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‘SNL’ recap: Adam Driver plays piano; cold open mocks antisemitism hearing

Adam Driver is a very serious actor, except when he’s being seriously silly on “Saturday Night Live.” For his fourth time hosting the show, Driver brought his usual go-for-broke energy, firmly committing 100% to even the most ridiculous comedic premise.

It’s almost as if the more famous and respected Driver becomes, and the more acting awards he’s nominated for (he’s currently promoting “Ferrari”), the more the “SNL” writers want him to do things like spend five minutes playing with a penis-shaped chocolate Santa in a sketch about a chocolatier on a home-shopping program. Driver was also tasked with playing a baby on a plane ride with the face and mannerisms of … well, Adam Driver on a baby’s body. He also played one half a gay couple (with Bowen Yang), who tell their friends they are trying to have a baby — not through adoption or a surrogate, but naturally. The more absurd the premise, the more fun it is to watch Driver dig in and throw his acting chops at it full-force.

Elsewhere in the episode, holiday dinner attendees “Beep Beeped” each other for space on the dinner table, and an old school friend turns out to be a real creep. Musical guest Olivia Rodrigo performed “Vampire” and “All-American Bitch” and appeared in a very funny end-of-show sketch about Tiny-Ass Bags. And at the end of the episode, the show aired a title-card tribute to TV legend Normal Lear, who died on Tuesday. There was no “Please Don’t Destroy” video this week.

The show’s cold open was on the testimony before a House Committee from university presidents about antisemitism on campus, a simmering topic as the Israel-Hamas War continues. While those called to testify tried to dodge having to say anything — including University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill (Heidi Gardner), who asked if she could resign now — New York Rep. Elise Stefanik (Chloe Troast) took the spotlight, shouting at everybody “like Billy Eichner.” Kenan Thompson played the president of the University of Phoenix (motto: “We Are a Real University”), stealing the show by suggesting that the university’s two most popular majors are antisemitism and online porn.

Driver’s monologue focused on the actor’s personal relationship with Santa Claus. He played the piano, performing a spoken-word tune about what he wants for Christmas including some chinos and “one of those Tesla trucks to go with my teeny-tiny micropenis.” Driver joked that he didn’t kill Han Solo, “Wokeness killed Han Solo.” Best joke of the bit: wondering if gingerbread men get scared that gingerbread houses are made of their own skin.

Best sketch of the night: A chocolatier handles his product with care

“SNL” can be very juvenile sometimes, but when it focuses on a funny visual with a performer as good as Driver, magic can sometimes happen as it does in this very funny sketch that allows Driver to be gross and playful at the same time.

Also good: Wanna prank seniors on TikTok? Don’t.

Maybe it’s Thompson’s hilarious reaction to having a blanket thrown over his head or the idea that seniors would band together to try to stop TikTok pranks, but this laugh-out-loud video nails the seriousness of people who hate TikTok and how ill-conceived many of the pranks on the platform are.

‘Weekend Update’ winner: Presenting … Julia Stiles!

Marcello Hernandez had a great monologue on “Update” this week about growing up in a house full of women, but Chloe Fineman walked away with the segment this week, or rather danced away with it, doing a tribute to the finale sequence from 2001’s “Save the Last Dance.” Fineman’s dancing was spot-on, but what put it over the top was an appearance by Julia Stiles, the star of the film, who appears not to have aged in the more than 22 years since it premiered. It’s a very specific bit that will hit just right for viewers of a certain age.


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