SNL Review: Adam Driver shines when given the chance


Adam Driver returned to host the SNL Season 44 premiere, but he was largely marginalized by a show not that focused on him. He was able to shine in one sketch that let him be free and embrace his role.

Adam Driver showed his comedy skills when he first hosted Saturday Night Live after the release of The Force Awakens. His Undercover Boss spoof particularly was memorable, with Driver’s Kylo Ren going undercover and trying to blend in with the crew of Starkiller Base. However, Driver’s recent return to SNL didn’t give him much time to shine. He was largely minimized in sketches, and attention seemed focused on musical guest Kanye West performing “music.”

Let’s walk through Driver’s night, including the one sketch he absolutely nailed.


SNL first tackled the Brett Kavanaugh hearing in its star-studded cold open, which ran longer than normal, leaving Driver less time for his monologue. Driver’s monologue centered on not wanting to make small talk with the SNL cast about their summers off from the show. He made a few Star Wars references — at one point he tried to reveal a “spoiler” but was cut off; at another point he said “Ewoks are real” — but the funniest part of the monologue came when Kenan Thompson noticed Driver getting annoyed at their small talk and thought to himself, “He’s about to go all Kylo Ren on my [expletive].”

You can watch it here:

Unmemorable/minimal sketch appearances

After the monologue, Driver appeared in a sketch about the popular video game Fortnite, playing a non-tech savvy dad trying to learn the game to connect with his son. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great, so chalk it up as “alright.” The same goes for a sketch in which his character denies to like Burger King coffee. And he makes three brief appearances in an SNL Gladiator sketch, a house party sketch, and a neo-confederate meeting sketch. But there was one sketch that finally let Driver loose.

Oil baron sketch brings down the house

Driver finally got to shine as old oil baron Abraham H. Parnassus, who is brought in to speak to his son’s class on career day. It’s hard to tell that it’s actually Driver under heavy makeup and silver hair, but he commits to the crazy old man bit and plays it to perfection. He transitions in and out from an old man looking back on his career to a man screaming about grinding down his “enemies.”

At one point, the character stabs a dead bird several times in front of the class. The live audience is heard throughout the sketch filling the room with laughter as Driver doesn’t break character and goes all-in on the craziness of the old oil tycoon.

You can watch it here:


The send-off endings of SNL usually aren’t worth mentioning, as the host just thanks SNL for having them on and the cast does its trademark exchange of hugs as the end credits roll. However Driver seemed rush in his send-off, and it didn’t end with an exchange of hugs, as the show transitioned into its third Kanye West performance of the night, a weird exception made to the usual two that musical guests get during SNL appearances.

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It’s a shame Driver didn’t get a normal send-off, but more importantly, a normal show. The hoopla was more about Kanye West’s performance more than Driver’s hosting, even though he’s a big name and accomplished actor in his own right. At least we’ll always have Matt the Radar Technician.

Tell us what you thought about Adam Driver on SNL in the comments.