‘SNL’ Recap: Maya Rudolph Makes Us All Feel At Home

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Has it been a month already? Saturday Night Live returned from its winter break just in time for spring break (at least for those Americans who can enjoy it, or pretend to).

What’s The Deal With The SNL Cold Open for 3/27/21?

Speaking of spring break, the show decided to skip right on past the hot topics of the week, from President Joe Biden’s first official press conference all the way to the trending madness of the tanker stuck in the Suez Canal, and even though it’s the beginning of Passover, SNL passed over that, too (or did they? more on that later in this recap) for a cold open that touched down in Miami Beach, scene of the crime for this year’s Spring Breakers breaking all sorts of pandemic protocols and local laws.

It’s a potentially deadly serious superspreader situation, but it’s also silly enough, because Florida, so why not play it for laughs and a lighter tone? That’s why we see the MTV game show treatment matching potential lovers through asking if she’s “SNATCHED! VAXED! or WAXED!”

Our guest host, Maya Rudolph, hosted the game with a thick Latina accent as “Cece Vuvuzela,” with just enough self-awareness to note on the pandemic: “We’re so close to the end…let’s ruin it!”

Chris Redd, Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney played the college bros looking for their matches from coeds played by Chloe Fineman, Ego Nwodim and Heidi Gardner.

It’s a fun premise, but it begins to fizzle in the execution midway through, and by the time sirens go off, the rails come off of the sketch and mercifully it’s a shorter cold open anyhow.

How Did The SNL Guest Host Maya Rudolph Do?



Former cast members make great guest hosts because they know how the show functions within the framework of both the week and the 90 minutes they’re broadcasting live, they already have lovable recurring characters to nostalgically mine, and in Rudolph’s case, has her foothold back in the trenches with the current cast, as she has been impersonating Senator and now Vice President Kamala Harris for the past year.

Rudolph has remained such a vibrant spark of recurring energy, livening up the joint over the years since she left the cast in 2007, that’s it’s frankly difficult to believe she’d only actually hosted the show once before now, and that was way back in 2012.

In 2021, she’s back to remind us 2020 was “a real kick in the clam,” and used her monologue to channel her maternal instincts, both in letting us know her four children were watching close by, as well as by bringing up this year’s rookie cast members to share some wisdom. Or something like that. Reminded me of Tina Fey’s hosting monologue to start Season 39 in 2013, when she embarrassed that year’s rookies (of whom, only Bennett and Mooney remain in the cast today).



But enough about that class. Tonight is all about unity!

Speaking of unity, that “Kamala Harris Unity Seder” sketch was something else, wasn’t it? As nice as it may have been for you Maya & Marty fans (2016-2016, never forget) to see Martin Short reunite with Rudolph by playing Second Hubby Doug Emhoff, or to see Aidy Bryant really channel the essence of the essentially turd-like persona that is Ted Cruz, not even Kenan Thompson’s Raphael Warnock or Alex Moffat’s Biden or Fineman’s Ella Emhoff or a dog-switcheroo or even Cecily Strong’s wackadoodle Marjorie Taylor Greene could save this terribly long, cold, dry sketch.

There’s a reason comedy shows don’t have a COLD MIDDLE. But I guess they invested so much in perhaps trying this as the cold open first and couldn’t bear to toss it into the garbage bin of “Cut For Time.” Even if we’ll learn later in this episode of a much better idea to honor our Jewish friends who observe Passover.



Anyhow. Moving on. Rudolph also sang in a music video that included much of the cast aging up a couple of generations in makeup to mock Baby Boomers for perhaps not deserving to party it up so much now that they’ve gotten vaccinated first? The “Edith Puthie” joke made me want to vomit-type OK, Boomer. Kenan Thompson’s spell-rapping of “immunity” like Biggie, on the other hand? Solid good laugh-out-loud moment.



Rudolph and Thompson would team up again later on a sketch in which they reveal themselves as not only rival choreographers but also former and potentially future lovers.

And then Rudolph, as Sally O’Flappy, took home multiple trophies at this year’s Barfly Awards, including Wildest Claim at the bar as well as Most Bummer Detail. Congrats?



How Relevant Was The Musical Guest Jack Harlow?

They say I’m too old for TikTok, which must explain why I was out of the loop on Jack Harlow, despite specifically asking Alexa to keep playing the hits into my ear holes.

