The Super Bowl may still be two weeks away, but as far as “Saturday Night Live” is concerned, this is your last weekend to experience authentic N.F.L. football.
This latest “S.N.L.” broadcast, hosted by Dakota Johnson and featuring the musical guest Justin Timberlake, kicked off with a parody of CBS’s coverage of the A.F.C. championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens, with Andrew Dismukes and James Austin Johnson playing the anchors Tony Romo and Jim Nantz.
Dismukes began with some enthusiasm for the game: “We’ve got two generational talents at quarterback,” he said. “Two elite defenses. I expect this to be an all-out battle for the next three hours.” Then a hint of emotion crept in as he added, “And after that, it’s all over.”
“All over?” Johnson asked.
“Football,” Dismukes said. “After today it’s just — it’s done.”
Yes, there’s the Super Bowl, but, as Dismukes said: “That’s not real football. The Super Bowl is for commercials and Usher and people who never watch football asking how many points a touchdown is worth. Today is the last real football day for just us guys.”
The rest of the CBS broadcast team tried to make their peace with this eventuality. “What are men supposed to do on Sundays now?” asked Mikey Day, who was playing the analyst Bill Cowher. “Just go to their friends’ houses for no reason?”
He noted that football was the last televised event that all of America still watches.
A smile crossed the face of Kenan Thompson, who was playing the commentator James Brown, as he responded: “Especially live. There’s no other live TV that’s even remotely watchable.”
Devon Walker, who played Nate Burleson, declared: “Our whole country is upside down. People are getting upset about ‘Barbie’ getting snubbed? What about ‘Yellowstone’? Zero Emmy nominations?”
Michael Longfellow, playing Phil Simms, agreed: “ ‘Yellowstone’ is our ‘Barbie,’” he said.
Day added: “And I understand that Margot Robbie got snubbed, I really do. But — sorry — but they’re coming after Gosling? Ken was the first time I felt seen in a movie.”
Obligatory nostalgia of the week
It’s been more than 20 years since “S.N.L.” introduced “The Barry Gibb Talk Show,” a recurring sketch for then-cast member Jimmy Fallon (who played the titular Bee Gees singer) and Timberlake, a frequent guest (who played his sibling sidekick, Robin Gibb). And it’s been more than a decade since the segment was last performed, in a 2013 episode hosted by Fallon, in which Madonna and Barry Gibb himself both appeared in cameos.
While that would have made a suitable swan song for “The Barry Gibb Talk Show,” rest assured that the sketch is stayin’ alive. From the moment Fallon popped up in Dakota Johnson’s monologue, wearing his full Barry Gibb regalia, it seemed inevitable that he would be back to impersonate the singer’s distinctive staccato falsetto and that Timberlake would be sitting beside him as a timid incarnation of Robin. If you’re over 30 and have ever seen “The Barry Gibb Talk Show” before, rest assured it is the same sketch you’ve known and loved, now updated with jokes about “Bluey” and “Saltburn.”
Most topical sketch of the week
In an episode that seemed largely to stay away from current events, the sketch that came closest to topicality was this one about Stanley cups, the drinking glasses that have suddenly become more ubiquitous than Taylor Swift and the target of at least one very hard to explain heist.
The product being pitched here are Big Dumb Cups (wink wink!) and its listless spokeswomen, played by Dakota Johnson, Chloe Fineman and Heidi Gardner, cycle through a few of its selling points: “This is the cup that says, ‘I’m a virgin, but I also have six kids,’” Dakota Johnson said. Fineman added: “It’s the cup that says: ‘My favorite rapper? That’s Kesha.’”
It’s also perfect for containing a glass of Josh Cellars wine, the inexpensive alcoholic beverage that, as we learned from this sketch, is also a thing.
Curve ball of the week
Don’t be dissuaded by the placid and seemingly routine opening of this filmed segment. Although it starts off with Dismukes as a young man watching old home movies with his meek father (Day), mother (Dakota Johnson) and grandmother (Sarah Sherman), it takes a sharp and very funny right turn when Dismukes pulls out a VHS tape simply labeled “big announcement.”
“That is the day that I found out I was going to be a daddy,” Day says gently.
And indeed it is: It’s an old episode of a Maury Povich-style daytime talk show, where younger, much more dissolute incarnations of the characters battle over the results of a paternity test. The sweet little shrug that the grown-up, matronly Dakota Johnson gives to Dismukes, as he gawks at her younger self strutting around the stage, makes the entire sketch worthwhile.
Weekend Update jokes of the week
Over at the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che riffed on the outcome of the Trump-Carroll defamation trial and the 2024 presidential election.
The jury in his defamation case has ordered Donald Trump to pay writer E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million, and Trump is a billionaire so obviously he immediately hit up your grandma for five bucks. They ordered Trump to pay $83 million. That’s how unlikable he is. For perspective, O.J. Simpson only had to pay $33 million for a double murder.
From offscreen, Che interrupted, “He didn’t even do it.”
Jost laughed, recovered and continued:
This trial must have driven Trump crazy. The judge kept telling him to shut up; the jury made him pay triple what the victim asked for; even the courtroom sketch artist made him look like that lady who got her face ripped off by a monkey. The only way this could have gone worse for Trump is if they took away his businesses, which is of course what happens in next week’s trial.
Che picked it up:
After Ron DeSantis endorsed Donald Trump, he called DeSantis “a really terrific person,” and promised to stop calling him Ron DeSanctimonious. Well, it’s like a wise man once said:
Che played video of DeSantis telling a crowd, “You can be the most worthless Republican in America, but if you kiss the ring, he’ll say you’re wonderful.”
Then the screen cut back to Che, who was nodding.
“Well,” he said and shrugged.