In 2013, Jason Sudeikis said goodbye to his time as a cast member on Saturday Night Live (SNL). Since leaving SNL, Sudeikis has received critical acclaim for his television show “Ted Lasso,” about a small-time American football coach who has been hired to coach an English soccer team. Due to the show’s popularity, people believed it was time for Sudeikis to come back to SNL as a host. On Oct. 23, eight years after he left SNL, Sudeikis came back to 30 Rockefeller Plaza to host the great sketch comedy show.
First was the “cold open”, the political satire of the week. Enter Vice President Joe Biden from the early 2010s, played by Jason Sudeikis, an homage to Sudeikis’s original run on SNL when he played Biden during his vice presidency. The sketch centers around energetic Vice President Biden trying to calm down depressed President Biden, played by James Austin Johnson, with humorous quips about the country. This was a delightful sketch that poked fun at politics in a clever way with great impressions. After the cold open came the monologue. Unlike some hosts, Sudeikis’s monologue had no gimmicks. He was straightforward with what he had to say. He started with cute jokes about SNL and his personal life. Then, he expressed how much this show meant to him and how much it means to so many people. He transitioned from jokes to connecting with the audience. This was a successful monologue that combined humor and heart. It brought the audience to thunderous applause and I would consider it a job well done. He is clearly a man that is comfortable on a stage.
Following the monologue was a fake PBS show “Science Room.” Sudeikis played a science teacher who wanted to teach the children at home about gravity. He had two students, played by Mikey Day and Cecily Strong. The problem was, these students were not bright. When asked what a model of the solar system was, the students just said that they were balls. When asked to point out Earth, they pointed at the sun. When asked what is matter, Day responded, “Nothing, I’m good.” At first Sudeikis’s character is patient with the children, but as the sketch progresses he gets more frustrated and starts yelling at the end. This sketch was filled to the brim with jokes and everyone did a great job. It was simple humor with jokes that can appeal to everyone. This sketch has been done before with different hosts playing the teacher, and Sudeikis was able to bring his own charm and comedic wit to make this sketch unique and hilarious.
Then there was a parent-teacher conference. Sudeikis played a teacher talking to a couple, played by Kyle Mooney and Ego Nwodim, about their son. This starts innocently, but soon there is sexual tension between Sudeikis and Nwodim’s characters. She asks if he’s a rule breaker and punisher, and he eats it up. Mooney’s character is uncomfortable, but doesn’t know how to confront the situation. Soon, Nwodim and Sudeikis are making out and Mooney stands there threatening to do something, but does not go far. This is awkward to watch with your parents, but it was amusing and everyone had great comedic chops. Sudeikis and Nwodim had great chemistry and Mooney nailed playing awkward guys. It may not have been the most creative sketch, but it definitely kept my eyes on the screen and brought a couple chuckles out of me, so I consider it a sketch well done.
About halfway through the show was Weekend Update, where anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che made jokes about the news of the week. During each Update, the anchors are visited by a fun correspondent, a wacky character played by a cast member. This episode brought the return of Sudeikis’s classic correspondent character, The Devil. Dressed in all red and making fun quips, this devil is not to be missed. Talking about creating some killer storms, taking the soul of Tom Brady in exchange for Brady’s success and Rush Limbaugh talking his ear off, it felt like Sudeikis never left. The roaring laughter of the audience after every line made it clear that this is a correspondent to remember. Then came the classic recurring sketch “What’s Up With That.” As always, host Diondre Cole, played by Kenan Thompson runs the show with his dancer, played by Sudeikis, and saxophonist, played by special guest Fred Armisen. Cole has special guests Oscar Isaac, Emily Ratjakowski and Nicholas Braun, but the premise is he never lets his guests speak as he always has an urge to sing the theme song. This is a popular sketch, and with Sudeikis back to host and the ability to fulfill his dancer role, SNL had to do this. Thompson always appears to have the time of his life when he is doing his sketch, and the fun is infectious. Even when they weren’t saying anything, it was fun seeing the celebrity guests play along with what was happening. Sudeikis as the dancer looked like he was partying on an invisible trampoline and it was comical to watch. This sketch was as funny as it was when it premiered back in 2009.
It is always great to have a former SNL cast member host an episode. They know how to succeed in sketch comedy, they mesh well with the cast, and they bring a sense of nostalgia for the fun sketches and characters done during their tenure. Sudeikis certainly did not disappoint. He gave his all in every sketch and you could tell that he was having a great time, which made for a great show. I was laughing throughout the night and a lot of the sketches were very memorable and comical. Overall, everyone from the cast members to the writers brought their A-game and Sudeikis did a stellar job in his big return.