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‘Saturday Night Live’ Review/Recap: Woody Harrelson & Kendrick Lamar

Devika Syal ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Lawrence in Saturday Night Live. Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC.
Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Lawrence in Saturday Night Live. Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC.

Saturday Night Live returned this week with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Kendrick Lamar.

This week’s episode received a lot of praise from fans on social media. On Twitter, tweets were sent out and retweeted multiple times reading, “Where have these SNL writers been all season?” and making comments telling the writers that they deserve to celebrate after the episode. In addition, it seemed that the most popular sketches among social media users were the unexpected ones, meaning the ones that were strange, yet funny.

Harrelson’s monologue was just amazing. It began with the usual spiel, “I’m so happy to be back, it’s been so long since I’ve hosted, etc.” It became funny when he mentioned that the last time he had hosted was the year 1989, only to whip out a guitar and start singing an improvised song about the year to the melody of Taylor Swift’s new single “Blank Space” from her album 1989. Just the fact that Woody Harrelson was singing a Taylor Swift song made the monologue perfect. But it got better when his Hunger Games co-stars Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence joined him onstage for a little comedic banter. This included Hemsworth and Hutcherson informing Harrelson that he had told them false facts about 1989, such as that it was the year Einstein invented wi-fi. Interesting. Lawrence’s entrance prompted Harrelson to fall to his knees in front of her thinking she was Taylor Swift. After a few more funny lines from all of them, fans knew that based on the monologue, the show would be a great one.

Woody Harrelson hosting Saturday Night Live. Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC.
Woody Harrelson hosting Saturday Night Live. Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC.

Many of the sketches in the episode were unconventionally funny. They made no sense yet the way they were delivered or the absolute absurdity of them all had the audience in stitches the entire time. An example of this is the sketch “Campfire Song.” It features Harrelson’s character surrounded by other cast members singing a song around a campfire. Harrelson’s character is extremely passionate about it and starts singing a completely awful song about apples. The others pretend not to know the song, wait for Harrelson to have a complete meltdown, then admit their ruse and start singing along to the song. The ridiculousness of the entire situation paired with the repetition of the song and the cult-like feel it brings make the sketch funny.

The most popular and most talked-about sketch of the night was titled “Young Tarts and Old Farts.” Inspired by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s recent collaboration Cheek to Cheek, the sketch featured the cast impersonating popular artists from this generation and former generations paired together in uncanny collaborations. They included Ariana Grande and Lionel Richie, Elton John and Blue Ivy Carter (Beyonce and Jay-Z’s daughter), and James Taylor and 2-Chainz. Cecily Strong deserves to be commended on her Ariana Grande impersonation, which was spot on down to the mannerisms and style of singing. Saturday Night Live has done similar sketches to this one before, such as holiday album collaborations. Seeing the entire cast get involved in mocking the music industry’s best-known faces is always a treat!

Taran Killam and Woody Harrelson in Saturday Night Live. Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC.
Taran Killam and Woody Harrelson in Saturday Night Live. Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC.

After weeks of flopping and falling flat, Saturday’s Weekend Update segment was one of the greatest this season. The jokes were hilarious as usual, however the mock-interviews are what really stood out. To begin with, the writers made a very good choice when they decided that anchor Colin Jost would be the interviewer of both the guests on the segment. He is a far better actor and is better at delivering his lines than co-anchor Michael Che, and it was a relief to see his professional and talented self for a majority of the entire segment. He knew how to interact with his fake guests and feed off their lines. Previously, Michael Che has only been capable of being awkward and stumbling over words.

The best part of Weekend Update was when Jost announced the next guests, stars of the hit show True Detective, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Fans knew that the actual Harrelson would be included in the sketch, seeing as he was the host. However, they held their breath for a split second wondering if the actual McConaughey would show up, too. What they got was better. Taran Killam rolled on screen next to Harrelson, embodying Matthew McConaughey better than the real man could have done himself. If viewers were to have had their eyes closed during the entire thing, they might have thought it was actually McConaughey based on the voice alone. After last awards season, McConaughey is known for saying extremely thought provoking things that either don’t make sense or make complete sense. He got mock-philosophical throughout the entire thing, never giving a question a straight answer. The absolute best part was when Killam started rambling about how time is a circle, making dramatic gestures as he explained, “future, present, ghost of girlfriends past.” It’s amazing how one Oscar speech can create comedy gold. Fans can only hope that McConaughey is as outrageous in real life as Killam portrayed him because, if so, he’s a very fun man.

While the episode was not perfect, it had specific sketches that were so hilarious and stood out so much that anything holding the episode back could simply be overlooked. Hopefully Saturday Night Live can continue this tradition next week when Cameron Diaz hosts!

Overall Episode Rating: B

Watch Woody Harrelson’s Hilarious Opening Monologue:


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