Seth MacFarlane did really well, this was a great showcase of a talented guy immersing himself into the SNL format. If anything, I'd say MacFarlane felt like a born SNL player who had been waiting to unleash that talent all his life and finally got to do so - he had a million voices but he also was able to act with his facial expressions and didn't overshadow any of the players in their sketches.
This was a pretty funny episode, not as uneven as a lot of the work last season, while still some pitfalls and too few highlights, but the in-between work from the cold open through to the end worked better than most.
Bain Capital ad felt like 1 or 2 jokes too many complete with an extra minute of material that should have been cut - Kenan Thompson overplays his material, he mugs for the camera, and he does the same handful of goofy voices and behaviors, but with stuff like this a tighter script or edit can showcase what he does right.
I honestly cannot understand why anyone would perpetuate the Rodger Brush material, this is a character with the same 2 jokes over and over - can't hear despite it being entirely audible, and totally inappropriate responses then abusing people when they don't like it. It's a one-joke sketch and it's been going on for how many years now? The worst part is that if it was better-written, if there was more depth and more believability, then the kernel of humor behind it might work, but that never ever happens.
Lids was more the attitude of the material and capturing a meme quickly, but the cast all got into their respective parts well, even the counter-jockies who really didn't have much comedy in theory to work with still made it work.
Puppet Class felt like a sketch waiting for a breakout idea that came too late and wasn't strong enough, but MacFarlane committed well and I did laugh at Kenan's joke the first time before it overstayed its welcome (my common complaint about Kenan on the show is recycling the same joke to death).
As long as Seth Meyers is still head of writing, the show is not going to get significantly better no matter who comes or goes from the on-screen talent. He's a lazy comedic writer and his Weekend Update misses the humor at nearly every pass. Seth Meyers yelled at us and had three commentaries that are actually weak mini-sketches filling the last third.
Kenan doesn't remind me a thing of Steve Harvey, reminds me everything of Kenan mugging for the camera like a child imitating Bill Cosby, and the writing was hit-and-miss.
Frank Ocean was way into his game of Galaga, that was my favorite part of the music.
The rest of the sketches were pretty decent, none were standout home runs worthy of vast comment but they weren't draggers either, I laughed at several.
So, Cecily Strong feels like a camera-hog, every scene she was in she was playing big, and that can either mean she's going to be annoying or she's going to tone it down, but either way I suspect she will be out of the show soon and get her own sitcom on Comedy Central or TBS or something. Tim Robinson kinda melted into the background, his mopey face was obvious in his scenes but he only stood out for that, he wasn't bad but he wasn't great, I can see him getting cultivated into something bigger on the show or getting quietly dropped, but not staying at the level he's at now. Aidy Bryant was misused, they at the very least need to give her different hair and get her acting rather than sticking with her safe material.
I have wondered when Seth MacFarlane would start taking more live action work and I think this may be the beginning of it. He is capable in front of the camera, even if he did resort to voices and impressions in some sketches to get by.
The material was incredibly weak and childish, especially given they had all Summer to write this stuff. There were a few laughs throughout the show, but the glory days of SNL were certainly not revisited tonight.