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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

REVIEW: Adam Driver & Olivia Rodrigo SNL

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There are few times when a Saturday Night Live hosting pairing will give me a visceral reaction, but when it was announced Nov. 29 that actor Adam Driver would be hosting with musical guest Olivia Rodrigo, I went into full body shock. It felt reminiscent of the moment when it was announced actor Timothée Chalamet would be hosting with musical guest boygenius (it was Halloween and while dressed as Joan of Arc, I forced my friends to take a picture of me with the iconic post it notes). 

Adam Driver on SNL is always a strange yet spirited fever dream. This is his fourth time hosting, and if these episodes have taught me one thing about him, it’s that he commits to the bit.  

Adam Driver’s monologue, a piece on what the actor, as a middle-aged man, really wants for Christmas. Driver showcases his piano skills (unfortunately not singing, I really wanted another “Marriage Story” Sondheim moment). His Christmas list consists of five pairs of chinos, a giant metal Tesla, for those TikTok couples that prank each other to die (wow!), and for people to stop blaming him for the death of Han Solo. Guys, it wasn’t Kylo Ren, it was simply wokeness! He looked forward to Santa breaking into his house as I looked forward to the rest of the sketches. I looked forward to the rest of the sketches. 

We’re Trying” is a sketch that revolves around a fictional couple played by Driver and the masterful Bowen Yang on a ski trip. The pair announce to the group they are “trying” for a baby. No, they will not be using a surrogate or adopting. They are just going to “try.” At one point, Driver states, “I had a dream where my son came out of my ass.” It is hilarious watching the other couples try to figure out how the gay couple can get pregnant themselves and sets the episode off on a high note. 

A group of friends’ holiday party is at the epicenter of “Beep Beep.” “Beep beep,” a statement used to death by all dads, causes conflict with Driver and standout Andrew Dismukes. The sketch really takes a turn around the two-minute mark as the two men disagree over where to put the food they cooked. As Mikey Day states, “One of them must yield to the others, beep beep.” It is so silly, yet a nostalgic skit on the very true “too much food, not enough table” dilemma.  

There is a complete tonal shift as Olivia Rodrigo gives a vulnerable performance of her song “vampire.” She is so ridiculously talented that, in a world where many may skip the musical guest, she convinces you to stay. Her magnetism is as strong as her belt. With Rodrigo, each performance is better than the next. 

After 15 years, Day plays a fictional man who sends a message to Driver’s character asking to meet up for drinks. In this sketch, the “Old Friends” text back and forth, and it is soon revealed that Keith is not the same. Now with a Netflix documentary titled “The Man with 600 Kids” and unable to be within 1,000 feet of a school, maybe its best that Jake left Keith in the past. It was definitely a darker sketch, but the twists were worth the watch.  

I don’t think I can reveal much about the “ShopTV Christmas” sketch, but all I can say is it features Driver as Dean Delaney, a chocolatier from Indiana! Delaney reveals his chocolate Santa and chaos ensues. It is hilarious, a must-watch. 

Rodrigo takes the stage again, lulling manifestations whilst performing at a jaded tea party during “all-american bitch.” She has nailed the art of expressiveness and isn’t afraid of being messy on stage. She shrieks, cries, smashes cake all over herself and ends the performance sticking her tongue out at the audience. It’s perfection. 

When I saw “Airplane Baby,” I was immediately transported to iCarly with Jerry Trainor’s Baby Spencer. Adam Driver is so believable as this eleven-month-old baby (who was in the womb for two years). Driver is the best host for this role; his willingness to go all the way  on every sketch is a treat for audiences. I always find serious actors to be great comedic actors. It is that sincerity and ideology that they believe in their actions that create the best sketches. 

Tiny Ass Bag,” a sketch that features the always questioned, not so conveniently priced little bags you see at the mall, showed us Olivia Rodrigo’s side hustle. She was selling these bags that can hold one AirPod along with your secrets! Ego Nwodim and Marcello Hernández make an appearance as Rogelio and Maria Jose, retail employees promoting the “tiny ass bags.” The duo is ridiculous and have turned SNL around for the better. Driver as Kevin in a fuzzy purple striped sweater holding the tiniest backpack in the world just makes sense.  

Seniors came together to end all TikTok pranks in “Elder PSA.” Seeing Driver “get dunked on” in a Walmart by children is a treat, but seeing Molly Kearney prepare a meal for Jesus as he has apparently come back from the dead was the icing on the cake. 

Although I heavily enjoyed this episode, none of the sketches held a candle to sketches of Driver’s past SNL appearances. I will never forget the iconic “Career Day” and my personal favorite, “Medieval Times. 

I would be thrilled to see Driver return in nine months - maybe with news that he and Yang successfully had the kid they’d been “trying” for! Imagining Driver donning the iconic five-timers jacket is an exciting prospect, and I look forward to the day when his name graces a post-it note once more. 

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