Saturday Night Live Season 41, Episode 17: Ninja and Holograms and Al Sharpton, Oh My!

Getting Political: The cold opening featured Hilary Clinton pandering to New York after losing seven states, and also some jokes about her on the subway. It was pretty good, if a bit predictable in the beginning.

During Weekend Update, Colin Jost had a wonderful rant about Ted Cruz, complete with a comparison to Pizza Rat. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see Cruz crawling down the stairs, carrying some pizza in his teeth.

Prerecorded Territory: We had a Preparation H commercial right after the monologue, a product that turned out to be real. Thanks, SNL, now my search history is going to look weird. The commercial itself was sufficiently witty. 

Secondly, an odd sketch about two employees getting their dream job as a Chuck E. Cheese parody, only for their heads to explode at the end, complete with a shower of cartoon confetti. I thought it was amusing, but slightly too short. 

Finally, do you remember a certain sketch from earlier in the season where Mike O’Brien played Kanye West in a biopic trailer? Yes, that happened. Well, now there’s a sequel, with Mike playing Oprah Winfrey. Just like the previous season’s installment, I appreciated the segment. Seeing Mike earnestly play Oprah Winfrey in a blatantly inaccurate trailer tickles my funny bone.

What Was That?: This segment is reserved for the especially bizarre pieces of Saturday Night Live, a show that has given us such gems as a children’s show ending in a drug-fueled knife fight and, well, practically any other short by Andy Samberg. On the plus side, we had a delightfully disturbing sketch with a hologram of Henry VIII. I genuinely don’t know why, but the way his tone changes as he goes from casually chatting about the past to ordering every female museum visitor to bear his children makes me giggle. It's shockingly inappropriate in the best possible way.

On the negative side, the truly outrageous premises can also lead to some stinkers. Similar to last week’s magician show-closer, essentially the sole joke in Match Finders (a game show parody) revolved around an incredibly promiscuous professor. I found it to be very gross.

“Hey, I Know That Character!”: Kate McKinnon and Brooks Whelan returned to Weekend Update as “Somebody’s Mom, Deenie” and comedian Bruce Chandling, respectively. As always, Kate McKinnon nails her performance, officially turning Deenie into a solid member of her Update roster. As for Whelan, I actually enjoyed sad-sack Chandling more than last time. It is oddly funny seeing him break down as his offensive and bizarre jokes only alienate the audience.

The Host With The Most: For someone slated to be the host, Russell Crowe didn’t make a lot of appearances in the episode. The Al Sharpton sketch was entirely devoid of him, he didn’t make an appearance in the post-monologue commercial parody, and he didn’t have a lot of screen time in the later sketches. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for Russell Crowe fans out there, it might have been disheartening. As for me, I mostly care about the sketches themselves, unless the host happens to be someone whom I really like.

Musically Speaking: I’m not the most knowledgeable about this subject, but Margo Price appeared to be singing country music. The audience seemed to like it, so that’s fine.

Cameos: The real Al Sharpton made an appearance in the Politics Nation sketch, bantering with Kenan Thompson’s incarnation of him. The appearance was okay, with Sharpton making fun of the physical differences between the two, but it lacked something to make it really special. Additionally, Jason Sudeikis made a brief appearance in the final sketch, a pre-recorded bit by Mike O’Brien.

Where Were You?: Bobby Moynihan hardly had any appearances in this episode, the most memorable being a short line in the charming Survivor parody.

Final Notes: I wish the monologue was longer.

I would totally watch Speedy Gonzalez battle Batman and Superman.

Rumors continue to abound that Kenan Thompson is going to leave the show after this season. I truly hope that this does not happen, but if it does, then I wish him all the best. Even if there’s a bad sketch, he can usually save it with his delivery and goofy facial expressions.

This episode was dedicated to Merle Haggard.

I would watch an entire movie about Leslie Jones as a ninja. In fact: Paul Feig, after the new could you remake Surf Ninjas? After the new Ghostbusters premieres, I mean.

Overall, I would give the episode a B-. Next week, we have Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the host and Nick Jonas as the musical guest. I’m very excited!

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or the Harry Potter books.