'Saturday Night Live' Recap: 5 Most Memorable Sketches From the Miles Teller/Kendrick Lamar Season 48 Premiere

'SNL' returned with a lot to say about recent internet events, its own show's changes, and ads.
by Danielle Turchiano — 

From left to right: Kendrick Lamar, Miles Teller, and Bowen Yang in Studio 8H


Saturday Night Live returned with its 48th season on Oct. 1, and with it came some big changes. But the show wasted no time in commenting on that fact directly and throwing the audience into a slightly updated form of comedy via a cold open sketch that broke down the typical SNL cold open sketch.

Miles Teller made his hosting debut with the episode and used his time on stage during his monologue to bring up the internet's belief that he looks like Rachel Maddow, as well as discussing working with Tom Cruise on Top Gun: Maverick, most notably how he learned the entire version of "Great Balls of Fire" on the piano for the film, only for them to only use a few seconds in the final cut. He also brought a home video of himself at 8 years old performing a classic "Spartan Cheerleaders" sketch with his older sister.

Musical guest Kendrick Lamar performed the requisite two musical numbers, but his first consisted of two songs, beginning with a version of "Rich Spirit" that moved into "N95" from his Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers album that was released in May of this year. Then later in the episode he returned to the stage at Studio 8H to perform "Father Time" off the same album.

The rest of the episode leaned on picking up on recent internet sensations, from Adam Levine's terrible DMs, to the BeReal app, and even using Lizzo's "About Damn Time" in a sketch about a young Charmin bear who wants to be a dancer. The Charmin sketch had the air of a product placement deal, as did a sketch about a jacked Grimace (Teller) in a sketch featuring icons from McDonald's preparing to shoot a new commercial, but they weren't the only takes on ads within the episode, as Nicole Kidman's popular AMC ad got an update from Chloe Fineman.

The series still stars its longest-running performer, Kenan Thompson, as well as "Weekend Update" hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost, and recent mainstays Mikey Day, Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Cecily Strong, and Bowen Yang. Returning featured players are Andrew Dismukes, James Austin Johnson, Punkie Johnson, and Sarah Sherman, with Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow (who got a turn at the Weekend Update desk to comment on Republican family members in the wake of Sydney Sweeney's birthday party), and Devon Walker joining for the first time this season.

Below, watch the five most memorable sketches from the Saturday Night Live Season 48 premiere.

ESPN Cold Open

The episode host isn't always in the cold open sketch, but the Season 48 premiere threw Teller right into the action, with him playing Peyton Manning alongside Dismukes' Eli Manning, appearing on ESPN to break down a fictional version of SNL's premiere cold open. Yes, it was meta, commenting on the changes at the show itself (from common faux pas made by new cast members, to just how much recently departed cast member Kate McKinnon used to take on), but it was also a unique way to deliver the expected political cold open. James Austin Johnson reprised his take on Donald Trump once again, and three-time SNL host Jon Hamm even appeared as himself to join the fictional Mannings and talk about how the show is flailing already, while Shaun White was stunt cast in the cold open-within-the-open.

'Send Something Normal'

There's a new fictional game show on the sketch series, and it's titled "Send Something Normal." Whether it becomes an ongoing one technically remains to be seen, but since it asks its celebrity contestants to respond normally (hence the title) to DMs they receive, it seems like the writers will have material for many episodes to come. In this one, Day played Adam Levine, who was recently caught in a real-life scandal when a woman outed him as having cheated on his pregnant wife with her (normally we would say allegedly cheated, but she showed the receipts in the form of DMs that quickly became a meme and inspired this sketch); Austin James Johnson was Armie Hammer, who was accused of much more violent behavior in previous relationships; Thompson was Neil deGrasse Tyson, who the host (played by Teller) admitted hasn't been in a texting scandal yet, though he has been accused of sexual misconduct before); and Yang played himself. The game should have been simple enough, but naturally the all of these men were a giant fail blog. Yes, even Yang. 


The queen of impressions, Fineman, pulled out the big guns in stepping into Kidman's shoes for a return to AMC Theatres. But, this being SNL, it came with a twist: Those in the theater around her stood up and saluted her, repeating the catchphrase "Heartbreak feels good in a place like this," which further empowered her in a supernatural sense. Thankfully, Thompson was there to provide a voice of reason, though.

Bowen Yang Is the Spotted Lanternfly

SNL often delivers sketches that are specific to the New York experience, since that is where the show is filmed. Technically the spotted lanternfly originated in China and was found in Pennsylvania years before New York, but this summer has seen an insurgence of them in the Empire State. With people being urged to kill them on sight because of how invasive they are to crops, there were a few ways the show could have gone with making jokes about them, but it opted to dress Yang up as one and have him sit with Che and Jost at the Weekend Update desk to respond directly to claims of threatening local vegetation. It gave him the opportunity to bring back a slightly older sensation ("Cash me outside") and have a Jerry Springer-style showdown with Dismukes as "Crops." Will this become as popular as Yang's version of Titanic? Only time will tell.

Saturday Night Live airs live coast to coast at 11:30 p.m. ET / 8:30 p.m. PT Saturdays on NBC.