Fully Naked in New York – Right out of the gate, “SNL” delivered an oddball pre-recorded sketch that finds Bowen Yang, Emma Stone, Chloe Troast, Marcello Hernandez, and more letting their flesh fly as the one thing that cheers them up during the depressing winter months. This is such a bizarre idea, but the visuals of everyone appearing in the nude (thanks to flesh-toned underwear and blurry graphics) are undeniably funny, especially as the roster of characters increases throughout the sketch. The fact that it’s a full-on musical number with singing and dancing and a proper title card at the end only makes it that much better. You just can’t go wrong with a song that mentions nipples being hard and white butts blowing in the wind.
Make Your Own Kind of Music – When this sketch began, I had no idea where it was going, short of a potential reference to the second season opening of “Lost.” Thankfully, it ended up being so much more than that, with Emma Stone predicting how the song might be used in future movies. Cinephiles should appreciate this sketch quite a bit, which pokes a bit of fun at how songs of the past are being utilized in movies today. But that’s just a small part of the gag. The real laughs come from Stone’s acting out her imagination of montages and movie trailers using the song in different sequences. Stone’s facial expressions are hilarious mesmerizing, and they show just how goofy she’s willing to be for comedy. Kudos to Chloe Troast for again showing how talented she is as a singer, just as she did in Timothée Chalamet’s recent episode of “SNL.”
Posters – When you’re lucky enough to host “SNL” multiple times, there’s a chance that you get your own recurring sketch that only comes around when you return to host. In this case, It’s Emma Stone returning as a ditzy poster model who tries to help a tired teen (Marcello Hernandez) with his homework. Of course, she’s not helpful at all, and she serves as more of a distraction with her double entendres and sexual references. Even though this wasn’t one of the best sketches of the night, it’s certainly a reliable returning bit, and it actually had a really good ending.
Please Don’t Destroy – AI – Please Don’t Destroy hasn’t been landing as firmly as they typically do in recent episodes of “SNL,” but this episode feels like they’re on the upswing with an artificial intelligence inspired gag. Some of Emma Stone’s footage got corrupted on a hard drive, so they used Punkie Johnson and AI to help fill in the gaps, and it’s predictably shoddy and quite unsettling, which makes for plenty of laughs. The escalation of absurdity goes in some surprising directions, and it’s certainly one of Please Don’t Destroy’s better bits from this season.
As for the rest of the sketches, the George Santos cold open with Bowen Yang was better than all of the political cold opens this season, though not a legit home run. “The Kiln” sketch was a solid showcase for Chloe Fineman and Heidi Gardner to be a great new duo, and though it was still funny, it could use a little improvement for another iteration. Meanwhile, the Diet Coke from Olay commercial was decent, but one could argue it had too easy of a premise. The sketch that had trouble landing was the return of Kenan Thompson as the leader of a musical trio in “Tree Lighting Gig,” which wasn’t necessarily bad, but it just wasn’t as strong as the rest of the sketches. When you have such a stellar episode, the average sketches feel a little more disappointing, even if it’s solid and gets a boost from Emma Stone’s physical comedy.