Well it took some doing — a full-on effort, one can only surmise, by everyone in the writers’ room — but last night’s Russell Crowe-hosted SNL was the rattiest, tattiest, rock-bottom crummiest Saturday Night Live of all time. OK, that low bar has been set, and re-set, more often than Donald Trump’s policy on anything, which only makes last night’s achievement all the more noteworthy. Like: What could possibly be worse than a live sketch on the theme of sink-me-down-a-black-hole-of-embarrassment-to-China-because-I’m-having-a-hemorrhoid-crisis? Why, a filmed bit on the subject, of course, which indicates so much time, tech and twisted thinking given over to believing this would score even in the bottom 10% of SNL gross-out sketches (of which I proudly claim the title of oldest sentient 14-year-old fan).
Kate McKinnon took on the cold open as wild-eyed Hillary Clinton prevaricating on her recent string of primary and caucus losses (“It’s true, I have not won a state in almost three weeks — because that was the plan“) that was, frankly, almost as boring as the real thing. To be fair, McKinnon regained a bit of ground later on with a “Weekend Update” appearance as Deena, “Somebody’s Mom,” haplessly attempting to recap the People V O.J. Simpson finale while chowing down on Brussels sprouts and imitation crab.
And Crowe, on board to promote his upcoming buddy flick with Ryan Gosling, The Nice Guys, forced to wax comedic in ways that do not, repeat do not, augur well for that film. One can only imagine Crowe’s planning session with the writing team: “Russ, you can either appear as a hologram of King Henry VIII accosting random women to bear you a son, or we can attach electrodes to your family jewels and make you squeal!”
Al Sharpton cameo’ed as a political consultant opposite Kenan Thompson’s Al Sharpton (the real Rev thoughtfully displeasured over the fake Rev’s sudden porkiness) to observe that he doesn’t like Bernie Sanders because, “he just looks like the kind of guy that still calls Muhammad Ali ‘Cassius’, ” which, I’m sorry (nah) is just stupid.
As has been the case all season, the steadily improving “Weekend Update” pairing of Michael Che and Colin Jost was the high point of the night and this dreary mess deserves one thumbs up for the appearance on WU of Kyle Mooney’s Bruce Chandling. Given his own full length of lead, Mooney will go where few comics dare, to a really dark place populated by the likes of Andy Kaufman. Che brought on Chandling to offer his “unique” take on the sports events of the past week and Mooney fearlessly took the swan dive into the empty pool: “Women! Do! Not! Get! Sports!” was his salient observation of the night, to Che’s growing disbelief, along with an unabashed wonder at the fact that humans apparently are mounting horses in order to race them.
In a night of deadly lows, Bruce Chandling was a deadly high.