A fun secret about me: I still watch Saturday Night Live. There are many reasons to drop the show: Alec Baldwin’s toothless Trump impression, the show’s well-documented issues with diversity, weak writing, and, generally, Lorne Michaels, to name a few. And yet, I continue to watch, in part because every so often John Mulaney hosts, but mostly because Aidy Bryant is such a delight.
Television critics say that Kate McKinnon’s talent is unparalleled, which is probably true. But Bryant’s confidence as a performer has grown immensely since she joined the cast in 2012, and though she might not share McKinnon’s trademark zaniness, there’s an understated power to her comedy. McKinnon steals every sketch she’s in, but Bryant quietly commands them—see, for instance, 2018's “Aidy B and Cardi B” digital short, and all her turns as Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
SNL returned for its 45th season last night (with a Billie Eilish set that prompted my mother to ask me, “Is that music?”) and though I’m still not sold on the endless political content, they did have a pretty good Inside the Beltway sketch in which Kenan Thompson’s pundit poured cold water on his colleagues’ misguided belief that the Ukraine scandal (see also: Mueller, Grab Them by the Pussy, the entire 2016 campaign) would end the Trump presidency. The sketch itself was surprisingly funny, but the real humor came when an unwitting wardrobe person accidentally tried to change Bryant’s costume on-air. Bryant tried to hold it together but could not. It was a truly charming moment, and I can’t stop thinking about it:
Aidy Bryant is the best. May her reign be long and fruitful.