Sean Spicer, at least as long as he’s the president’s translator, is going to haunt Melissa McCarthy’s Saturday Night Live appearances like a ghost in the woods (or bushes), but McCarthy had some fine non-Spicey moments last night, from her sweet opening monologue to surprising sign-off.
Here are some of last night’s bits worth another look.
1) Opening Monologue McCarthy, ever the Groundling, improvised her way through a good-natured Mothers Day salute (watch it above), choosing a mom in the audience (who didn’t seem to be a plant) for a rushed backstage tour. I’m a sucker for these behind-the-scenes glimpses of 8H’s pathways, nooks & crannies, and McCarthy was a genial guide. A maybe pantsless Alec Baldwin, a “surprise” appearance by Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds and the comic neediness of Kyle Mooney (does McCarthy mistakenly call him Mike?) are tour highlights.
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2) “Film Panel” This returning bit is barely the worse for wear, a funny, why-didn’t-someone-think-of-this-before clash of old-school Hollywood dames (and not of the Judi Dench variety) and their slinky, ultra-cool modern counterparts. The set-up: A Lincoln Center film panel of actresses, with Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata playing, respectively, Marion Cotillard and Lupita Nyong’o, whose unforced, modern-day sophistication puts the brash, seen-it-all showgirl vulgarity of Kate McKinnon’s Debette Goldry and McCarthy’s Gaye Fontaine into high relief. McKinnon’s Debette is inspired, and not just by Debbie Reynolds.
3) “Game Show” SNL can do game show parodies in its sleep, but McCarthy’s Lucy-like gift for face pies gets a good workout. And Mikey Day, as the unctuous game show host, proves yet again he’s SNL‘s best utility player in years.
4 & 5) “First Birthday” and “Production Logo” One-joke skits stretched thin, but breathing. The kick of “First Birthday” is its weirdly recognizable premise, which has the show’s women playing moms initiating a newcomer into one of the more baffling customs of suburbia: the seemingly de rigueur adoption of a spirit animal. Just watch. You’ll get it. And take in the rare sighting of first-year featured player Melissa Villaseñor. The second skit, “Production Logo,” riffs on a Hollywood cottage industry, though that’s really just an excuse to set McCarthy free on a field of gross. Hey, it’s a talent.
6) Lastly, here’s McCarthy’s end-of-show sign off, with surprise (really) guest Steve Martin welcoming her to the 5-Timers Club, complete with a special smoking jacket and a comically upstaged Alec Baldwin. (And note Colin Jost’s crutches – almost certainly a throwback to an earlier joke involving himself, Kyle Mooney and Leslie Jones in a love triangle gone bad).
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