“Saturday Night Live” ditched its usual political skit and kicked off Saturday’s show with a solemn performance by New York’s Ukrainian Dumka Choir in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
The show returned to the air after an extended hiatus to host NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage, featuring former “SNL” writer John Mulaney for the fifth time.
The comedian addressed his recent rehabilitation from cocaine addiction in his monologue.
“It’s wonderful to be in a place that has always emphasized sobriety and sanity,” he cracked, while discussing his recovery.
In the main skit, Mulaney played a monkey who presided over a civil case where a woman was mutilated by a monkey, as attorneys Kenan Thompson and Cecily Strong appealed to the primate’s animal instincts to curry favor with the judge.
The animal-related humor continued in a fake ad as Strong and Heidi Gardner portrayed dog owners arguing in a supermarket over the quality of their dog food. Mulaney played a helpless man who successfully pressured Gardner into spending $74 on a grass-fed poultry mix.
A sketch poked fun at the CDC’s ever-changing mask mandates, as a group of politically correct people weighed in on the effectiveness of mask-wearing during a tension-laden dinner party.
“Did I have to dump my oldest friend just because he didn’t get a call back?” Mulaney asked, as her friends played by Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Bowen Yang recoiled in horror.
A video from the comedy group “Please Don’t Destroy” imagined a new variant of COVID-19 that had nothing but wonderful side effects. Paul Rudd and Al Roker joined their office party and Dr. Anthony Fauci hit the clubs to celebrate the new variant, which made patients feel like they were “having a beer with an old friend” while they cultivated “from long luscious locks”.
Rudd, Steve Martin, Candice Bergen, Tina Fey and Elliott Gould made cameos to welcome Mulaney to their “Five Timers” club for frequent guests.
“Congratulations John – and let me be the first person to say, who are you?” Bergen asked.
“Candice, you don’t know me, but if you have a niece or nephew that’s bad at sports, they might,” he replied.
Conan O’Brien crashed the party to shout the catchphrase “live from New York, it’s Saturday night”, which was not included in the show’s dark opener.
“Weekend Update” began with fake news anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che exploiting the war in Ukraine to find material.
“Putin launched the attack with the support of allies like Belarus and Tucker Carlson,” Jost said.
“It’s a difficult subject to joke about,” Che said. “I’ve seen attacks like this against other countries, but never a white one.”
In a nod to his epic 2019 “Bodega Bathroom” skit, Mulaney played a New York City subway newsstand clerk who tried to talk straphangers Chris Redd and Andrew Dismukes out of buying a churro from a unlicensed platform seller. Elaborate song-and-dance routines followed, influenced by “Fiddler on the Roof” and “South Pacific,” and featuring a subway mole-man and a woman rich in bath salts.
“It’s the F train running the Q tracks, skipping random stops when I feel like it,” bandleader Punkie Johnson said, as Alex Moffat played a subway pervert wearing a trench coat who put his own spin on “Singing in the Rain.” ”
The skit ended with the Guardian Angels confronting a drunken self-proclaimed “Jesus of the Underground,” played by Bryant in a parody on “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Fresh out of a Brooklyn Steele residency, local band LCD Soundsystem performed two songs from their 2005 self-titled debut album, “Thrills” and “Yr City’s a Sucker.”
SNL is set to return on March 5 with actor Oscar Isaac and British pop singer Charli XCX as musical guest.
New York Post