Dear Coneheads, a new year has arrived. In this episode of SNL in Review, we’ll look back at the events of the year 2022. The harder we try to get away, the closer we get. That isn’t a reference to the upcoming rap beef between Kanye West and Pete Davidson. I’m referring to our benevolent rulers at 30 Rock, who is still dealing with the ravages of the coronavirus two years later. Late-night television is on the decline, and theatre productions are once again being canceled. Is there such a thing as a correct answer?
For example, Roddy Ricch was set to play tonight but had to cancel due to COVID-19 exposure. Jack Antonoff of Bleachers will fill in; he previously performed on the show as a musical guest with Lorde and as a member of fun.
Gary Kroeger, a former cast member of Saturday Night Live who is currently directing a murder mystery and is struggling with these issues about what is appropriate in the age of COVID, joins me tonight. “The show has to go on, but shows are a public contract, and public health must always be taken seriously, erring on the side of prudence… We’re watching for masks, the cast has been vaccinated, and those who haven’t been told to keep an eye on the distances. This is risky because we live in a morally, politically, legally, and socially challenging time.
The show’s host, Ariana DeBose, was nominated for a SAG award this week, and her role in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is expected to be considered for an Oscar. She joins a long list of Oscar nominees who have used the show as part of their months-long campaign. “Getting hosts fresh after a hit or to boost their reputation for awards appeared to me to be more of a thing of the present period,” Kroeger observes. That may sound depressing, but my attitude toward the hosts from 1982 to 1985 was “anyone we could get.” Given that we could get practically anyone, I rarely felt like the host was ‘hot’ when we got them.”
To put it another way, this should be a familiar episode situated in an unfamiliar period for the show. Given the President’s recent misfortunes, I anticipate JAJ’s Biden’s comeback. Let’s see what’s on offer.
When it’s freezing outside, keep the doors open.
President Joe Biden (James Austin Johnson) returns with a new message. “We’re in the midst of a cold, gloomy winter,” he says, conjuring a bleak image. He has some suggestions for dealing with the epidemic. One of the characters yells, “Stop looking at Spider-Man!”
The rest of his time is spent responding to questions. They’re all in on the Spider-Man idea. This does not bother me! It’s concentrated, and unlike a high school talent show, it doesn’t try to thrust every cast member into the spotlight. I initially mistook it for a joke, but they’ve decided to go ahead and capitalize on it. Johnson’s Biden stated, “Spider-Man has his villains.” “Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema are on my team.” This is a fantastic blend of pop culture and political satire, folks.
In the Russia-Ukraine crisis, he might be able to recruit the help of Spider-assistance Man. Andrew Dismukes, a witty character, inquires about the multiverse. It’s more rational than what’s going on right now! Johnson is crushing it, and his Biden impersonation is getting better with each passing day.
Because the Cubs won the World Series, our reality has become a farce, and Pete Davidson has taken over the role of “real” Biden.
DeBose shows up and jokes that 90 Day Fiance is based on West Side Story. “It’s fantastic to be here representing not only the Latino community as an Afro-Latina but also the Broadway community,” she adds during her opening monologue on Saturday Night Live. When Kate McKinnon, dressed as a Verizon ad representative, appears, she exclaims that it is “magical.” As she mugs, they sing songs from West Side Story together. (I’m assuming McKinnon showed up since Cecily Strong is working with Lily Tomlin on site.) I’m not sure what’s intended to be funny here, and the audience doesn’t seem to care. I’m sorry, but I’m unable to accept your offer.
Isn’t it true, though, that today’s SNL is more musical theater-focused than ever before? “, Kroeger adds. “As long as there are musical cast members, Saturday Night Live will include music.” In my opinion, there always has been. I’ve observed a larger emphasis on music in recent years, and my hypothesis is that they’re enlisting the services of actors and writers to attain that goal. Eddie used to be a singer, and I could sing back then, just like Brad [Hall] and Julia. Joe [Piscopo] sang quite a bit during his impersonations. A personal highlight for me was singing as dentist Ira Needleman. My ability to pull off a nerdy-Springsteen impersonation surprised the writers.”
“I believe Ariana DeBose is the finest,” Kroeger goes on to remark. “She was Oscar-worthy in West Side Story and wonderful in Hamilton, which I only saw on Disney+ as a taped presentation.”
In Schmigadoon, DeBose worked well with Cecily Strong.