SNL Digest: Jimmy Fallon (4/15/17)

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Jimmy Fallon" Episode 1722 -- Pictured: (l-r) Musical guest Harry Styles poses with host Jimmy Fallon in Studio 8H on April 13, 2017 -- (Photo by: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC)

SNL goes live everywhere with Jimmy Fallon, and I hope this episode’s not an omen for the rest of the experiment.

In big news this week, SNL is officially LIVE in all timezones for the rest of the season, in a test of whether they’re going to do this going forward.  That’s a big thing to test, so it makes sense they’d bring in an alum like Jimmy Fallon.  I’m a little over Jimmy’s antics on the Tonight Show lately, and him returning to SNL felt like a chance for him to try and get “more political” so that people will start coming back to his show over Stephen Colbert.  As it turns out, that hunch was completely wrong, but I’m hoping that his episode isn’t an omen for what’s to come with the show now airing at 8:30 pm PDT as well as 11pm EDT.

This season hasn’t been afraid to be weird and dark because it’s on late night, and what aired tonight was a completely defanged show that settled for being goofy instead of actually telling jokes.  I put a lot of the blame for that on Fallon, who seemed to want to just show up and count on his presence to carry things more than actually writing (plus? characters have never really been his thing) or pushing himself.  This wasn’t a bad episode, but it was aggressively mediocre, which I consider worse.

What You Missed


Jimmy has a passable David Bowie impression, and Nile Rodgers was available this week for a celebration of SNL being live everywhere.  What I want you to notice here is that IT DOES NOT CONTAIN A SINGLE JOKE OR EVEN A MOMENT THAT’S MEANT TO BE FUNNY.  What the heck, SNL, you have one job.  You’re a party, yes, but you’re a funny party.

Middle School Musical

OH MAN this hit all the notes of sitting through awkward middle school theater productions. Also, why was Jimmy not in this?

Take Me Back

This clicked for me once Mikey and Kyle showed up as the background dancers.  The punchline on this one felt unnecessarily topical (though the stinger with Beck reprising last week’s role worked great)

White House Easter Bunny

SPICEY!  I knew Melissa would be making a stop by studio 8H this week

Weekend Update

  • Okay that MOAB/Fox News joike was killer.
  • Michael Che going “You already got a butt like an Atlanta stripper” made me lose it
  • Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy! I think they’ve done this passover setup before
  • “…or, and hear me out, they just flew away.”
  • Bruce Chandling is a recurring Update guest that I do not get.

Harvard – Sully & Denise

The appropriate aging of these characters was lovely, but this was an interesting reminder of how SNL has changed since Jimmy was first on it.  I had the same feeling as when Tina Fey & Amy Poehler co-hosted at Christmas — it’s great to see them back, but I’m not sure it works for the show any more.

Basketball Scene

Killer work from Mikey Day on this, along with Jimmy

What You Didn’t Miss

  • The cold open was an olio of various ideas (45’s first 100 days, Bannon/Kushner fighting) that didn’t feel like they hung together
  • Celebrity Family Feud’s “time travel” thing was a sweatier premise than usual, and Jimmy Fallon’s impression is terrible.
  • The Civil War Camp soldiers was the third or fourth musical sketch from Jimmy over the course of the night and it was just too many.  We get it Jimmy – you like to sing goofy songs.
  • Turtle Shirts felt like it was 2-3 years old as an SNL concept.

A Brief Word From Our Sponsors:

About Ben Smith 252 Articles
Ben has been writing about TV, music, and pop culture in some form or another since 2009, including stints at Mental Floss and Temporary Obsession. When not solving puzzles of some sort or consuming pop culture at a frightening pace, he can be found collecting shiny pieces of the internet at E-mail: