Live from New York: Everyone was thirsty for Regé-Jean Page on this week’s ‘SNL’

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My last recap ended with a prayer that “Saturday Night Live” would forego cringey “Bridgerton” parodies this week — a prayer that, of course, went ignored. Host Regé-Jean Page tackled the series from the jump in his monologue, which featured a few of the “SNL” ladies lusting over him and eagerly invoking his show’s much-discussed sex scenes. Almost funnier than this typical dreamboat material was the audience’s enthused response; this week’s crowd was one of the horniest in recent memory. Page could hardly finish a sentence without an outbreak of shrieks. 

The show’s other requisite take on “Bridgerton” came late in the evening with “Bridgerton Intimacy Coordinator.” Against all odds, this sketch — also met with immediate swooning from the audience — was a serviceable comedic take on the Netflix series. Mikey Day and Pete Davidson spoofed the show’s explicit content with some blue humor as a pair of scuzzy intimacy coordinators, while Chloe Fineman did a sharp impression of Page’s co-star Phoebe Dyvenor. Kate McKinnon delivered the best punchline of the sketch, though: “Daphne wouldn’t say ‘dumbass.’ She’d say: ‘Wrong hole, your grace.’” 

When not parodying the regency romance, this week’s “SNL” was taking shots at Texas senator Ted Cruz, whose recent trip to Cancun in the midst of a natural disaster got, uh, a bit of backlash. Aidy Bryant’s Cruz — which needs some work if it’s going to recur — showed up in the cold open, in which Britney Spears (Fineman) hosted a talk show for guests who need to make half-assed public apologies. As has been typical for cold opens these past few seasons, this felt like a pretty milquetoast way to bundle together a bunch of current events; Andrew Cuomo (Pete Davidson) and Gina Carano (Cecily Strong) made additional cameos to talk about their recent scandals.

Colin Jost also had several choice words about Cruz’s cowardice on “Weekend Update,” skewering him for attributing the choice to go on vacation to his daughters. Other “Update” jokes touched on Cuomo, the Mars rover and conservatives’ responses to the power outages in Texas, making for a much better segment than last week. Heidi Gardner’s appearance as a mutual aid organizer inexplicably dressed as Freddy Kruger started off slow, but built up to some genuine laughs.

Many of the night’s other material was uneven. “Mr. Chicken Legs Pageant” — a beauty pageant for male contestants with skinny legs — paired its odd premise with a bunch of silly visual punchlines that didn’t work (Strong’s renditions of the pageant’s theme tune were the only worthwhile bits). “Actors Spotlight” didn’t really gel, either — the interview scenario just didn’t heighten enough, and the purposefully corny British accents lost steam after a while.

The Grocery Rap” was more focused, a classic Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney sketch featuring three maskless dunderheads trying to make a viral rap video in a grocery store. It worked fairly well, but Mooney and Bennett have definitely done the “self-aware douchebaggery” thing before (and better). Lots of other sketches this week involved musical stylings, coincidentally enough. “Let’s Say Grace” spotlighted a spirited dance-off between two religious families, and “Sea Shanty” saw a bunch of sailors sing cheery songs about the horrors they’re experiencing aboard their whaling vessel. The latter hit better than expected: Page gave his most exaggerated performance here and, despite out-of-sync singing occasionally muddling up some lyrics, the shanties had some great lines. 

The best sketches of the night stuck to basic setups. “Loco” was an upbeat (and actually catchy) music video about how insane we’ve all gone after a year of staying inside. Ego Nwodim did a fantastic job in the lead, and Davidson’s claim that he’s “gone so crazy (he) understood ‘Tenet’” could not have been more apt. And, though it might have appealed to the more basic among us, “Drivers License” was another slam dunk. As a group of guys playing pool, the male cast members contrasted bro-y personas with overly sincere discussion of the Olivia Rodrigo hit, ending with a soulful singalong to the song’s bridge and a brief dance solo from Bowen Yang. What’s not to love?

Next week, Nick Jonas does double duty as host and musical guest. Perhaps those “Camp Rock” comedic chops are about to come in handy!

Sketch of the week: “Drivers License”

“Update” joke of the week: “Many conservatives in Texas are falsely blaming the state’s power outages on renewable energy sources, while other conservatives think the power outages are more likely the result of gay marriage.”

Grace Orriss covers television. Contact her at [email protected]. Tweet her at @graceorriss.