Lena Dunham was nowhere to be seen as Adam Driver hosted Saturday Night Live in its return from holiday break as a newly minted movie star on the heels of his Star Wars: The Force Awakens showing. The show started almost an hour late on the east coast, delayed by the spectacular finale to the Packers/Cardinals game as the wizards of AZ pulled off one of the great nail-biting rebounds in memory, if not history. Good thing there was a local newscast to let pulses return to normal before the show. Lanky, game and goofy, Driver got the Star Wars theme out of the way right out of the gate, his opening gambit interrupted by cast members cozying up to him for clues about the next Star Wars flick (he was mum). the proud ex-Marine (Driver later saluted servicemen everywhere in his sign-off) played dense, intense Kylo Ren in a Starkiller Base “episode” of Undercover Boss.
And in a sketch that recalled why some earlier female cast-members eventually peaced out of the show, tired of being the constant butt of crude jokes, Cecily Strong played Princess Jasmine to Driver’s Aladdin on a magic carpet ride that saw this great comedienne smashed by a bird and doused with airliner waste, among other indignities, as the pair belted out “A Whole New World.”
In probably the night’s best bit, Driver and Vanessa Bayer played hard-partying Golden Globe winners (see clip, above), while their innocent kids (Kyle Mooney and Kate McKinnon) tossed and turned in bed fretting about them. A suggestive cameo by Liev Schreiber sealed the deal.