Mother’s Day seems to bring out some strong emotions in comedians.
Love? Sure. Gratitude? Probably.
But guilt? Most definitely.
Reese Witherspoon admitted as much in her return to “Saturday Night Live,” taking time in her opening monologue to apologize to her own mother.
“Now that I’m a mother myself, I finally understand what my mother went through with me,” said Witherspoon, who has raised two of her own kids since her first “SNL” appearance 14 years ago. “I was a full-on nightmare from the ages of 5 to 37.”
So with her own kids watching from the audience, Witherspoon invited the cast members and their mothers onstage so each pair could deliver some long-awaited (and often weirdly specific) apologies.
“I’m sorry that when I was a teenager, I loved fire,” Kenan Thompson admitted to his mother Elizabeth. “And that one night, I tried to secretly burn a piece of notebook paper and almost set the entire house on fire.”
Witherspoon even welcomed her mother Betty onstage, and apologized for checking into a hotel with her boyfriend in high school when she said she was sleeping over at her friend’s house — even if she did end up going back.
“It’s okay, dear,” her mother said. “And now, me and the other moms have something we want to apologize for. We’re sorry that we’re about to show a bunch of home videos of you kids.”
If there was any shamelessness on “SNL,” it was in the cold open, as Republican presidential candidates received rock-star intros from a DJ (Cecily Strong) at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (Bobby Moynihan) ripped off his jacket to reveal a fluorescent shirt, while former HP executive Carly Fiorina (Kate McKinnon) rode onstage on a motorcycle flanked by pyrotechnics.
On “Weekend Update,” relationship expert Leslie Jones presented a series of love letters about social media’s destructive effects on relationships.
“No guy has ever written me a love letter, so I wrote one to this guy I had a four-year booty call with,” the brassy Jones said. “He blocked me, Jost! Can’t call, can’t text, can’t “poke,” can’t “like”—and it’s driving me crazy!”
Michael Che’s neighbor Willie (Thompson), mustered up his characteristic optimism (and sea-foam-green cardigan) to encourage students to feel better about graduation.
“Reminds me of when I went to senior prom with Lorraine: Two young, crazy, fun-loving kids jumped in the parking lot and stole my car,” he said. “But it’s like they always said: ‘Lorraine set you up, Willie!’”
Rounding out the “Weekend Update” usuals was the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party (Strong), joined by her equally conversation-inept friend (Witherspoon). Together, they both spewed malapropisms and non-sequiturs at Che, when they weren't trying to find their friend Amber or text Tiger Woods.
And the bizarrely endearing cat ladies of Whiskers R We (Kate McKinnon and Witherspoon) returned to promote cat adoption, talking up kittens with names like Cat Middleton. (“She’s good at producing heirs.” “Plus her sister has a better butt!”)
Florence and the Machine stepped into the bright lights of the Studio 8H stage, performing “Ship to Wreck” and “What Kind of Man.”
“SNL” returns on March 16 for its season finale featuring host Louis C.K. and musical guest Rihanna.