"Chris Pratt/Ariana Grande" - 'Saturday Night Live' Review

Saturday Night Live
“Chris Pratt/Ariana Grande”
Season 40, Episode 1

Chris Pratt is so hot right now. Guys want to be him and guys want to be with him. I’m sure that wasn’t a typo. We know the kid can do improve comedy so SNL should be no big deal to him right? Well, tonight’s premiere episode of the sketch series’ 40th season was a bit hit and miss. But that’s a good thing. I would be worried if this show came back full force only to die out within a few weeks. It’s bound to happen; it goes like that every single season.

Cold Open: Aidy Bryant, playing State of the Union’s Candy Crowley, takes up the mantle of opening the season and starring in the cold open. It’s an amazing honor that many people never get to experience. Bryant is so-so as she flubs a few lines but she can sell a bit. This is a talk show parody which means it’s supposed to be easy and fast with jokes that hit all over the place. Who is this for really? There are those who have been following the NFL arrests over the past couple of weeks or those who watch political driven programs on CNN, Fox or CNBC. Host Chris Pratt plays Roger Goodell and it’s decent. Kenan Thompson is Ray Lewis and just delightful. Jay Pharaoh brings back the ever-licking Shannon Sharpe. Everyone has their moments but we’re just counting down until we get to see Pratt actually host.

Monologue: Boy, starting out the season with a song? That’s ballsy. But this time, it was intimate. Pratt is charming as he rattles off a song while playing guitar along acoustically. His nervousness came right into the monologue as he sang about Parks and Rec. and his wife, Anna Faris who was in the audience.

Front Nine: A prerecorded skit was the only way to go following you host appearing twice before the show actually started. “Cialis Turnt” is a joke that I’m only laughing at because I have given up on trying not to be hip by not listening to “Turn Down For What.” It’s a dated joke but I fell for it. Damn it, I fell for it. What followed was a cute but easy sketch involving Kyle Mooney’s He-Man and Lion-O action figures coming alive. It was the sketch of the night but only because Ariana Grande appeared. And dick tapping. There was so much dick tapping. Aidy Bryant played Mooney’s mother who ended up taking the three action figure people to do a foursome. I’d watch that. Then there was a squeal to last years’ Vet Hospital sketch that originally starred Josh Hutcherson but now has Chris Pratt. Vet Office 2 is only okay and just as samey. Following that, a Marvel movie trailer spoof took a special place in my heart. It comments on how fucking ridiculous it is that Marvel can’t fail. I love it so much. What really sells it is the repeated playing of “Hooked on a Feeling.” You got lucky this time, SNL.

Weekend Update: Colin Jost is joined by Michael Che now and that’s a good thing. I hope. Again, this is the first show so there will be jitters. But Lorne took Che away from The Daily Show for a specific reason. This has to be good, right? Punchlines were hit or miss with some recurring characters dispersed throughout. Leslie Jones is back and just as funny. But the real stand out is Pete Davidson. Boy, am I jealous of him. He’s a year younger than me and already on SNL. The way he spouted out his lines directly into the camera was amazing. He is one of the few things that stood out from tonight’s episode. He’s been all over the news so I’m sure you saw it. Oh and Kenan sang “Ooh Child” in “Cheer Up Obama,” a reference to Guardians of the galaxy and probably an attempt to start a new, recurring joke.

Back Nine: This is it. This is the part where most SNL episodes break up the funny. Sketches that aren't as funny as the previous ones are stuffed back here. And it shows. Something different like a musical sketch is what is needed to spark some interest. “Booty Rap” is dumb but pretty funny. Two nerds played by Aidy Bryant and Chris Pratt try to flirt the only way they know how: rap lyrics. There’s some pop in there too. Next, Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett lead a prerecorded sketch that is fucking hilarious. A sequel to last year’s cut sketch “Wing,” “Bad Boys” follows Mooney, Bennett and Pratt who are roommates trying to live in this crazy, mixed up world. It plays out like a 90’s after school special complete with awkward line reads, bad set design, and a saxophone transition. Now that all the Good Neighbor boys are here, we should expect more of these weird sketches and that’s exactly what this show needs. The last two sketches were “NFL Intros” and a video game send up. The intros are funny enough but Key & Peele have done it before. And the video games thing was just….weird.