Saturday, August 29, 2020

Emmy Episodes: Saturday Night Live

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. For the fifth year in a row, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Saturday Night Live: Season 45, Episode 11 “Host: Adam Driver” (B)

Banner years are one of the main reasons that performers are chosen to host this show, and that was certainly the case last year for Adam Driver, who earned an Oscar nomination for “Marriage Story,” starred in “The Report,” and was seen by infinitely more people in the final chapter of the current “Star Wars” trilogy, “The Rise of Skywalker.” This isn’t his first time hosting but it’s my first time seeing him, and I was honestly surprised. He was more energetic and participatory than I had expected, combating his public persona of not liking clips being played of him and engaging with audience members to poke fun at himself. The opening sketch with Jon Lovitz as Alan Dershowitz being summoned to hell so that Kate McKinnon’s devil could meet him was cringe-worthy for its multiple awkward Jeffrey Epstein references, but things got better from there. He was game for what was required of him in the flushing conversation and the taking-it-slow bit, and I think he was best in the “Undercover Boss” parody that had him playing Kylo Ren again. I’ve been enjoying Aidy Bryant’s performance on “Shrill” and it’s clear that, like McKinnon, she’s up for just about anything and capable of plenty even if the scripts aren’t great. It’s also good to see Kenan Thompson, who earned his second Emmy nomination this year but submitted a different episode for consideration, standing out in sketches like the vengeful knight one, making the most of a concept that’s not all that hilarious.

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