Ana De Armas Gets Spicy And Multilingual On A Satisfying Spring Saturday Night Live

We're heading into the final stretch of "Saturday Night Live" season 48. There will probably at least a couple more episodes to close out the season in May, but before that, we've got Oscar nominee Ana de Armas taking on hosting duties for the first time. 

Not only is Ana de Armas fresh off her acclaimed performance in the controversial Marilyn Monroe centric drama "Blonde," she's also starring alongside Chris Evans (who won't go anywhere near "SNL") in the Apple TV+ action comedy "Ghosted." Before now, de Armas hasn't gotten much of a chance to be funny. Even in the comedic murder mystery "Knives Out," she wasn't the one bringing the laughs. But "Saturday Night Live" is exactly the kind of place that allows for dramatic stars to cut loose and have fun. Thankfully, de Armas was willing to do just that, and the result was a thoroughly entertaining and satisfying episode of "SNL."

What Was The Best Sketch Of The Night?

Please Don't Destroy: Hangxiety - Coming away with the best sketch of the night were the boys from Please Don't Destroy. I'm a sucker for when the cast members of "SNL" play exaggerated, absurd versions of themselves, and that's exactly what this sketch entails during an "SNL" after-party. Sure, Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy do this in every Please Don't Destroy video, but this sketch also features over-the-top portrayals of Bowen Yang, Heidi Gardner and Mikey Day. My favorite part is when Ana de Armas politely requests that Ben Marshall stop yelling into her mouth because it smells like he has a dead tooth. It's just one of several hilarious moments throughout this excellent sketch. 

How Was The Rest Of The Episode?

Though this episode wasn't one of the best of the season, it was fairly consistent in comedic quality, even if there were a few moments that fell flat. 

Album Recording Session - Technically this is a recurring bit, but there's enough variation that it doesn't always feel like it. More often than not, it's the host playing themselves while doing a voiceover role for an animated movie. Other times, it's been a video game sound recording session that goes off the rails. In this case, we've got Ana de Armas and Ego Nwodim as two hype girls on a new rap song produced by Young Spicy (Devon Walker). Basically, they're looking for some filler lines to make him sound cool, but the two ladies keep venturing into embarrassing territory, such as the fact that he might be illiterate, lives in a gross apartment, drives a 2001 Toyota Corolla, and may have gotten someone pregnant. The standout here is de Armas, who not only has a perfect look, but makes great use of chewing gum and stylishly stuttering the inadvertent insults, all while being rather sexy. Good stuff!

American Girl Doll Movie Trailer - Following in the footsteps of the recent "Barbie" trailer, the beloved American Girl dolls are also getting their own live-action movie. Of course, this one isn't nearly as fun as Barbie's world, because most of the American Girl dolls have tragic backstories among historical moments, and a lot of them outlived their parents. This is a good, old-fashioned parody that makes great use of the legacy of American Girl dolls and the sizeable "Saturday Night Live" cast. 

Spanish Class - On top of bringing a little Spanish to the top of her monologue, Ana de Armas and Marcello Hernandez teamed up to make Mikey Day look like a real gringo in this Spanish class sketch. Day does a fantastic job of speaking Spanish in the whitest way possible, and even though the premise is rather simple, it's Day's overly white bread personality and overwhelmed demeanor that lets it land pretty firmly. However, I will admit that I'm not the biggest fan of the ending, which felt more like an "All That"-style excuse for a shoehorned cameo by musical guest Karol G. And yes, de Armas and Hernandez are both speaking real Spanish, but they're not sneaking anything silly in there. It's all relevant to the conversation happening in class. 

Dog Acting School Commercial - If there was a bad sketch this evening, then it's probably this one (though an argument could be made for the Nail Salon sketch too). But even this one ended up staying away from being downright terrible simply because of the comedic use of the some very good dogs. Well, they were mostly good dogs, even though they weren't exactly doing what "SNL" needed them to do. At the same time, bringing in animals like this and having them miss their marks and get distracted is what ends up bringing more laughs than what's on the page. In this case, the funniest part was a dog totally bailing on a bit where it was supposed to eat spaghetti out of Chloe Fineman's mouth, but it wanted nothing to do with that gag. So cute dogs saved this sketch, and it's kinda hard to be mad about that. 

