Saturday Night Live recap: Adam Driver leads lackluster season premiere
Since the news has been happening at such a lightning-fast clip, Saturday Night Live was presented with the daunting task of playing summer catch-up. Host Adam Driver gamely committed to the sketches, but more focus was drawn by Pete Davidson’s tabloid romance with Ariana Grande and Kanye West, well, being Kanye West.
In what was the highlight of the evening, Matt Damon made a special appearance as Brett Kavanaugh, “the proudest, drunkest virgin you’ve ever seen!” Damon perfectly mastered Kavanaugh’s blustery shouting, which included the poorly thought-out declaration: “I don’t know the meaning of the word stop.”
The show failed to maintain the energy of that cold open, which also included a surprise cameo by SNL alum Rachel Dratch (and a cardboard cutout of Alyssa Milano).
“Adam designated Driver,” star of Girls and the Star Wars films, was hosting SNL for the second time. Without a project to promote, the opening monologue was a little unfocused — Driver pretended to tease new Star Wars spoilers before he was interrupted by SNL cast members talking about how they spent their summers. Spoiler alert: they all involved work and travel. That is, of course, with the exception of Pete Davidson.
“Actually, you’re the only one whose summer I want to hear about!” Driver said to Davidson, who simply winked at the camera.
Driver played a divorced dad trying to get into popular online game Fortnite in order to relate to his son more. Although seeing his incompetence play out with live actors was amusing, the joke (“adults are bad at technology!”) was more than a little one-note.
Though there was plenty to talk about, hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost focused the majority of their “Weekend Update” jokes on Thursday’s Brett Kavanaugh Senate hearing.
“You’re not really helping yourself in a drunken assault case when you yell about how much you love drinking and how strong you were at the time,” Jost cracked in reference to how Kavanaugh kept repeating how much he liked beer, and how his calendar detailed how often he worked out. Jost had a follow-up joke about how weird it was that the judge still had his high school calendar: “You know when most people throw out their calendar from 1982? 1983.”
Meanwhile, Che reminded viewers that the hearing was essentially a job interview for Kavanaugh. “Typically, when you’re asked about your sexual assault and your drinking at a job interview, you don’t get the damn job. You can’t just pick another dude from your Illuminati lizard meetings,” he said. “Are Republicans so pro-life that you don’t even have a Plan B for this?”
The segment was rounded out with an always welcome appearance from Kate McKinnon’s Ruth Bader Ginsberg, with her signature Gins-burns and dance moves. RBG couldn’t resist pulling out her own 1982 calendar, which had entries like “turn 100,” break glass ceiling,” and “do laps in a bird bath.” Her current calendar features one simple daily reminder: “Don’t die.”
Pete Davidson also dropped by the Update desk to offer an update on his whirlwind romance with singer Ariana Grande, revealing no one can believe the two are an item.
“Remember when that whole city pretended this kid was Batman because he was sick? That’s what this feels like,” he laughed.
When Jost asked what their prenup situation was, Davison replied, “Obviously, I wanted one. God forbid we split up and she takes half my sneakers. Look, I’m totally comfortable being with a successful woman. I think it’s dope. I live at her place. She pays like 60 grand for rent and all I have to do is like stock the fridge… yeah.”
A joke about switching Grande’s birth control with Tic Tacs to make sure she’d stick around fell flat, but Davidson pulled the crowd back in with a bit on how he doesn’t make royalties on her music, including the song named after him.
“If we break up — we won’t, we will — but in like 10 years, if god forbid that ever happens, there will be a song called ‘Pete Davidson’ playing in speakers at K-Mart, and I’ll be working there.”
Jealous of the attention Pete has been getting over his pop-star paramour, Kyle Mooney decides to steal Pete’s look — from his bleach blond hair to his colorful wardrobe. Kyle also enlists talk show host Wendy Williams as his own hot celebrity girlfriend. Eventually, Pete engages Kyle in a fight “SNL-style,” which turns out to be a renaissance/gladiator battle on stage. While it felt worthwhile to acknowledge Pete’s omnipresent fame that emerged during the SNL hiatus, a winking reference in the monologue, a “Weekend Update” appearance, and a short felt like overkill.
Most committed host moment
Props to Adam Driver for donning old-age makeup in a “Career Day” sketch to become Abraham A. Parnassus, the elderly parent of one of the students and attempts to bestow his wisdom of being a ruthless oil baron upon the class: “Crush your enemies! Grind their bones into dirt!”
Kanye West dressed as a bottle of Perrier to perform “I Love It” with Lil Pump, who was dressed as a bottle of Fiji water. I don’t even know what to say about that.
Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8 star Awkwafina will host next weekend’s episode, with Travis Scott as musical guest.