Saturday Night Live recap: Former SNL cast member Will Forte returns to Studio 8H for the first time as host

Tim Calhoun. The Falconer. MacGruber. Tonight’s host is Will Forte, one of the most idiosyncratic and offbeat cast members in the history of Saturday Night Live. Like Jason Sudeikis — who returned to the show back in October — this is Forte’s first time as host, though he has cameoed several times since leaving 8H officially back in 2010.

Having distinguished alumni return to host is always special and heartwarming, particularly on a cold night like tonight. There have been murmurings about whether the show is challenged this season getting hosts due to COVID, but in Forte’s case, it’s all in the family; his SNL spin-off character MacGruber just launched his new show on Peacock.

As always, I am joined tonight by a former SNL cast member, who will share insights on the episode. Jeff Richards was on the show when Forte joined as a cast member back in 2002, and calls him “well adjusted.”

“It was like meeting a young Don Johnson. You simply don’t know how to behave,” jokes Richards about his first interactions with the future Last Man on Earth star. Forte’s musical guest is Måneskin, the Italian rock band that won the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with the song “Zitti e buoni.”

Whether you’re warming up from the frigid standby line barricades with a hot cup of cocoa, or are a refugee from the AV Club’s own coverage of the show, welcome. It’s SNL in Review time.

Kate McKinnon has the ball for this cold open — she is playing Laura Ingraham again. “The green M&M is canceled just for being a whore,” she whines.

Curiously, she calls out Morgan Wallen being canceled — when, of course, SNL had a role in that whole saga! Having it both ways, gang.

Laura welcomes a bearded Aidy Bryant as Senator Ted Cruz. Sniveling as always. “Hit me,” Cruz pleads. He just wants to remain in the mix. Bryant playing off McKinnon has that timeless 2015 vibe, doesn’t it folks? I wish they just wouldn’t here.

Tennis star, and anti-vaxxer, Novak Djokovic (Pete Davidson) is up next to lament his deportation from Australia. The show loves to challenge Davidson’s abilities as a performer, no? Next up: Ego Nwodim is Candace Owens, who is misquoting MLK.

And, finally, James Austin Johnson brings back his Trump impression. He brings out his Wordle: Boost, John Mayer, How I Met Your Father (“We love Duff!”), Jason Momoa, Prada. Impeccable work, if a little rushed. Lots of pop culture references, if you enjoy that type of thing.