Awkwafina’s episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’ was awkwafine. Not great, but awkwafine.

Saturday Night Live
Awkwafina & Travis Scott
October 6, 2018

Awkwafina, for those of us firmly in the grasp of middle age, is an actress and rapper who is hosting this episode because she had a role in Crazy Rich Asians this summer, but really because the writers and staff have loved her since “My Vag” was released and were looking for a reason to bring her on. (Look up the video on YouTube, but maybe with your earphones on if you’re in the office). Anyway, she’s funny, charming and cool, and it’s a shame that the writers didn’t give her more funny, charming and cool things to work with this week. It wasn’t a terrible episode — and to Awkwafina’s credit, she was the strongest thing in several bits — I just wish it had been a better episode.

Another cold open, another political sketch, this time depicting the Republicans as essentially a sports team celebrating their Kavanaugh confirmation in the locker room post-win. See, because politics has become a big game and it’s all about winners and losers and not what’s actually best for the country? Yeah.

The stars of the sketch are Cecily Strong who nailed Susan Collins’ irritating voice, and Beck Bennett for the best Tippy the Turtle impersonation I’ve ever seen.

Grade: B+

Aside from her very sincere comments about Lucy Liu being an inspiration to her when she hosted the show 18 years ago — and how representation matters — this is a pretty bland and unmemorable monologue.

Grade: B

Dance crews have a battle and one of them performs to game show theme songs. That’s it. That’s the entire joke. I don’t know either.

Grade: C-

Hey, you know how we all got that emergency alert text from the President last week? This Cricket commercial spoof imagines all the great messages we have to look forward to from President Dementia. At least they’re funny.

Grade: A

“OK, BUT LIKE, WHAT IF CLEOPATRA HAD A GLAM SQUAD?” is the premise of this sketch, and I’m not sure what to do with it? It’s a weird concept with very few successful punchlines … in fact, the best line is “Becky’s whole thing is like that she’s a nightmare.” It’s not offensively bad … it’s just not good.

Grade: C-

I’m down with the concept of this sketch: that Ted Cruz is a gross loser that no one likes and he’ll never inspire the sort of enthusiasm that Beto O’Rourke enjoys, but  — and this is something I NEVER say — but it’s too short? And it needs to be punchier. Also, Beck Bennett is too handsome to play Senator Blob Fish. And, too, he’s already our senator, not our “future” senator.

Grade: B+

“Weekend Update” was remarkably good this week, particularly the list of things that the GOP will use to fire up their base, and GASP! Che’s comments on Trump’s comments about it being a scary time for men right now are pretty good?

Grade: A+

Dummy Jr. and Eric are back and someone got their duckie badge!

Grade: A+

Pete Davidson has some things to say about Kanye’s little Trump rant at the end of last week’s show. “A lot of people thought that Che should be the one to talk about Kanye, but we discussed it because Che’s black, but like I’m crazy and we both know which side of Kanye is at the wheel right now.”

Grade: A++

“So You’re Willing to Date a Magician” is basically Love Connection but only with magicians, and while it could have been stronger, and while the ending should have been better worked out, I didn’t hate it. 1. Because “So You’re WILLING to Date a Magician” is a good joke in and of itself but also 2. Because, magicians, man.

Grade: A-

In this odd bit, Cecily Strong’s character invites her dog walker to a friend’s baby shower and things go off the rails. It’s an odd sketch with a few laughs, but overall I was left wondering if I was missing something? Was there some reference I wasn’t getting? I can only guess the writers have been going to their share of baby showers and tried to come up with some scenario in which things go awry, but having been to my fair share of baby showers myself, I’m here to tell you a self-absorbed guest is not the worst thing that happens at a baby shower — it’s the games. The God damned games.

Grade: B

Some employees at a pumpkin patch fuck some pumpkins. That’s it. That’s the entire joke: Pumpkin fucking.

Grade: D

Finally, we end with another Debett Goldry bit about sexism in Hollywood and how much things have (or haven’t) changed, and … eh. It’s not weird or experimental enough for a final sketch and the sexism jokes feel like pulled punches. This should have been better than it was.

Grade: B-

Bonus video: Here’s Houston’s own Travis Scott performing Sicko Mode. Mo City, represent.

Final Grade: B. I wanted better for Awkwafina. I really did. 

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

One thought on “Awkwafina’s episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’ was awkwafine. Not great, but awkwafine.

  1. *Nerd alert* I just finished playing Assassin’s Creed: Origins which is set in Cleopatra era Egypt and I only got 80% of the jokes in the Cleopatra sketch because of that game. Some of the jokes were deep cuts of history. Which seems like a real bad idea for a dumb sketch show.

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