How Was Ana De Armas As An SNL Host?

When "SNL" brings in an actor better known for their dramatic exploits, it can be a toss up as to whether or not they'll actually be able to shine in the late night sketch comedy arena. The good news is that Ana de Armas is so naturally charming and alluring that she had no problem blending in. Though her character roster mostly relegated her to playing the straight woman, outside of the Album Recording Session and Dog Acting School Commercial, she was clearly enjoying herself. Though de Armas broke a handful of times, it didn't interrupt the flow of the sketch and mostly involved her smiling to herself while other cast members were taking the spotlight. Overall, she was a delight. 

Recurring Bits

Matt Schatt: Game Show - If this bit felt familiar, that's because Mikey Day played this same role when Jennifer Lopez hosted back in December 2019 and when Margot Robbie hosted in October 2016. Back then, a home makeover show was shocked to find someone as beautiful as Lopez's character married to a character like Matt Schatt. The same premise plays out with Ana de Armas, but this time it's in the middle of a game show. Kenan Thompson again plays the host who doesn't understand how these two can be together, and Day's character gets some new unsettling details. First, his middle name is Patrick, making his name Matt Pat Schatt. Furthermore, Schatt has a bunch of extra nipples, and a new one just shows up every couple of years. I'm not sure this premise is good enough to be a recurring bit like this, but at the same time, there is something to be said about Schatt frequently dating beautiful women, which just might strengthen the bit as time goes on. It's probably best used in a limited capacity, if that's the case. 

Lisa from Temecula: Wedding - Another new recurring bit came from a more recent successful sketch. Ego Nwodim's Lisa from Temecula, who first appeared in Pedro Pascal's great episode of "SNL," is shaking up another dinner table. Only this time it's not because she's cutting her steak vigorously; it's because she wants a bunch of dressing on her salad and is really mixing it up. This feels like the kind of one-note joke that drove a lot of recurring sketches in the '90s, and even though it isn't quite as good as the surprise that came from Lisa's first appearance, you can't help but laugh at the chaos that ensues with all the liquids spilling and dishes sliding around. This is the sketch that had de Armas smiling the most throughout, and even Bowen Yang can't help but break again, so there's some kind of magic here. I just hope they don't wear out Lisa's welcome. 

Weekend Update Soars Again

Weekend Update has been fantastic this season. More often than not, some of the funniest bits have come from the Weekend Update desk. Just this month the April Fool's gag that Michael Che played on Colin Jost was one of the best moments of the season. Though Che and Jost have a couple of great punchlines, it's two of the guests at the desk who stood out. 

Guru Genesis Fry on Mental Health - First up, we've got an outstanding new bit from Sarah Sherman that uses Colin Jost as the punching bag. Whenever Jost is taking hits at the desk, it results in some big laughs. This one skews a little towards Sherman's recurring bit at the desk where she gets her own news segment, but it has enough variation to feel fresh. Jost also deserves credits for knowing these kind of jokes are coming but making it feel like he's genuinely embarrassed by the proceedings, and that's not easy to do naturally. Here's to hoping that this character returns at some point in the future. 

Molly Kearney on Anti-LGBTQ Bills in the United States - Finally, in what feels like a meaningful moment as the first non-binary cast member of "SNL," Molly Kearney flies onto set in a crotch-squishing harness to express support for trans kids. In a bit that feels like it falls in the same category as Cecily Strong's segment about abortion as Goober the Clown, Kearney takes a stand against the bigotry that's out there. If you don't are about trans kids, you don't care about kids. Plain and simple. Though it doesn't hit quite as hard as Cecily's bit, the moments speaking out to young minds who feel attacked and prejudiced by millions feel heartfelt and genuine. This is exactly what a lot of trans kids need to hear right now, and we're glad Kearney took the time to say something. 

That's all for now. Pete Davidson will be returning to "SNL" as host on May 6, marking a pretty short turnaround since he left the series as a cast member last year. Since he has the Peacock series "Bupkis" coming out, this makes perfect synergy for the NBC Universal companies. We'll have a review the morning after, but for more on "SNL," be sure to check out "The Ten to One Podcast" right here.

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The post Ana de Armas Gets Spicy and Multilingual on a Satisfying Spring Saturday Night Live appeared first on /Film.

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