'SNL' Recap Season 47, Episode 15: Zoë Kravitz

‘SNL’ Recap Season 47, Episode 15: Zoë Kravitz

In a season full of hip, young hosts, Saturday Night Live brings in Zoë Kravitz to promote her turn as Catwoman in The Batman. Although a nepotism baby as the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, Zoë really cemented herself into the zeitgeist with her role as Bonnie in Big Little Lies. Whether it’s her role in Divergent, Fantastic Beastsor the aforementioned HBO melodrama, the SNL writers have a lot to draw from. This is also a little bit of a family homecoming for Zoë, as her grandfather was longtime NBC producer Sy Kravitz and her godmother, Marisa Tomei, starred on NBC’s A Different World. This is a great get for SNL, as Zoë brings a ton of conviction to her roles. That is always a plus when it comes to comedy and SNL.

Fresh off the news that both the White House and the Kremlin are feeding TikTok stars information about the War in Ukraine, SNL opens with Biden soliciting advice from a few TikTok stars about stopping the war. Biden thanks Jen Psaki for setting it up. (Jen: “I suggested it as a joke, and then it actually happened.”) While I give credit to SNL for taking a stab at a very fresh story, this sketch is really underbaked. The biggest issue is that while giving a briefing to TikTok stars is weird and funny, asking TikTok stars to just randomly come up with ideas just feels aimless. Chloe Fineman dancing and pointing to text that isn’t there is a highlight in an otherwise underwhelming cold open.

Zoë claims she prepared for her role as Catwoman by watching the musical Cats every day for a year. (Zoë: “Which I actually heard is how Joaquin Phoenix prepared to play the Joker.”) Zoë is quickly interrupted by Kate McKinnon in a Catwoman suit. (Kate: “I’m Catwoman from the ’90s. The one with the whip. You know, like cats have.” ) She is joined by Ego Nwodim as Eartha Kitt, the ’60s Catwoman; Aidy Bryant as an actual Cat Lady; and Chris Redd as Katt Williams. Zoë shows off her chops by playing the foil to all these cat people. I would have been just fine with a tight monologue about Zoë’s life, but it’s good that SNL is trying to change it up.

Cecily Strong and Kyle Mooney are a recently married couple at their reception, and Cecily’s maid of honor, Zoë, is called up to give a speech about Cecily. Unfortunately for Kyle, Zoë not only discloses unsavory things about herself but also some disturbing details about Cecily. This is not just the highlight of the episode, it’s one of the best sketches of the season. (Zoë: “She’s been a bit of a Bridezilla, and not just because she’s attacked a lot of Japanese people.”) Kyle and Cecily have great chemistry as the newly wedded couple. It’s such a great moment when Kyle sadly looks down while Cecily knowingly nods as Kravitz says Kyle is “trying his best” in the bedroom, and the audience erupts.

In a commercial for Amazon Go, shoppers can just swipe in, grab their groceries and walk out without paying. However, “some people,” like Kenan, Ego, Chris, Punkie, and Zoë, are skeptical. (Ego: “So it’s a trap.”) You can even put products back if you change your mind, but Chris is not convinced, as he shouts into the store. (Chris: “I am putting the sandwich back y’all! I have decided to get a different sandwich today!”) Really solid jokes throughout, and it is nice to see Punkie and Ego get some good screen time. Kenan leaves the store terrified, attempting to leave cash on the turnstile, even when he’s told he paid. (Kenan: “Well then it’s a tip!”) I’m very curious if this was a sponsored ad, as they seemed to make a case for Amazon Go stores.

Kate and Aidy revive the Study Buddy character with Zoë as the attractive love interest. (Kate: “I’m sitting exceedingly close to the Hillary Duff of our algebra class.” Aidy: “Well, I’m glad you called me; I’m the only straight boy in my ballet class.”) Kate and Aidy show good chemistry as always, with Aidy suggesting Kate lean in and telling Zoë a secret. (Kate: “I once got mono from a trombone.”) The jokes here are better than the original, which is a testament to how funny this writing staff is when they get a hold of a clear premise.

Andrew is the host of “Word Crunch,” where contestants have to find words in a jumble. Unfortunately, Zoë is stuck on made-up word “Momhole.” This sketch has too many weird things happening simultaneously, as they can’t decide whether to emphasize Zoë’s weirdness or the fact that there was a writers’ strike and the sound engineer wrote the games. But Andrew is terrific as the beleaguered host. (Aidy: “Can I say it?” Andrew: “Sure, say it, whatever.” Aidy: “B.” Andrew: “That’s dumb.”) It’s also nice to see Aristotle get a few lines.

Zoë was terrific and is my MVP. She showed great range as the “Maid of Honor,” followed by Kate’s love interest in “Porch Scene.” She fit right in with the cast in “Amazon Go.” Even when repeating the same “Momhole” joke over and over in “Word Crunch,” she had energy and kept the scene going. I would have loved to see SNL dip into her career more, though. A Lenny Kravitz sketch. Big Little Lies. SNL episodes land harder when they go through the host’s catalogue, and we didn’t see that here.

Circling back to the “Maid of Honor” sketch: The strength lies in its simple, funny premise and the strong jokes littered throughout Kravitz’s speech. But Cecily and Kyle elevate it to a new level by reacting honestly to every reveal. They keep the focus on Zoë, and every time we go to Cecily, she nails her lines. (Zoë: “Do you remember what you said?” Cecily: “I’m storming the Capitol, and I’m going to kill Mike Pence.”) If you ever want to learn how to be a great scene partner and share focus , watch Cecily. She puts on a clinic every time.

There are two rules I think SNL needs to implement: No more Disney and no more dick jokes. They’re smarter than that, and this one-note sketch about the frog not having a dick ruined this episode’s momentum. Up until “Princess & the Frog,” every sketch had a solid premise and they played it smoothly. Then after that, every sketch made very little sense and became overly complicated. SNL also needs to let Please Don’t Destroy branch out from beyond this little office. I’m sure it’s some sort of weird edict (“Oh, your thing is that you’re always in this room”), but the concept has gotten old and has unnecessarily handcuffed them. PDD can do better stuff, even if it’s somewhere else in the studio.