Saturday Night Live
Seth Meyers & Paul Simon
October 13, 2018
I had high hopes for you, episode. In fact, I wanted to love you. What’s not to love? Seth Meyers was hosting and I love Seth Meyers. You are Saturday Night Live, and, well, OK, I don’t love you. In fact, you and I are like an embittered old married couple just tolerating one another until the kids are out of college and we can finally go live our own happier and separate lives. But I really thought there was a chance that Seth, sweet, intelligent, used-to-be-the-head-writer Seth, would elevate your game. To make you the show you were not that long ago. Sure there would be misses here and there, there always are — but I had hoped maybe Seth Meyers would lend some of his experience and writing know-how to make you a better version of yourself.
Long story short: I was wrong.
OF COURSE Saturday Night Live was going to open this episode with a parody of Kanye West’s surreal appearance in the Oval Office. There was no way Saturday Night Live was not going to open the show with a parody of the Kanye West appearance in the Oval Office. Kanye’s visit to the White House seems like a gift to comedy writers everywhere. But it is a double-edged sword: there is no parodying Kanye West. There’s is no way to comedically exaggerate his behavior like, say, a Brett Kavanaugh. The man literally said that Donald Trump was on a “hero’s journey” and talked about parallel universes and how time does not exist and said that he could imagine playing catch with Donald Trump whom he viewed as a father figure. They honestly should have just read Kanye’s comments verbatim — it might have been funnier. But points to Chris Redd’s Kanye impersonation, he has the voice and the manic energy down beautifully.
Seth Meyers’ monologue was just Seth Meyers telling stories about his time working on Saturday Night Live, and he shares an amazing Kanye West story that I am not going to spoil for you. Thank you, Seth and SNL, for not making him sing and dance.
Seth Meyers does his first of many, many straight men of the night as a film director taking insane questions from the audience in this bit. It’s fine. Predictable but fine. Also, there’s a nice Adele Dazeem joke in there.
I’m sure you’ve seen ads for questionable male enhancement products that promise to boost “vitality” and restore men’s “T levels.” What you probably haven’t ever seen is Seth Meyers running around crazed on steroids, rocking a bald head and black goatee and tight t-shirts.
Sooooo … “Thirsty Cops,” in which Leslie Jones, new cast member Ego Nwodim, and Kate McKinnon play cops who aggressively sexually harass Seth Meyers.
Not to be a buzzkill, but I’m not cool with this, like, at all. I love Leslie Jones and Nwodim’s energy is infectious, but sexual harassment isn’t funny, especially in this context. Ever since there have been police, there have been people who have been sexually abused by police, and in fact, AND THIS IS TRUE, it is legal in 35 states for cops to have sex with people in their custody. Yeah, that’s not OK! That’s an abuse of disproportionate power dynamics and it is not OK. So call me a prude, but I was made very uncomfortable with a sketch about cops sexually harassing someone, even if the cops were women and even if the someone was a man. It’s still gross.
In this digital short, Seth Meyers tells the scariest story he knows … being forced to have coffee with an aspiring filmmaker who has the most pedestrian ideas for his movies. This sketch gets bonus points for actually having an ending.
Seth “Straight Man” Meyers plays a potential cell mate for Bill Cosby in this bit which features a gleeful impersonation by Kenan Thompson. Seth Meyers is basically playing Seth Meyers here, expressing frustration that Cosby won’t accept what he did to so many women. Which is curious following the tone-deaf cop sketch just before this.
The part of “Weekend Update” that Che and Jost did alone was super short this week and it was fine. It was fine.
A Goop staffer joins the Weekend Update desk and freaks out at the idea that Gwenyth Paltrow might be watching her performance. That’s the entire joke. Well, that and Heidi Gardner’s irritating white girl accent.
Finally, Seth Meyers joins the Weekend Update desk to do his “REALLY??!?” bit, but, alas, without Amy Poehler. Che and Jost are no Amy Poehler. But we did learn that Michael Che had it written into his contract that he could use the N-word four times this season, so that’s something.
Beck Bennett plays “Bayou Benny,” a Cajun host of a liberal political talk show on whose panel Seth Meyers — as himself — finds himself, unable to understand Benny’s incomprehensible Cajun accent.
~Sigggggggggh~ What … what even is this?
First of all, most of the joke appears to be Bennet’s crazy accent, which is just fucking lazy. And as someone who lived in New Orleans, I’m not saying that Cajun accents aren’t hard to understand or funny — they can be — but that alone does not a sketch make.
But then the other part of the joke almost seems to be predicated on the idea that red state Democrats are inherently ridiculous, what with the costumed mascots and the alligator. Maybe as a red state Democrat, I’m just overly sensitive, but I have to say, I am really fucking tired of people who live in deep blue states treating those of us who live in red states with blanket contempt. The thing is, red states have disproportionate power thanks to the way our Senate is composed, the electoral college and gerrymandering practices. Those of us who are blue living in red states doing what we can to turn them purple are the ones actually doing the hard work out here and don’t deserve to be sneered at by liberals living comfortably in safely blue areas.
This entire sketch is Seth Meyers and Heidi Gardner saying “Cuba” as “Cooba.” That’s it. That’s the entire joke.
A rap group sings a pro-environmental ode to trees. I have to admit, I didn’t hate this.
I wonder how many times Saturday Night Live has done a sketch where the entire joke was “cheesy nightclub act.” A quick search suggests this is the third time we have seen Treece Henderson, the last time being last year. Apparently, someone thinks this is funny.
Oh, and Paul Simon performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” but it’s not embeddable because not even NBC has that kind of money.
Final Grade: B-
This is not the grade you deserved, Seth. I had really hoped for better for you.
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.