clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Saturday Night Live report card: Melissa McCarthy and Kanye West steal the show

Melissa McCarthy may have hit all her marks on last night's episode of Saturday Night Live, but the same could not be said for the entire show.

The actress, who hosted the show to promote her new movie, The Boss, did exceptionally well considering the material she was given to work with was subpar at best. For someone who's hosted four times — or rather, four and one sixteenth times — McCarthy has the pace of the show down pat. Even when the rest of the cast was underperforming, the actress continued to jump in and pick up the slack.

Still, she managed to pull some laughs from the live audience, including a pretty uproarious reception to a sketch early in the show.

While McCarthy was definitely a highlight, Kanye West's two performances also helped to make the at times unbearable episode slightly more fun to watch.

West, who dropped his seventh studio album The Life of Pablo after the show ended, brought out a gaggle of artists and performed two songs of off the new album. Like most Kanye West performances, both were over the top and overdramatic, but for an SNL episode as mediocre as last night's, it was actually a welcomed change in pace.

The only other aspect of last night's episode that was a noticeable change for the series was the amount of airtime given to underrated cast members Kyle Mooney and Vanessa Bayer.

Mooney, whose digital shorts are slowly becoming the best parts of any Saturday Night Live episode, managed to use Kanye West to his advantage and created one of the better sketches of the night.

Bayer on the other hand, one of the best comedians on the show who routinely doesn't get enough airtime, joined Colin Jost and Michael Che on the Weekend Update desk to do a spot-on impersonation of Jennifer Aniston's Rachel from Friends.

Despite all of this, however, the show just wasn't funny. There were more sketches than not where I didn't let out a giggle, let alone laugh, and that's been an ongoing issue this season.

Best sketch: Test Screening

The concept for the sketch is simple enough. A focus group is invited to watch a new horror movie and while the film is playing, their reactions are being recorded.

McCarthy stole the show and, to the writers credit, perfectly combined her affection for raunchy and physical comedy. Within the three minute sketch there's fake vomit, peeing in pants and a hilarious punch to the face.

McCarthy knows what works and what doesn't as proven in this sketch, and it's obvious that when she's given free rein to do her thing, it works out best for the show.

Runner up: Kyle vs Kanye

It's rare that Kanye West would agree to do anything that made him seem less serious than he portrays himself to be. Partnering up with Kyle Mooney to do a digital short that also lovingly makes fun of rap is even rarer. But it happened last night and the payoff was massive.

It was one of the few moments that kept the show alive for the audience and was a great reiteration that Mooney should be doing more digital shorts for the show.

Like Andy Samberg before him, although Mooney can do live sketch work fine, it's when he's allowed to create and cultivate these digital shorts that his true comedic genius comes through.

Most controversial: "The Day Beyonce Turned Black"

Saturday Night Live used to be chock full of controversial sketches, but that has disappeared over the years. Now, the show returns to its controversial roots once every couple of weeks. Last night, SNL took on the recent controversy over Beyonce's video for her new song "Formation."

The point of the sketch was to point out just how ridiculous it is that people are getting upset over the singer embracing her culture and heritage.

While the sketch was funny in parts, there were moments where the biting tongue felt like it bit off more than it could chew.

Worst sketch: Movie Night

In theory, Movie Night is a brilliant idea for a sketch. Featuring Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Moynihan as two typical parents and Pete Davidson as their young, teenage son, the sketch follows the inner dialogue that runs through your head when you're watching a movie with your parents and a sex scene starts to play out.

It should have worked far better than it did. Instead of it being anything remotely funny, the sketch was awkward and felt forced the entire time it played out. Davidson is another perfect example where, like Mooney, although he can do live sketches, he's much better when they let him be his own person on Weekend Update.

All in all, a pretty disappointing play for a hyped up episode. Especially following last week's incredible episode with Larry David. This season of Saturday Night Live has been uneven at best and one can only hope that the next episode will help to remove the bad taste left in people's mouths following this one.

Jonah Hill is set to host the next episode on March 5 with rapper Future joining him as musical guest.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon