A few weeks ago, when Saturday Night Live debuted the first SNL At Home episode, there were definitely some questions of how they would pull it off. A sketch show, which relies typically on a team effort save for an occasional solo sketch, doesn’t necessarily lend itself that well to being by yourself in quarantine.
They delivered a first show that felt as raw as it did exciting, with some kinks, but overall a good effort. The quality, with every cast member and their family now serving as a professional television camera crew, was definitely a hurdle to overcome.
This week, the show opened with quasi-host Brad Pitt doing a solid, almost unrecognizable Dr. Anthony Fauci impression. A play off an interview the doctor did a few weeks back, when asked who he’d like to play him in a movie, his answer was jokingly Brad Pitt. It was definitely a strong kickoff to the show seeing Pitt as Fauci reacting to some of Trump’s recent comments about cleaning disinfectant. Because obviously, there was no way the show was going to let that go. It was too good.
By the time we got to the second sketch, a much-needed return of one of our favorite sketches, “What’s Up With That” after nearly 8 years of not being on the air (and one we’ve broken down entirely before) it became clear that the crew at Saturday Night Live figured out how to do this thing right. The sketch was complete with absurd graphics, appearances by Charles Barkley and DJ Khalid, as well as having Fred Armisen’s sax player and Jason Sudeikis’ jogger characters popping in and out of frame. In a weird way, the sketch seemed almost as if it was designed for this format a decade ago.
For the remainder of the 90 minutes, the cast members were now seemingly equipped with professional cameras and green screens, which made for a much more polished endeavor. Pete Davidson returned with another music video this week about staying at home that enlisted a clearly bored Adam Sandler to help out.
Also rounding things out was Kenan Thompson as O.J. Simpson talking about going out in the pandemic, Paul Rudd making a surprise appearance for a FaceTime sketch, Miley Cyrus performing Wish You Were Here, a remote SoulCycle class, and Kyle Mooney starring in a music video about forgetting someone’s name at a party.
While there were some awkward moments in their first time out, by this time, a lot of that had gone away, allowing the cast to lean into the strange situation and have fun with it. And the graphics department at the show definitely stepped up to the plate this time and added a brand new layer that was previously missing.
Another cool thing to come out of this is how the show can reinvent itself. It’s almost as if the entire show has become those wonderfully strange 5-to-1 sketches, reserved for the last slot of the night where anything can happen. No sketch is too weird or off the wall, and it was with that sort of mindset that the cast went into this episode. The result was one that harkened back to the unique fresh ambition and “anything goes” nature of the original cast.
With any episode, there were still clear hits and some misses. But the misses might not stand out as much here as they normally would, because you have to give them the credit for simply getting out of their comfort zone and pulling this off without any safety net.
It still remains to be seen if they are going to opt to do a third. Below are a few highlights from the show last night.