Saturday Night Live
“Dakota Johnson, Alabama Shakes”
Season 40, Episode 14
It’s weird when SNL just seemingly grabs some random celebrity to host whether it be Dakota Johnson or Steve Forbes back in 1993. These hosts’ careers are well timed of course but nonetheless strange. When the 40th Anniversary SNL special aired, Dakota was in the audience as a guest but they gave her a few lines. And then, during her actual hosting stint, Johnson’s already famous parents were mentioned once or twice. There were odd silences but that comes with the territory. For the most part, Johnson’s gig was somewhat decent.
Cold Open: The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson with Vanessa Bayer as the host. Rudy Giuliani is played by Taran Killam. The main gist is most of the sketch is a huge Birdman parody. And then they said those infamous words…”live from New York.” As you can see, I don’t recall much of this nit because of the time passed between my viewing and now but that the whole thing was a blurry, largely unmemorable event. It was clever though. WATCH.
Monologue: Of course during her monologue Johnson was going to talk about Fifty Shades of Grey. The show brought back the Q&A portion with cast members in the audience. For instance, Kyle Mooney is a leather clad guest. It was okay. SKIP.
Isis- Those sappy army commercials get what’s’ coming to them with this sketch. Killam, as Dakota's dad, drops her off at an airport. They have a heartfelt exchange and, rather than an Army caravan hauls her off, a truck full of ISIS men arrive. Controversial, yes but funnier than other muted sketches tonight. WATCH.
Cinderella- The Night of the Ball- Cinderella is of course Johnson while Killam took the role of the Prince. Cecily brings back the nasty as ever Cathy Ann. As far as recurring characters go, I feel as though this one is suited for the 90’s SNL. That’s not a knock against her. What I mean is this character could totally have her own movie back then. It’d be like what they did with the Coneheads or Leon Phelps. Anywho, this sketch was just more Cathy Ann. SKIP.
Say What You Want to Say- Kate McKinnon, Strong, Johnson, and Aidy Bryant are saying stuff that needed to be said. They admit what makes them tick to their friends, family, strangers and so on. Repeated use of Sara Barellises’s "Brave" turns this sketch into a weird gold mine. WATCH.
Fifty Shades Press- McKinnon played Johnson’s publicist. Mooney interviewed her as a middle schooler, asking questions that started out sexual then transitioned into well-meaning and oblivious in nature quandaries. WATCH.
Internship- This completely forgettable number featured Bobby Moynihan, Johnson, and Strong as hipster teenagers. Bryant played a girl with broken arms. Silence was an adversary here. Pauses abound as lines were miscued. But all in all, it just wasn’t that good in the first place. SKIP.
McKinnon took another shot as Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Jay Pharaoh returned as Kanye talking about Beck. Then he raps an apology.
Moynihan came back as the fan favorite Riblet.
Dr. Worf- Johnson, Leslie Jones, and Killam. Kenan Thompson as doctor dressed as Worf from Star Trek. He was at a convention unable to change in time. Man, they just shot for the stars in this one. Timing was a bad at points here but it pulled together. SKIP.
Net Effect on Net Neutrality- Sasheer Zamata hosts a panel with Pete Davidson, Moynihan, Jones and Johnson. Again, this one was completely forgettable. SKIP.
Bullying Social Experiment- Mr Riot Film Experiment is a direct parody of these online assholes that think they’re changing the world when in reality they’re acting like douchebags. Beck Bennett and Mooney headline as YouTube stars. WATCH.
Should you watch “Dakota Johnson/Alabama Shakes?”
The show has done a lot worse. Not much needs to be said except that I expected the show to be completely terrible. Johnson held up pretty well. It must have been jarring to do live TV. She’s young and will have plenty more opportunities to come back.