SNL: Thank goodness for Ariana Debose, Bleachers and Elmo

Saturday Night Live returned from it’s COVID lengthened holiday break with West Side Story star, Ariana Debose, and musical guest Bleachers.

It was enjoyable for the most part. This is because the talent did some serious heavy lifting to make us love these sketches.

The cold open featuring Joe Biden blaming the omicron surge because of people seeing Spiderman wasn’t very funny but that wasn’t rookie James Austin Johnson fault. The writing just wasn’t very good.

Debose and Kate McKinnon gave us a charming monologue that brought in the energy and put things back on the right track.

Inside the NBA was it’s usual success for SNL with Bowen Yang playing Yao Ming, in for Shaquille O’Neal who had COVID as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Sacremento Kings 268 to 1. Debose was funny as a fan who walked onto a Kings team that was all out with COVID as well.

The Urkel dramtization that was a play on the Bel Air drama of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, was a win with Chris Redd and Ngo Udwodim giving us the first clear win of the night.

Redd and Debose would bring back the funny with a New York Mayor, Eric Adams, presser where he keeps pushing the numbers up on almost every angle. Shout out to “Weird Eminem” once again played by Yang.

In relief of Roddy Rich who caught COVID in real life, Bleachers was good, bringing some fun energy to the crowd during their performances. They probably earned some new fans, especially during that first number.

Weekend Update was good. Which if you’re familiar with this blog, is roaring praise for the Colin Jost-Michael Che era which has gone a whole season without being funny before. They sold the jokes well and Chloe Fineman as Elmo was terrific as she jousted with her nemesis Rocco. We must see that again.

The Kitchen Staff skit at Longhorn was good with some good natured breaking by the crew.

Honestly, this episode won because Debose, who was in her element, gave 100% along with Bleachers. There were some weak spots but you can “sell” mediocre writing into a good show and that’s what happened.

SNL is having it’s strongest season in years. Alum Will Forte will host next week along with musical guest Maneskin.

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