The third time was the charm as Adam Driver proved he is one of Saturday Night Live’s best hosts.
Saturday Night Live kicked off the second half of season 45 over the weekend and continued a streak that started with the premiere. Say what you will about the sketches, but the picks for host this season have been spot on. Adam Driver did that on Saturday night and in the process, cemented himself as one of the best hosts in recent SNL history.
Fans were eager to see how Saturday Night Live returned to the air in 2020 following the long holiday break. Last we saw SNL, Eddie Murphy was setting records and setting the bar impossibly high for every host that was set to follow him.
The next host would have the tricky task of building on the momentum of Murphy’s episode while also restarting the second half of the season. The show also came in the middle of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, meaning that even more eyes would be turned towards Saturday Night Live.
So to help get things going in the right direction, SNL turned to Adam Driver for the second time in two years. In the past, Driver has shown his versatility as a sketch actor and a willingness to play any character no matter how silly or how much it parodies his own career.
Driver, along with the cast and writers, delivered on Saturday night. Sketches were original and on point, resulting in one of the most consistent episodes of season 45.
The cold open addressed President Trump’s to the surprise of no one. What may have been surprising was the lack of cameos. The trial offered the perfect set up for multiple characters to be lampooned by either SNL friends or alumni. Instead, the writers offered just one special guest in the form of Jon Lovitz as Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
The setup of the cold open was clever and allowed for the target to be less on President Trump and more on his allies and supporters. That has become a common theme across late night in the weeks leading up to the impeachment trial. It also gave SNL the chance to take shots at podcasts, social media influencers, and Mark Zuckerberg among others.
It also gave fans an early peek at Adam Driver who appeared as Jefferey Epstein. It’s rare that a host pops up in the cold open and give credit to Driver for agreeing to portray Epstein and delivering some of SNL’s edgier jokes of the night.
Driver’s first time hosting gave fans the Undercover Boss/Star Wars: The Force Awakens crossover they didn’t know they needed. The sketch and Driver’s portrayal of Kylo Ren/Matt the Radar Technician developed a life of its own. So with Driver hanging up Kylo’s mask for good after The Rise of Skywalker, it was fitting that he revisit the Undercover Boss parody.
The sketch is sure to be a hit with Star Wars fans once again especially after #BringBenSoloBack and #SaveBenSolo were trending on Twitter in the days leading up to Saturday Night Live. While this sketch didn’t offer anything different from the original, it was a case of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” while still adding some updates for 2020.
Driver’s other best sketch of the night was “Medieval Times.” He brought some of the same energy to the sketch as he did to last year’s “Career Day,” one of season 44’s best. Here, the Academy Award nominated actor plays a performer who is taking his character a little too seriously for dinner theater:
It’s hard to pick the weak link when looking over the night’s sketches. Driver’s monologue was one of the season’s best and allowed the actor to showcase a weird, absurd side of himself that may not always come through in his roles.
Sketches from Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney have a reputation for ending up in the “Cut for Time” category. But the duo got a chance to shine with their “Del Taco” sketch with an assist from Driver. Driver and musical guest Halsey also helped Chris Redd’s rap song “Slow” become one of the night’s successes while getting a strong response from the live audience.
Speaking of Halsey, the singer once again turned in two excellent performances as the musical guest. Like Driver, Halsey returned to Studio 8H just one season after serving as host. And like last time, the singer delivered a live rendition of her hits that are sure to make fans happy.
Overall, it was a strong, consistent show that ensured Saturday Night Live got off on the right foot in 2020 and for the back half of the season. Adam Driver also ensured that he will be invited back again and again to host. His versatility as a performer, ability to fit in seamlessly with the cast, and willingness to do anything and everything proves that Driver is one of SNL’s best hosts in recent history.
What did you think of Adam Driver’s third time as host of Saturday Night Live? What was your favorite sketch of the night? Let us know in the comment section below. Saturday Night Live returns next week with host J.J. Watt and musical guest Luke Combs.