SNL Ranked: Melissa McCarthy Delivers a Hilariously Quirky Episode
Melissa McCarthy returned to Studio 8H for her fourth outing as SNL host, and while it may have made more sense for her to host closer to the April release date of her new comedy The Boss, it's difficult to complain. McCarthy teams up with her Ghostbusters co-stars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones for a mostly great episode that really leans into the weird stuff and makes excellent use of musical guest Kanye West in an early contender for best sketch of the year. Read on for our ranking of this week's sketches from best to worst.
Kyle vs. Kanye (Mooney, Thompson, Moynihan, Rudnitsky, West, Bennett)
Way too many of Kyle Mooney's sketches get stuck at the end of the show or cut for time, but incorporating Kanye West is a really good way to make sure this one gets a good slot — and it doesn't hurt that it's Mike O'Brien-levels of brilliance. Mooney digs deep into his hip hop roots to fulfill his dream of being a rapper and destroying Kanye West in a freestyle battle. The joke is obvious (Mooney is the most awkward white boy and his rapping is as you'd expect), but there's something bizarrely inspired about it, and Kanye's predictably aggro freestyle response feels like a statement. Is he satirizing himself, the public perception of himself, or both? Or maybe none of the above? I don't care because this whole thing rules.
The Day Beyonce Turned Black (Ensemble)
Beyonce's "Formation" video sure did get a LOT of white people talking. There were the "Beyonce's video isn't for you" think pieces written by white people, the "Stop complaining about the black culture in Beyonce's video" think pieces written by white people, the "Beyonce's video is offensive" think pieces written by white people — white people had some #opinions. Basically, as this dramatization so perfectly shows, white people lost their damn minds when they collectively realized that Beyonce is black and that although she's a pop superstar, she isn't a white product.
Pick-Up Artist (McCarthy, Strong, McKinnon, Bayer, Jones, Thompson, Mooney, Davidson, Rudnitsky, Moynihan, Bennett)
Jones is having the hardest time keeping it together during this sketch, and for good reason: It is absolutely, 100 percent absurd and kind of dumb, but in the best way possible. Imagine if women took classes from a female pickup artist and hit on men as aggressively and grossly as men often hit on us — it sounds totally ridiculous BECAUSE IT IS, but also it is insanely funny:
Movie Night (McCarthy, Davidson, Moynihan)
Unlike the test screening sketch, this very basic concept is executed so well, giving us the inner monologues that lead to the unfortunate attempts to distract from how awkward it is to watch a sex scene with your parents. Moynihan's Farmer's Insurance joke is way more hilarious than it has any right to be.
Whiskers R We (McCarthy, McKinnon
The cat ladies are back! What is there to say? It's weird, wacky and wonderful, and features some of the best-worst puns.
Bus (Jones, Bennett, Killam, McCarthy)
Kudos to SNL for really going for the racial humor this week and nailing it. McCarthy is a hopelessly, tragically white woman who earnestly tries to connect with Jones' character on a bus. It's the typical "that older white lady is ignorant as hell but she sure does mean well" thing, and putting her up against an increasingly dismayed (and slightly restrained) Jones is really excellent. I can't wait to see these two in Ghostbusters.
Hillary for President Cold Open (Bryant, Mooney, Killam, Bayer, McKinnon, Strong, Hammond, Bennett)
A delightful change of pace from the typical political cold opens, and one that actually features a song that works, with McKinnon's dejected Hillary Clinton appearing just as a table of friends decide that they're going to vote for Bernie Sanders because Hillary is just "eh." McKinnon does a great rendition of "I Can't Make You Love Me," with a little late-sketch assistance from Darrell Hammond's Bill (and a special cameo from Beck Bennett's Jeb Bush).
Weekend Update (Jost, Che, Bayer, Miller, Jones, Thompson)
Holy crap, Vanessa Bayer's Jennifer Aniston is fantastic. It's not just the perfect Season 1 / Season 2 Friends hair and overalls, but the voice and the mannerisms and that lower teeth thing she does and the random exterior insert shots. I don't watch football, but the idea of a real NFL player (in this case Denver Broncos player Von Miller) explaining gravitational waves is still probably funnier on paper than it is here.
But at least Leslie Jones pops in for a little Valentine's Day commentary, and she is monstrously hilarious, as usual.
Test Screening (Strong, McCarthy, Jones, Bryant, Thompson, Bayer, Davidson)
McCarthy's outlandish, obnoxious reactions captured in night vision during a test screening for a horror film are decently funny, and while I applaud the sketch for subverting stereotypes in its use of Jones, something about this just doesn't click — maybe it doesn't take the gag far enough, or maybe the gag just isn't that funny.
Monologue (McCarthy, McKinnon, Zamata, Killam, Strong, Thompson
Just when you thought that cold open might relieve us of a musical monologue... At least it's sort of cute, with McCarthy mistakenly believing that she's officially entered the Five Timers Club. The consolation prize Kenan Thompson gives her instead of a jacket is pretty great: