SNL Season 39: Grading Each Cast

Sad to have season 39 of Saturday Night Live come to an end. It’s hard to not have a newly SNL every Saturdays, for the whole summer.

The cast is what makes SNL what it is. And this amazing cast — each one of them — had a great season. A season that had no Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeuikis and Bill Hader, for many years. For this cast to handle that type of adversity, where you didn’t have that veteranship to help you on tough sketches, is impressive. When those big stars left, this cast picked up the ball and handled it with calmness.

We saw a brand new SNL, this season. New faces, young faces, big pushes and some suspects.

JAY PHAROAH

Big step for Jay Pharoah this season. He became a legit and important cast member.

Obviously playing our president Barack Obama is major role for him, but he can do so many things. He can rap, or act like a famous rapper, and does a great job with these musical sketches. The one he did with Kerry Washington this season, was really good. Without him on SNL, they can’t do those music video sketches.

JOHN MILHISER

One of the newbies of SNL.

Milhiser was one of the new rookies on SNL I really liked. He reminded me a lot of – former SNL cast – Chris Kattan. A short guy whose explosive and athletic on the set.

Milhiser’s one of the newcomers they should’ve done more with. He gives you a different type of comedy. Some of the cast are almost all alike and that can be boring. SNL needs to diverse it up, a little. When Kattan was on SNL, he was a lot different than the other cast because of his unique style and the things he did that other cast members couldn’t do. I see that potential in Milhiser.

NOEL WELLS

One of the new chicks of season 39.

Wells was…okay. She’s fundamentally good. Just someone to fill in a play a celebrity.

Wells is not bad, but she’s nothing rare.

BECK BENNETT

Rookie no.3

I didn’t like Bennett much, since he was on those AT&T commercials and felt that he was given more sketches because of that. While the others who deserved more sketches, didn’t get.

And it wasn’t Bennett’s fault. It’s the SNL suits we don’t see, that are making Bennett see more sketches. I found that to be very corporate.

I can understand if Bennett had amazing talent — he’s nothing special, either. He’s a very solid performer; those baby skits are pretty funny, but nothing that’s ‘must see’, or waiting to see every Saturday night.

MIKE O’BRIEN

Rookie no.4

Didn’t ‘wow’ me at first, but then later on in the season impressed me…a little.

O’Brien is solid performer — though I think he can be better, if he lets lose more. There were some skits he did where he looked effortlessly funny, but then there were some skits where he looked guarded and boring. I don’t know if he’s found himself yet, or not.

O’Brien has lots of hidden talent he needs to expose next season. Though, nevertheless, he was solid.

KYLE MOONEY

Rookie no.5

Another solid, new cast member.

Mooney is nothing to write home about, but he has his own material and kinda wins your heart with his kindness, even though if he doesn’t necessarily make you roll on the floor with laughter. There’s a kindness about Mooney (even though I don’t know him personally), that I like.

Not a big fan of his sketches with Bennett, though.

COLLIN JOST

Rookie no.6

I don’t understand why Jost was picked to do the “Weekend Update” — or picked to be on SNL, for that matter. Is it because he knows how to speak well and looks good in a suit, or is it because they think he’s funny. The funny part: I’m not seeing.

The history of past SNL “Weekend Update” anchors, always had a slick, sarcastic style of comedy to them. Going from Norm McDonald, to Collin Quinn and even Seth Meyers. I don’t see that in Jost. Where’s the comedy in him?

Jost being an anchor on Weekend Update, is like Lorne Michaels having to owe money to the mob and one of the mob bosses so happen to have Jost as a relative whose inspired to be on SNL, and was forced to televise him, instead of paying the money.

BROOKS WHEELAN

Rookie no.7

Now this is a talented rookie, but wasn’t given much of a spotlight.

Wheelan, to me, has that ‘it’ factor. He has the potential to be effortlessly funny; he doesn’t even have to do much to be funny. Though, he wasn’t given much of a chance this season. They gave plenty of sketches to O’Brien and Bennett, who both can be sometimes boring as hell, and hardly any sketches were given to Wheelan. Give the guy a chance! He’s got the looks and personality to really become something special — I really believe that.

