We did it, you guys. We survived the first Saturday Night Live episode in five years to plug corporations instead of the people starring in movies and TV shows made my corporations! Although there was brief speculation that some of the cast might balk at performing alongside Elon Musk, the show went on and everyone showed up. And in a first, NBC not only aired this week’s SNL episode live across America’s four major time zones, but also livestreamed globally via YouTube. Who wore their Bad Idea Jeans to 30 Rock this week? Let’s find out!

What’s The Deal For The SNL Cold Open For 5/8/2021?

The cold open marked a true departure for the show, even if SNL does have a history for celebrating cast moms or show-biz moms on Mother’s Day weekend.

Instead of a straight sketch, we saw Miley Cyrus front and center at 11:30 p.m. Eastern, singing Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” interspersed with 17 of the 20 cast members standing onstage to the side with their mothers. They saved the best for first with Kate McKinnon and her mom, who inspired a mother-daughter impersonation of Molly Shannon’s Mary Katherine Gallagher. Runner-up came second, when Aidy Bryant’s mother used their few seconds of air time to promote Bryant’s Shrill on Hulu instead of watching SNL.

How weird was it for the other three cast members, tho, who didn’t have their moms with them?

How Did The SNL Guest Host Elon Musk Do?

Two things to remember!

  1. We don’t normally have to point this out, but because Musk has no prior experience as a comedian or as an actor, we must remind you, dear viewers and readers, that the SNL writing staff carries the load on the writing of the monologue. So, yeah, Musk did fine in the monologue! Even if he did try to claim to be the first publicly known SNL host with Aspergers syndrome (and as more than a few were quick to point out, not only was SNL cast member and later host Dan Aykroyd public with being “on the spectrum” of autism, but also kidding just kidding conventional wisdom and popular joke among comedians is that many if not most comedians also maybe probably have Aspergers, too).
  2. It really helped me to think of Musk as a Darrell Hammond character in deep-cover disguise.

Whether Musk showed up as a bearded doctor in a Gen Z Hospital, as a guy at one of the first post-quarantine house parties, or even when he played himself in a pre-taped sketch in which we may have finally seen the end of Pete Davidson’s “Chad” character???

We can passably skip those, but these two? Wowoowowow.

The Ooli Show starred Chloe Fineman in character as “Iceland’s number-one social media star,” with Mikey Day as her sidekick Bjorn, and talk-show guest appearances by Frances McDormand (McKinnon), Steve Buscemi (Pete Davidson) and Björk (Melissa Villaseñor) singing about a tiny bird. That’s all well and good, or just bizarre enough to work. And yet. Musk’s role in this sketch, as the show’s producer who’s madly in love with Ooli and keeps interrupting the show to do so, never worked in a funny way or a funny cringey way. And the idea to “sponsor” the talk show with Cousin Checker, an app or device to alert you if you’re about to have sex with your cousin?!?!? Why were there multiple references to kissing cousins in tonight’s episode? Is Musk trying to tell us something? Is Musk trying to tell Grimes something? Yikes.

Speaking of Grimes, we also got to see her as Princess Peach for some reason in a live sketch putting Wario (Musk) on trial for the alleged murder of Mario (Kenan Thompson) in the sketch Most Likely To Have Been Crowdsourced By Musk On Twitter.

The trial went on seemingly forever, with the only audible laugh from the audience coming when Cecily Strong, playing the judge, called for order by hammering the coin button. Although the video on YouTube includes more audience laughter, which means either my memory is foggy, they added laughs in post, or they swapped in the “dress rehearsal” version of this sketch for sharing. Actually, wait, they did swap it out. The Wiki info is different in the YouTube version, they land more actual jokes, and there wasn’t the long pause before Pete Davidson’s Gov. Cuomo showed up and began launching into his PSA. Where do they find 12 unbiased mushroom jurors in Mushroom Kingdom’s Toad Town, I wonder?

How Relevant Was The Musical Guest Miley Cyrus?

Miley Cyrus may or may not have been chosen as musical guest this week as a backup plan in case Musk backed out, since Cyrus has hosted SNL before. Alas, Cyrus did not replace Musk, although she did open the show and appeared in one of the pre-taped sketches.

Cyrus, now 28, also paid it forward by bringing on The Kid LAROI (17-year-old Australian rapper Charlton Kenneth Jeffrey Howard) to perform her remix of his 2020 hit single, “Without You.”

Her third song of the night? “Plastic Hearts.”

Which Sketch Will We Be Sharing: “Murdur Durdur”

Many Musk-centric bits have rocketed through social media overnight, but for comedic purposes? “Murder Durder” is the one designed for sharing.

SNL tackles HBO’s Mare of Easttown and focuses specifically on the Philly lifestyle, with McKinnon as the “Grizzled Lady Detective with a Very Specific Accent,” brand-name-dropping of Wawa, Yuengling and Gritty, and actual name-dropping of Delco, plus Tina Fey, Questlove and Rocky Balboa on the push-pin board. But is it as good as Rural Juror???

Who Stopped By Weekend Update?

This was not the best week for Weekend Update characters, alas.

Ego Nwodim showed up as Pauline, the “Weary Mother in her Darkest Hour,” just back from a newly reopened Disneyland. No COVID-19 mentions in her review of the park, but she did bring us a reference to “my neck, my back…my pushy and my crack,” and the revelation that she has a kid named Che Jr. Che?

For all of you wondering how many times Musk would try to prime the pump of the cryptocurrency market for dogecoin, why, yes, he did. In his monologue, toward the end, and in his own Update character, Lloyd Ostertag. As Michael Che and Colin Jost both repeatedly asked: “So what is dogecoin?” Eventually Che realized: “Oh, so it’s a hustle!”

As for actual investors? Perhaps they noticed that, too, as depicted by the actual price fluctuations of doge during the live telecast and the ensuing hours.

Since last week included May the 4th, aka “Star Wars Day,” we also saw the return of Kyle Mooney’s Baby Yoda, although now he’s jacked up and looking to fight Baby Groot in a Vegas PPV, and I can’t help but wonder why Mooney picked the voice he did for this character, either. And please don’t ask McDonald’s to actually make a Baby Yoda meal. At least not this meal, which includes “two big ass eggs and a little bag of MDMA” along with burger, fries and drink.

What Sketch Filled The “10-to-1” Slot?

Not even putting Musk in the Old Wild West setting can save this sketch idea, which began airing at 12:55 a.m. Eastern, nor did it save Earl, either, who got shot. It did get in a plug for Tesla. So kudos to Musk for that?

Who Was The Episode’s MVP?

In terms of showing up and holding the episode from becoming a complete and utter failure? That’d be Kate McKinnon, who brought laughs to the cold open, the Wario sketch and starred in the pre-tape about “Murdur Durdur.” In terms of MVP for not participating in this otherwise awkward episode? Points awarded to Aidy Bryant!

But seriously folks…two more weeks to go this season! We can do this.

Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.