This Week’s “SNL” Cold Open Took on Jon Gruden’s Emails

The Raiders weren't the only target in this sketch

"SNL" cold open
The cold open of this week's "SNL" took on a certain NFL controversy.

The saga of Jon Gruden’s emails has remained in the spotlight for a host of reasons, from what it reveals about the inner workings of the NFL to the fissures it’s shown in the league’s public statements on race and gender equality. So it’s not terribly surprising that this week’s Saturday Night Live would seize upon it as a subject for the episode’s cold open — especially since it also allowed a number of the cast to play real-life figures from the world of football.

Alex Moffatt’s take on Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis was the most over-the-top character in the sketch — and yes, that counts Kyle Mooney wearing what looks like a horribly distorted Mario costume. The sketch took a rapid-fire approach to the aftermath of the scandal, including a parade of Raiders coaches offering both welcomes and farewells, and a running critique of sexism within the league.

This wasn’t the only sketch this episode to feature a host of cast members in full-on impressionist mode, either. A subsequent sketch, “Celeb School Game Show,” abounded with some unexpectedly spot-on impressions, and a decidedly meta bit of casting that paid off brilliantly. Plus, Mikey Day played John Oliver as a malfunctioning android, which was compellingly bizarre.

As Dennis Perkins pointed out at the AV Club earlier this season, sketches like these seem designed to take advantage of the sheer size of this season’s cast. And while some of the gags in these two sketches land better than others, there’s a lot to laugh at in both.

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