Anya Taylor-Joy SNL Sketches Ranked: Update Joke Swap, Lil Nas X Wardrobe Malfunction and More

The Season 46 cast looks back at one crazy year and pokes fun at everything from dads crashing prom pics with their shotguns to cancel culture, Pride and Mental Health Awareness Months.

After one of the craziest years in human history — certainly in American history — “Saturday Night Live” was ready to put this season to rest.

The entire cast came out to talk about the year that was in a surprisingly moving Cold Open. And we have to give props to Anya Taylor-Joy for coming way closer to delivering the greatest “SNL” episode of all time than Elon Musk after they both promised it.

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This was easily one of the strongest installments of the last several years, with “Weekend Update” delivering more laughs across its final two segments than it has all season — and it’s had a pretty good season. There were absolutely hilarious sketches and some incredible work from this cast.

We could see the excitement of a season ending in their heightened energy levels. These people were committed to their characters and bringing the funny tonight, and it worked. Only one sketch didn’t really work at all, and even it was pretty entertaining for how the cast members played off of one another.

Musical guest Lil Nas X did make an appearance in a pre-taped sketch, but he’ll probably most be remembered for a wardrobe malfunction that happened during his performance of “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”

The accident went down when he squatted by the stripper pole at the end and he appeared to cover things up pretty well. His hand was close to his crotch throughout, but it was planted there from that moment to the end. But, he didn’t falter a bit musically, and it could have almost passed for an artistic choice, he played it off so well.

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As usual, we’re ranking all the sketches from worst to first, including the Monologue, Cold Open, “Weekend Update” and any sketches that were cut for time but made their way online. We wrap up with a look at the cast-member who had the strongest week.

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Celtic Woman

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The real “Celtic Woman” shows might just be advertised pretty much like this. Probably the best thing about this whole sketch was just how much Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant were cracking up throughout. On the opposite side of Anya Taylor-Joy, who was committed to this one, Kate was giggling as well. The three veterans are almost as much fun to watch when they break as when they’re on their A-games.

AMC Theatres

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It went on a little too long, but Beck Bennett’s Vin Diesel got in some good descriptions of the movie theater experience that we do miss — and some we don’t. We loved Anya Taylor-Joy slowly sliding away from him when he took over her part of the fake ad to list off more things we can only experience at theaters. There was a fun twist at the end, but if it had been half this long, it would have landed stronger.

Monologue Anya Taylor-Joy

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A sweet and simple monologue, Anya spoke about her unique blend of Miami, Argentina and British, her big year as the star of “The Queen’s Gambit” and how she was totally tripping. She even had a visual aid to show us what that looked like … and kind of make us feel like maybe we were tripping, too. There was nothing magical about it, but Anya came across as very endearing and charming, which is good enough, we supposed.

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Making Man

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A totally bizarre sketch breaking down some of the seemingly odd design choices that went into “human man,” as critiqued by the team making “human woman,” there were some good laughs. We particularly liked Chris Redd being so proud of the parts he was involved in making, that seem the worst. Poor Melissa Villaseñor almost had a fun part in this, but it was very small and she was then fully dismissed from the sketch. The Jesus bit — which was really just their way out — didn’t really land at all, though it was definitely a familiar role for Kyle Mooney.

Pride Month Song

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Getting a jump on June’s Pride Month, the LGBTQ+ members of the cast were joined by host Anya Taylor-Joy and musical guest Lil Nas X for this musical tribute to being gay and making up for Pride getting canceled last year. It includes all the classics like moving in together way too soon (“even for lesbians”), and losing it when your crush ghosts you, so you drag your friends down and make them pick you back up. It was both joyous and funny, with Bowen Yang definitely giving his all throughout.

Cold Open: This Year

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There was a sweet sentimentality to this Cold Open, which featured the full cast minus the “Weekend Update” crew. Even Chris Rock stopped in as they reminisced about one of the wildest and weirdest seasons in history. There were funny moments, like Pete’s green screen joke, and moments of sincerity. Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant were clearly emotional — so much, we almost expected an announcement that one or all might be leaving the show. That didn’t come, as Kenan instead hoped everyone would return for Thanksgiving — is that how long their hiatus is going to be?!?!

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Lingerie Store

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A silly sketch about “brawrs,” for larger breasts, we’re not sure Heidi Gardner knew what she signed up for when she agreed to be a customer at this store run by Aidy Bryant and Anya Taylor-Joy. Aidy was more than just a little handsy, and based on Heidi’s reaction she was a little off-script. But it was still pretty funny, especially with everything she was able to figure out. The entirety of the sketch didn’t work great — Beck Bennett’s part fell flat (so to speak) — but it had enough charm to work overall.

College Panel

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Aidy Bryant and Anya Taylor-Joy portray two inept students at NYU asking questions of the five-person cast of an HBO comedy, but really they just want to moon over Pete Davidson’s character. The rest of the cast got leading, misleading, offensive, racist, homophobic and every other type of horrible question you could imagine. Pete’s euphoric, giggly answers to his questions contrasted beautifully to the reactions of the rest of the cast when they were actually addressed. The whole thing came together beautifully.

