Brie Larson was host of ‘Saturday Night Live’ alongside musical guest Alicia Keys. It marked the hosting debut Oscar-winning star of ‘Room’ and the critics are weighing. Check out a roundup of reviews and see video highlights here!
The 26-year-old Brie Larson is this year’s breakthrough star. She delivered a stunning and powerful performance in the screen adaptation of ‘Room’ — the international bestselling literary novel by Irish author and playwright Emma Donoghue — as a captive woman who gives birth to a son. She swept the Oscar, the SAG Award, the Golden Globe Award, the BAFTA Award and Critic’s Choice Award among others. Incidentally, she has also been a recording artist, with a pop punk album, ‘Finally Out of P.E’ as a teenager, in 2005.
This does beg the question, what happens when she takes to the famed stage of Studio H8 for live television and sketch comedy? We’ve had already Russell Crowe, similarly known for acting gravitas in dramatic roles, get panned by critics for his attempts at comedy. Her monologue was instantly endearing. That’s what happens when you share the stage with your real-life mom on the eve of Mother’s Day, after all.
And of course this being the midst of the political season, we knew we could expect some kind of Donald Trump sendup in the cold open. This saw the surprise return of Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, arguably one of the most iconic and favorite characters of the show’s history. And who better to give a schooling to the likes of Trump and his, until recently, closest contender, Sen. Ted Cruz. Perhaps most especially the latter as former House Speaker John Boehner dubbed him “Lucifer in the flesh.” Well, that would seem to be nothing other than a blaring invitation for the Satan-detecting Church Lady to intervene and that she did! And of course, from a more mercantile perspective, Dana Carvey just happens to have a new show ‘First Impressions’ which is premiering on the USA Network.
Alicia Keys made her return as musical guest debuting her new single, “In Common,” her first in four years. Earlier in the week she released the single, and generated much anticipation for the debut TV performance. She’s previously been the SNL musical guest twice; most recently in 2010 alongside host Charles Barkley.
The rest of the evening was the usual hits and misses much of which Brie Larson likely never envisioned for herself post-Oscar. There was the Barbie Doll President and there was the album of legendary singers who, sadly, have departed this earth, perhaps a subject too painful right now as we’ve recently lost Prince and David Bowie among others. Mordant or hilarious? It, along with some of the other skits, clearly divided both the social media echo chamber and the critics.
As for the latter, here’s a roundup of what’s being said.
“….Nonetheless, the Room actress was only in a handful of sketches, and never as the centerpiece, her clear but endearing discomfort during her monologue suggesting that Larson’s not especially comfortable with the whole live TV idea. Still, she wasn’t bad. Just sort of forgettable…..” — A.V. Club
“….Two months after collecting her Best Actress statuette, the Room actress hosted one of the better episodes of Saturday Night Live‘s Season 41. OK, her opening monologue — hijacked by various regular cast members’ Mother’s Day shout-outs — failed to ignite, but Larson otherwise proved both game and adept, and luckily got solid material to match her comedic skills….” — TV Line
“…. Larson’s natural charm was obscured by a series of sketches that finally went to town on this year’s presidential candidates…..” –Indiewire
“….Also, we feel for Brie to a certain extent; this show was pleasant for the most part, but we feel like there was more in here for her to do. Grade: B. ….” — CarterMatt
“…On the whole, this episode was sweet more than salty, with all of the Mother’s Day nods, and Brie Larson seemed to turn in even less comic star turns than Russell Crowe did in his episode.. ….” — The Wrap
You can watch highlights and/or the full episode of last night’s SNL with host and musical guest
Alicia Keys – Musical Performances:
Pictures: PR Photos