“Saturday Night Live” kicked off its 43rd season with a high-energy, laugh-filled premiere that took aim at U.S. President Donald Trump and rarely let up, with host Ryan Gosling so amused he couldn’t help but crack up repeatedly throughout the show.
The show — which airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. PT and 11:30 p.m. ET on Global — started with a cold open set in the Oval Office, with Alec Baldwin’s Trump taking a phone call from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who pleads with him to help the desperate people of Puerto Rico.
“You’ve called the best person,” Baldwin tells the mayor. “I know that things are, as the locals say, despacito,” he adds, referencing the Daddy Yankee/Luis Fonsi hit that, when translated from Spanish, means “slowly.”
After hanging up on the mayor, Trump is joined by elfin Attorney General Jeff Sessions (hilariously embodied by Kate McKinnon) and Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (Alex Moffat) before the trio utter the season’s first “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
In the opening monologue, host Ryan Gosling goofs about how he singlehandedly “saved jazz” through his role in “La La Land”, which brings about a surprise visit from co-star Emma Stone (who’s hosted “SNL” a few times herself) for a jazzy cameo.
Up next came a sketch in which a group of alien abductees tell their stories to a pair of government officials, reprising a bit in which Gosling and Cecily Strong play characters who describe a blissful extraterrestrial experience while McKinnon’s abductee relates a story that is filthy, unpleasant and hilarious. McKinnon’s performance was so funny — especially in a sight gag involving Gosling’s buttocks — that the host could barely keep a straight face throughout the rest of the sketch, repeatedly cracking up throughout.
HGTV Canada‘s “Property Brothers” — and home improvement shows in general — took a skewering in this sketch about three house-renovating brothers, one of whom reveals some surprisingly dark secrets that turn the mood from peppy to creepy.
Gosling also features in this TV commercial parody about Levi’s Wokes, mocking Millennials’ penchant for political correctness by publicizing “sizeless, style-neutral, gender-non-conforming denim for a generation that defies labels.”
A couple (Gosling and Strong) are having dinner at their favourite Italian restaurant when they discover the eatery is a fake and the food they were enjoying is actually from Pizza Hut’s new pasta menu — which leads them down an existential rabbit hole that causes them to question everything they thought they knew. As a bonus, Strong is so funny that Gosling can’t keep a straight face, and cracks up again.
A graphic designer (Gosling) develops a bizarre obsession with the font used in the logo for James Cameron’s “Avatar” and goes to stalker-like lengths to confront the designer who used it in this very weird and very funny filmed segment.
The season’s first Weekend Update saw anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost in fine form for a full-on assault on the Trump administration, with Che serving up a blistering takedown of the president’s woeful response to the Puerto Rico crisis — even calling Trump out as a “b**ch” and a “cracker.” Plus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (McKinnon) drops by to discuss her recent election victory.
Meanwhile, Gosling turns up as snooty “Guy Who Just Joined Soho House” — and cracks up again!
This spoof of a vintage crime movie features Gosling as a fugitive criminal who holes up in a barn, where he convinces a love-starved chicken (Aidy Bryant) he plans to run away with her — if only she helps hide him from the cops. The whole thing eventually becomes so silly that both Gosling and Bryant can’t help but crack each other up.
In the evening’s final sketch, Kenan Thompson plays a singer in a terrible band playing in a dive bar, with Gosling once again giggling uncontrollably in the role of the band’s flute player.
Tune in next week when “Saturday Night Live” features “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot as host, joined by musical guest Sam Smith, airing Saturday, Oct. 7 at 8:30 p.m. PT and 11:30 p.m. ET on Global.
On social media, the sketch about “Avatar” using the “Papyrus” font sent waves throughout the Twitterverse.