Saturday Night Live recap: Zoë Kravitz (and a bunch of Catwomen) go for laughs
Salutations Conehead nation. We're back with another thrilling SNL in Review. Tonight's host is Zoë Kravitz, who is starring in two exceptional movies right now. The first is Kimi, a modern spin on Rear Window, directed by Steven Soderbergh. It's on HBO Max, and Kravitz's tough but vulnerable protagonist absolutely carries the movie.
Kravitz's work also (nearly) steals The Batman, an episodic, detective-focused take on the DC Comics superhero. It's excellent, and deserves its comparisons to The Dark Knight. Krazitz plays Selena Kyle — and while she may not be as instantly iconic as Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, it's a captivating performance.
I am joined tonight by former SNL cast member Ellen Cleghorne, who was on the show when Kravitz's father appeared as a musical guest in 1993. "I have always loved Lenny Kravitz. He is one of those supernatural beings like Michael Jackson, Prince, [and] Beyoncé," she says.
Cleghorne is no stranger to Batman cast members coming on to 8H to promote their latest big screen ode to the Caped Crusader. During her second season, no less than three stars from Batman Returns hosted SNL. She comments: "I love Michael Keaton period. Danny DeVito is a force of nature and I loved working with both of them. Christopher Walken is a fabulous dancer, I had the opportunity to dance with him in a sketch — Google it. I didn't realize until now that they were all connected to Batman franchise promotion. I did love DeVito as Penguin … I was just thrilled to be working with these paragons of the industry."
Let's get started.
The war in Ukraine has intensified, and many tech channels have been shut down. TikTok creators have never been more crucial. We join the "landline of presidents" — AKA Joe Biden — as he consults with goofy online content creators. He needs these stars to defeat Russia.
Chloe Fineman is an actress from the CW (AKA AnnaLynne McCord). She wants to attack Putin with poems. Chris Redd is Jason DeRulo — singing his name is all he can contribute.
SNL is always struggling with how much to embrace extremely online culture — should it be in dialogue with these audiences? Do these alienate more mainstream, or older viewers who don't track the kinds of online trends being parodied here? Mixed bag, in my view. The writing is a bit hammy, overstuffed. Even James Austin Johnson's Biden feels a little off.
Curiously, press secretary Jen Psaki was played by Chloe Fineman a few weeks back, but now Kate McKinnon gets to mug about how out of touch the president is.
Kravitz comes out and describes the research that went into playing "the Catwoman." (She is truly great in the role, displaying great onscreen chemistry opposite Robert Pattison. Go see it!)
Suddenly: Kate McKinnon hams it up as the 90s Catwoman (dressed like a "Sandy from a porno version of Grease). It's fun to see McKinnon and Kravitz reunite, for those of us who appreciated Rough Night. McKinnon gives her origin story and summons the other Catwomen of yore.
Ego Nwodim is Eartha Kitt (!!) from the campy 60s Batman TV show. And Aidy Bryant is a cat lady who wants to meet Rosalía. Legendary stand-up comedian Katt Williams (Chris Redd) also wants to meet Rosalía. (Jay Pharoah once impersonated Williams on Update.)
Cleghorne is "a Zoe Kravitz fan. Loved her in Big Little Lies, but fell in love" with her after watching X-Men: First Class.
Maid of Honor
Matt (Kyle Mooney) and Tonya (Cecily Strong) are being toasted by the groomsmen. The maid of honor, Sarah (Kravitz), gets her turn. Things turn dark. It seems Tonya has some secrets. She has dated most of Jackass, for instance — and apparently Suge Knight. "I'm gonna die," says Matt. Lots of excited groans from the audience.
And Sarah isn't perfect either. Her husband — played by Martin Herlihy — was once her math student.
Grab what you want, and just go! All the white, affluent customers are into it. But Kenan Thompson, Punkie Johnson, and Ego Nwodim see it as a trap. Kravitz orders Andrew Dismukes to get her kombucha. Chris Redd shouts he is returning a sandwich.
"Amazon Go store black man trapped!" he hollers.
Another Rough Night reunion! Josh (McKinnon) is waiting for his mom to pick him up. Kravitz — the "Hilary Duff of their algebra class" — is clearly into him. He calls his buddy Jason (Bryant) for advice.
