Music superstar Lizzo made her Saturday Night Live hosting debut with a really funny, well-rounded outing. The writers and cast played to the “Good as Hell” singer’s strengths, giving her the space to add her charm and personality to every sketch. Since Lizzo wasn’t featured, and there was nothing new about the rotating impressions “Easter Wishes” cold open, let’s move on to the fun stuff.
Lizzo’s monologue was an enthusiastic celebration of how far she’s come. She noted that the episode would “break the record for the amount of times bitch is said on live TV,” before transitioning into a bit about doing a TED Talk on twerking. After a short “Truth Hurts” sing-a-long, she pointed out that she’s “not actually 100 percent that bitch.” Turns out she’s “really 50 percent that bitch, 10 percent a boss bitch and 40 percent a flute playing band nerd bitch.” It really set the tone for what would be a light-hearted, fun 90 minutes.
The Grammy-winner came out of the gate swinging with a fantastic game show parody with Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd and Ego Nwodim. Led by 19-year SNL veteran Thompson, the foursome displayed amazing chemistry as they went back and forth about the rules of this game show, which quickly went off the rails as Lizzo’s character took over and named herself “Mayor of Game Town.” As great as Lizzo was all night, this was her strongest sketch. As the first one after the monologue, it established that the Hustlers star was willing to go all in and not hold back.
The most memorable sketch of the night came in a video from the show’s comedy trio Please Don’t Destroy. As Lizzo struggles with writer’s block, the group pitched a number of ridiculous ideas. It turns out “The Horny Zookeeper” is the hit. With lyrics like “my bedroom is the petting zoo,” this is one of those musical videos that only Lizzo could make work.
You knew the show would find a way to work flute playing into a sketch, and luckily for viewers, they paired it with twerking in the hilarious “Orchestra.” Beverly Gags is an amazing flutist who can only play well when she’s twerking. This inevitably leads to the entire cast twerking. It really felt like everyone was enjoying themselves with the fun abandon of this one and that Lizzo was a spark to reignite the season.
A late in show surprise came in “Steve’s Beanie Babies,” where a man decides to quit his job and live off the investment of his Beanie Babies collection. Lizzo is his supportive wife who somehow sees no problem with this plan, or his backup to be a Super Mario artist. It’s the absurdity of this premise, along with Lizzo and Andrew Dismukes’ full commitment to the freak out when someone finally clues them in that Beanie Babies are worthless, that makes this more than a post-Weekend Update throwaway. Even though Lizzo broke several times, it was just another great example of how she was able to make everything they threw at her work.
As musical guest, the Grammy Award-winner delivered the first live performance of her new single “About Damn Time,” along with the title track of her new album, “Special.”
It’s been a while since SNL has delivered a complete homerun episode. Lately, it’s been a mixed bag of weak material or unfunny hosts. But as usual, they needed a Black woman to come in and save the day–and thankfully, Lizzo was up to the task.