Saturday Night Live
“Larry David & Miley Cyrus”
November 4, 2017
Larry David hosted Saturday Night Live for the second time last night and it was … not great. For instance, in the monologue, what should have been a fun stand-up routine by an experienced comedian ended up being an exercise in awkwardness as David bombed repeatedly before ending on a potentially offensive note. Though there were a few bright spots — Aidy Bryant’s Huckabee Sanders is coming into its own, for instance — late into the episode, my younger son wondered about a sketch: “is this as bad or worse than Larry David making concentration camp jokes?” — which pretty much sums up the night.
Not even the handful of Houston Astros who made an appearance in celebration of their World Series win could save the episode, seemingly wandering in as an afterthought, only to be manhandled by Leslie Jones. All in all, everyone deserved better.
Saturday Night Live opened last night with another Trump bit, this time the Cheeto-in-Chief visits Paul Manafort rather than go on his Asia trip. Curiously, on YouTube, SNL seems to have replaced the sketch that aired live with another version — maybe the dress rehearsal? — eliminating a timing issue when Baldwin and Alex Moffat clearly missed their marks.
No matter. This cold open, which makes digs at everyone from all the Trump Administration principals to Houston Astro Yuli Gurriel to Harvey Weinstein, was sharper than other cold opens this season (not that that’s a high bar to cross).
I don’t know what to say about Larry David’s monologue other than it was straight-up painful. I wanted to give him a break here! Larry David is a funny guy and someone I’ve admired for years and years! But the unfinished thoughts about working for a blind woman? And the clumsy Quasimodo bit? And the jokes about the sexual predators being Jewish? And to top it all off with concentration camp jokes?
I’m not here to say it was wrong for Larry David to make concentration camp jokes — I’m not the joke police — I’m just saying that they didn’t work. And even Larry seemed to know he bombed.
David’s inevitable Bernie Sanders impersonation was rolled out in this weird celebrity Price is Right sketch that actually seemed more like an excuse to bring Liam Hemsworth out to smile and wave to the crowd? This was a harmless enough bit, inoffensive except to the most devoted Bernie Bros. (I am surprised they didn’t make a Donna Brazile reference, considering how this week went … )
Sarah Huckabee Sanders: all confidence, all nonsense.
In one of the best bits of the night, Larry David stars as an ad executive being celebrated for his famous campaigns. However, the crowd turns on him when they air the PSAs he created in the 80s that play differently today. It’s an interesting and almost nuanced commentary on political correctness, the power of language and the importance of changing norms. (Even if the writers themselves didn’t realize they were getting into all of that when they wrote it.)
I understand that they had Miley Cyrus at their disposal and they wanted to do a music spoof that might become viral because they’ve had some success with bits like this before and they added the whole meta-Larry David thing and that they tried to poke fun at themselves to let the audience know that they know that this sucks … but, just, no. No.
Here’s your “Weekend Update.” It’s fine. I feel Michael Che’s exhaustion with Trump’s tweets.
Eric and Donald Jr. stopped by the Weekend Update desk to do their GOB and Buster Bluth impersonations.
Newcomer Heidi Gardner debuted one of her characters: “Angel, Every Boxer’s Girlfriend from Every Movie about Boxing Ever,” and took what is a “heh, yeah, I guess they are all pretty much like that” one-time joke and stretched it for nearly four minutes. Too much, y’all.
Three of our Houston Astros — José Altuve, Alex Bregman, and George Springer — made an appearance last night on “Weekend Update” where they were harassed and groped by Leslie Jones. Also, short jokes.
Grade: A- — but mostly because Astros, not because the material was good or befitting our guys
In this bit, a high school news show is like a political roundtable but they discuss who farted and couples news instead of Trump/Russia or whatever. It’s just OK — the best moment not coming from the roundtable but the magic club.
The entire premise of this skit is that Erika Jayne/Girardi of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is a real person.
And she is. And she is not even being exaggerated or caricatured here.
Grade: B — if you are familiar with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; a WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ALL ABOUT, if you are not.
The night ended with another one of those Kyle Mooney 90s sitcom spoofs, which, you know, if that’s your thing …
Final Grade: B
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.