Season 47 of Saturday Night Live premiered this weekend on NBC with host Owen Wilson and three new cast members: Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson, and Sarah Sherman.
Johnson could end up being the most important player with a talent for impressions, especially his imitation of Donald Trump that’s resulted in several popular viral videos. He portrayed President Joe Biden in the new season’s cold open, which satirized the in-fighting among Democrats regarding the administration’s infrastructure bill.
Later in the show, SNL turned its focus to sports, specifically Fox’s NFL coverage with No. 1 broadcast team Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, in addition to reporter Erin Andrews. With Wilson playing Aikman, Johnson as Buck, and Heidi Gardner playing Andrews, this had the potential to be a good sketch.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The writing really let down the performers here, repeatedly going to a lame joke about Fox’s fall TV schedule and Buck having to do frequent promotional reads for a new show. Apparently, Aikman’s lack of pop culture knowledge and Andrews having nothing to report from the sidelines were supposed to add to the humor. Instead, all of this combined for one of the more painfully unfunny sketches in recent memory.
But don’t take our word for it. Check it out for yourself:
Hey, making fun of Fox’s fall TV schedule is usually good for comedy. We’ll see plenty of ads for The Masked Singer and 9-1-1 during NFL telecasts, but can you name one new show Fox is adding this season? Congratulations if you were able to name Alter Ego, The Big Leap, or Our Kind of People. And no one would likely object to reads for The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers.
But… Crazy House? Repeating it over and over, along with Buck saying “cray-cray” doesn’t make it funnier. Maybe if Buck became increasingly exasperated with each soul-sucking promotion about a show with a house full of social media influencers and… a puppet.
And poor Owen Wilson couldn’t get any funny lines as Aikman? Maybe we were supposed to assume that Aikman thought “Dwight Schrute” was a TV show due to the concussions he suffered during his NFL career. Your guess is as good as ours.
Hello from the other side. @TomBrady returns to New England this Sunday night.
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 28, 2021
Should we attribute this to season-opening jitters? Was SNL not allowed to poke fun at all of the hype and amped-up drama for Sunday night’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New England Patriots match-up and Tom Brady facing his former team since the game is on NBC?
Maybe the writing staff and cast will find something funnier in sports at which to poke fun later this season. At least Michael Che had a good line about the NBA players who refuse to get vaccinated during “Weekend Update.”