Pedro Pascal Can’t Save Bad Bunny’s ‘SNL’ Hosting Debut
If Bad Bunny’s debut as a Saturday Night Live host proved anything last night, it’s that as a comedian, he’s one hell of a musician. We’re guessing that Lorne Michaels and company figured that out early on, arranging for cameos throughout the night to prop up the first-time host/musical guest. Unfortunately, bringing in a comedy heavyweight like Pedro Pascal only highlighted Bad Bunny’s shortcomings.
Don’t get me wrong, Bad Bunny is charming as hell and confidence doesn’t seem to be his problem. Unlike other non-thespian hosts like Paris Hilton or Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Bad Bunny didn’t seem at all intimidated when he took the stage for his monologue. The opening bit’s theme — Bad Bunny can do whatever he wants, and he’s basically perfect — doesn’t work if the host has the flop sweats, but that’s not the problem. He’s used to the spotlight, and he’s got this. Except… he don’t got this. His comic timing was off by a half-beat, made all the more apparent when Pascal joined him onstage.
The Emmy-nominated Pascal was last year’s funniest SNL host, so bringing him in as a ringer wasn’t the worst idea in the world. But it was a little like having Pascal sing, then bringing in the King of Latin Trap as a surprise duet partner. One artist’s complete mastery only emphasizes the inadequacies of the other. Some of it was just comedy basics — you hold for laughs. You use your eyes instead of hiding behind dark glasses. You use your hands in a natural way.
It was even more pronounced when Pascal reprised his Protective Mom character from last season’s show. Bad Bunny played Aunt Rosa, essentially the same character — a Spanish-speaking disapproval machine who isn’t having it with Luis’s new girlfriend. You could use the scene as a teaching tool in a sketch comedy class: It’s not that Bad Bunny did a terrible job with his character (he’s okay), but it paled in comparison with Pascal’s overprotective, passive-aggressive monster. If Pascal was here to save Bad Bunny, he ended up stealing his show instead. (Side note: Marcello Hernández proved throughout tonight’s show — and last year’s Pascal episode — that he’s hilarious and ready for more. Can the show find a way to feature him on nights when the host doesn’t speak Spanish?)
Ironically, another of the night’s surprise cameo guests just reinforced the potential pitfalls of putting charismatic musicians into comedy roles.
Mick Jagger showed up twice during the evening (he’s in town promoting the new Rolling Stones album), and he’s no stranger to SNL with two hosting stints under his belt. In the “Convent Meeting” sketch, Mother Superior tried to discover which of her nuns was actually a horny dude in disguise. We were meant to believe that Bad Bunny’s Sister Theresa was the wolf in nun’s clothing, but surprise! It was Jagger as Sister Kevin! The ladies of SNL got plenty of laughs in this one, but the sketch kept getting derailed by both Bad Bunny and Jagger, both of whom swallowed the ends of punchlines or paused awkwardly before delivering them.
The confident swagger of Jagger and Bad Bunny makes both men hilarious when they’re the ones doing the cameos — a little bit of either goes a long way (and I mean that as a compliment). But do us a favor, SNL, and just put Pedro Pascal front and center next time.