This is a reprise of the same study-buddy premise from the Carey Mulligan episode. "We have a modern woman on our hand," Josh nervously observes. The audience is eating this up. They meet gazes and kiss. Silly and self-indulgent.
The Princess and the Frog
Cecily Strong sings again — needless and self-indulgent — introducing the sketch. Kravitz is Princess Tiana, being romanced by Prince Naveen (Chris Redd), the frog prince of Maldonia.
Straight out of Newark, the frog prince has no penis. This is obviously a huge dealbreaker for Tiana. And we have the premise of our sketch, yawn. "Clean off!" He describes the realities of this situation as a frog, and why he lost his member as a human. Why does SNL keep doing these Disney spoofs? Do you guys like these?
Dr. Facilier (Kenan Thompson) comes out to clarify. (Keith David voiced the character in the movie.) The sketch ends with Ray, a middle aged Cajun firefly played by Andrew Dismukes, getting eaten by the Prince. Ray asserts he is the worst character in the history of Disney Animation, which is debatable. But the hook for this sketch — Cecily having an excuse to sing aside — is that this is a forgotten, odd Disney cartoon.
Please Don't Destroy
The guys have gotten Kravitz a cat. Snugglebucket. (Getting the super hero affiliated hosts gap pet gifts is their thing. Like Paul Rudd got a man ant. Hers is a 'woman cat.') She enters and the cat is gone.
Chaos ensues. Paul Dano — AKA the Riddler — appears under the couch. He's researching a role for a movie about three guys who suck...them.
Another surreal, absurd, tightly paced clip from our season's MVPs. You can tell the audience loves these guys. Just make them cast members already.
Old Home Movies
Kenan Thompson has filmed a video for his family, to be viewed upon his death. Despite being alive — upstairs on the toilet — his kids and wife have found the tape, and start hearing his outlandish secrets. Former SNL writer JB Smoove's betting app has gotten him in trouble. He has a secret daughter. He doesn't know who Jamie Foxx is. He is writing for a movie called Dallas City Bouncers.
A home run performance from Kenan, who has to mime like he's being fast forwarded several times.
This is history making — Rosalía is the first ever Spanish solo act to serve as the show's musical guest. (Unclear if this is the first musical act performed with one arm wearing a leather jacket.) Motomami is her upcoming third studio album; it comes out next week.
Colin Jost notes it has been two years since COVID began. He and Michael Che tackle Russia and the rise of gas prices. Jost notes Disney's long history of problematic Disney cartoons, which tweaks the point of The Princess and The Frog sketch.
It is Oscar season, and that means Terry Fink (Alex Moffat) is back. He's been watching a lot of movies on LSD. So he's hallucinating. We previously saw him on Update during the Kit Harington and Kim Kardashian episodes.
Social media breeds insecurity and happiness. To comment: Dan Bulldozer (Kyle Mooney), a muscular influencer. His voice has been pitched to sound extremely deep. "Everything is just… insane!" he yells.
Gene Baby (Andrew Dismukes) is our host — this game show is about showing letters that form words, which means prizes and money. Sarah Sherman is the sound engineer who wrote the script, since there's a writer's strike at the moment.
Kara (Kravitz) guesses Mom-Hole, which is wrong for a few reasons. "Why not?" She doubles down and keeps guessing a litany of inappropriate words that have been included by Sherman.
It is interesting to see Dismukes in host mode. Wonder if we'll be seeing more of him in this role. And hey, Aristotle Athari — we note your appearance here and love seeing you.
This is very moving, and shows another side to Rosalía. Tonight's appearance is actually the second time Rosalia has been on the show. Last season, Bad Bunny performed "La Noche de Anoche" with Rosalía.
Don't Stop Believin'
Friends are getting dinner. Bowen Yang brings up the OSU drumline performance of "Don't Stop Believing." His group of friends are suspicious. He begins yelling about this, "San Fransic," and Mario Kart's Rainbow Road. It doesn't matter he's getting the lyrics wrong, or even naming Steven Tyler the lead singer of Journey. He connects with Claire (Kravitz) and — despite them both being gay — they fall in love. Yang kills this. Loved how offbeat and specific this was.
The second Doja Cat reference tonight!
What did *you* think of the Zoe Kravitz SNL?
— THE “SNL in Review” Experience (@SNLinReview) March 13, 2022
—What did you think of Zoe Kravitz? Comment below or vote here.
—Thank you to Dr. Ellen Cleghorne!