‘Wonder Woman’ actress stars in “First Date” sketch about O.J. Simpson’s release; “Weekend Update” takes on difficult week
Gal Gadot showed off enough wit in her famously improvised scene in Wonder Woman to demonstrate why she would be a great Saturday Night Live host. While showing plenty of comedic timing elsewhere in the movie, her long scene with Chris Pine aboard a small boat served as the true showstopper in a film filled with huge heroics and larger-than-life battles.
Oddly enough, most of this week’s sketches featured Gadot isolated from the rest of the cast, which minimized her chances to truly gel onscreen with the show’s cast. This didn’t hurt the overall quality of the show, which barely featured any true comedic duds. But it did seem at times as if she were in one show while the rest of the cast was in another. She more than acquitted herself as host (some too-obvious cue-card readings aside), but this wasn’t a show that showed off the ensemble so much as a few figures within it.
That being said, most of these sketches still really worked. Picking just three was difficult. But here are the ones people will be talking about until next week’s episode.
Comedy is an art, but I’m willing to believe there’s a science to determine exactly how long a sketch can hold its cards before revealing its true nature. It’s a fine line, and sometimes SNL fails miserably at it. But this sketch executed the perfect form of release from the tension that it built over its first sixty seconds. Nothing about the sketch was overtly funny by design until then. It was all about the mystery: Why were these people on a date? Why was the waitstaff treating them so poorly? What was the POINT of this sketch? The audience was uncomfortable and on edge.
The reveal that Kenan Thompson was playing O.J. Simpson provided pure comedic catharsis, creating a momentum that carried through the rest of the segment. Every single beat worked: from the plastic knife, to Simpson’s constant deflections of why everyone in the audience knew him, right down to the frantic calls from Gadot’s girlfriend once she realized who Gadot was with…everything straight up soared. But it wouldn’t have worked without that initially awkward minute. That’s the sign of a sketch that knows it has something good in its back pocket, and didn’t mind making the audience wait for it.