Sunday, April 14, 2024

“SNL” Returns Without Cecily Strong in the Credits, Without Promoting Last Year’s Star James Austin Johnson


“Saturday Night Live” returned last night with a lot of withouts:

Cecily Strong wasn’t in the opening credits. The reason, the show says, is that she wasn’t in New York to shoot her new opening photo because she’s performing the Lily Tomlin show in Los Angeles. Huh? Plenty of cast members have been missing in previous seasons from the opening shows and still managed to be in the credits. Also, she’s a contract player. But maybe her contract was shortened and doesn’t include these episodes until she returns? It seems odd.

The show did not promote James Austin Johnson to regular player from featured. Last year, JAJ was MVP of the show, playing both Biden and Trump, nailing scene after scene. He was right there last night in the cold opening as Trump. It really seems wrong that he wasn’t elevated to the regular cast, considering all the changes that have occurred.

Last night’s episode had its moments, mostly in :Weekend Update. Mikey Day was a little off trying imitate Adam Levine without any tattoos. The cold open referred to all the changes, and the lack of Kate McKinnon who used to play at least three different characters. Newcomer Mike Longfellow seems like a nice guy, but very tentative. He looks younger than 28, but everyone looks young to me at this point.

Kendrick Lamar is always interesting, but I don’t know how a record company considers what he does commercial. As for Miles Teller, he was smart in everything he did, and it was fun to see Jon Hamm. There was a rumor Tom Cruise was going to pop in, but it’s probably not possible considering he has zero sense of humor and a decided lack of spontaneity.

And so we’re off on a new season, for better and for worse. Next Saturday’s musical guest is Willow Smith, a definite must-skip.

“SNL” also introduced a new design for its logo, which looks a lot like an update of the one they had in the 70s.

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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