Monday, May 20, 2024

“SNL” Comes Back Strong for Season 47, Kate McKinnon Mysteriously MIA, Two Legends Retire


Does Kate McKinnon have COVID? Or did she just agree to return to “SNL” for Season 47 at the last minute?

Something has to explain McKinnon’s absence from the season opener last night. Of all the returning long term cast, she’s the only one who didn’t show up. Even if she were filming her long-aborning Joe Exotic TV series, she could have made an appearance, a wave, something.

Aside from Beck Bennett, who exited after 7 seasons, “SNL” brought back all of its regulars: Kenan Thompson (18 seasons), Aidy Bryant (9), Cecily Strong (9), Colin Jost (8), Kyle Mooney (8), Michael Che (7). Mikey Day and Alex Moffat remain strong, important players. And Pete Davidson, of course, who seemed like he couldn’t believe he was back after basically signing off at the end of Season 46.

But no one has anywhere to go right now, not even Kenan, who actually has his own sitcom on NBC. Things are that uncertain in Hollywood right how. Kate, Cecily Strong, and now Aidy Bryant are all doing commercials, which is unusual for regular “SNL” cast members.

Who seems to have benefited from all the changes? Ego Nwodim has blossomed into a star. She was all over the show last night, and seemed much more invested in what was going on. I loved her “Black Woman Who Is Missing” on Weekend Update. She’s definitely got to bring back her Dionne Warwick– and the show should really have Dionne make an appearance.

All of the segments were better last night than most of last spring. Owen Wilson was a very comfortable and above-average host. (This week with Kim Kardashian coming is going to be frightful.) Kacey Musgraves was an excellent musical guest. She was actually talented, and very impressive, unlike a lot of the musical guests from last season.

Two key “SNL” players with 40 year histories seem to have retired. Colin Jost held up a sign in the finale that read “We’ll Miss You Ken.” Ken Aymong has been a producer on the show since around 1982. Also Don Roy King is stepping down after four decades. They are each multiple Emmy winners. We owe them a world of thanks for entertaining us basically for a lifetime.

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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