Sunday, April 21, 2024

“SNL” Bounces Back in Season High Ratings as Lorne Michaels Pulls Out All the Stops with Gallery of Guest Stars


“Saturday Night Live” bounced back last night with 4.3 million viewers after a desultory couple of outings. Lorne Michaels certainly looked at the woeful 3.9 from the Harry Styles episode and realized something had to be done. That show lacked Alec Baldwin as Trump and had almost no politics. That was a big mistake.

Last night, Baldwin was back, and Will Ferrell, a movie star who came from “SNL,” was the host. Guests included Ryan Reynolds, Woody Harrelson, Larry David and a bunch of “SNL” alumna including Tracy Morgan, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, and Rachel Dratch. All the surprise reveals set off a chain reaction, too. The show was funny, trenchant, and topical, which it had not been in the last couple of weeks.

There were also some terrific short films including a parody of “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Kate McKinnon as Dorothy trying to be PC with the Munchkins. It was excellent. There was also a final sketch with Will Ferrell as a puppeteer that was extremely edgy, almost something from the Mr. Mike era. Michael O’Donoghue, in heaven, must have been agape to see that in 2019.

It also helped that the musical guest, King Princess, who absolutely no one has ever heard of, was so good.  She–they?– is  Mikaela Mullaney Straus, a 20 year old who great grandparents founded Macy’s and died on the Titanic. She–they?–is gender fluid, and is signed to Mark Ronson’s imprint at Columbia Records. I would qualify her debut akin to that of HER, who is now a huge overnight star.

So, a very good night on “SNL.” And though I remain addicted to Kate McKinnon, I thought Cecily Strong was terrific as usual. I’m also a huge fan of Melissa Villasenor, who I don’t think gets enough credit.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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