Art and design

Books

Culture

Environment

Fashion

Film

Life and style

Money

Music

Politics

Science

Technology

Travel

Television

US news

World news

Saturday Night Live: time for #TimesUp but sketches sell Jessica Chastain short

Saturday Night Live host Jessica Chastain, with musical guest Troye Sivan, left, and Kenan Thompson.
Saturday Night Live host Jessica Chastain, with musical guest Troye Sivan, left, and Kenan Thompson. Photograph: NBC/Getty Images

Sarah Sanders (Aidy Bryant) is here, and she’s explaining the border wall: “It will be paid for by Mexico, with US taxpayer money”. Then she introduces Dr Ronny Jackson (Beck Bennett), to explain “just how not fat the president is”.

“The president’s got a rockin’ bod,” he says. “Given the chance I would.”

Questions from the press: “How broke that brain?” says Kate McKinnon, of the president’s cognitive test.

“He passed it with flying colors,” says Dr Johnson. “Almost no hints.

“At his request, we also gave the president a sex exam, and he blew the doors off that sucker … when he was done, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”

Live from New York! It’s Jessica Chastain.

“This weekend is the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March,” she says, “and everyone knows women never forget an anniversary.”

McKinnon and Cecily Strong join her, wearing #TimesUp and #MeToo T-shirts to sing You Don’t Own Me.

Aidy Bryant brought “p-hats” for everyone but she “can’t say the real word, because it’s just one of those words that only the president can use”.

Next: “Which of the 12 Laurens will he choose to be his bride?” It’s Carhunk, a parody of the Bachelor, with Alex Moffat as the hunk and the women as the Laurens. It’s pretty hard on women who go on The Bachelor. “I’m sorry I cried,” Chastain’s Lauren says more than once.

An amazing parody of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air opening credits is next, with Chris Redd in the Will Smith role and Kenan Thompson as Uncle Phil, saving Will from a scary gang with an enormous gun.

Next, Google Talks. Chastain is the host, Summer, with a chic bob and intense vocal fry, and Alex Moffat is a Berkeley professor. They’re leading a discussion of bullying with an audience. Mikey Day plays a character named Bert Sampson with his hair sprayed bright yellow and sticking straight up. He complains he is being bullied for resembling Bart Simpson.

“That might just be you,” they say.

Why, I wonder, has Chastain so far only played idiots?

Tonight’s game show sketch is creative and relevant! “What Even Matters Anymore?” stars Chastain as the agitated host, presenting things the president has said or done and asking the contestants whether things matter: calling countries shitholes, having affairs with porn stars, firing Robert Mueller. None of them matter any more!

“Judges, do [Republicans] have a conscience?” says Chastain. A loud buzzer: they don’t.

“In our final round,” she says, “you guys write down things you think would matter … and while you’re writing, I’m just going to drink.”

Cecily Strong writes: “Trump punches Pope.”

Kate McKinnon: “He kills Olympics because flags are ‘gay’.”

Kenan Thompson: “Sex tape with Don Jr.”

Chastain: “Fox News would just report that he’s a family man.”

Troye Sivan sings My My My! He looks like he just came in out of a rainstorm, but he dances beautifully.

Kate McKinnon is Robert Mueller.

“Congratulations to Donald Trump, who managed to keep our government open for almost one year!’ says Colin Jost. It’s Weekend Update. Jost compares the government to production on House of Cards, which kept going when Kevin Spacey got fired: “In that fake government they got rid of the sexual predator president and got a female president instead.”

Jost continues: “This week I got to Google Stormy Daniels on my work computer!”

“The worst part about that Stormy Daniels story is that it was so lame,” Michael Che says. “The craziest thing that we got is that he was spanked with a magazine and he’s afraid of sharks. Well, of course he’s afraid of sharks: the man has the body of a seal.”

Stormy Daniels (Strong) is here!

“You’re kind of an unlikely ally for critics of Donald Trump,” Jost says.

“Things are so bad right now,” she says, “women are trying to figure out how to be empowered by me … guess what America, I’m the hero you deserve right now.”

Che turns to Trump’s tweeted claim that “black unemployment is at an all-time low”. He frowns. “I’m pretty sure before the civil war black unemployment was at, like, zero.”

McKinnon joins as Robert Mueller, and her makeup job – intense contouring, or are those prosthetic cheekbones? – is hilarious enough before she starts speaking.

“You just wait … you’ll see … we’re good. You gotta remember … I have actual footage … I wanna tell you SO bad, I can’t. It’s gonna be fun … the guy didn’t leave me a trail of breadcrumbs, here. He left me … full loaves.’

Next sketch: Jeff Bezos (Kyle Mooney) is talking to Alexa, interviewing cities for the next Amazon HQ. The Bezos impression is quite funny but the sketch isn’t.

Another skit about women being stupid: Heidi Gardner and Chastain are two blondes at a Mexican restaurant who have resolved to be smarter in 2018 but can’t handle ordering two-for-one tacos.

“I’m like so confused,” Chastain says. They consult an app. The punchline: they’re surgeons! How dare anyone assume otherwise? Ugh.

In the final sketch, Leslie Jones and Chastain are lawyers in a movie. Thompson is their director and he has some notes, drawn from his time performing on The Jeffersons, playing “a tramp”. It’s weak, which is no doubt why it got this final slot.

And that’s Saturday Night! Chastain closes the show in a Time’s Up T-shirt. That’s great, but couldn’t someone have written some sketches for her that laughed with women, not at them?

This article titled "Saturday Night Live: time for #TimesUp but sketches sell Jessica Chastain short" was written by Jean Hannah Edelstein, for theguardian.com on Sunday 21 January 2018 03.07pm

Television & radio

The Windsor Knot: a twisted take on the royal nuptials – podcasts of the week

The Windsor Knot Podcast Wryly humorous duo Joe Skrebels and Daniel Krupa offer an antidote to… Read more

Wednesday’s best TV: The Brit awards; The Day When; Damned

The Brit awards 2018 8pm, ITV Does Jack Whitehall like music? Those who caught his recent Desert… Read more

Why Alan Partridge is returning to 'restrictive, stifling' BBC

It is fair to say that the TV presenter and North Norfolk Digital radio DJ, Alan Partridge, and his… Read more

Muslims Like Us was an enlightening experiment, but where were the Muslim minorities? | Ruby Hamad

It could have been a recipe for disaster. A reality show where 10 Australian Muslims briefly share… Read more

Britannia recap – series one, episode six

SPQR (So, plot… quick recap) There’s been a Regni spy inside the Cantii citadel all along whom we… Read more

Ted Cruz is right: Homer Simpson is a Republican. Sadly, he's also an idiot

To listen to Ted Cruz discuss The Simpsons at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference… Read more

Young Sheldon review: he’s an irritating little smartypants – but he’s headed for something Big one day

East Texas, 1989, and a nine-year-old boy is playing with his train set. Not so much for the love… Read more

Mum review – a cliched take on the maddening reality of being a mother

The first series of Mum (BBC Two), Stefan Golaszewski’s Bafta-winning sitcom about a grieving… Read more

The £1 Houses: Britain’s Cheapest Street review – the home-owning dream is now a nightmare

Here’s an idea for a Channel 4 property show (yeah, like they don’t have enough of them already):… Read more

Thursday’s best TV: Girls on the Edge, John Worboys: The Taxi Cab Rapist

Girls on the Edge 9pm, BBC Two This sensitive film documents the struggles of Jess, Erin and Jade,… Read more