Cut for Time: Queen's Pitch

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We didn’t get a “Queen’s Gambit” parody sketch and now we know why. Taking a (fake) peek behind the scenes, we got a glimpse of some of the horrible sketch parodies the cast came up with to play off of Anya Taylor-Joy’s show. Even better, we got actual footage from those terrible show ideas, that just got more and more ridiculous as we went along. At one point, after getting shut down, Kate McKinnon started talking about her weird dreams, like Elon Musk hosting and her mother being on. Anya was brilliant in this, and it was clear the cast was enjoying a great rapport with her.

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Hollywood Squares

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We can’t decide if this was concerning, funny or just very, very sad. A fake rebroadcast of an episode of “Hollywood Squares” from 1998 proved that we had so, so many problematic celebrities at that time. Legal and standards kept interrupting to omit parts of the episode, like segments featuring Bill Cosby (Kenan Thompson), Jeff Dunham’s (Mikey Day) racially insensitive puppets, Jared Fogle’s (Kyle Mooney), Matt Lauer (Alex Moffat) and Kevin Spacey. The shortened clips we did get were even funnier — and more awkward — in the context of hindsight. We’ll just give it a big “yikes!”

Picture with Dad

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Hooray for “SNL” stand up against the misogynistic and dangerously infantile photos of dads holding shotguns with their daughter’s dates. They took it to comedic extremes by having Beck Bennett’s dad actually blow his own genitals off in an accident, but the message of how reckless and stupid these are was clear. We loved the hospital revelation that they kids had been already having sex for years, and couldn’t help but laugh as he pleaded with them to not have sex tonight out of respect for him. The way Andrew Dismukes and Heidi Gardner responded was so earnest and hilarious and totally believable.

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Weekend Update

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The boys celebrated a successful season, and a wild year in the news. They took a look at Congress possibly stopping an investigation into the Capitol siege, and the “future” of the Republican party, Matt Gaetz. And you know there was no way to ignore 35-year-old Andrew Giuliani touting his five decades in politics — he must have found the Reader’s Digest Condensed version. They also got in some barbs at Biden’s touching, and New York’s slow opening. But we’re really here for Michael’s Tinder profile!

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Pete Davidson dropped by for Mental Health Awareness Month to show off how great it’s been ordering food since he pilfered Colin Jost’s credit card. He talked about how challenging it was to add Covid anxieties to his already exhaustive list of anxieties and even cracked a Lorne Michaels-written joke about “SNL” itself. He burned Chrissy Teigen, himself and seemed to genuinely be in a good place, wrapping with a note of sincere appreciation.

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The boys then tackled Boom airlines, Hellen Keller Barbie, Marilyn Manson’s legal troubles and a conductor-less train after an emergency bathroom break. Probably their best and dumbest joke was when they played actual footage of what a Scottish orgasm sounds like. We should have known.

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Every year, we look forward to the bit where Colin and Micheal read jokes written for them by the other that they’ve never seen before. It’s always racist and offensive and only works because of the premise. This latest installment was the funniest thing we’ve seen all season. And for the first time, we think Colin gave as good as he got. Well, almost. Our face hurts from laughing so hard so we can’t think straight.

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Cecily Strong kept the laughs coming as Judge Jeanine Piro with easily the biggest glass of wine we’ve seen her sport yet. It didn’t take long for Colin to be sporting half of it as Cecily was all in on this impression, loud and brash and brilliant as always. By the time she brought out her backup wine, we were dying again … and can we just say she has incredible aim behind her. That was just impressive! We wondered what could be worthy to follow the joke swap bit, but this absolutely was.

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The biggest question for us coming into the night was whether or not it will be the last cast appearance for any of these 20 cast members. Never before has “SNL” carried a cast so large. And yet, there was no real sense of farewell from anyone.

About the closest we got was in the Cold Open when it was clear how emotional our three most veteran ladies were. Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon were all visibly tearing up as they talked about the year and their season. Could this have been a goodbye?

Cecily performed a rousing rendition of “My Way” on “Update” while Pete Davidson said that it has been an honor to grow up in front of the view audience. Could those have been indications of farewell from either them?

We’ve certainly had major cast members say goodbye more quietly, not announcing at all during the season and then just fading away before the next one starts. It’s still hard to imagine this entire cast coming back again, but we didn’t expect them all back this season.

Was that a Covid consideration after it disrupted the back half of Season 45, or has Lorne Michaels changed how he’s going to run the show when it comes to his veterans; perhaps in response to Kenan still bringing it after all these years? No matter what happens, we’ll always appreciate the incredible work of this cast.

This week’s spotlight has to hit Cecily Strong first for her absolutely brilliant Jeanine Prio. She might have been able to win Player of the Week on the strength of that alone, and her other smaller appearances, but we have to point out Aidy Bryant.

Aidy was all over tonight’s episode, whether she was hawking “brawrs” or ineptly interviewing a comedy cast. She was a Celtic woman, a horrified wife, a game show contestant and even herself, pitching a terrible “Free Willie” parody.

It’s been rare in recent weeks for one cast member to have such a dominant presence. While most of the cast enjoyed lots of screen time this week (poor Melissa), it was Aidy who was clearly making the most out of every single one of hers.

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