By now you’ve probably guessed that I’m pretty into mixed martial arts. But what you don’t know is that, as a New Yorker, I’ve been a lifelong fan of “Saturday Night Live”. It is, therefore, one heck of a colliding of two worlds that former UFC champ Ronda Rousey is hosting SNL tonight.
It’s also a pretty big deal that she was invited to host. After all, usually it’s mainstream actors and politicians who get the invite, with only the occasional athlete getting the gig. As the first MMA fighter on the show, Rousey, even coming off an epic defeat, is still breaking ground. So here’s a liveblog of it!
What to expect: Rousey in the opening monologue, getting plenty of help from the cast, and Rousey appearing in four or five sketches. The hitch: it’s all live.
The cold open, which almost always is centered around politics. No appearance of Rousey.
The opening monologue, which is where Rousey stands on stage and opens the show.
As expected, Rousey gets a ton of help from the cast, with two members pretending to commentate like the monologue is a fight. She seems at ease, but she’s not doing a lot of heavy lifting – all the jokes are set up by the cast members. She pretends to have brain damage for a second, she gives a shoutout to Holly Holm, and it ends with musical guest Selena Gomez taking the mic and singing a song.
Okay, not bad so far.
This sketch is all about the Academy Awards going out of their way to nominate white people and ignore African-Americans. Rousey is just someone’s date in the audience, so nothing big happens here.
Now it’s time for the pre-taped skit, which is standard for every show. In this one Rousey is in high school and gets set up by the “cool kids” and humiliated. Except Rousey proceeds to beat the crap out of her tormentor. It’s pretty funny, and it ends with the narrator saying, “One in five bullies will be victims of mixed martial arts. Don’t be a statistic.”
This skit is some sort of “The Bachelor” knockoff, with all the female cast members (and Rousey) vying for the affections of some dude who is “bland”. Rousey is kind of stiff, but whatever.
Rousey introduces the musical guest, which means we won’t see her for another 10 minutes or so, as the Weekend Update (a fake news segment) always comes after the first song.
The Weekend Update is on, so Rousey is backstage getting into costume for her next skit.
This skit is a courtroom drama, and Rousey plays a defendant who is a school teacher who had an affair with a student. The gag is that the student was ultra-willing, and Rousey has about three lines total. Is she carrying these scenes on her comedic shoulders? No, not at all – but she shouldn’t be. She’s a friggin’ athlete, not a comedienne.
A superhero skit, and Rousey is one of a bunch of superheroes – some of whom don’t really have powers – who must save the city. No heavy lifting in this one either, so she’s fine.
Another pre-recorded sketch, this one with music and involving Rousey and two female castmembers getting hit on – and rapped at – by three male castmembers. These pre-recorded sketches are hard to mess up because you can take multiple takes until you get it right.
A skit involving some sort of local town hall meeting. Rousey plays a garish carnival lady applying for a permit for her carnival that features only one thing – a lost Baldwin brother. The skit is “meh”.
Rousey introduces Selena Gomez for another song.
Next skit, and it’s all about Rousey in a workplace lunchroom inviting two socially awkward coworkers to a low-key party. She’s in this one quite a bit, and she at ease and comfortable.
Last skit and it’s a prerecorded faux-commercial that Rousey isn’t in at all.
That’s all, folks. Rousey didn’t have a lot to do, and not every skit was funny, but she did great with what she had. She definitely did a lot better than Steven Seagall and Michael Jordan when they were on.