'SNL': Dakota Johnson Mocks 'Fifty Shades,' Alabama Shakes Performs New Songs (Video)

Daniel Briggs
Alabama Shakes perform at day 2 of the 2013 Firefly Festival in Dover, DE

"Birdman," "Cinderella" and Kanye West were among the episode's targets.

Dakota Johnson wrapped up her stellar month by hosting Saturday Night Live, which her mom Melanie Griffith hosted in the '80s. Dakota played a introverted blogger, an ISIS recruit and even Emma Stone -- but will viewers get passionate about the episode? Read on to find out.

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The episode got off to a strong start with Rudy Giuliani (Taran Killam) becoming Birdman's Michael Keaton, complete with a winged alter ego. The impressions here were solid, including Johnson popping in as Stone, and Giuliani got to be the hero again by helping out during a fire drill that he may or may not have caused.

Johnson kicked off her monologue by cracking wise about the NYC weather -- "New York is so beautiful this time of year; just kidding" -- and then took plenty of potshots at the film that catapulted her to fame: Fifty Shades of Grey. "I have a feeling at next year's Oscars, it's going to be... not anywhere," she predicted glumly. Also livening things up was a cameo by Johnson's actual parents, Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. "We were just afraid you were going to be naked," Don admitted.

Next, Johnson played a surprisingly upbeat ISIS trainee in a fake commercial, followed by a Cinderella sendup that saw a reprisal of Cecily Strong's gruff maid, last seen in a recent "Magic Troll" sketch.

Alabama Shakes was the musical guest during the episode, performing two tracks from their forthcoming album, Sound & Color, due out this April. Watch the group perform "Gimme All Your Love" and "Don't Wanna Fight" below.


A funny pre-taped bit -- although one that may have stretched the limits of its somewhat thin premise -- involved people saying what was really on their minds, or just plain getting their cookie on, set to the tune of Sara Bareilles' "Brave."

Kyle Mooney did a great job as a budding journalist who knows a bit too much about Fifty Shades -- and nipple pleasure. The next sketch -- featuring Aidy Bryant with two broken arms -- posited that people say "literally" too much, which is not exactly a novel topic for comedy fodder.

Weekend Update was full of great bits, particularly Kate McKinnon's feisty Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Supreme Court Justice mentioned liking Bruno Mars despite his height: "I like my men like I like my decisions -- 5-4. That's a third-degree Ginsburn!" Later, Kanye West (Jay Pharoah) sang a tune, in which he apologized for his llamas breaking loose and for voting for himself for best actor. Plus, don't pretend that the "stay out of Chicken Town" joke wasn't genius! C'mon, don't leave us hanging here.

A hospital sketch centered on a doctor who dressed as Star Trek character Worf. Johnson had a very tough time keeping a straight face in the skit, which ended with a tribute to Leonard Nimoy. Two other late-in-the-show sketches -- one involving net neutrality, another about encouraging bystanders to help others -- never quite peaked.

All told, Johnson was willing to play an array of characters, but the show itself was not among the season's best. Still, there was plenty here to get hot-and-bothered about. And don't forget about that amazing Chicken Town joke. (Seriously, we loved that joke. Perhaps it was just ahead of its time.)

Three best sketches of the night:

1. Weekend Update (mainly for Ginsburg)

2. Birdman cold open

3. "Brave"

 

This article originally appeared in THR.com.


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