SNL Scorecard: Peter Dinklage, Gwen Stefani (April 2)

©2016/Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

©2016/Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Host Assessment

This was Peter Dinklage’s first time hosting Saturday Night Live, but we thought we had a good idea of what to expect thanks to his guest appearance last year on Weekend Update as Peter Drunklage, companion of Drunk Uncle. Unfortunately, the fun of Peter Drunklage didn’t spread across an entire episode. We don’t think much of it was Peter Dinklage’s fault, though. He wasn’t allowed to do much in sketches beyond play an overly-arrogant guy or an authority figure. And even in the couple of times that he did get a little goofy, he was still the straight man to other, even sillier characters. Nevertheless, he didn’t make any big mistakes and it seemed like he was probably having a good time, so we suppose we can’t ask for more than that.

Cold Open

The cold open tried to address the phenomenon of Trump fans supporting him no matter what. It didn’t quite work because it didn’t quite go far enough. The world of the 2016 election is so surreal that it can be hard to parody it since parody requires some kind of distortion of reality. The things that they made fun of Trump and his supporters for were unfortunately all too real and even the Trump supporter, Scottie Nell Hughes, was a real person (apparently – we had to google). Nevertheless, we enjoyed Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong’s back and forth but found ourselves disappointed whenever they’d cut to Darrell Hammond’s Trump saying something outrageous. It just took away from the flow somehow.

Monologue

The monologue had no singing and was over almost before it began, both of which are compliments, by the way. It was never in doubt that Game of Thrones was going to come up in the monologue, and they did it in the most obvious way possible, with Bobby Moynihan playing George RR Martin in the audience giving suggestions for the monologue. We did laugh at his suggestion for the women to take off their tops and at Vanessa Bayer’s enthusiasm to do so. We also laughed at the sight of Leslie Jones in a dragon sweat suit, slapping her tail playfully at Peter Dinklage. In this season, we’ll call this one a successful monologue.

Sketch List

  1. Winnie the Pooh and Denny the Real
  2. Naked and Afraid: Celebrity Edition (pre-taped)
  3. Space Pants
  4. Glory Hole restaurant
  5. HBO First Look: Game of Thrones Season 6
  6. Underwater honeymoon suite
  7. Vacation Nightmares
  8. Peterson Realty Company Retreat

Best Sketch

There were a lot of middling sketches tonight. The one that stood out the most to us was the Naked and Afraid pre-taped bit, which paired Peter Dinklage with Leslie Jones. What could’ve been just a sight gag based on their very different physicalities turned into a very funny look at their two different personalities and how they would survive together. Plus, you know, Leslie spooned Peter in the woods, so that’s great. Neither of them showed any fear about looking silly, and we think Leslie’s line about her confidence (“What am I afraid of? I’m Leslie Jones!”) probably applied to both of them.

We expect other people will have really liked the “Space Pants” sketch, and we do admit that it was nice to see Peter Dinklage get to play a goofy role at the center of a sketch, but it just didn’t do it for us. It reminded us too much of Jimmy Fallon’s “Tight Pants” bit, and once that was in our head, there was no room for Space pants.

Weekend Update

Michael Che and Colin Jost continue to have a loose kind of chemistry together (and who would’ve thought we’d ever say that?). Their jokes were pretty standard tonight, but it was still a highlight of the show and it’s a weird kind of relief to be able to rely on Weekend Update again. Even on a show where the outright laughs were few and far between, it’s nice to know that Weekend Update is coming up after the musical guest and that Colin and Michael will have some solid lines to make you chuckle.

Pete Davidson visited to talk about the Gawker/Hulk Hogan decision. It was more of the same from Pete, although this time he did actually talk about the topic at hand before transitioning into his other stand-up material. We liked his description of Hogan (“He’s a senior citizen who used to oil himself up and fight immigrants in his undies”) and his take on slut shaming (it’s bad to shame girls for sleeping with random dudes because then they won’t sleep with random dudes) was very typically Pete.

The only other Update guest made up for a lack of Drunk Uncle/Peter Drunklage by virtue of being Big Papi (aka David Ortiz aka Kenan Thompson). We love Big Papi’s infectious and childlike glee over everything, especially his favorite Opening Day tradition: lunch. We also love his enthusiastic endorsement of products that only kind of make sense. Our favorites this time around were Baseball (“Do you like basketball and football but they’re too fun and fast?”), Welp (“Are you looking for a good seafood restaurant in Cleveland? Welp, I can’t help you. I live in Boston, man”), and Bee World (“It’s like Sea World, but it’s just bees! Everybody gonna get stung!”)

Other Favorite Lines

  • “I’ve got the brain for MSNBC but the hair for Fox News, so here I am at CNN.”
  • “As a woman I support Donald Trump, but as a full-blown nut job I freakin’ love him.”
  • “Are you telling me Casey Anthony does not suck? Because I am close friends with her and she is always late! She sucks!”
  • “Looking like a black guy in a porno trying to hide his gut”
  • Peter Dinklage wins Naked and Afraid by “surviving 21 days with Leslie, a feat no man has ever achieved.”
  • MSNBC’s number one show is “So, what do you think about abortion?”
  • “Uh, I can’t remember anything but what I’m looking at right now”

Next Host: Russell Crowe

Next Musical Guest: Margo Price

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