‘SNL’ recap: Ryan Gosling, Mike Myers sing Canadian Christmas carol
4 out of 5 stars
Ryan Gosling hadn’t even finished his monologue before declaring his love for Canada, so for most of us Canadians watching Saturday Night Live last night, we hit the jackpot early.
With references to tuques, hockey, beer and a cameo by Captain Canuck himself, former ‘SNL’ star Mike Myers, the Great White North was like the second star of the show and Gosling seemed fine to share the spotlight.
But for those not into Canadian stereotypes, the show was also an opportunity to see Gosling turn into a giggling mess in a bunch of sketches, and that was entertaining too.
Here are the high and lowlights this week with Ryan Baby Goose.
The show kicked off with a Christmas message from everybody’s favourite blowhard, Donald Trump (Taran Killam) and his wife Melania (Cecily Strong.) Trump announced that Santa was on his naughty list because he only worked one day a year and was always giving away gifts. Killam got a few laughs with his squinty, pouty Trump impression – but the real beauty of this cold open was that it ended only seconds after the first big joke bombed. It was short and sweet. Let’s call that a win.
There was enough Can-Con in the monologue to satisfy the CRTC until the next federal election. Gosling (clean shaven and wearing a navy blue blazer and pink tie, for all the ladies wondering) began his night with a Brooklyn shout out, but was interrupted by an audience member (Strong) who reminded him he was actually from Cornwall, Ont. From there, it was like a never-ending stream of maple syrup with Mike Myers in his Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, Bonhomme de neige and a made-up Canadian Christmas song with references to Molson beer, toques and generous sprinklings of “aboot.” In true Canuck style, the segment ended with a dozen apologies, and Myers insisted Gosling pronounced it “sorey,” not “sari.”
BEST SKETCH: ALIEN ABDUCTION
Even really weak sketches can be saved when cast members and/or hosts crack up on camera – but this skit would have been funny even without nearly everyone in the scene breaking character. Gosling, Strong, and Kate McKinnon played alien abductees talking about their experiences to NSA agents (Aidy Bryant, Bobby Moynihan.) While Gosling’s and Strong’s characters had eye-opening, mind-altering spiritual experiences with their aliens – McKinnon’s character (a chain smoker in high-waisted jeans) talked about how her aliens slapped her “knockers” and dropped her on the roof of a Long John Silver's restaurant without any pants. By the end of the sketch, Gosling, Strong, Bryant and McKinnon had trouble getting through their lines. At one point, Gosling needed almost a minute to regain his composure.
Last night’s episode didn’t have a lot of weak spots, but the jail bait sketch with Bryant as an overly hormonal teen with a crush on her friend’s dad (Gosling) was one of them. Not to say Bryant didn’t totally commit to the role (she hit a wall and belly-flopped onto a table) but the sketch has been done before, so it was just more predictable and felt a little long.
Gosling belted out a tune and busted some ‘90s boy band dance moves in a Cornwall, Ont. bar after he was challenged by an old high school bully. While Gosling’s voice wasn’t too shabby, it was his dance moves that really reminded fans that this suave Hollywood A-lister used to be on The Mickey Mouse Club. It should also be noted, the Cornwall bar was complete with Blue Jays and Maple Leafs signs. Props again to the SNL props department.
MUSICAL GUEST: LEON BRIDGES
Leon Bridges’ style and sound are a great throwback to the glory days of Motown. Sonically, he blended rock, gospel, and blues and wasn’t afraid to slow things down with his soulful performance of River.