panera Bread. Magical!
Ever wondered where big film production companies get those weird little logos they show before movies begin? You know, the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Lion, the Mutant Enemy “grrr, argggh” guy, Tim Heidecker’s dad saying “abso-lutely.” Turns out, nobody else really knows where they come from, either, but one designer (Beck Bennett) is trying his darndest to make a great one – only, the producers he’s pitching to can’t quite connect with his proposed spokesperson, the angrily hungover Donna (McCarthy).
Before McCarthy can get through goodnights, SNL all-star Steve Martin – who’s been hanging backstage a lot this season – steps out, in his velvet Five-Timers Club robe, to present McCarthy with her very own, welcoming her into the club that boasts only 18 other members (including Alec Baldwin, who was standing right there and a little miffed that he wasn’t told to wear his robe, too).
Next week: the very last episode of season 42, with host Dwayne Johnson and musical guest Katy Perry!