When we heard that Melissa McCarthy would be hosting one of the last Saturday Night Live episodes of the season, we knew two things: it would involve her impression of Sean Spicer, and it would be really, really funny. And we were right.
McCarthy returned last night for her fifth appearance as host of SNL. Her first four appearances have earned her four consecutive Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, and she did not disappoint this time, either.
Let's start where we all want to start: McCarthy's delightful impression of White House press secretary Sean Spicer. And it couldn't have come at a better time. Rumors are flying that Spicer might be fired and replaced with Fox News' Kimberly Guilfoyle, not to mention that Spicer was caught hiding in the bushes last week during the media storm surrounding the firing of FBI director James Comey.
For this skit, McCarthy can be seen, of course, in the bushes as Sarah Huckabee Sanders fills Spicer's role as press secretary. But it isn't long before Spicer bounds into the room, fire extinguisher in hand, ready to cause another ruckus. After some of his classic attempts to answer questions (one involving Russian nesting dolls), he drives his podium to New York to find President Trump and confront him about his possible firing.
"Have you ever told me to say things that aren't true?" he asks, to which Trump responds, "Only since you started working here."
Trump then goes in for a kiss, only to have Spicer protest that he is married. Trump replies, "I'm famous. It's OK."
Next, the SNL writers took full advantage of McCarthy's comedic talents in a silly game show sketch called "Just Desserts." The humor of the sketch is very, very simple and extremely classic: It's funny when people get hit in the face with pies. But McCarthy makes it work wonderfully by using her amazing talents as a physical comedian. Even while you are laughing at one of the oldest jokes in the book, you understand that McCarthy has elevated it, from her facial expressions to her meek protests as the pies and cakes keep coming.
Perhaps searching for some more serious commentary after the pie-in-the-face sketch, McCarthy joined comic powerhouses Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata in a parody of a film panel discussion called "The State of Women in Film." Strong and Zamata play young, polished actresses, while McCarthy and McKinnon play the older generation who broke through the glass ceiling.
While the skit has some big, jokey laughs, much of the humor comes from jokes about equal rights in the film industry and how far feminism has (and has not) taken us over the past few decades. For example, McCarthy and McKinnon explain, straight-faced, how they had to have ribs removed in order to make it in Hollywood: "Back then, to be a star, you had to lose a couple bones," McKinnon quips.
Before the credits rolled, Steve Martin surprised everyone, including McCarthy, by hopping on stage to present her with a five-timers' club smoking jacket. We hope there's a sixth time down the road.
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