Amy Schumer hosted “Saturday Night Live’s” Mother’s Day edition, and if you too picked out the contradictions in this mismatch then – congratulations – you also know why this next-to-last 43rd season edition was so instantly forgettable.
Putting Schumer and Mother’s Day together in one episode sounds like someone’s idea of a cosmic joke, maybe Lorne Michaels, but there’s a movie to promote (“I Feel Pretty”) and a season to wrap and Schumer was available. The result was a hodgepodge that felt winded and wan, not quite Amy, not quite “SNL” either.
Following a Cold Open that dispensed politics for mothers – real ones, cast-member ones, in what’s now something of an “SNL” Mother’s Day tradition – Schumer had to follow with a safe and largely PG-13 monologue. It was shackled and polite, neither are necessarily Schumer strong suits.
There were jokes about her new husband’s (Chris Fischer) proposal – “It was the morning, I was still asleep, he threw the box and said, ‘I got you this...’”
There were jokes about being a bridesmaid in six Long Island weddings: There’s “something a little sad about being a bridesmaid in your late 30s, always standing there in a grecian gown with my aging cleavage, with a Coachella flower thing” in her hair...
There were jokes about tampons. Amy being Amy, she did start to push the imposed boundaries, but coming at the end of an on-her-best-behavior 8-minute monologue those felt like outliers from another Schumer set – a raunchier one, certainly a funnier one. But mothers were watching. Mothers were in the audience at Studio 8H. That set will probably be on her next Netflix special.
The rest of the show muddled along. There was a skit about a new “Hulu spinoff,” or mashup of “A Handmaid’s Tale” and “Sex and the City” that sounds about as obvious – and lame – as it was. A “Mother Knows Best” game show cast her as host Shelby McAllister, who was forced to grimace through “Dating Game”-style interactions with mother-adult-child pairings, notably a particularly unholy one (cast members Mikey Day and Kate McKinnon).
Schumer and McKinnon – fellow Long Islanders, both huge stars in their own right – got together in one sketch called “Last Call with Amy Schumer,” about a pair of lesbians hooking up at a dive bar. But the bartender (Kenah Thompson) got the best line out of this one: “Alexa, what do I do?” Alexa: “Kill yourself.”
This was Schumer’s second hosting gig. For the third, a modest suggestion: Let Amy be Amy, but just not on Mother’s Day.