After last week's excellent episode with Elizabeth Banks, Matthew McConaughey was the host of this week's Saturday Night Live. Despite this being his first appearance on the show since hitting new career heights with the so-called McConaissance—and having nothing to promote beyond his adamant belief that we should all just keep livin'—McConaughey was overshadowed by the musical guest of the night, Adele, who delivered two giant performances of her latest singles and also saved Thanksgiving in one sketch.
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) November 22, 2015
Overall, this was a decidedly middling episode of SNL, with the biggest non-Adele highlight either being McConaughey's well-trodden (but still enjoyable) Monologue speech about how his career started with Dazed & Confused (maybe he did it on SNL so that he'll never have to tell the story on a late night program again), or the cameo-heavy screen tests for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But maybe there was bound to be some lag after the last three draining episodes, which included a very emotional season highlight with Tracy Morgan, a giant turd with Donald Trump, and the surprisingly good Banks bounce-back episode.
Banks's episode in particular was stocked with some of the best recurring characters of this cast, so last night, we instead got a few afterthoughts (the cringeworthy recurring Right Side Of The Bed was the worst sketch of the night) and some awkward attempts at weirdness (the forgettable The Blues and Bio Print, which didn't quite generate that many laughs, but did prove that McConaughey is very, very good at doing the robot). Even the Fox & Friends cold open felt off, despite Jay Pharaoh nailing it yet again as Ben Carson ("You can't come into this country until I see you eat bacon while singing a Christmas carol")—it felt especially wrong that they didn't have the usual hilarious "corrections" list.
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 22, 2015
McConaughey put his all into the episode closing 10-to-1 sketch, Amtrak Meeting, which was fine, but nowhere near as funny as his episode-opening greeting to the audience: "Welcome to the zoo. We are the monkeys." There were plenty of hilarious impressions throughout however: the cast all slowly turning into Adele during Thanksgiving in Hello, Aidy Bryant as a struttin' Wynonna Judd, Kate McKinnon as Dame Maggie Smith, Bobby Moynihan's George Lucas (with terrible Star Wars puns), and Kenan Thompson's glorious appearance as David Ortiz on Weekend Update.
It's worth noting that the strangest thing to appear during SNL last night (outside of Adele's face in the Vine up above) actually happened during the commercials. It's hard to tell the ad for George Takei's Broadway play, Allegiance, from any regular SNL sketch:
Click through for all the regular sketches, plus music from Adele (if you want to hear what "Hello" sounds like via her raw mic feed, go here). SNL is off next week for Thanksgiving, but back on December 5th with host Ryan Gosling and musical guest Leon Bridges. There are two more episodes after that this year, with Chris Hemsworth returning December 12th (hopefully he'll bring back Captain Chicken) and the glorious return of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (with Bruce Springsteen!) on December 19th.