“SNL” - Season 48, Episode 11 Review

Story posted February 2, 2023 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Sophia D’Ovidio

Michael B. Jordan got to become “Michael B. Hosting” as the actor got to host “Saturday Night Live” on Saturday.

Following the season’s highest-rated episode jam packed with cameos, newsworthy moments and overall fun with Aubrey Plaza, “SNL” followed it up with a largely solid episode.

Over the past four episodes, “SNL” has been able to entirely rely on the hosts with Keke Palmer, the Steve Martin-Martin Short pairing, Austin Butler and Plaza. Even though Butler was somewhat of a surprise as a great host, it had been the hosts making “SNL” captivating and funny.

It wasn’t that Jordan did a bad job at all, and for “SNL” fans, this was a great episode to truly sense what kind of cast the show will have to rely on following this transitional period.

While this episode will likely be one of the more forgettable of the season, it’s not because the episode was terrible; it was primarily good.

Surprisingly the cold open was one of the stronger ones this season. While Mikey Day may not be the ideal anchor for a sketch like this, it was a quick and clever take on this week's news.

It also helped that “Classified Press Conference” had Keenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim and Bowen Yang to carry it. Those three are some of the most consistent in this cast.

Jordan had a solid monologue that did set the tone for the night. He was quick to make fun of himself, charismatic as ever and the jokes about his attractiveness. An easy criticism of a lot of this episode has to do with how great Plaza’s was and this is most apparent in the monologue, which isn’t fair, but it’s true.

This week illuminated the trust “SNL” has in many of its younger cast.

Sarah Sherman has been a standout all season; it may be hard to remember it’s only her sophomore season. She finally received a post-monologue slot for a sketch with “Roller Coaster Accident.”

Sherman’s absurdist physical comedy has been a breath of fresh air for “SNL,” It was nice to see Jordan playing a silly role this early in the night.

Many of the sketches this week had mediocre concepts but excellent executions.

From rookie Marcello Hernadez pairing with seasoned veteran Thompson in “Towel Guys” to Yang absolutely carrying the “Video Game Session,” the cast took a lot of sketches from tolerable to laugh out loud.

The surprising standout of the night was Andrew Dismukes, who led four of the night's sketches.

Like Sherman, Dismukes is unlike many “SNL” cast members, and his humor shines through every sketch he’s a part of.

Sure, Dismukes does look like John Mulaney, drawn from memory, but he has a Will Forte/Tim Robinson energy to him. It’s this aggressive, scene-stealing, stupidly funny humor that the show has been missing.

The “Male Confidence Seminar” was funny in its satirical elements and surface-level jokes. Dismukes and Jordan had great banter, which would become a running theme of the night.

All the pre-recorded sketches were strong this week, “Southwest” being the worst of the three. The “Jake from State Farm” sketch made an argument for the best use of Jordan all night, but the “Falling Down” sketch, which aired right before the night’s goodbye, takes the title.

It’s such a stupid premise, but Dismukes continuing to see Jordan fall down was so brilliant and elevated expertly.

“Weekend Update” was the same as it has been; it’s clear Colin Jost and Michael Che are extremely comfortable behind the desk. It’s hard not to believe it’s the duo’s last season together.

The highlight was seeing Heidi Gardner bring back her “every girlfriend in every boxing movie ever” character, which she hasn’t done since 2018. Gardner was exceptional; the jokes were extremely witty and bringing Jordan out to play Creed was fun.

This episode was definitely a step down from the past four episodes but it does feel like “SNL” is still on a hot streak. An episode better for true fans of the show than casual viewers.

Best Sketch of the Night: “Falling Down”
Worst Sketch of the Night: “Party in Palm Springs”
MVP(s): Andrew Dismukes, Heidi Gardner and Bowen Yang
Unsung Heroes: James Austin Johnson and Ego Nwodim
A Note for Next Week: Continue using and highlighting the newer cast members.

Rating: 4 / 5

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email sgd5185@psu.edu.