“SNL” - Season 48, Episode 16 Review

Story posted April 11, 2023 in Arts & Entertainment by Sophia D’Ovidio.

“Saturday Night Live” had an April Fools episode full of laughs and pranks led by comedy it-girl Quinta Brunson as host.

This season of “SNL” has seen a lot of hosts that people had been hoping would happen. Brunson was on many of those lists with fellow first-time hosts Aubrey Plaza and Keke Palmer this season.

Brunson is the star and creator of the biggest show in comedy right now, “Abbott Elementary.” For those who have followed the comic since her time on Buzzfeed, it’s well known that it was always her dream to be a cast member on “SNL.”

With Saturday’s stellar episode, it’s evident that Brunson got the next best gig.

The episode didn’t start on the best foot, but it does feel like any time a big news story like the Trump indictment happens, “SNL” will always be set up for failure.

The “Trump Indictment Cold Open” was by no means bad.

There were great moments like the opening line when James Austin Johnson quoted “Anti-Hero,” remarking, “It’s me, hi! I’m the problem. It’s me.” Or when Johnson and Mikey Day’s Don Jr. sang their version of “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2.”

The concept was solid, but the sketch went on too long. Hopefully, they get a better go at this historic trial next week.

However, the rest of the episode was strong from there. Brunson made sure to let audiences know she isn’t the goody-two-shoes Janine from “Abbott Elementary” during her monologue, which helped set the tone for the night.

Brunson felt like a member of “SNL’s” ensemble. Contrasting her to the aforementioned Plaza or Palmer episode, where those hosts worked exceptionally well with the cast, at times, it was easy to forget that Brunson wasn’t a regular on the show.

In the “Drug Dealer” sketch, Marcello Hernandez, Keenan Thompson, Punkie Johnson and Brunson tried to get Devon Walker and Andrew Dismukes to buy their cocaine.

They were pitching how pure the drug was by relating how white it is to skiing with Gwyneth Paltrow or being directed by Noah Baumbach.

This sketch could’ve been way too one-note, but the performances from the cast and appearances by Michael Longfellow and Johnson made it a whole piece.

Other strong sketches included “Traffic Altercation” and “Bosses.”

“Traffic Altercation” was a basic premise that capitalized on the fact that it wasn’t one of the classic sketch set-ups “SNL” typically has.

The “Bosses” sketches were another piece that exemplifies what a breath of fresh-air Sarah Sherman has been for “SNL.”

How Sherman and Brunson were able to play perverts in such an absurd way is incredible. The sketch was so stupid but well-written and expertly performed.

Chloe Fineman was a perfect straight man for the sketch, and this may be one of the first times she has broken in a sketch, and this one was for sure the one to do it during.

However, the most talked about moment of the night came from prankster Michael Che and his victim Colin Jost behind the “Weekend Update” desk.

The online discourse reported that Che and Jost weren’t getting many laughs during this show's dress rehearsal. They had to rework many of their jokes between dress and air.

Now, Che does a warm-up set before the live show, telling the audience not to laugh at Jost’s jokes during “Update” and giving him all the love.

It was the perfect prank that peaked when writer John Higgins had snuck into the front row of the audience and shouted, “You suck” to Jost after a joke he made of being the only Trump supporter at the courthouse.

Che’s reveal of the prank hysterically derailed the segment. It was the perfect way for “SNL” to celebrate April Fools without disrupting Brunson’s first-time hosting.

Longfellow and Hernadez also had solid features behind the fake news desk. It’s amusing to watch these rookies emerge during this rebuilding season.

While there were weaker sketches like “Couple Goals” or “Midwife,” they weren’t bad by any measure.

The pre-recorded sketches weren’t as captivating as they were during the last stretch of episodes, they were still all solid, just didn’t have the same stand-out quality they had in the past

This was another top-episode coming from this transition season. It was refreshing to see the cast and crew bounce back from a somewhat mediocre run of episodes prior to the hiatus.

Brunson continued on her victory lap that has come with “Abbott Elementary’s” universal love and success. To watch her live out her dreams on “SNL” was entertaining as ever.

Best Sketches of the Night: “Bosses” or “Drug Dealers
Worst Sketch of the Night: “Couple Goals”
MVP: Mikey Day
Unsung Heroes: Sarah Sherman and Michael Che
A note for next week: Keep this energy high for superstar Molly Shannon

Rating: 4.5/5

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email sgd5184@psu.edu.