With eight veteran cast members leaving, four new cast members joining, and some much-needed improvements being made, Saturday Night Live entered its 48th season in a pretty precarious position. Recent seasons have featured a number of new hosts, including the likes of Miles Teller, Keke Palmer, and Austin Butler, as well as musical artists Megan Thee Stallion and Jack Harlow, who doubled as hosts, and the unexpected Brendan Gleeson.
While embracing the new, SNL also reintroduced familiar faces like Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, and the Steve Martin/Martin Short team to Studio 8H. There was as much variety in the quality of the sketches as there was in the hosts. Let’s raise a glass to the season’s highlights before the show returns on January 21 for its 2023 run (without Cecily Strong, who left the show at the end of the 2222 season) (so far). Please share any additional information in the comments.
This leads us, somewhat circuitously, to Aubrey Plaza, our host for the evening. The star of White Lotus (formerly known as April Ludgate) has had a varied and eventful career, including stints as an NBC page and a botched audition for Saturday Night Live while a student at UBC; she also interned in SNL’s design department in 2004 and 2005 and appeared as a background extra in the show’s iconic holiday episode hosted by Justin Timberlake. It’s a touching tale, and it’s exactly the kind of outsider-to-cast member arc I hope the show will eventually feature more of.
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Fox Sports’ broadcasting staff is presented. Even though the Eagles-Giants game only ended minutes before, the mood was set perfectly by that catchy theme.
The fact that Howie Long (Mikey Day) wears glasses makes him the brainiac in the group. Devon Walker plays the role of Michael Strahan (Jay Pharoah previously played the former Giants star). Molly Kearney portrays Terry Bradshaw. They argue about how risky of a sport football is. As for the current cast, Day is the one that Laurance most enjoys. There appear to be some technical difficulties.
George Santos, a divisive member of Congress, is introduced as a “field correspondent.” To portray Santos, Bowen Yang is in the cast. (It is interesting to note that former Saturday Night Live cast member Jon Lovitz recently appeared on The Tonight Show as Santos.) He cuts in on Pam Oliver (Ego Nwodim) while fully decked out in drag and brags that he took home the prize for tightest tuck.
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And when Aubrey Plaza says that hosting Saturday Night Live is a lifelong dream come true, she’s not kidding. A lot of people take her characters’ quirks and snarkiness as indicators of her own personality, she says. Several of the jokes focus on her fictitious relatives who are purportedly in the audience.
She mentions that she is a native of Delaware and that she won a poll to determine who the state’s most famous resident was. She claims he was upset and plays a video he sent her in which President Biden praises Plaza for being from Delaware and for choosing to avoid death on The White Lotus. The audience seems confused about whether or not the video is real.