Saturday Night Live Season 42 review: Was John Cena funny?

Credit: NBC/SNL
Credit: NBC/SNL /

WWE star John Cena hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend, but did he come off the top rope or flop in the middle of the ring?

Saturday Night Live is in the middle of its last stretch of 2016, but we’re already waiting for next week. John Cena dropped by as host, but it wasn’t pretty. We should have expected a vanilla episode from the WWE star who refuses to turn heel and plays the nice guy character into the ground.

Why would that guy show up and give us anything more than sketches about hunks, dumb jocks, hunky dumb jocks or whatever variation of that you can think of. John Cena is a nice enough guy, but that’s the point. He was pretty much set to fail at SNL from the start. It’s not impossible to be a little risqué and also retain your family image, but that’s a challenge that John Cena can’t see — even if we were all subjected to his hosting of SNL.

Not all was lost, though. Here are the moments you need to know about from John Cena’s night on SNL:

SNL Rundown…

1. The cold open was probably the highlight of the night thanks to it’s surprise cameo. While trolling the Trump administration for its cabinet picks, Bryan Cranston reprised his Walter White character.

2.  John Cena’s opening monologue actually wasn’t that bad. It went for the easy joke — making fun of the fact that he’s a wrestler by having other cast members but promos in front of him.

3. Things weren’t all that great out of the gate with the first skit of the night. It involved an MTV dating show where Cena’s size and intelligence were the punchline. Take this and insert it into any sketch situation and you have the set for tonight’s show.

4. Sure enough, the next skit was about Cena playing Johnny Lawrence from Karate Kid. This was followed by a skit about a Alabama football player being stupid but still getting passing grades.

5. One of the better skits of the night, from a potential standpoint, featured Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon in a buddy cop show from the 80s. The title, Dyke and Fats, says it all and hopefully we get more of that in the weeks to come.

6. The Weekend, once again, was the best thing about the show this week. Michael Che’s troll game was strong and Colin Jost hit most of his marks. He took another shot at NBC, trolling the fact that Donald Trump is going to keep his TV job while also being president.

7. Props go to Cecily Strong for turning in a hilarious rendition of her character Cathy Ann. This week she took on the alt-right in a brilliant analogy about McCafe, McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

8. In a week where a WWE star was the host, the only person who came off the top rope was Che, who had a scorcher about Exxon being known for it’s charity involving cleaning oil off ducks.

9. SNL went after UFC star Conor McGregor for the first time, and it was actually pretty solid. Maybe we’ll get to see Alex Moffat bring the character back in a better episode.

10. I always say that the threshold to tell if an episode is bad is when the musical guest is mentioned in this rundown. Well, Maren Morris wasn’t that bad tonight — which honestly isn’t a slight against her. She was a highlight, even for someone who isn’t a fan of the Christian Country genre.


Cena might be a talented wrestler, but his stage presence doesn’t translate to comedy gold. He’s alright in supporting roles, but he wasn’t done any favors with the writing this week as none of the material really meshed well. There were hits and misses but overall it wasn’t the strongest outing in a season where everyone has proven they can do much better than what we saw this weekend.

Here’s where this episode stacks up against the others that we’ve seen this season:

1. Dave Chappelle/A Tribe Called Quest — A+
2. Tom Hanks/Lady Gaga — A-
3. Benedict Cumberbatch/Solange — B-
4. Kristen Wiig/The xx — B-
5. Margot Robbie/The Weeknd — C+
6. Lin-Manuel Miranda/TwentyOne Pilots — C-
7. Emily Blunt/Bruno Mars — D+
8. John Cena/Maren Morris — D-

 Next Week on SNL…

Saturday Night Live will return next week for its last show of the year with host Casey Affleck. Musical guest Chance The Rapper will drop by to liven things up, as all signs point to s rebound next Saturday and a fine ending to what has been a pretty solid first half for SNL.

Date: December 17th
Host: Casey Affleck
Musical Guest: Chance The Rapper
TV Channel: NBC
Live Stream: Stream 1 | Stream 2

Be sure to check out Last Night On for all your SNL highlights.