Saturday Night Live recap: Jacob Elordi's 2024 kickoff is less burn, more simmer

Jacob Elordi
Jacob Elordi
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Jacob Elordi is very tall (6 foot 5 inches, to be exact), very Australian (he was born in Brisbane) and very handsome (the entirety of Saltburn hinges on how his nuclear hotness can reduce a person to homicidal mania). They’re three attributes that Saturday Night Live heavily played into for season 49's first episode of the new year—and overly so.

Returning from its annual holiday break (the last fresh SNL was the Kate McKinnon-hosted edition on December 16), the sketch comedy show kicked off 2024 with a Gen Z fever dream, pairing the hunky Aussie host with singer-actress Reneé Rapp as musical guest. (Along with promoting her debut album Snow Angel, Rapp has taken on the iconic role of Regina George in the 2024 Mean Girls movie musical, but more on that in a minute.) Together, they made for a new-year premiere that was full of hormones, but light on humor.

Opening monologue: Jacob Elordi’s here and he’s hot

After a decidedly unsexy cold open that featured James Austin Johnson’s Donald Trump beaming in from his second E. Jean Carroll defamation trial., where the ex-president waxed nonsensical about everything from his posture (“Arms like a G.I. Joe, legs like the ‘Smooth Criminal’ video) to O.G. Mean Girls actress Lacey Chabert (“Left out of remake, so sad...but she’s doing great things in terms of Hallmark movies”), Elordi took to the stage to intro “the first and, so far, best show of 2024.” The Priscilla star took questions from the studio audience about his “favorite” Elvis (the one in Lilo & Stitch), discussed the varying demographics of Saltburn viewers (“If you saw the movie with your parents, I’m sorry. And if you saw the movie with your girlfriend, you’re welcome”) and dodged “Hi babygirl!” interjections, but the jokes were few and far between. His hair looked great, though.

The best over-the-top make-out of the night:

We love a host who’s game to get physical with their comedy, especially when it comes to an aggressive snog (the recurring “Last Call” bit with Kate McKinnon’s Sheila Sovage is one of the best vehicles for this), and Elordi proved no exception in this The Bachelorette-inspired dating show where the male contestants are all “short kings” (i.e. 5 foot 7 and under). Chloe Fineman is totally down to pick one of the petite fellas, until over-six-foot suitor Jackson (Elordi) arrives armed with plenty of red flags (he “technically” still has a girlfriend and needs to borrow $200,000) but a broad wingspan. “Yeah, I choose him,” she groans immediately before mounting Elordi like Barry Keoghan did to that gravesite.

The most bi panic-inducing sketch of the night:

While Rapp was mostly relegated to the musical stage during Saturday’s episode, The Sex Lives of College Girls actress did crop up alongside Elordi (plus Bowen Yang) to horn up of all of TikTok as “little lesbian intern Reneé” in an Entertainment Tonight sketch that saw the trio as “professional” lip readers tasked with breaking down exactly what Timothée, Kylie and the like were whispering to each other during all those awards shows. “This isn’t an exact science,” Bowen’s character warns the ET hosts (Heidi Gardner and Ego Nwodim), before offering up such dumb-dumb gems as “Je joue le Oompa Loompa” as the Wonka star, “I’m a big guy, stomp, stomp” (Travis Kelce) and “Goop goop goop, love you baby” (on-trial Gwyneth Paltrow).

The best non-horny sketch of the night:

This faux Alaska Airlines commercial was a nicely savage roast of the company’s recent wall-of-the-plane-broke-off-mid-flight snafu, plus it was one of the only bits of the evening that didn’t rely on Elordi’s prettiness as a punchline. Jacob joined cast members like Kenan Thompson and Heidi Gardner as flight attendants, detailing the various changes that the airline has implemented in the wake of that PR disaster. Those bolts that “hold the plane together”? They’re gonna tighten those. Oh yeah, and they’ve brought back Sully out of retirement (much to his chagrin). “Alaska Airlines. You didn’t die and you got a cool story!”

The overall cringiest sketch of the night:

The most groan-worthy set-up of the evening was soundtracked by literal groans, but the thirsty kind. Jacob Elordi walks into a Women Supporting Women gathering and they instantly discard their mission of solidary for a full ogle session. A wayward Alcoholics Anonymous seeker, Elordi’s character reveals that he has subbed out his substance abuse with uncontrollable promiscuity. (“I would wear those poor women like a gas mask.”) Naturally, the women are very interested to learn more (“I don’t want to be too graphic.” “Please do!”), particularly Punkie Johnson, who winds up bra out and breathless. Chloe Fineman fully breaking beside her makes it all watchable but barely.

The best use of a celebrity cameo:

Before Reneé Rapp’s second musical performance of the night—for her track “Not My Fault,” off the Mean Girls soundtrack—she was introduced by a very special guest: yes, the original queen of The Plastics herself, Rachel McAdams. It was a lovely passing-of-the-torch moment between the Regina George performers, which continued as they applauded and blew kisses to each other during Elordi’s closing. McAdams would also join in for one sketch during the show: as a wannabe actress who just so happens to look exactly like Oscar-nominated star Rachel McAdams.

Jacob Elordi/Reneé Rapp

D+

D+

Jacob Elordi/Reneé Rapp

Season

49

Episode

9

Stray observations

  • Every giant birthday cake should have a surprise Megan Thee Stallion on the inside.

  • The credits promised a new Please Don’t Destroy digital this week, but it looks like the trio was bumped for time?

  • If this episode was for the Gen Z babies, next week’s SNL host/musical guest combo is firmly for the millennials: it’s a The Social Network reunion between Dakota Johnson and Justin Timberlake.