Entertainment

Former intern Aubrey Plaza hosts SNL for the first time

The ‘White Lotus’ star reunited with former colleague and "Saturday Night Live" cast member Amy Poehler.

Host Aubrey Plaza and Amy Poehler during the Monologue on Saturday, January 21, 2023. Will Heath/NBC

Aubrey Plaza completed her “Saturday Night Live” rags-to-riches storyline last night. She worked as an NBC page during college and interned with SNL in 2004 and 2005, appearing as an extra in Episode 9 of Season 32 during one of Kristen Wiig’s “Target Lady” sketches (this was the episode Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg premiered “Dick-in-a-Box”). She recently told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” about her failed SNL audition early in her career.

Last night she finally made her SNL hosting debut, bolstered by the popularity of Season 2 of “White Lotus,” in which she played one of the lead roles. Plaza also reunited with “Parks and Recreation” co-star and SNL veteran Amy Poehler. Sam Smith performed as the musical guest, promoting their upcoming fourth album, “Gloria.”

Cold Open

The Fox Sports broadcast team (Keenan Thompson, Molly Kearney, Mikey Day, Devon Walker, and James Austin Johnson) discusses the evening’s Eagles-Giants game. Joining them is newly hired George Santos (Bowen Yang), a new reporter who’s won “more championships than Tom Brady.” After poking fun at Santos’s recent lying scandal, Yang appeared on the football field in drag as “Kitara Ravache,” Santos’s alleged Brazilian drag queen persona

Monologue

Plaza discusses her history with NBC during the monologue, noting that this hosting gig is a “dream come true.” She takes viewers on a short tour of the studio where she used to work as a “bad page.” Amy Poehler and even Joe Biden (virtually) made appearances in the monologue, and Plaza reunites with the set design team she used to intern for. 

Miss Universe

Keenan Thompson hosts the Miss Universe pageant, “one of several shows still on the air where we rank women.” The real Miss Universe happened last week, and American R’Bonney Gabriel won. The skit is a spoof of this viral video, in which 2018 Miss Universe contestants yell their country’s name, and Miss France’s bit goes awry. Here the contestants (Chloe Fineman, Aubrey Plaza, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Punkie Johnson, Sarah Sherman, and Molly Kearney) scream the name of their countries along with all other answers. The two Property Brothers plus Tony Hawk make cameos as the judges, and Miss France wins.

The Black Lotus

In a spoof on the recent second season of “White Lotus,” Keenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim, Devon Walker, Punkie Johnson, and Aubrey Plaza play staff members of the “Black Lotus,” which has “all the intrigue, all the decadence — none of the foolishness.” Chloe Fineman reprises her spot-on Jennifer Coolidge impression, while hotel staff makes fun of the white clientele’s rich people problems. Fans of “White Lotus” will appreciate the many references to the series’ plot, but the sketch still works for those who’ve never seen the HBO dramedy.

Morning Announcements

Molly Kearney and Aubrey Plaza play Sisters Clarence and Cecilia giving the morning announcements at a school. Plaza has a near-death experience over the weekend and is questioning everything — “I’m going to have sex tonight!” They’re joined on morning announcements by students Andrew Dismukes, Marcello Hernández, and Sarah Sherman.

Sam Smith

Kim Petras joined Sam Smith on stage for a performance of “Unholy,” a single off of their upcoming album that was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at this year’s Grammys. Smith also performed “Gloria,” backed by a choir featuring Sharon Stone.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost takes on George Santos “lying about almost every aspect of his life” once again, and Yang reprises his Santos impression to chat with Jost. Aubrey Plaza and Amy Poehler also made appearances, this time as April Ludgate and Leslie Knope.

Avatar

In another pop culture reference, Heidi Gardner and Aubrey Plaza play human spies who have infiltrated the Na’vi — “butch ladies from Arizona.” Gardner and Plaza say everyone needs to be on the lookout for some “Grand Canyon types.”

Film Noir

Aubrey Plaza and James Austin Johnson played femme fatale and detective characters, respectively, in this quippy, black-and-white ‘40s sketch. Plaza shines in this role, and Sharon Stone makes another appearance, playing Plaza’s mother.

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