Saturday Night Live can’t make the most of Kristen Wiig’s return

Kristen Wiig (Photo by Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty Images Paramount Pictures)
Kristen Wiig (Photo by Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty Images Paramount Pictures) /

The always hysterical Kristen Wiig returned to Saturday Night Live for her fourth gig as host.

Plenty of legendary comedians got their start as cast members of Saturday Night Live, but Kristen Wiig might just be one of the greatest SNL cast members of all time. She has the ability to make almost anything funny, and she’s so likeable that even when she’s bad, she’s still good. She created many of the show’s most memorable recurring characters, and she’s gone on to have an incredible film career. Plus, she held her own as the only woman in the main cast for a year and a half. She’s an SNL legend.

Unfortunately, this weekend’s show didn’t live up my sky-high expectations. Part of the problem was that Wiig was cast in too many “straight-woman” roles or other parts that constricted her ability to shine. Almost any female host could have played the pigeon lady in the “Home Alone 2” sketch or Bowen Yang’s dance partner in “U.S.O. Performance.” Those sketches were still funny, but they didn’t feel like the best use of Wiig’s talent.

Nevertheless, the episode still had some great moments. It was heartwarming to see Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig together again at SNL, and it was a great episode for any fans of recurring characters. Here are my three favorite sketches of the night.

Saturday Night Live with Kristen Wiig highlights: Weekend Update

Okay, maybe Weekend Update isn’t technically a sketch, but it was definitely the highlight of this week’s show. In particular, both Chris Redd and Kenan Thompson were terrific as two correspondents who stopped by the update desk.

First, Redd came by in character as legendary singer Smokey Robinson. Last week, Robinson went viral for a cameo video in which he mispronounced Chanukah as “cha-noo-kah” and also suggested that he had no idea what the holiday was. Redd had a great deal of fun at Robinson’s expense, and it was clear that Redd was really enjoying himself the entire time.

Next, Kenan Thompson made an appearance as one of his long-time recurring characters: Michael Che’s “neighbor” Willie. Willie never fails to make me laugh, and somehow, after six years, the character still hasn’t gotten old. That’s probably because Willie is Kenan Thompson at his best – a silly voice and a goofy smile – and Kenan Thompson certainly never gets old.

Heidi Gardner was also hysterical as Instagram influencer Landis Trotter, but Redd and Thompson were the true MVPs this week. Besides, all of her other Update characters just pale in comparison to Bailey Gismert.

Oh, and Michael Che’s joke about Scarlett Johannson playing Sammy Davis Jr. also deserves a shoutout. That one had me cackling.

Saturday Night Live with Kristen Wiig highlights: Christmas Morning

I haven’t been able to stop singing this song all day (it officially replaced “Tiny Horse” as the song stuck in my head), and I laugh out loud every time I think about Kristen Wiig’s perfect deadpan delivery throughout this sketch. Just like “The Christmas Conversation” from a couple of weeks ago, this mom-centric sketch was also great because it hit so close to home. I definitely ordered my mother an extra Christmas present after watching this one.

I will say, I do feel a little bad for Kyle Mooney. At age 36 (and after seven years in the SNL cast) he’s still constantly getting cast as a little kid in an ugly blonde wig. It happened twice on Saturday! On the other hand, knowing Mooney, maybe he loves it.

Saturday Night Live with Kristen Wiig highlights: Secret Word Holiday Edition

We all knew Kristen Wiig would be bringing back a few of her iconic characters to studio 8H. While I’m a little surprised we didn’t see an “essential worker Target Lady” sketch, I was happy to see Mindy Elise Grayson back on Saturday Night Live.

While the sketch certainly wasn’t groundbreaking (it followed the same formula it always does), watching Wiig embody this character is truly a masterclass in sketch comedy acting. Her voice, her facial expressions, her limbs – every part of her is so funny that this sketch makes me laugh so matter how times I see it done.

We don’t know for sure yet when we’ll get a new episode, but luckily Saturday Night Live has plenty of great holiday sketches from years past to tide us over. If you’re looking for more Kristen Wiig Christmas content, I highly recommend “Garth and Kat Sing Christmas Songs” and “Santa’s My Boyfriend.” Happy Holidays!

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What did you think of Kristen Wiig’s performance on Saturday Night Live? Which sketch was your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.