Thursday, May 30, 2024

“SNL” Pulls Out All the Stops with 7 A List Stars, Hilarious Kristen Wiig, and Knockout Singer Raye


After last week, I was worried that “Saturday Night Live” was going to the ICU.

But after 49 seasons, never count out Lorne Michaels. Tonight, he put on a 5 star Show of Shows, hilarious from beginning to end and with a great musical guest.

Kristen Wiig — looking very refreshed but still a comic genius — hosted, and superstar to be Raye — who was ignored by the Grammys this year — had two performances that should make her career.

Michaels didn’t stop there. He brought on Matt Damon, Martin Short, Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm, Will Forte and Paul Rudd for the monologue as well sketches throughout the night. Model Kaia Gerber was featured in a short film.

Gosling is hosting next week, but appeared anyway tonight. Good plug, but something rarely if ever done.

“SNL” had been in the doldrums until tonight. But this was an all star episode worth watching if you didn’t catch it on first run. “Weekend Update” was so good, there was applause from the audience after two jokes. Colin Jost and Michael Che really looked energized.

Live TV is all about chemistry, and sometimes it all comes together. I loved the sort of “Mad Men” take off with Hamm, and the final PBS special about a 70s dance club in Paris was A plus. Unlike last week, there was a lot of Bowen Yang, which is always a good thing.

Kristen Wiig is a gem. She brings a mapcap humor to “SNL” that it’s been missing for far too long. Like Molly Shannon or Kate McKinnon, she takes a lot of chances, and plays with the audience. Tonight, this was most welcome.

Again, Raye — I never heard her before — should turn into a real music star. She should have won Best New Artist this year at the Grammys. They made a real mistake.

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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