If you’ve seen any footage of an Adele gig, you probably know that her between-song banter basically doubles as mini stand-up sets. With that knowledge, it was only a matter of time before SNL came calling for the singer to return to the show – but this time as guest host.
Leading the programme comes with a few special duties – delivering a gag-filled monologue to set the tone of the night and appearing in several sketches throughout the episode. In the company of professional comedians, how would amateur joker Adele match up?
The opening monologue – 6/10
Compared to all her other appearances throughout the night, the monologue is Adele’s chance to shine on her own – not surrounded by the main cast. While she does an adequate job (and managed to slip a very subtle ‘Hello’ gag in there), her delivery is a little too stilted and the jokes not that funny.
The Bachelor – 9/10
In real life, you’d be hard pushed to find someone who really despised Adele but, on this recreation of popular US dating show The Bachelor, she’s the least liked contestant. Why? Because she won’t stop bloody singing. Whether she’s dealing with bachelor Ben K (played by Beck Bennett) rejecting her or interrupting another woman’s one-on-one time with the eligible single man, her reaction is the same – dredge up a snippet of one of her songs and belt it out. It’s a simple premise that works brilliantly, Adele able to slip from light acting back into her comfort zone and dazzle while doing so.
Madame Vivelda – 8/10
Let Adele take you back to 2019 with this sketch when we all thought 2020 would be infinitely better than the previous 12 months. Kate McKinnon’s psychic Madame Vivelda warns the singer and her pals that won’t be the case, predicting for Adele a year of crying down the phone to FedEx when her adult colouring books don’t arrive. “I don’t colour, her psychic vision must be off,” Adele retorts in her broad London accent, just about holding her composure together. The focus is only momentarily on her in this sketch but, when it is, she holds her own.
Visiting Grandma – 6/10
Adele, Pete Davidson, Chris Redd and Ego Nwodim pay a socially-distanced visit to their grandma (Maya Rudolph) who’s in a nursing home. The pop star is believable as the fed-up girlfriend of unemployed Davidson, but this sketch is pretty unmemorable all-round – through no fault of Adele’s, of course.
Africa Tourism – 3/10
If you want to know what it will take for Adele to break character, look no further than ‘Africa Tourism’. The whole four minutes is essentially one big euphemism about African men’s appendages and the singer struggles not to burst out laughing at regular intervals throughout. The bit that really got her? Heidi Gardner demurely saying: “You can feel it in your stomach.” If she’s going to stand up against comedy pros, she’ll have to control her giggles better than this. Looking at the online backlash to this sketch – that some viewers are calling problematic and inappropriate – might help, for starters.
Chad In A Haunted Mansion – 8/10
At the start of the video for 2015 mega-hit ‘Hello’, Adele drives up to a big, empty house where she loses signal on her phone, yanks the dust covers off the furniture and makes herself right at home. Pete Davidson’s Chad has a similar experience here, except instead of a nice, cosy house he finds a dark mansion haunted by Adele’s ghost. She’s brilliant as an extra macabre, otherworldly Miss Havisham-type figure, even when faced with the clumsy antics of Davidson’s best character.
Ass Angel Jeans – 7/10
Teaming up with Maya Rudolph once again, Adele becomes the face of a new perfumed-jeans fashion line. With a big ‘80s ‘do and an American accent ripped from Marilyn Monroe, she manages to bring grace to a sketch about denim that “covers your secret little lady scents.” It’s not the best bit of the night but her performance is solid.
Overall – 7/10
Not bad for a first timer! With a few more turns on the SNL stage, Adele could be ready to say hello to a new sideline in comedy. In the meantime, bantering with the crowd between songs should keep her comic skills sharp and primed for next time Lorne Michaels gives her a call.