'SNL' Delivers an Ellen DeGeneres Replacement That is Impervious to Cancel Culture

Ted Lasso star and Emmy-winner Jason Sudeikis returned to Saturday Night Live on Oct. 23, this time as a host. Sudeikis brought back some of his classic characters, like The Devil on the Weekend Update, the What's Up With That dancer, and his take on President Joe Biden, but he also brought energy to new ideas as well. One of those was Mellen, the male replacement for Ellen DeGeneres

In the sketch, Mellen brings "all the fun daytime energy of Ellen but with a hard, masculine edge." As the titular Mellen, Sudeikis frolics through the all-male crowd, delivering high fives and nut punches. Pranks are still a feature of Mellen, but they're taken to an extreme, including pouring a vat of spaghetti sauce on the chef's head during a cooking segment of a stealth vaccination for Kyrie Irving (Chris Redd). "You've been vaxxed — Mellen-style," Sudeikis's Mellen jokes. The sketch also pointed out the double standard of "cancel culture" with Mellen's slate of controversial guests including Louis C.K. (James Austin Johnson), Connor McGregor (Alex Moffat), and Jake Paul (Pete Davidson). 

This weekend's Saturday Night Live was surprisingly the first time Sudeikis has hosted since he left the show in 2013. He has made several surprise appearances though, including the April 25, 2020, SNL at Home episode. Sudeikis' appearance on the show that made him famous comes after the stunning success of Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso, which earned him an Emmy last month. The show, inspired by NBC Sports commercials he made, has been a hit with audiences and critics. Apple TV+ has already picked up the show for a third season.

The musical performer for Sudeikis' episode was Brandi Carlile, who was making her SNL debut. Carlile's latest album, In These Silent Days, was released in October. The album earned critical praise and includes the single "Right on Time." New SNL episodes air on Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET.