Saturday Night Live recap: Ana de Armas makes hosting debut in episode for the dogs

Hi all — we're kicking things off tonight as usual, in the time-bending SNL in Review zone. The host this evening is Ana de Armas, who recently became the first Cuban to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination, for playing Marilyn Monroe in the biopic Blonde. (Earlier this season, SNL mocked the controversial Netflix movie while Brendan Gleeson was hosting.)

Now, de Armas is kicking off promotion of her Apple TV+ action-comedy Ghosted (with SNL-averse Chris Evans), with the John Wick spin-off Ballerina expected next year. And with Colombian recording artist Karol G as the musical guest, it's bound to be an eventful night.

I am joined tonight by former SNL cast member Siobhan Fallon Hogan. "I am looking forward to seeing Ana de Armas. I thought she was brilliant in Knives Out and in Blonde," says the comedian, whose latest film, Shelter in Solitude, is currently screening at the Boston International Film Festival. "I think she makes great choices — and with Dexter Fletcher directing, I am super excited to see Ghosted."

Last week was a rare step back for this season. Will they recover and continue the positive reception from the past few months? Let's see!

Cold Open

Live from Central Park, it is mid-April and New York City has already hit 90 degrees. Thank you climate change. Dana (Heidi Gardner) and Jace (Bowen Yang) are interviewing the weird characters embracing the warm weather.

The cast gets a lot of chances here, a carousel sketch. Perverts (JAJ, Michael Longfellow) are out of the subway and using a fake arms to do their business. Molly Kearney plays a woman learning to rollerblade. Ego Nwodim is on her cell phone and can't find her friend. "Grown man with a drone who's alone" (Andrew Dismukes) is back too! These types of people all ring true, even if this is not laugh out loud funny.

Brief, and mostly flat. No arc — but hey, at least it was character-driven and only marginally political.

Opening Monologue

De Armas starts out her monologue speaking in Spanish. She discusses her arrival in America from Cuba, learning English by watching Friends. In three weeks, she will officially become an American citizen. She tells a poignant story about Robert De Niro and her father.

Understandably clumsy and brief.

"The Dome"

Ted Connell (Kenan Thompson) hosts a Game Show Network show. Two teams, one million dollars. Carmen (de Armas) is married to a nerd Matt Pat Schatt (Mikey Day) and Ted refuses to hear it! They must be cousins! He has to be wealthy! (He isn't, he volunteers eating dog food for Purina.)

The other participants guess too: Has he given her a kidney? Is she hypnotized? Is he very well endowed? It's inexplicable.

Nervous, Matt Pat Schatt begins to wipe his face, revealing his body… and a group of gross nipples. My god.

"American Girls trailer"

A new live-action story about historically accurate dolls. "That's OK!" They are all very cheery despite the tragedies defining their back stories. This is generally fun, playing off the recent hoopla over the Barbie trailer. It falls a little flat near the end.

Fun fact: there have been a few American Girl movies in real life. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl co-starred former SNLer Joan Cusack!

"Album recording session"

"Maybach Music" and "Mike Will Made It" are iconic producer tags. The artist Yung Spicy (Devon Walker) wants a few studio singers (de Armas, Nwodim) to create one for him. They get the assignment, except the tags become increasingly insulting. Seductive tags about him being illiterate and sleeping next to his laundry. He has rings around his toilet. "Spicy needs to be on a watchlist." This is cute, if one-note.

Kenan talking about the food he's anticipating is funny.

"Spanish class"

Mr. Macintosh (Day) wants his Spanish class to not use English when they converse. The principal (Johnson) welcomes some new students (Hernandez, de Armas), who are are native Spanish speakers!

