Saturday Night Live: Anya Taylor-Joy is stellar in the season finale

Anya Taylor-Joy (Image by BBC/Comic Relief/Getty Images)
Anya Taylor-Joy (Image by BBC/Comic Relief/Getty Images) /

After eight months and twenty episodes, season 46 of Saturday Night Live finally came to an end this weekend. I wouldn’t say the finale was the best episode of the season, but it was funny throughout, and Anya Taylor-Joy was a phenomenal host.

Taylor-Joy was completely at ease performing live on the show, which was particularly impressive considering that she’s only 25 years old and is still relatively new to stardom. Beyond just being comfortable, she also proved herself to be a remarkable sketch performer. She was in every sketch other than the cold open, and she played a lead role in nearly every sketch she was in. Even when she wasn’t in a lead role (such as in “Picture with Dad” or “AMC Theatres Commercial”) she still added something to the sketch with her performance.

Over the next several days and weeks, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for articles recapping season 46 in its entirety. Before we get to that, let’s talk about the finale. These were the best sketches from Anya Taylor-Joy’s night as host.

Saturday Night Live with Anya Taylor-Joy review: Season 46 Finale Cold Open

I always love when Saturday Night Live gets self-referential. The cast is great at playing wild and wacky characters, but they’re also super fun and engaging when they’re just being themselves. This sketch featured great jokes, funny true stories, and a few genuinely touching moments too. It was a strong start to the final show of the season.

Saturday Night Live with Anya Taylor-Joy review: Picture with Dad

The premise of this sketch wasn’t anything too original, and Beck Bennett’s character acknowledged as much when he said that he saw this joke “on the internet.” Despite that, this was one of the best sketches of the night because of the distinctive dialogue and the pitch-perfect performance of the actors.

Andrew Dismukes pulled double duty on this sketch as both the writer and an actor, and it’s been exciting to see him get more and more to do on the show. For this sketch, he used a really interesting format in which the characters would repeat the same questions and answers over and over again, and it worked really well. I’m sure it doesn’t come across nearly as well in my description, so be sure to give it a watch.

Once again, Beck Bennett proved that he’s one of the best pre-taped sketch actors SNL has ever had. I’ll probably write a full article about this later, but I’ll say it here first: Beck Bennett deserves an Emmy nomination for this season.

Saturday Night Live with Anya Taylor-Joy review: Making Man

This sketch was so well crafted that you could develop a comedy writing master class built around it. The premise was strong, the jokes were hilarious, and there were so many excellent characters. It’s the kind of sketch that I’ll re-watch numerous times, and I’ll be sharing it with friends and family too.

The acting was also really solid in this one. Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor, and Kyle Mooney all killed it. I was most impressed, however, with Anya Taylor-Joy because it was in this sketch that she really showed just how well she could fit in with the SNL cast.

Saturday Night Live with Anya Taylor-Joy review: Lingerie Store

This felt like a classic SNL format that we haven’t seen much of this season; it reminded me of recurring sketches from past seasons like “Whiskers R We.” I’m not always a fan of this particular format, but I thought “Lingerie Store” worked really well. The jokes were well-written, the acting was solid, and the secondary characters added something new to the sketch, instead of just prolonging it.

This was the one sketch in which Anya Taylor-Joy seemed a little overmatched, but I don’t really mean that as a dig at Taylor-Joy. She was funny in this sketch, but honestly, it would be tough for anyone to hold their own acting beside Aidy Bryant in a character-driven sketch.

Saturday Night Live with Anya Taylor-Joy review: AMC Theatres Commercial

This sketch was really dumb, and it could’ve been boring with a less talented star, but Beck Bennett won me over. He’s just such a winsome performer, and his charisma carried this one-joke sketch and actually made it work (give this man an Emmy!) Melissa Villaseñor was also really funny in a tiny role as a woman trying to fit a large popcorn bucket into a small trash can.

Other takeaways from Saturday Night Live with Anya Taylor-Joy:

  • SNL has yet to make any official announcements about cast members departing the show, but it’s hard to imagine that everyone will stick around for season 47. Kenan Thompson has been on the show for 18 seasons, Kate McKinnon has been there for 10 seasons, and Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong have each been there for 9 seasons. In SNL years, that’s a long time, and they all seemed pretty emotional during the cold open. All four of these Emmy-nominated performers will be sorely missed when they do eventually depart SNL, be it this year or not, but I look forward to the projects they’ll work on moving forward.
  • “Weekend Update” was really strong. It’s always great fun when Michael Che and Colin Jost write jokes for each other, and this was a particularly good one. In my opinion, Che always “wins” this little contest, but Jost fought back well this week.
  • The guests who stopped by the Update desk were an excellent combination. Pete Davidson did a good job of his classic “Update” bit, where he just sort of talks about his life in a nonchalant but funny way. That contrasted well with Cecily Strong’s appearance as Judge Jeanine Pirro. Strong was absolutely bouncing off the walls, and her energy was infectious. If that was her final appearance on the show, she made it very memorable.

Kenan Thompson's primetime debut was worth the wait. light. Related Story

What did you think of Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance? Was this a satisfying season finale for Saturday Night Live? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!