The writers need to give Wheelan the right type of sketches and he’ll shine.

SASHEER ZAMATA

Rookie no.8

And the last rookie was needed, as you saw on the season finale, as he played Beyonce’s sister, Solange.

Zamata is okay. Nothing special, like the rest of the rookies, although, SNL needed a black girl. Just so she can play celebrities like Solange Knowles, or the first lady Michelle Obama.

I gotta see more from Zamata, though. I can’t really judge all the rookies in their early careers on SNL.

VANESSA BAYER

Now to the veterans!

Bayer is a consistent player. Every year, she gives you her best on the stage. She may not be the top dog with the top talent, but she’s always consistent and there when needed.

Bayer has this ‘cute girl’ persona with a cute smile, but can bring out her goofy side or scream like a crazy woman at any time of the day. That’s a dangerous talent.

BOBBY MOYNIHAN

Bobby Moynihan

When put on the right sketches, Moynihan will get you rolling on the floor with laughter.

Moynihan playing the security guard who recorded Jay-Z and Solange, is a character only he can play. In that sketch he hardly did anything, but was still funny! Moynihan being chubby and moving and dances like the way he does and also performs the way he does, is a gift.

AIDY BRYANT

Big year, for Bryant. No question about it, she had breakout year this season.

Bryant climbed over a lot of cast members, this season. There were some sketches where I was amazed in how good she was.

The episode where rapper Drake hosted: Their was a sketch where Bryant was playing a younger girl, having a slumber party with her friends, while Drake played the father of the friend whose house she was staying in. Bryant’s character kept flirting with Drake, who was the father — and she was OUTSTANDING in that sketch. That was her best sketch this season; by far.

CECILY STRONG

She broke out her first season, on fire. This season…not so much.

I really think Strong was…a little exposed, by being the anchor on the “Weekend Update” table. When SNL was trying to find the next anchor, I though Strong would be great for it because of her (gorgeous) eyes. But after I saw how it took away her inhuman comedy and showed too much of her human side, I didn’t like it.

She still can explode her talent and play various of women – superbly, but we didn’t see that much form her this season.

I expect Strong to comeback strong next season and — of course — hot as ever.

KENAN THOMPSON

Continues to show he’s irreplaceable.

I always forget how important Thompson is to SNL. He’s one of the long lasting cast members and each season he’s gotten better and better. Every sketch does is great. It’s become impossible for him to do a bad or unfunny sketch, now.

His best moment this season had be him playing David Ortiz. Thompson captured a lot of attention with that sketch. And the way he said all those Hispanic foods, he sounded and looked Hispanic.

We’ll see how long Thompson we’ll be around for. He’s been on SNL for over ten years, now — and SNL cannot afford to lose him at this moment.

NASIM PEDRAD

The only longest lasting cast member, whose still giving her best.

Sometimes I think SNL fans and myself, forget about Pedrad and how good she’s been for this many years.

I’ve always thought of Pedrad as the female version of Fred Armisen. Both have that natural ability to perform and transform from character to character and do so damn well. Pedrad and Armisen are like robots.

Like Kenan Thompson, I don’t know how many years Pedrad has left in SNL, whose done well over ten years on the show. To be honest, I hope she never leaves.

Pedrad, whose probably never gonna the attention like the other past and present female cast members get, but she should go down as one of the greatest female SNL cast members, of all-time.

TARAN KILLAM

What can you say about the best? Or what more can you say.

Another great year for Killam, whose been the MVP, or for SNL – the MVC: Most Valuable Cast…..Member… I guess I have add another M.

Killam’s new character Jebidiah Atkinson has been a win.

But was Killam the MVC…M, this season?

KATE MCKINNON

No, I’m not gonna say Killam was the MVC of season 39. It’s gotta go to Kate McKinnon.

I said it from for the first episode of this season, that McKinnon was gonna sore to the top. And she did.

It’s not even an argument whether McKinnon is the best female cast member, it’s whether she’s better than Killam right now. She’s that good.

And you know what McKinnon is so good: She can burst out laughing and mess up the character she’s doing, and STILL be funny. That’s when you know you have something.

Also, she’s gotta nice butt ; )

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