by Julian Spivey
The 43rd season of “Saturday Night Live” kicked off on Saturday (Sept. 30) with a somewhat uneven episode hosted by Ryan Gosling, in his second stint as host.
Gosling in just two hosting stints already seems a favorite among the cast and has become known as a giggler with the Oscar-nominated actor breaking character in most sketches he’s involved with – though you can’t really blame him when he’s essentially being molested on live television by Kate McKinnon.
It’s highly unusual for a host’s monologue to be the biggest highlight or funniest moment from an episode of ‘SNL,’ especially a season premiere, but that’s exactly what happened last night. Gosling was hosting ‘SNL’ to promote “Blade Runner 2049,” which opens next weekend, but he hilariously spent the monologue bragging about how “he saved jazz music” playing off the slight controversy his film “La La Land” garnered last year about a white man basically reviving the mostly African-American genre. The funniest moment of the monologue was Gosling pronouncing “New Orleans” as “Nerlens.” In the night’s most surprising cameo Gosling was joined by “La La Land” co-star and Oscar-winner Emma Stone at the end of the bit.
Bad: Henrietta and The Fugitive
Sometimes a bad sketch can cause at least a few slight giggles. This one certainly caused some giggles out of Gosling and cast member Aidy Bryant, which in turn allowed us watching at home to do the same. Overall, the concept is of a classic movie where a fugitive is hiding out in a barn from the law and falls in love with a chicken (yes, you read that correctly). How do the writers come up with this crap? And, why do they feel a season premiere is the right time to showcase it?
Ugly: Guy Who Just Bought a Boat on Dating
The season opening Weekend Update guests were weak for the occasion, though McKinnon’s German Chancellor Angela Merkel did provide some decent laughs. But, I don’t ever want to see Alex Moffat’s Guy Who Just Bought a Boat on Dating ever again. Apparently, it’s his second appearance; the first must have been so bad I wiped it from my mind. The character is basically every rich douche overcompensating for a small penis wrapped into one highly-annoying person.
Recently off his Emmy Award win for his portrayal as President Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin rejoined the show to poke fun at the President – who had an even worse week than usual. There were funny moments to the cold opening, but I’ve got to say the Trump performances and constant airings on ‘SNL’ have gotten a bit stale and I don’t even think it’s the fault of the show’s writers or Baldwin. It’s just that many of us are so sick of Trump that we’d rather not see him anywhere, even being lambasted on a comedy show.
When Gosling made his hosting debut in 2015 he starred with McKinnon and Cecily Strong as a group of people abducted by aliens and being interviewed about it by government officials. Gosling and Strong’s characters have glorious experiences with the extraterrestrial, but McKinnon’s character always seems to be taken advantage of sexually. That first sketch two years ago is probably already among the show’s all-time greats. This was just basically a rehashing with most of the jokes coming when McKinnon using Gosling’s backside to show those at the Pentagon exactly how the aliens touched her.
The highlight of the episode other than Gosling’s monologue was the pre-recorded “Papyrus” sketch featuring Gosling as a man distraught by the use of the Papyrus font for the “Avatar” title card almost a decade after the movie’s release. It allows Gosling to use his dramatic actor chops to thoroughly blast through a bit that’s so “how in the hell did this enter anyone’s mind?” that it becomes genius.