"Saltburn" and "Euphoria" actor and apparent "babygirl" Jacob Elordi hosted "Saturday Night Live" in an episode that inverted the usual "hot girl host" dynamic (see: Emma Stone, Ana de Armas). Instead, multiple sketches featured female cast members fawning over the handsome and very tall Australian actor. They included a "Bachelorette"-type sketch in which Elordi's height alone secures him a win on a show with otherwise diminutive bachelors called "Crown Your Short King"; one about a women's AA group that accommodates a man (Elordi) only because he's handsome and a sex addict (it was as bad as it sounds); and a piece about an acting studio with a guest celebrity (Elordi) who has never had to audition or struggle as an actor because of his good looks.
It would seem like egregious piling on (we get it: he's good looking!) if Elordi had blown the barn doors off the other sketches in the show that weren't about his physical appearance. Instead, he struggled with microphone issues throughout the episodes, delivered flat comedic line readings, and never seemed to be in his element anywhere but in the monologue, where he came across as sincerely humbled to be hosting. He's a fine actor, as "Saltburn" proves, but as a guest host performing sketch comedy…? Let's just say he was great in "Saltburn."
Elsewhere on the show, Ego Nwodin played Katt Williams in an ad for an eight-hour version of his infamous “Club Shay Shay” interview, “Entertainment Tonight” brought in lip-reading experts to badly interpret celebrity footage, and a wedding goes wrong when Garrett from Hinge shows up to disrupt the proceedings.
Elordi was joined on the show by musical guest Reneé Rapp who starred in "Mean Girls," both the stage musical and film versions. She performed "Snow Angel" and "Not My Fault," the latter featuring Megan Thee Stallion, and was introduced by original "Mean Girls" star Rachel McAdams. McAdams also appeared in the acting studio sketch as a student named Natalie Partman who has the bad luck of looking just like famous actress Rachel McAdams.
This week's cold open returned to politics after the final "SNL" cold open of 2023 detoured into pop culture with a mock awards show after a disastrous cold open the week before that centered on college campuses and antisemitism hearings. James Austin Johnson took the spotlight with his reliable, and still very accurate, Donald Trump impression. But the shine on the performance may be wearing off a little, despite Trump's Iowa caucus win last week. Appearing from a Lower Manhattan U.S. District Court, Johnson's Trump riffed on his Republican rivals including "Ron DeStupid" and "Darling Nikki" [Haley], promised he's fine mentally ("Doing great with cognitive. I'm more cognitive than ever!") and claimed he's "back like 'Mean Girls!' " before lamenting that actor Lacey Chabert does not appear in the new "Mean Girls" movie. He encouraged old people to "stay alive till November, pull that lever, and drop dead!" Maybe it's the fractured Republican presidential race or Trump's many exhausting trials, but the bit just didn't feel as fresh or funny as previous openers with Johnson as Trump.
In the monologue for what Elordi described as "the first and so-far best show of 2024," the actor referenced the viral TikTok videos inspired by "Saltburn" and did a Q&A with the audience, which, again, focused on how attractive the actor is. It ended on a non sequitur, name-checking a movie from earlier in Elordi's career, "The Kissing Booth," which led to Kenan Thompson appearing as a man who apparently kisses a noble elephant he owns. It was in response to Elordi's question, "Can you name one other animal that kisses?" The monologue ended sincerely with Elordi thanking everyone, including the audience, for his success. "Because of you, I'm here. So thank you, thank you so much."
Best sketch of the night: Alaska Airlines is grounded
Alaska Airlines got roasted, unsurprisingly, given the negative attention it's received after a hole opened up on the side of one of its planes mid-flight earlier this month. In a mock commercial, the airline flips the script on the incident by telling passengers who went through the trauma, "You didn't die and you got a cool story … Other airlines let you watch movies, but on Alaska, you're in the movie!" The airline promised a commemorative $50 photo, similar to what you'd get on a Six Flags roller coaster, with every flight and said it plans to employ "Sully" Sullenberger (Johnson). The sketch's final insult? "Still better than Spirit!"
Also good: Bowling alley animations get more dramatic
You know those cheesy animations that appear at the bowling alley when you hit a strike or throw a ball into the gutter? A couple on a date (Elordi and Heidi Gardner) are served increasingly elaborate and dramatic mini movies featuring cast members dressed as bowling pins. They include a sad divorce (for "SPLIT!"), a pin getting beat up for not respecting labor unions ("STRIKE!") and a press conference for a serial killer who has killed NINE! An incredibly silly idea that only rises to the level of second-best sketch of the night due to lack of any other viable candidates.
'Weekend Update' winner: A courthouse jumper speaks his peace
Devon Walker appeared as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who recently dropped out of the presidential race, but he was edged out as the best part of this week's "Weekend Update" when Punkie Johnson appeared as a defendant from a viral video, who jumped and attacked a judge during a trial. As the defendant, Deobra Redden, Punkie Johnson expressed surprise that the judge wasn't surrounded by glass ("Even CVS shampoo have some glass, man!") and praised his own athleticism in the video. It wasn't the greatest "Weekend Update" guest segment of late, but as with the rest of the episode, it was slim pickings this week.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.