SNL Ranked: Peter Dinklage Is (Mostly) an SNL Miracle
With Game of Thrones Season 6 just within our grasp, Peter Dinklage drops by Studio 8H for his SNL hosting debut. You may recall his hilarious cameo as Peter Drunklage with Bobby Moynihan‘s Drunk Uncle back in 2013, but that was only a hint of the greatness Dinklage brought to his first proper SNL appearance. Everyone brings their A-game to this week’s brilliant, hilariously absurd show, which made ranking the sketches pretty difficult — but hey, I still tried. Read on for our ranking of this week’s SNL sketches from best to worst (hey, they weren’t all great).
Naked and Afraid: Celebrity Edition (Dinklage, Jones)
Petition for either Leslie Jones and Peter Dinklage to actually appear on an episode of Naked and Afraid, or for them to star in an odd couple-style buddy comedy as detectives or lawyers or anything, really. Just please put them in something for a couple of hours so I can enjoy Jones making Dinklage uncomfortable with her bawdy and brash comedic style.
Trendy Restaurant (Bryant, Dinklage, Bayer, Killam, Bennett, Mooney, Pharoah)
Pardon the phrasing, but this sketch is glorious. A pretentious, edgy couple (Bryant and Dinklage) take their square, matching-sweater-set friends (Bennett and Bayer) to a hip new restaurant, which has taken a glory hole from its wilder heyday and repurposed it as a food delivery system. The absurdity is dialed up to 11, satirizing the gentrified, yuppy commodification of a city’s old curiosities and transforming them into hip kitsch.
TL;DR — white people are ridiculous, and this sketch rules.
Mafia Meeting (Moynihan, Bennett, Davidson, Dinklage, Pharoah, Rudnitsky, Stefani)
I am not going to pretend that I have any idea where this came from, but it’s kind of amazing. Dinklage plays a weird Bowie-meets-Sia avant garde New Wave musician singing about his space pants while a group of mafia dudes try to have an important meeting at a restaurant. Yeah…it’s special:
Undersea Hotel (Dinklage, Bennett, Strong, Pharoah, Killam, Mooney
Conceptually, this is great: newlywed couple arrive at an “underwater hotel” for their honeymoon, when they’re interrupted by a Weekend at Bernie’s-esque dead body floating outside their window. The sheer absurdity of the dead body gag is so, so good that it immediately gets a higher ranking. And while Dinklage flubs a few of his lines and feels a bit extraneous, you’ll laugh every time he says his baffling name:
At This Hour Cold Open (McKinnon, Strong, Hammond, Moynihan)
What a great cold open to return with! McKinnon’s beleaguered CNN host who is clearly barely paid enough to care vs. Strong’s incredibly vapid and idiotic Trump supporter is the Dawn of Justice we need right now — especially with Strong dropping that amazing Missy Elliott line. Can these two just do every cold open leading up to the election?
Monologue (Dinklage, Moynihan, Thompson, McKinnon, Bayer, Bennett, Jones)
Fulfilling his nerdly obligation, Dinklage immediately addresses the fate of Jon Snow with perfect disinterest before getting into his special monologue prepared by George R.R. Martin (Moynihan, of course). It’s about what you expect, but the “cutaway to another part of the kingdom” and Leslie Jones’ baller dragon are both instantly GIF-able moments.
Game of Thrones Sneak Peek (Dinklage, McKinnon, Mooney, Killam, Rudnitsky)
This pre-recorded “sneak peek” behind the scenes of Game of Thrones Season 6 entirely belongs to Moynihan’s mo-cap dragon performer, Randy Carnival — a guy who is REALLY into his job. I wish this sketch was more about Randy and how he lives his day-to-day life, always finishing sentences with “of Thrones” and making dragon noises at dinner. Aside from Moynihan, it’s just okay.
Winnie the Pooh (Dinklage, Killam, McKinnon, Thompson, Moynihan, Pharoah)
You could seriously just watch this sketch with the sound off and be just as amused, at least for the first 30 seconds, then you probably want to turn it on to experience the joy of Jay Pharoah as Pooh’s cousin, Denny the Real. It’s a bit too long and runs thin pretty quickly, but Moynihan’s Eeyore and Denny’s roasting of Christopher Robin keep it alive.
Weekend Update (Jost, Che, Davidson, Thompson)
After some great Trump jokes, resident young person Pete Davidson drops in to comment on Hulk Hogan’s Gawker lawsuit and the wrestling superstar’s sexual prowess — or lack thereof. Next up is Kenan Thompson as baseball pro David Ortiz, and I am not even going to pretend that I understand the humor here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate well to those who aren’t fans of baseball — or people who don’t particularly enjoy the fact that SNL has no latino actors to play latino parts.
Corporate Magic Show (Killam, Thompson, Dinklage, McKinnon, Bayer)
Man, Dinklage does douchey upper-class so well. Here he plays a narcissistic real estate company executive who gets roped into a special magic show for employees, but gets obnoxiously hung up on the magician’s joke about his smelly underwear. Nothing is funnier than his wig — or Bayer’s identical outfit. This seems like the sort of character Danny McBride would come up with, which makes me want to see McBride host SNL ASAP.
Vacation Nightmares (Dinklage, Strong, Killam, Bayer, Bennett, McKinnon, Bryant, Mooney)
This is fine. Dinklage does a good cheesy “terrifying true stories” TV host, but I wish McKinnon and Bryant’s not-very-Danish thugs and Mooney’s weird white Jamaican cop appeared in a different sketch — maybe one with a bunch of white people doing very specific Euro accents. This is way, way too long for such a simple concept, especially one that’s just not that funny.