Saturday Night Live: Highlights from Adele’s hosting debut

Musical guest H.E.R., host Adele, and Kate McKinnon for Saturday Night Live (Photo by: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC)
Musical guest H.E.R., host Adele, and Kate McKinnon for Saturday Night Live (Photo by: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC) /

Pop superstar Adele brought joy and excitement to studio 8H when she hosted SNL for the first time this past weekend.

Chris Rock and Bill Burr are seasoned stand-up comedians. Issa Rae is a comedy writer and producer. All three are actors with significant film and television experience. Next week’s SNL host, John Mulaney, is all of these things as well.

Adele Adkins, on the other hand, is neither a comedian nor an actor. According to IMDB, her only acting credit is from 2009, when she played herself in a cameo role on Ugly Betty.  The closest thing she has to comedy experience is probably this video in which she dresses up and enters an Adele lookalike contest (which is, admittedly, pretty funny).

That being the case, it was quite surprising when Adele was announced as the host of last weekend’s show. Beyond her lack of experience, it was particularly strange considering she wasn’t even doing double duty as musical guest, nor did she have a new album to promote.

But it seems like Lorne Michaels knew what he was doing because Adele did an admirable job in her Saturday Night Live hosting debut.

SNL with Adele review: The monologue

I’ve been really enjoying the direction the monologues are taking this season. In general, I think SNL monologues are much better when they’re just that–monologues. When they get too gimmicky or scripted, they lose the appeal of the format.

Adele’s monologue hit all the right beats: references to her past SNL performances, jokes that were so natural that Adele herself could have written them (even though I know she probably didn’t), and a wonderful compilation of her swearing during a live broadcast.

The monologue also exemplified why she was such a strong host. She was very clearly thrilled to be there, and that degree of excitement is really refreshing and fun.

When Kenan Thompson says to her “Oh, Adele!”, she lets out a bizarre sputtering laugh, which is probably exactly the noise I would make if I’m ever so lucky to hear Kenan Thompson say my name. It’s nice to see an SNL host who’s having as much fun as I would.

SNL with Adele review: The Best Sketch

The best sketch in this episode was hands-down the Bachelor parody. In the sketch, Adele plays herself as a contestant on The Bachelor who can’t help but break into her own songs at any given moment.

Whoever wrote this sketch deserves a lot of credit. Not because it was ground-breaking humor or anything like that, but because it was the absolute perfect way to use Adele as the host. First and foremost, it would have been a travesty if Adele hadn’t sung at all on the program. But more importantly, Adele was at her best when she was just being her charming, likable, and excited self.

In this sketch, Adele got to be really funny while also just being Adele, and that’s why it worked so well. Another thing I loved about this sketch was Beck Bennett and all the other Bachelor contestants got really excited to hear her sing “Someone Like You.” Adele loves SNL, and SNL loves Adele right back.

SNL with Adele review: Room for improvement

Clearly, Adele has her shortcomings as a sketch comedian. The most prominent example of this was when she could barely get through her final live sketch of the night because she was laughing so hard. Performers holding back laughter on live TV can be very entertaining, but this went a little too far and almost ruined the sketch. Still, it was charming to watch her have such a good time.

Adele was also tasked with playing opposite Pete Davidson in a sketch featuring his recurring character Chad. Chad is funny, but only when he has a really excellent scene partner to play against. That’s why the “Pool Boy” sketch with Julia Louis-Dreyfus worked so well. Adele tried her best, and her acting was commendable, but this sketch clearly demonstrated her limitations as a comedian.

SNL Stray Thoughts

  • Has Maya Rudolph just become a repertory player again? She didn’t even play Kamala Harris on Saturday, and yet she was in three sketches. I love Maya Rudolph and she always makes me laugh, but this show already has a large, talented cast. And speaking of that cast…
  • I feel like this is the first time all season that Melissa Villaseñor has gotten some good parts. I’m happy to see her.
  • When, oh when will Cecily Strong return from the far off land of Canada? I miss her on the show a lot.
  • I’m still waiting for some good Kyle Mooney “Cut for Time” sketches…

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What did you think of Adele’s performance on Saturday Night Live? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.