Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson took the reins at Saturday Night Live this weekend, for the show’s first new episode since its 40th anniversary extravaganza. And the writers showed incredible restraint, limiting Fifty Shades parodies to one sketch and a couple of references in Johnson’s monologue.
Elsewhere, a Birdman-influenced cold open was funny but would have played better if SNL had been live last weekend (in conjunction with the Oscars), and Kate McKinnon resurrected her impersonation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But did the show go too far with a joke about ISIS?
Check out highlights from the episode below:
Giuliani cold open: This week’s cold open parodied Birdman, the Best Picture winner at last week’s Academy Awards, with Taran Killam as Rudy Giuliani, exploring how he went from a presidential candidate to a guest on The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson (Vanessa Bayer).
Dakota Johnson monologue: Dakota Johnson’s parents, Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, may not want to see her in Fifty Shades of Grey, but they weren’t going to miss her monologue during her first stint hosting SNL.
Father Daughter ad: Should we be laughing or wincing at this pre-taped bit, which features Killam as a father who’s struggling to let his daughter (Johnson) go after she graduates high school and decides to join ISIS?
Press junket: During the Fifty Shades of Grey press tour, Johnson fields questions from fourth grader Peter (Kyle Mooney), who’s writing about the film for his school paper. It’s fish in a barrel, sure, but it’s still hilarious – and it should be noted that Johnson looks just as uncomfortable here as she has during some of her actual press appearances to promote the movie.
Weekend Update: Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Kate McKinnon can do no wrong. Here she is as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, responding to reports that she fell asleep during President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
Weekend Update: Kanye West apologizes: Jay Pharoah stops by “Weekend Update” as Kanye West to apologize to Beck and, well … everyone else.