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Saturday Night Live (SNL) hosted by Chris Pratt did not leave a “hooked on the feeling” aftertaste when the show ended. Pratt, as much as he was allowed to, pretty much rocked it. Even his opening monologue (sing-o-logue) felt pretty comfortable, and why not, he has cut his teeth on television so the format is one he would feel comfortable with. On a side note, who knew that Chris was in a relationship with that girl from the Scary Movie franchise (and My Super Ex Girlfriend, Lost in Translation…) aka Anna Faris, what a surprise. It was also very touching that she was in the front row for his “open.”
Sentimental thoughts and personal notes aside, Pratt did great with the material he was given. Which, to be fair, would not have been too taxing for anyone. In terms of comedic performances the 35 year old actor honed his skills on Parks and Recreations (2009 to 2015) which he then showed off in Guardians of the Galaxy. It really feels as though the writers for SNL were being a little too cautious with how much funny material their guests should have.
The musical guest Ariana Grande, who is flavor of the minute right now, was not used very much apart from her two musical numbers which felt pre-recorded or at the very least lip-synced. She was given a cameo as a mini live Shera action figure. The diminutive singer got to swing her sword and had a couple of lines before following the other two action figures off stage.
Thus far there have been a lot of missed opportunities in this season of Saturday Night Live. Chris Pratt hosting the show continued the theme of hooking up the most relevant stars in entertainment. Sadly much of the audience would not be hooked on the feeling of euphoria that the SNL regulars must have felt being on the 40th anniversary of the show, this may have been down to this bunch of regulars not being overly funny.
There are exceptions, Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon consistently knock it out of the park comedically. McKinnon does a Justin Bieber that is truly hysterical and she has the added bonus of looking like Hayley Mills when not made up like Bieber. Sadly in the Pratt hosted show, McKinnon was used very little, in one of the funnier skits of the evening – the rapping chat up line gag at the end of the show and Kate was also used in the Animal Hospital skit. An amusing idea, like the Roach Hotel in the Raid adverts animals check in but not out, it lost something in its delivery. Another comedic performer who is very good, is Pete Davidson who ruled the news segment of the show.
Unfortunately the rest of the comedy gags were not overly funny or all that interesting. The news update section, a time honored tradition on Saturday Night Live, where the world was first introduced to iconic characters like the late Gildna Radner’s Roseanne Roseannadanna and the first season’s Chevy Chase, now feels awkward and misses the smooth combination of topical comedy and confidence from days of old. Barring the Davidson commentary which was brilliant.
The faux commercials, another staple of SNL, worked well with the Marvel take-off. Playing Hooked on a Feeling behind several eclectic Marvel movie titles, and showing Chris Pratt walking in slow motion in most of the shots on the Guardians of the Galaxy hallway set, was amusing but not overly so. Saturday Night Live needs an injection of talent both in the writing department and cast. Pratt hosted the show very well and then was disappointing in most of the skits he worked on. Not through anything this performer did not do, but rather, because the material he was given was not funny. This 40th anniversary for the show feels like there should not be a 41st anniversary without a few major changes.
By Michael Smith