Entertainment

‘SNL’ recap: The best moments and funniest sketches from Owen Wilson’s episode

Wilson held his own in front of the live audience.

Season 47 of "Saturday Night Live" premiered Oct. 2 with musical guest Kacey Musgraves, host Owen Wilson and cast member Kenan Thompson. Rosalind O'Connor / NBC

After a bizarre 46th season amidst the pandemic that ended in an emotional season finale, “Saturday Night Live” returned to the air last night for its 47th season with first-time host Owen Wilson.

Although Wilson has said that he’s been avoiding the SNL stage due to his fear of public speaking (apparently actors can fear public speaking), he held his own in front of the live audience.

The actor seemed calm and composed during all of his skits, and his dry, “golden-retriever-lying-by-the-fire” acting style worked in his favor alongside the other longtime cast members.

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With a fully vaccinated cast and audience, the second time this occurred after last season’s finale, the show seemed back to normal, with the exception of frequent jokes centered on vaccine mandates and the pandemic not quite being over. While the actors struggled through the previous two seasons, they seemed eager to be back in their comfort zone.

The major topic of last night’s show — infrastructure. But the admittedly boring topic was made comical by self-aware and satirical humor. Following a year of intense political heat, the political satire could have fallen flat as polarization has seemingly fallen. Yet, the writing still held up with the debut of a certain character

Here are the top moments from Wilson’s episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

Cold Open

New cast member James Austin Johnson kicked off the season looking and speaking almost identically to President Joe Biden. The president’s accent, facial expressions, and mannerisms were performed with utmost accuracy, and you could tell the actor studied for his first role on the show.

The main focus of the skit was getting both sides of the Democratic Party — Cecily Strong as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Aidy Bryant as Sen. Joe Manchin, Ego Nwodim as Rep. Ilhan Omar and Melissa Villasenor as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — to agree on anything in the infrastructure bill — how relevant. The writing of the characters was on point — Sinema wanting unfinished bridges and no roads “for chaos!”

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Andrew Cuomo, played by Pete Davidson, also made an appearance asking for “up to at least 11 chances,” as well as the elusive Chuck Schumer. 

With the politically turbulent year of 2020 behind us, the SNL cast still made do with a new band of characters to make fun of, and perhaps we’ll be seeing Johnson’s hilariously precise Joe Biden a lot more throughout the season.

Opening Monologue

Clad in what could have been a suit made from an old carpet, Wilson nailed his opening monologue. Using his fear of public speaking as a point of comedy, he admitted he was intimidated by a live audience, in contrast to his usual movie acting in which he doesn’t see the reviews until after filming. But if he was nervous, you could hardly tell. His jokes landed with proper timing and inflection.

With his brothers in the audience, he started off with a snappy joke about the vaccine rollout “everywhere but Florida,” using his personality to his advantage to deliver lines that stuck. What some people criticize in his reviews made his opening monologue pass with flying colors.

Billionaire Stark Trek

The Space-Race-for-Billionaires action film preview starred Wilson in a bald cap as Jeff Bezos, depicting Bezos’ recent space mission. Racing with Richard Branson and fighting with Elon Musk, the writing captured the absurdity of Bezos’ crew’s mission to space.

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The crew spends time “goofing off” and “doing a couple laps.” Bezos teleported one of his Amazon delivery men onto the ship to make a delivery. “People say you don’t care about the Amazon employees, but I disagree,” he said before Wilson tosses him a bottle to urinate into and beaming him back down to Earth.

The Talking — Women’s Talk Show

“The View” spoof brought up, once again, Biden’s infrastructure bill, as well as controversial topics like air fryers and the stock market. Aidy Bryant’s and Cecily Strong’s pointless bantering seemed straight out of a real talk show.

The skit showed Wilson, playing a doctor, taking away the women one by one for testing positive for COVID (and HPV), despite them all being vaccinated “dozens, dozens, dozens of times.” Wilson’s awkward personality shined here as he tried dancing around HIPAA laws on live television.

The skit closed with the cases being false positives, “not the HPV, though.”

Weekend Update — Democrats and the Infrastructure Bill

The first portion of the fan-favorite skit “The Weekend Update,” this season with Colin Jost and Michael Che, began with more jokes about Biden’s infrastructure bill — and the Democrats’ inability to agree on it.

Although this is the biggest political event as of right now, it’s nothing compared to the heated election that took place this time last year. Even if infrastructure “is not great for TV” as Jost said, the writers still find self-deprecating ways to grab laughs — “We can all pretend to be excited about this next joke.”

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With Democrats not being able to come to a consensus on the bill, Jost explains that it’s been delayed “indefinitely” and that we will “cross that bridge when it collapses on top of us.”

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