"Yummy!" exaggerates Macintosh after hearing Hernandez's passionate, long description of his favorite food. Seems even the teacher is overwhelmed by their fluency. Classic Day role. This one is worth watching, especially if you have taken a Spanish class in school before.

please don't destroy video, "Hangxiety"

Our heroes are anxious over their behavior at the last SNL afterparty. We are treated to several flashbacks. I like seeing segments like this based around SNL's backstage culture. The escalation here (Chloe with a gun, Mikey Day's pants) work.

Karol G performance, "Mientras Me Cura del Cora"

The hopeful "Mientras Me Cura del Cora" ("While My Heart Heals") is built around Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Fun fact: McFerrin himself was the musical guest on the show back in 1988.

Karol G's Mañana Será Bonito became the first all-Spanish language album by a female artist to debut atop the Billboard 200 album chart last month; it was also Karol's first No. 1 album on the chart.

"Weekend Update"

Jokes about alleged government document leaker Jack Teixeira, who reportedly was the head of an obscure invite-only Discord chatroom called Thug Shaker Central… and Donald Trump's tendency to claim people are always crying around him. Other topics include: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas being treated to luxury vacations by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow, President Biden's trip to Ireland, and Senator Tim Scott running for President.

Funky Kong (Thompson) shows up to discuss being snubbed in the recent Mario Bros. movie.

Meditation guru Genesis Fry (Sherman) relaxes Jost, placing him in a trance and guiding him through his actions following the show. This is great and is a little reminiscent of something in Squirm's stand-up show. I like that this allows her to mock Jost outside her Sarah News segment. I am a fan of this!

Over 400 anti-LBGTQ bills have been filed this year in state legislatures. Unreal. Molly Kearney — the first non-binary cast member — comes on to discuss. They have their own intro, flying in from above via a harness. There's a great metaphor here, a powerful message about empathy. Comedically it splits the difference between classic Farley and some of Cecily Strong's impassioned segments at the desk. It will be really interesting to note the response to this appearance. To me, it was great to see Molly shine here.

"Lisa from Temecula: Wedding"

It is the return of Lisa from Temecula! This time, she is at a wedding. During the Pedro Pascal episode, this character went viral. A little bit of yawning deja vu this time. "Toss my salad!" she says this time. She accuses host de Armas, not Pascal, of trying to get her box.

A few holdovers from last time: Bowen Yang and Punkie Johnson (AKA sis) return. "Cook my meat!"

This was so fun the first time. I think repeat characters need to exist to fresh premises, don't just remake the first one beat-by-beat. I mean, de Armas is even trying to laugh here. Groundhog Day.

"Dog acting school commercial"

Chloe Fineman and de Armas act against several dogs. This is cheap stuff, and feels like Fineman is trying to fill Cecily Strong's lane. Sure it's cute, but at what cost?!

Karol G performance, "Tus Gafitas"

Love this set/costume design.

Musical guests singing in languages other than English are rare on SNL: BTS sang in Korean in 2019, Shakira and Alejandro Sanz sang "La Tortura" in Spanish in 2005, Luciano Pavarotti performed in Latin back in 1998, while the Gipsy Kings sang their Spanish hit "Bamboléo" in 1989.

"Nail salon"

Nina (Ana de Armas) has coerced her boyfriend (Yang) to come to a nail salon. We think he is uncomfortable due to conventional gender norms. Turns out no, it is more grotesque: He has not cut his nails for 12 years. He now has the Guinness Book of World record for longest nails. The downsides? He cannot wipe himself, he can't do "hand stuff" to Nina. Screw those gender roles!

Lots of vamping from Yang here.

Final thoughts

—Thank you to Siobhan Fallon Hogan! Check out this oral history of Holes featuring her from a few days ago.

—Just realized this is the third time we've seen Matt Schatt, previously this unimpressive man appeared with Margot Robbie and Jennifer Lopez. Solid!

—Well, how do we feel? Vote here or weigh in below!-Shout out to the man Jon Schneider for landing this fun interview with Mikey Day! Some good behind-the-scenes insights into this season here, folks.

—"Please bring me back!" Ana says to Lorne in the goodnights.

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