‘Saturday Night Live’ should thank Tiffany Haddish for saving the best episode of the season so far

Saturday Night Live
“Tiffany Haddish & Taylor Swift”
November 11, 2017

Tiffany Haddish, the breakout star from this summer’s hit Girls Trip, hosted an inconsistent but occasionally brutally funny Saturday Night Live. While I’m not ready to say that it was a great or even really good episode, thanks to Haddish’s vibrancy and a slew of blisteringly on-point jokes about sexual harassment and abuse of power that took aim at both Roy Moore and SNL favorite Louis C.K., it was the best episode of the season so far. Not that that’s a particularly high bar to clear, LARRY DAVID. Still, I’ll take what I can get at this point.

The night began by going after Alabama Senatorial candidate Roy Moore, a cartoonishly easy target after allegations emerged that he dated teenage girls when he was in his 30s and molested a 14-year-old. The sketch relies heavily on Kate McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions — a welcome break from Alec Baldwin’s Trump — and Alabama jokes. The sketch was fine but lacked any real bite.

Grade: B

Tiffany Haddish is the first black female stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live, and her monologue did not disappoint. Haddish was clearly excited to be there, and her exuberance was contagious. Also, she didn’t make any concentration camp jokes, so.

Grade: A

In a “Street Fighter”-like video game tournament, a player accidentally chooses Haddish’s “Boo Boo Jenkins” as his player to his disappointment. While this sketch could have used a bit of tightening, the actual “fight” sequences were worth it.

Grade: A

It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these 5-second celebrity impersonation montages, which is maybe the laziest of your Saturday Night Live sketch categories. Still, Mikey Day’s John Oliver and new cast member’s Heidi Gardner’s Kristen Schaal are amazing. (Although the less said about Aidy Bryant’s James Corden, the better.) I’m not mad at it.

Grade: B+

The DNC is back, baby! And full of fresh young voices like Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders and Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden (I see you, Jason Sudeikis).

Grade: A-

Hey, it’s another chapter in the Kyle Mooney-Leslie Jones love story saga, this time Colin Jost and Beck Bennet team up to try to break them up. The bit goes overly long, steals a visual gag from Airplane, and the whole thing has frankly become tiresome.

Grade: B-

“Weekend Update” was pretty strong this week thanks to some jokes about sexual harassment that did not pull punches. Not sure about that Uber joke, though, Che.

Grade: A-

The best bit on “Weekend Update” and possibly the best sketch of the night was Cecily Strong as a harried Human Resources director going over what SHOULD BE common knowledge about sexual harassment policies BUT APPARENTLY, A LOT OF MEN HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE MESSAGE. LITERALLY KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS, DUDES. LITERALLY.

Grade: A+

Kenan does his LaVar Ball impersonation again, mostly to his and Michael Che’s endless amusement.

Grade: Who?

OOF. This bit in which Tiffany Haddish is the last black unicorn and gives the nerdy Aidy Bryant terrible news about her future is not. good. Unfunny, poorly timed, and just … mean.

Grade: D-

“Get Woke With Tamika” could have gone somewhere. It did not go somewhere. Disjointed, messy and littered with errors, this was Leslie Jones at her worst.

Grade: D

As soon as I saw what this sketch was going to be about, I knew exactly where it was going to go: dolphin sex. Tiffany Haddish saves the day here.

Grade: B

“Whiskers R We” is not one of my favorite recurring sketches, but between that one cat trying to kill Kate McKinnon, that sly Persian joke, Luke Null’s Katt Williams’ impersonation and Haddish improvising “I’ve got the pussy” when one of the cats tries to make a break for it, this was one of the highlights of the evening.

Grade: A

Final Grade: B+

Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.

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