Harlow, a 23-year-old Kentucky rapper, scored a hit last year with “What’s Poppin” which featured DaBaby, Tory Lanez and Lil Wayne on the remix racking up 144 million YouTube views. His first song on his first SNL appearance featured a medley, beginning with the first half of “Tyler Herro” before bleeding into his parts of “What’s Poppin.”



His second song wasn’t so much of a rap, although “Same Guy” does feature that guy with all the tattoos from The Voice. Yes, I know his name. No, I won’t type it here.



Which Sketch Will We Be Sharing: “Hot Ones”

Rudolph has famously impersonated Beyoncé in the past, but never like this.



In this parody of the webseries turned truTV game show Hot Ones, Mikey Day as host Sean Evans fires interview questions at Beyoncé while she eats chicken wings covered in diabolically hot sauces with names such as Hitler’s Anus and Devil’s Diarrhea. She tries to play it cool, so to speak, but eventually crumbles to the point of begging her stylist (played by Thompson) to remove her wig — on camera, even — and put six ice cubes on her head. Eventually, her publicist and agent (played by Nwodim and Moffat) have to intervene and shut it all down.

Honorable mention for sharing purposes: This music video attempting to explain the nonsense of NFTs to the rest of the world. Pete Davidson dresses like Eminem in his “Without Me” video to coordinate with his rappimg melody of mockery, while Chris Redd cosplays Morpheus from The Matrix, Jack Harlow shows up as himself, and Kate McKinnon tries to make sense of it all as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin.



Who Stopped By Weekend Update?

Remember when Sidney Powell showed up on TV all the time this winter declaring herself the lawyer who would save Trump from losing the 2020 election by releasing the kraken and a flood of evidence? Turns out that was actual fake news. Powell copped to being a con in her defense this week against a defamation lawsuit. Cecily Strong, as Powell, gobbled up turkey noises and asked Michael Che on the Update desk: “Michael, does this face look like I’m lying?”



Bowen Yang, meanwhile, appeared at the Update desk as himself, although billed by Colin Jost and the SNL graphics department as “Asian Cast Member,” to respond to the disturbing surge in violence against Asian Americans in recent weeks. It’s an almost impossible ask and task for Yang on a live comedy show to make a sincere plea to stop Asian hate. And yet. Yang is so great on this show that he finds the funny anyhow, first with his own ways to help the healing, then with challenging us, and specifically Jost, to “do more.”

Also, even if this is just a bit for the desk, I immediately believe Yang when he says he “wanted to do my character Gay Passover Bunny, but it’s too smart for the show,” and that Jost is “too scared” to OK the sketch. Gay Passover Bunny could’ve should’ve opened this week’s show. Cowards.

“Save Kim’s Convenience!”



What Sketch Filled The “10-to-1” Slot?



At 12:56 a.m. Eastern, a short film aired with new cast member Andrew Dismukes stuck in an NBC page uniform, calling rides for Maya Rudolph. Only Rudolph wanted to linger around the studio to soak in some last additional memories, which cued a play on The Shining called The Maya-ing. With Moffat as the bartender (because there has to be a bar) serving Rudolph her beergerita, the ghost of Gloria, an original SNL writer (actually Tina Fey in disguise!), Thompson doing his best Scatman to explain the shine for SNL alums who come back to host. And yes, your eyes didn’t deceive you. Those were twin Gillys. That was a naked Rachel Dratch. It’s all going to be OK.

Who Was The Episode’s MVP?

Obviously this week’s episode was a showcase for Rudolph and her enduring talents. But also, let us pause once more to appreciate the unhinged trio of characters that Cecily Strong brought to the air this week. Strong has become the reliable go-to for the most loyal and royally ridiculous Trump supporters over the past few years, and she came through again here with Georgia’s QAnon insurrectionist loving new Congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, climbing through the windows to greet Kamala’s Passover Seder, and then Sidney Powell’s kraken cuckoo theories to light on the Update desk. So of course, she’d also be the one to host the Barfly Awards as three-shots-to-the-wind Misty Shoots.

Next week it’s Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya with Grammy winner St. Vincent, to win even more awards as we make them up especially for the occasion!

Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.

Watch SNL Season 46 Episode 15 on YouTube

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