Kristen Wiig Brought Back All Her Best Characters on 'Saturday Night Live'

Abigail Covington
·3 min read
Photo credit: NBC - Getty Images
Photo credit: NBC - Getty Images

From Esquire

Last night, SNL superstar Kristen Wiig returned to her old stomping grounds to host the Christmas episode of "Saturday Night Live." Wiig was in town to promote the upcoming “Wonder Woman 1984” in which she plays the movie's villain, Cheetah, and she brought a few of the many characters she made famous over her eight seasons at SNL with her.

After reuniting with her pal and “Bridesmaids” co-star, Maya Rudolph, for a sing-songy monologue, Wiig transformed into one of her most recognizable characters — the old Broadway starlet Mindy Elise Grayson — for the Secret Word sketch. In the game show, Wiig’s Grayson fails to follow the only rule: Do not say the secret word. The simple set-up gives Wiig room to draw out the scene in hilarious ways which she did again in last night’s episode. In a particularly crude, funny moment, she missed the first “t” in the secret phase “trimming the tree” and said “I don’t know why anyone would want to do this to a tree. I guess if you wanted to practice, but I think you’d just get splinters in your mouth.” Cut to the king of facial expressions Kenan Thompson (playing the game show host) reacting in disgust before brusquely reminding Wiig’s Grayson, “This is the Christmas show. It’s Christmas.”

Bookending the episode, was another sketch featuring one of Wiig’s most recognizable characters from her SNL tenure: Sue, the lady who just cannot handle surprises. If you’ve seen one of the many, many times the sketch has been brought back over the years, you know exactly what happens: A rotating cast member informs a group of people that he has planned a surprise for someone. That’s when Wiig’s Sue starts rocking back and forth, teeming with panicky excitement, like a tea kettle on the verge of whistling. The funny part of the sketch comes when Sue, seeking relief from her emotions and perhaps punishing herself for ruining the surprise, performs some drastic physical feat like throwing herself out a window or smashing a bottle of champagne over her head.

Unfortunately, the version of the Sue sketch we saw last night was but a watered down version of the original. Unlike the Secret Word sketch, which derives its humor from the writing, Sue’s humor is in her physicality. Wiig barely utters a word as Sue, relying instead on slapstick comedy for a laugh. The problem is, having done the sketch so many times, Wiig’s Sue seems to have run out ways to injure herself. She literally has nowhere to go except out the window again, and that can only be funny so many times, especially when you know it’s coming.

Throughout the rest of the show Wiig tried on new roles and was hilarious in a digital short as a Mom who received a robe … again … for Christmas, while her husband and the kids all got awesome presents. Adding insult to injury was the family dog who, despite being a dog, also got a robe! Wiig then managed to keep a straight face while acting as a wife who spiced up her marriage by having a threesome with the Grinch.

As they often do, Wiig’s characters, both old and new, brought a much needed jolt to Saturday Night Live’s 46th season. I only wish that Lorne had put out a poll for which Wiig characters to bring back because I would’ve found a way to illegally vote for Wiig’s underappreciated take on Bjork as many times as possible.

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