Nick Jonas pulled double duty for this week’s Saturday Night Live, as both a first-time host and fourth-time (!) musical guest. Traditionally charismatic, this grown-up child star can certainly perform. But his turn as host did not exactly match the surreal impulses of this season’s SNL. As Jonas steps up to a new gig coaching on The Voice, he’s quickly becoming a familiar face on NBC. And while likable, he remained a bit stiff on the 30 Rock stage — even while performing new songs off his solo album.
The Cold Open
In the format of a Vaccine Game Show, Kate McKinnon — as Dr. Fauci — hosts a panel populated with state governors while their constituents vie for vaccines. This makes room for Pete Davidson to return as the now-disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And shows moderate improvement in the impression from last week! Best line? “Remember when my power points were your favorite movie? ‘Today is TUESDAY.’ ” Ego Nwodim is also relatable as a young woman pretending to be a grandma in order to secure the vaccine in time for a booty call. As is Bowen Yang, playing an obviously fake smoker.
Anyone who has jumped through hoops trying to get vaccinated will find something to laugh at in this timely cold open. But also, we do hope — for all our sakes — that the Fauci-pandemic sketches are on their way out. Go try getting your vaccine today!
Nick Jonas’ Monologue
Introducing himself, appropriately, as Nicholas Jonas Brothers, Nick Jonas’ quick opening monologue was energetic and to-the-point. His brother and bandmate Kevin Jonas made a cute audience cameo. Nick followed with a predictably sweet Broadway homage (“Drink with Me” from Les Mis) sung with an impressive cast member accompaniment.
The Best Sketches
1. “Bachelor Party”
Perhaps thanks to host Nick Jonas’ singing background, the high-production musical skits stuck out as the strongest on Saturday night. “Bachelor Party” pokes fun at the tradition of hiring strippers in order to achieve “boner, boner, boner, boner next to my friends!” You get the idea. The sloppy fraternity of Beck Bennett’s party sketch is an immature, gross, and ultimately giggle-worthy group effort.
2. “Murder Show”
In “Murder Show,” regular gals Chloe Fineman, Melissa Villaseñor, Kate McKinnon, Ego Nwodim dish on binging their guilty pleasure: murder shows. The higher body count, the better. Boyfriend Nick Jonas’ docuseries on cults don’t even hold a candle to the nasty, bludgeon-heavy, cannibalistic true crimes highlighted on “Netflix, Showtime, HBO, and Dateline.”
3. “Amusement Park”
In this simple sketch idea, Kyle Mooney is the kid no one wants to ride with at the amusement park… leaving him to straddle a life-size Soul plush toy on the log ride. That’s really all there is to it. If Kyle is your kind of humor, then you’ll enjoy this uncomfortable adolescent skit. (If not then maybe skip on to “Mirror Workout.”)
4. “Mirror Workout”
Though “Mirror Workout” felt a bit repetitive, it provided an opportunity for Nick Jonas to really get in character as a tough personal trainer. Compared to the rest of the night, he seemed most comfortable within the athletic wear and physical boundaries of “Mirror Workout.” Pete Davidson also shines as the mysteriously villainous “Azuzel”: a dark spirit who resides in the (already eerie) home workout device.
5. “Dionne Warwick Talk Show”
At this point, the Dionne Warwick sketches are a niche bit for Ego Nwodim to flex her surprising grasp on the aged pop star. I actually saw Dionne Warwick last year, at a meet-and-greet in New York City, and can attest that Nwodim nails her loopy energy. This week, Nick Jonas guests as himself, along with Melissa Villaseñor as Dua Lipa.
Since CPAC did not feature into the cold open, there was no surprise that the theatrical conservative gathering in Florida dominated this week’s Weekend Update. Most notable was Sen. Ted Cruz, who gave a deeply cringey — and out of character — stand-up style speech that showed anything but remorse over his recent Cancun getaway. (Aidy Bryant touched on this, briefly, in the cold open.) A joke from Colin Jost was hardly necessary to make that seem anymore ridiculous. It was Michael Che who got in the night’s most killer line: “The Coronavirus is so deadly to Black Americans, it’s being suspended with pay.” Seriously.
Kenan Thompson and Cecily Strong also appeared as basketball dad LaVar Ball and the unhinged Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Nick Jonas Performs “Spaceman”
Is it just me or did both “Spaceman” and “This is Heaven” feel a little lackluster? Listen for yourself.