Saturday Night Live recap: Craig, Daniel Craig
No Time to Die, but plenty of time to host. Plus musical guest the Weeknd.
Welcome back, fellow Coneheads, to SNL in Review! Tonight's host — second-timer Daniel Craig — was poised to promote the latest James Bond movie. However, with COVID-19 shaking global markets (and potentially keeping Bond fans at home), the film's producers have moved No Time to Die to the fall. So Craig will, I guess, be promoting the recent release of Knives Out on DVD.
Craig was already an accomplished actor (Layer Cake) before Bond, but since Spectre, he has reaffirmed his character actor knack in films like Knives Out and Logan Lucky. So coronavirus or no, Craig can let his eccentricity flag fly. He's joined by musical guest and third-timer the Weeknd.
Buckle up, it's Saturday night and we're LIVE, people… let's DO THIS!
Kate McKinnon is back as the "Joey Fatone of Fox News," Laura Ingraham. Tonight's cold open is about the fear-mongering around the coronavirus — in 2018, McKinnon's Ingraham tackled the caravan. (She also popped up on "Update".)
Cecily Strong's hysterical Jeanine Pirro reemerges — as do the bumbling Trump sons, played by Mikey Day and Alex Moffat. Interesting to see these impressions operate in a sketch, as they frequently exist in the "Update"-sphere.
And in a true early 2000s throwback, Darrell Hammond cameos as the recently (and abruptly) retired Chris Matthews. Hammond played Matthews nearly two dozen times during his tenure on the show.
McKinnon gets an opportunity to engage with one of her impressions, the real Senator Elizabeth Warren, bragging about giving Mike Bloomberg "a swirly on live TV." She sprints into Warren's shot, losing the Ingraham garb for the Massachusetts senator's patented blue blazer. There's real affection here, though Warren is far from funny. The show is either lamenting the loss of Warren as a potential President, or McKinnon's impression — or both. Eh.
New York transplant Daniel Craig is not humble — and not a nerd. He discusses playing James Bond one last time in a script co-written by Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Funny the show riffs more on Fleabag here than when Waller-Bridge hosted?!
He shows a spoof clip of the delayed No Time to Die, goofing on Bond at a raucous casino playing craps. Curious to be showing such a long clip during the monologue, as opposed to as its own short film. (Like, is Craig standing off to the side as this plays, awkwardly waiting to resume his monologue?)
Kenan Thompson pops up on stage to close things out in character from the short film.
The Sands of Modesto
A soap opera spoof with a coronavirus spin. The soap stars are being careful, and don't want to catch the disease. McKinnon is greeted by her daughter (Chloe Fineman) and potential suitor (Craig, giving it his all). She fights with rival Cecily Strong — or rather, two Barbies go at it — before Strong sneezes and sends the cast fleeing.
On the Couch
Kenan singing! Chris Redd harmonizing! This is very catchy. They're singing about staying out too late, and being sent to sleep on the couch after irritating their spouses/girlfriends.
Craig is the husband of the Weeknd's ex, Heidi Gardner — he's been crashing with them. Nice to see Melissa Villasenor being used here!
Morning show host Aidy Bryant welcomes a celebrity chef (Daniel Craig) and a diva singer (Ego Nwodim). She "can't get over this foil thing," after Craig warns her not to eat the wrapper. Cookie could be a great recurring character for Ego, if the show lets her shine.
Debbie Downer Wedding Reception
Another coronavirus joke reveals a huge surprise cameo — the return of Debbie Downer! Rachel Dratch first appeared as the character back in 2004, in the classic Lindsay Lohan sketch. Debbie name-checks feline AIDS, of course. It's a testament to how much goodwill Dratch has, especially during her recent run as Amy Klobuchar, that this special revival is happening. Debbie Downer in the Trump era is very fitting.
(During the SNL 40th anniversary special, Dratch appeared briefly at the beginning as Downer, telling the audience that starting a show with a musical performance decreases viewership. Beyond that, this is the first time we have seen the character since the second Lohan sketch in 2006. Nine appearances total!)
The Weeknd performs "Blinding Lights"
The synth-pop jam "Blinding Lights" is the second single off the Weeknd's next album, After Hours (out March 20). In a sharp red blazer, Weeknd performs an impressive '80s homage.
He previously performed "The Hills," featuring Nicki Minaj, and "Can't Feel My Face" on Oct. 10, 2015, as well as "Starboy" and "False Alarm" on Oct. 1, 2016.
Both previous times he appeared on the show, he was featured in a mini-segment on "Weekend Update" called "The Weeknd Update". We will see if they bring it back tonight!
Colin Jost makes a number of ageist jokes about Joe Biden, and Michael Che hilariously compares voting Democrat to using condoms. To be fair, Jost also lands a brutal joke about Trump and brain disease.
Che is back to drinking — amazing. I like the continuity from last week, and his acknowledgment that catching coronavirus has the same odds as landing on SNL (like they did) or getting married to ScarJo (oh boy.)
Bowen Yang is given another "Update" segment: the Sandler-esque Bottle Boi, a New York homeless man upset over the city's next bottle ban.
And in case you're playing bingo — BINGO! — "The Weeknd Update" comes back. Another coronavirus joke!
Finally, wow, the return of another beloved character, the Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party. Strong previously played the character March 7, 2015; May 9, 2015 (with host Reese Witherspoon as her friend); March 5, 2016; and Oct. 22, 2016. Here she's tackling, you guessed it, coronavirus!
Craig introduces his accent coach (Beck Bennett) to the Knives Out producers. This is a good showcase for Bennett and Craig to cut loose: It's a silly look at actors' occasionally unsubtle accent work. Craig has definitely based some of his Southern characters on Foghorn Leghorn.
And another show throwback: aggressive stage vomiting!
Deep Quote Game Night
Heidi Gardner is an overzealous movie fan, showing up her co-workers with film quotes. This episode — and really this season — feels like a balancing act between legends perhaps on their way out (Strong especially) and giving the next-generation cast members like Gardner time to shine.
Craig matches her love of films, and it becomes more than a game. Silly.
The Weeknd performs "Scared to Live Again"
Weeknd is "scared to live again," in a performance that truly evokes early-adult-era Michael Jackson.
Aidy Bryant gets in the singing game, describing her late-night cooking for her family. Of course the reveal is that her husband (Craig) and children hate it. "You killed the f—ing dog," Craig hollers. Domestic bliss this is not.
Craig was game, and I dug the throwback characters here! What did you all think?! If you have a free moment, vote here!