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After a turbulent summer for Saturday Night Live — significant cast changes, a Weekend Update shake-up — it was safe to assume that the show’s premiere would reflect these growing pains. As it turned out, Saturday’s season-40 premiere was sharp and consistently funny, thanks in no small part to host Chris Pratt.
The episode’s cold open began with the show’s first of two sketches devoted to the recent NFL scandal. Pratt’s inept Roger Goodell was a highlight and a promising start for the first-time host.
Following that was Pratt’s monologue, featuring a surprise appearance by Pratt’s real-life wife, Anna Faris. While strumming a guitar (is there anything he can’t do?), Pratt summed up their relationship thusly: “We had sex, and a baby popped out.” It’s good to keep it simple.
Definitely a contender for the best sketch of the night was Kyle Mooney as Danny, whose toys come to life, Ted-style. As it turns out, He-Man and Lion-O are big fans of cake, inappropriate touching and destroying kitchens. Musical guest Ariana Grande even showed up as She-Ra. Overall, this sketch was quite impressive.
Next was the season’s first recurring sketch, featuring the team of horrible veterinarians who love wordplay involving the word “murder.” They were reasonably funny in this sketch, and we could see using “soup on a plate” in our everyday conversations.
By far, the strongest sketch of the night was the fake trailer for upcoming Marvel movies, poking fun at the out-of-left-field success of Guardians of the Galaxy. If you wouldn’t plunk down $14 to see Fancy Ghosts in theaters, something might be wrong with you.
Weekend Update newbie Michael Che bungled his first joke — not a great sign — but the combination of Che and Colin Jost together definitely shows potential. New cast member Pete Davidson got to share a lengthy bit about what he would do for money, which wasn’t great but did have a solid line about running out of boat fuel. Leslie Jones returned to “give it up for the loneliness,” while Kenan Thomspon sang “Ooh, Child” to Obama. The best joke of the segment was Jost needling U2.
Aidy Bryant continued to prove that she could be a breakout star, as she excelled in a sketch where she flirted with Pratt through Nicki Minaj‘s new hit “Anaconda.” Yes, she might have been “hitting the ass stuff a little too hard,” but it was hysterical.
A sketch making fun of afterschool specials was impressively weird though not laugh-out-loud funny, while a later sketch humorously involved the NFL offering a “special tribute to Pacman Jones.”
Top three sketches:
1. Fake Marvel trailer
2. Flirting with rap songs
3. Toys coming to life
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