Saturday Night Live comes back strong with host Jonah Hill

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Jonah Hill attends "Maniac" Season 1 Premiere at Center 415 on September 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Jonah Hill attends "Maniac" Season 1 Premiere at Center 415 on September 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images) /

Saturday Night Live may have taken a few weeks off but it returned with host Jonah Hill and provided one of the stronger episodes of the season.

Things got back to regularly scheduled programming this weekend when Saturday Night Live returned after a two-week break. Prior to the time off the 44th season was off to an uneven start following the high of the Adam Driver-hosted premier. But on Saturday, host Jonah Hill helped get things back on track.

Last Night On’s preview of the episode offered three things to look for when Hill took the stage for his fifth time as host. Let’s take a look how that played out before we get into the episode’s highlights.

The return of Adam Grossman

As mentioned in the preview, a five-timers club member typically has a character or two that has been a hit. This gives him or her the chance to draw on some of that material for a new sketch. For Hill, it has been in the form of six-year-old wisecracker Adam Grossman.

While the character is timeless in premise, there was the chance that Adam was skipped over. The success of past versions was how Hill played off Bill Hader, a co-creator of the character, and Vanessa Bayer. With neither Hader or Bayer in the cast, the current writers had to find a new adult to accompany Adam to his beloved Benihana.

The decision to have Adam there with his nanny, played by Leslie Jones, was the simplest way to work around that. It paid off and the sketch was one of the highlights.

The Pete Davidson drama

Pete Davidson made far more headlines this summer for his personal life than he ever has for working at Saturday Night Live. This is due in part because sketch comedy isn’t Davidson’s strong suit. He is much more talented as a stand-up and playing himself on Weekend Update.

Despite that, Davidson did appear in an unusually high number of sketches through the first three weeks. It made sense for the show to capitalize on Davidson’s sudden super-fame from dating singer Ariana Grande.

So when news broke earlier in the week that Davidson and Grande called off their engagement and ended their relationship, it was interesting to see if SNL would address it as they had the relationship previously. Davidson got some backlash for a promo in which he proposed to musical guest Maggie Rogers so that may have played into what he said at the end of his Weekend Update segment:

Political cameos

This was the one prediction from the preview that did not come to fruition. While there was a strong political theme weaved throughout the night, there were no surprise appearances from any candidate up for election on Nov. 6.

Instead the cast took to encouraging the audience to vote. The was the taped sketch on Democrats’ uneasy confidence heading into the midterms. Both Michael Che and Pete Davidson made calls for voter turnout during Weekend Update.

The cameos were saved for the monologue. Jonah Hill was welcomed into the five-timers club by Tina Fey, Candace Bergen, and Drew Barrymore.

We’ve looked at how Jonah Hill’s episode of Saturday Night Live played out compared to Last Night On’s predicitions. Two of three ain’t bad after going three for three for Seth Meyers’ episode last month. Now let’s check out the top three sketches from Nov. 4

Caravan Cold Open

The most consistent element of Saturday Night Live this season has been the cold opens. It started with Matt Damon as Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the premiere. The momentum continued with the locker-room celebration spoof of Kavanaugh’s confirmation and then Alec Baldwin’s first cameo as President Trump meeting with Kanye West.

This week continued the political theme of those cold opens. Kate McKinnon brought back her impression of Fox News personality Laura Ingram. Ingram has been surprisingly absent from SNL parodies despite giving plenty of material. Regardless, McKinnon does a nice job portraying Ingram’s false sense of self-confidence in what she reports.

David Ortiz on Weekend Update

Anytime Kenan Thompson gets to shine, there is a good chance it will make the highlights of the episode. And Thompson has always made the most of his times playing Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz. In the opening monologue Thompson quipped “This is my show, I let you in here sometimes” to returning host Jonah Hill. It’s performances like this one as Ortiz that shows why it’s Thompson’s show.

The Red Sox winning the World Series was a blessing for SNL by providing a reason for Thompson’s Ortiz to join Colin Jost on Weekend Update again. This may not have been the best Ortiz segment but it proves Thompson is still on top of his game when playing a character he so clearly loves playing.


In a toss up between this sketch and “Teacher Fell Down” it is the commitment by Aidy Bryant that helps tip the scales. Her version of Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been a hit since the beginning. Bryant took things to new heights (or lows?) with “HuckaPM.”

This sketch would have been fine if the premise was simply that Sanders needed to take her own special medication to sleep at night. The show and others have constantly criticized Sanders for how she spins every news item in favor of Trump and against Democrats. The thought of her self-medicating through a crisis of conscious would work.

But things go in a much different direction when Bryant takes her first dead-weight fall onto the bed. The pratfall was one of the best the show has seen since the days of the gag’s master, Chris Farley. And while some digital enhancements were made to a fall or two, the reaction of the audience is enough to put this sketch among the night’s best.

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Saturday Night Live will be back again on Nov. 10 with another new episode. The host will be Liev Schreiber and the musical guest will be Lil Wayne. Check back in on Friday for an episode preview and then a review of all the night’s highlights.