Saturday Night Live S42, E21- Dwayne Johnson, Katy Perry: A Salute To Bobby Moynihan And Vanessa Bayer


The time has finally come for this season to end. With it, we have seen many changes and milestones in the show. Firstly, Saturday Night Live began airing live across the coasts, finally letting everyone see the show as it's happening, instead of watching it the next day or on a tape delay. Next, Scarlett Johansson, Melissa McCarthy, and Dwayne Johnson have been inducted into the Five-Timers' Club, adding more credence to their hosting skills and comedic talent. Alec Baldwin also hosted the show for a record-demolishing seventeenth time, as well as being hired for a series of guest appearances as Donald Trump. Note that he was not hired for the task last season, but made a series of cameos. Larry David, on the other hand, was hired to play Bernie Sanders. 

Due in part to Baldwin's casting and the show's ever-evolving satire to adapt to the uncertain new political times, the show has been earning its highest ratings in years, especially in the Baldwin and McCarthy-hosted episodes. Finally, the cast of comedians will change again, but not as dramatically as in past seasons. Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer will leave the show. Fun fact, Vanessa is/was the longest-serving female cast member on the show. A reason was not officially given for her departure. Bobby, on the other hand, is leaving to star in the recently-order CBS sitcom, Me, Myself, And I as a series regular. On a personal note, this does sadden me, because almost every cast member from the period where I officially started watching the show is no longer a part of it, with only Kenan Thompson remaining. 

On the other hand, I should think positively. Many cast members have returned to host in the past, including recently-departed ones, such as Andy Samberg and Bill Hader. I wish Vanessa and Bobby all the best and hope that they have successful post-SNL careers. And, hey, don't forget to stop by Studio 8H for a visit. As shown in this week's promos, Dwayne Johnson gives piggyback rides. Here's a little BTS video, in case you want to know precisely how they filmed that.



Cold Opening: Back in the first post-election episode, SNL commemorated the shocking events of the election by having Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton sadly play the piano and sing Leonard Cohen's "Hallejulah", both as a tribute to him and as a message to the American people. In a brilliant act of poetic justice and self-parody, the final cold opening of the season has almost the entire Trump campaign, including Scarlett Johansson making a cameo as Ivanka Trump, mangling a parody of the song. It works as a hopeful declaration that this week's latest scandals will get Trump impeached, as well as a farewell to Trump's impression.


Monologue: Hanks/Johnson 2020! I'm kidding, but in this crazy world of completely unqualified people somehow becoming president, it seems like anything is possible. Why not have that guy from Moana and David S. Pumpkins run for office? From the Five-Timers' Club (with a jacket presented by Alec Baldwin) to the White House, and beyond!


Cartier Ad: Ah, fidget spinners. Is there anything you can't be misused for? In this case, a commercial parody shows the devices being appropriated and covered with diamonds for the purpose of distracting the main character's bad date. This has Vanessa at her very best, and I'm really going to miss her.


WWE Promo Shoot 2: I remember this from the last time Dwayne hosted. It's a simple excuse to fling a lot of jokes at the viewer. Dwayne's character will be incredibly mean during the promotions, and Bobby's character is pitied by all. I know next to nothing about Wrestlemania, but I really don't need to know a lot to enjoy the sketch. The contrast between their personas is good enough, especially when Dwayne's insults begin going into an incredibly elaborate backstory.


Rap Song: I love it when pretty much the full cast appears in a group during the sketch. Once again, this was pretty much just an excuse for a couple of jokes, but it worked. The weird names, my favorite being Li'l Nitwit, and increasingly crowded area worked to enhance the joke.


Scorpio: Dwayne's played Superman in the past, now it's time for him to play an original superhero on the show. Keeping up with the long tradition of applying realistic consequences to decidedly unrealistic scenarios, this sketch takes on the implausibility of superheroes managing to create remarkably efficient costumes overnight. Of course, Scorpio already happened to be a pro at sewing, getting superpowers was just a handy bonus.


Gemma w/ Dwayne Johnson 2:  And so Gemma makes her second appearance of the season. She's not my favorite of Cecily's characters, but the sketch still managed to be serviceable. I appreciated the set design, especially the creepy dinosaur head. Additionally, Dwayne's snide comments did bring a few chuckles from me, despite their cruelty.


Zentrax: "Zentrax" is a medicine used by Dwayne Johnson's character for erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately, a doctor confirms that the product mostly contains the ingredients for meth, and isn't actually a licensed medical drug. I love weird humor, and the list of symptoms for the illegal substance definitely gets progressively weirder, definitely making the alleged success not worth it and outright negating it at times. My favorite moment was when Dwayne randomly blurted out, "Hail Satan." Careful, that'll hurt your 2020 campaign.


Katy Perry Musical Performance #1- "Swish Swish": I guess I liked it, but the background noises got really distracting. It sounded like someone kept shouting over and over.


Weekend Update: For the second time in a row, we get Dawn Lazarus, the official Weekend Update meteorologist. This pretty much shows that it's time for the SNL "Best Of" DVDs to return. I can think of plenty of sketches that would work for Vanessa and Bobby. Speaking of Bobby, he also had a special last appearance of one of his famous Update characters- Drunk Uncle! Personally, I would have preferred Anthony Crispino, but the nature of Drunk Uncle does provide more opportunities for satirizing Trump and his supporters. Although, I could contend that Anthony's secondhand reporting makes a great case for the existence of fake news.





RKO Movie Set: What's the best way to get the cast members of SNL to break character? The sound of flatulence, at least in this case. It's silly, but ever so fun to see Vanessa resist the urge to start laughing as the people in charge of the sound effects play the most ridiculous effects possible. Unleash your inner child and laugh!


World's Most Evil Invention: Wow...At first, I thought this was simply a sketch about select cast members getting to ham it up as mad scientists. I was completely wrong. It actually takes a disturbing twist when Roy (Dwayne Johnson) reveals that he built a child-molesting robot. I didn't expect the writers to go there. I thought they would just say something along the lines of building a robot to help Trump get into the White House. I honestly don't know how I feel about the sketch, so I'm just going to provide a link and let you talk about it in the comments.


Katy Perry Musical Performance #2- "Bon Appétit": Okay, apparently, this song was about equating food with sexual relations. I just find that kind of thing creepy.


Wingman: I didn't like this sketch as much as the other ones, but the creepy expression on Bobby's face amused me.


Senior Video: The short graduation skit perfectly captured awkward school performances, especially with the dated pop culture references. Although I believe it was too short, it was still packed with a lot of good jokes, such as Dwayne's character's awkward attempts at bantering with the graduates and Leslie Jones's reaction to having her meatloaf insulted. It's not the best use of having graduation sketches as a metaphor for cast members leaving the show, but it was sweet.


Final Thoughts: While not as laugh-out-loud as the last season finale, I was left feeling satisfied at the end of the episode. In sketch terms, it was mixed, taking on topics like superhero costume design and disturbingly conversations about the true nature of evil. (Okay, sorry, last time I'll mention the robot sketch,) In terms of the cast changes, I've said my piece on the subject and I can't think of anything else. Politically, the season has done very well and I'm excited to see what will arrive next fall. See you, then.

Update: According to various reports, it was also Sasheer Zamata's final episode of the show. I did not know this, and I wish her the best in her post-SNL comedy career.

Saturday Night Live airs on NBC at 11:30 pm. It's now live in every time zone.

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