Former One Direction member and high-waisted pants aficionado Harry Styles has already dipped his toes in the acting waters as one of several interchangeably terrified soldiers in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. He also popped up in a few sketches on Saturday Night Live when he was a musical guest a few years back, most memorably doing a Mick Jagger impression. But there was still a question as to whether Styles had the comedic chops to carry a full SNL episode like other double-duty performers such as Chance the Rapper, Justin Timberlake, Drake, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus. But by the time he jumped onto the piano during the monologue, it was clear Styles's charisma was perfectly suited for the show—and the episode was at its best when he was front and center.
Things started off very well with that Monologue, which featured cutting one-liners delivered in a casual, deadpan tone, making for one of the best monologues of the season so far. It reached its apex with that Zach Galifianakis-esque piano routine: “Everyone thinks the cast does a lot of cocaine, they don’t,” Styles says at one point. “That’s why the show’s not good anymore.”
The best sketch of the night however was Joan Song, in which Joan (Aidy Bryant) sings about her new boyfriend Doug (Harry Styles), who happens to be her chihuahua. It's very cute at first, but once Styles enters the picture as Doug, it becomes laugh out loud funny. "I love you just the way you am" indeed, Doug.
Sara Lee was also a very memorable sketch about...Styles getting railed to death. Two Sara Lee managers (Bowen Yang, Cecily Strong) confront the company’s Instagram manager (Styles) about all the filthy Instagram comments he's been accidentally leaving using the brand's account. It turns out that threesomes really aren't working for him anymore, and somehow, the phrase "must get rid of toxic in the community" earns one of the biggest laughs of the night.
Another pre-taped highlight: That's The Game, in which Chris Redd's gang member tries to takeover Kenan Thompson's crew and fails. But at least he learns that you can't screw in a bullet.
Styles's intern Robert E. Lee (gulp) just wants to get Popeyes for his whole office in Lunch Run, but coworkers Thompson and Ego Nwodin, and Redd's janitor, all think that would be a very bad idea.
Check out the rest of the sketches below: Airline Pilots had a good premise (the pilots keep having weird and sexually-explicit conversations about stuff like Scooby Doo over the intercom) but didn't quite come together; Heidi Gardiner was delightful in Childbirth Class as one half of an Icelandic couple who really aren't having a hard time with pregnancy; Cecily Strong shines in the over-the-hill vaudevillian routine Baby Faye and Her Newsboys; Styles and Redd hype up the mourners in the exceedingly silly 10-to-1 sketch Funeral DJs; and there was no sign of Alec Baldwin in Days of Our Impeachment Cold Open, which was better than the normal cold open while still being pretty underwhelming (the best part being whenever Gardiner fainted in the corner, and sure, why not, guest star Jon Hamm).
We also got a classic cut-for-time Kyle Mooney sketch, Jason, which is perfectly in his wheelhouse: a scarily accurate early '90s sitcom parody featuring a painfully awkward rap. As one YouTube commenter put it, "The bullies are SNL execs and Kyle is a Kyle sketch."
Weekend Update had two guests this week: Mooney was great as Dean Foods's milk distribution president Scooter Rineholdt, who has really been having a hard time of it lately (“Ask me something useful before I blow my brains out over your pretty little desk”); and Kate McKinnon brought back Jeff Sessions to suck up to Trump more. "Jeff, c'mon, where is your dignity, how do you sleep at night?" Colin Jost asks her. "Why would I sleep at night? That’s when everybody throws out their apple cores."
Styles got his power ballad on with single "Lights Up," then on "Watermelon Sugar," he sounds like...I want to say...Peter Gabriel, if he was produced by the Jonas Brothers. Something like that!
SNL alum Will Ferrell will host for the fifth time since leaving the show—I wonder if that means he'll have a Five Timers Club monologue—with musical guest King Princess.