Saturday Night Live Season 39, Episode 18 Review: “Seth Rogen / Ed Sheeran”

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Seth Rogen returns to Saturday Night Live for the third time. Will he elicit distinct gravely laughs? Let’s find out.

Cold Open: This wasn’t a very funny Cold Open, but I still appreciate the effort. Republicans going to Coachella to appeal to the younger generation is a solid idea, but it didn’t amount to much. Score: 4

Monologue: Even though Rogen has a great presence – that’s part of the reason why he’s hosted three times – this wasn’t one of the season’s stronger monologues. His journal didn’t have any real laughs in it, and the cameos didn’t help. Score: 5

Just Say No: Maybe it’s because they’re the only time Nasim Pedrad gets on TV, but I’ve enjoyed the “Shallon” sketches. They’re all the same, as most recurring sketches are, but I find them funny each time, and this installment was no different. Score: 7

CNN Pregnancy Test: This sketch continues a recent string of strong commercial parodies. It was more of a funny idea than it was a funny commercial, but it was strong regardless. Score: 7

Dinner Party: It’s unfortunate that for a sketch predicated on physical comedy, the only time I laughed was at a fart joke (and that was more due to Seth Rogen and Aidy Bryant trying not to laugh). None of the physical comedy was funny, and very little of the comedy was funny. Score: 3

Monster Pals: A lot of good has come from the new wave of digital shorts, but I’ve especially loved the more melancholy shorts like this one. There are laughs, sure, but Monster Pals didn’t try to pack in as many laughs as possible, and instead allowed for some breathing room. That wouldn’t work in a sketch, but here it worked great. Score: 9

Blue River: This was a great case of comedic escalation sold very well by Cecily Strong and Rogen (and some great reaction shots from the dog). And it thankfully ended sooner rather than later, meaning it didn’t overstay its welcome. Score: 8

Weekend Update: Any Weekend Update that features Vanessa Bayer’s Jacob is automatically the best, but the rest of this installment thankfully delivered. Jost and Strong didn’t interact much, but they were each strong on their own. And Kenan Thompson delivered a good David Ortiz impression (good in that he actually did a voice). Score: 8

Engagement Party: If a sketch revolves around an annoying, unpleasant person, odds are the sketch will be annoying and unpleasant. I couldn’t wait for this to be over. Score: 2

Undercover Sharpton: This was a bizarre and funny that idea that made for an unoriginal and unfunny sketch. Maybe this sketch will return and be done better, but for now, it’s wasted potential. Score: 3

A Very Smoky 420: Even as a defender of Kyle Mooney I can’t defend this. It was in line with his other sketches in tone and style, only it was missing the humor. I like that he’s seemingly been given a permanent spot at the show’s end carte blanche, but maybe he should run these by someone. Score: 2

Herman & Sons: This was a fun and goofy (and sort of disgusting) end to the show. Rogen and Thompson worked well together, and Aidy Brandt delivered a pretty terrific sight gag. Score: 7

Final Thoughts: This was a largely hit and miss show, but even worse, it did nothing with its talented host. Seth Rogen is a very funny guy that knows how to do SNL well, but that doesn’t matter if he isn’t given much to do, which he wasn’t. He’ll assuredly host again, and hopefully he’ll be better served then.

Sketch of the Night: Monster Pals

Cast MVP: Vanessa Bayer

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