3 Must-See Sketches From Saturday Night Live With Elizabeth Banks

Photo courtesy of NBC
The sad truth is that Saturday Night Live knows how to handle tragedy. Reese Witherspoon took the stage for her monologue facing the unknown of the first show back after 9/11. The cold open the Saturday after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary was a heartbreaking rendition of “Silent Night” by the New York City Children’s Chorus. So it was with a heavy heart and thoughts turned towards Paris that Cecily Strong handled this week’s cold open with a simple message of support and solidarity in both English and French. Only then did Elizabeth Banks take the stage in Studio 8H to make her SNL hosting debut.

Banks has been having a moment all year with the success of her directorial debut with Pitch Perfect 2 and the upcoming release of the final installment in the Hunger Games franchise. On a difficult night, she rose to the challenge and added SNL host to her win column.

Here are the three must-see moments from her night on SNL:

1. Opening Monologue: Banks’s monologue was upbeat and light, making an effortless transition from Strong’s heartfelt cold open. Banks admitted that she had caught the “directing bug” with Pitch Perfect 2 then proceeded to stage direct herself in a jazz-hands version of Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feeling.” Highlights: Her call for backup dancers, then more diverse backup dancers and the overhead shots and the star wipe transitions. “More Star Wipes!” could become her version of Christopher Walken’s “More Cowbell!”

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2. Uber for Jen: This video short takes Jen (Banks) on a crazy Uber ride that involves a rom-com style montage where she bonds with the driver. She helps him apply for a mortgage, shop for baby clothes, hide a dead body, and deliver his wife’s baby. For all her efforts, though, Jen only gets a three-star rating.

3. Weekend Update with Colin Jost and Michael Che: Weekend Update returned this week to its fine political form, after stumbling through the prior week’s effort when Donald Trump was host. Jost opened with a Trump joke, showing clips from some of Trump’s stranger moments from the Republican debate, saying, “Last week he seemed fine, but then he did this.” Jokes about Clinton, Carson, Sanders, and Rubio came fast and funny. In response to Rubio’s quote that the country needs, “less philosophers and more welders,” Che countered that we actually need “less presidential candidates and more working senators.”

Biggest disappointments of the night: Not a Pitch Perfect parody to be seen and no reprisal of Kate McKinnon’s Effie Trinket.

Nice moment for those that stayed until the end: Banks signing off with “God Bless Paris.”
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