A Singing, Dancing Chris Pine Leads a Lighthearted SNL
It's been a heavy season for Saturday Night Live. At some points, it has felt like the show took on the entire Trump administration, putting aside its usual primary goal of just making people laugh. But as the season draws to a close, it was like the entire writing staff and cast took a breather last night, giving themselves over to silly sketches and a lightheartedness that hasn't been seen since the election.
While politics wasn't totally ignored (the cold open poked fun at the engagement between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski), it certainly took a back seat to pure silliness. Alec Baldwin's now-famous Trump impression was relegated to a short voice appearance, and the troubling health care repeal was only mentioned during Weekend Update.
Leading the charge of lighthearted play was Star Trek star Chris Pine, who danced and sang for the crowd from the beginning of the show to the end in his first time as host.
The actor opened the show by poking fun at himself during his five-minute monologue, dryly explaining that he wasn't Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth or Chris Pratt. Breaking out into a song to the tune of Uptown Girl, Pine patiently, gleefully explained exactly which blonde, white superhero actor he was, setting the stage for a very silly episode.
The next Pine sketch was just as joyful: Two SWAT team members (Kenan Thompson and Beck Bennett) are collecting recon on a criminal (Bobby Moynihan) when they notice that the apartment next to the criminal's contains two men (Chris Pine and Mikey Day) who are having the time of their lives. The SWAT guys watch as Pine and Day eat cotton candy, dance, bounce on exercise balls and have a backpack fashion show. Soon, even Moynihan joins the fun.
It's a supremely simple and silly four minutes, and we can't imagine a nicer break from the show's heavy but necessary political commentary. In fact, we found ourselves identifying with the SWAT guys. Tired of being serious, they were ready to just let go.
Next up, Pine delighted in a sketch about auto mechanics who all want to talk about RuPaul's Drag Race but who don't want to admit that they are fans of the show. As they talk, they all reveal that they know more than mechanics are expected to know about the show and drag queens. Again, only a few minutes elapse before the men are lip syncing and dancing, and again, the comedy of the piece is centered simply on the men having fun and being joyful.
And then, finally, of course the cast had to do a Star Trek bit, with Chris Pine playing a Shatner-era Captain Kirk. Because when Chris Pine is the host, you kind of have to.
We know that SNL has done really important work commenting on the election, Donald Trump and all of the latest political news. But we really also appreciated the break. We needed to see some good old-fashioned lighthearted, silly comedy, and it turns out that Chris Pine was just the person to deliver it. Or was that Chris Pratt? There's really no way to tell.