David Harbour and Oscar the Grouch keep a good ‘Saturday Night Live’ streak alive

Saturday Night Live
David Harbour & Camila Cabello
October 12, 2019

David Harbour is famous now for Stranger Things, but he’s been around for a long time (fun facts: he was in Brokeback Mountain, that Fox/Greg Kinnear series, Rake, and The Newsroom before finding success as Jim Hopper). He also has a wicked sense of humor, and a willingness to both be goofy and play to type — which makes him an ideal guest host for Saturday Night Live.

While this week failed to live up to last week’s, it was still pretty good — particularly for this grab bag of a show. And though nothing this week was as brilliant or daring as the racial news sketch of last week, this week’s Joker spoof will probably go down as one of the best sketches of the season.

The cold open avoids Donald Trump for a second week in a row, instead focusing on this week’s LGBTQ town hall on CNN. The town hall’s most viral moment was when Elizabeth Warren answered a question about what she would say to someone who believed in a traditional definition of marriage. It was pretty epic (and as for the handwringing about whether or not it was too “vulgar” or will alienate Trump voters, go take your concern trolling elsewhere, asshats, they were never going to vote for her in the first damn place).

In Saturday Night Live‘s version of the town hall, the tremendous Billy Porter serves as the emcee (ALL HAIL, BILLY PORTER), Lin-Manuel Miranda does his best Joaquin Castro (and thereby does his best to squelch that whole controversy), and Woody Harrelson returns as Joe Biden — which, fine, except, is Jason Sudekis not available? Because as good as Harrelson is: SUDEKIS, MAN.

But the highlight of the sketch is Kate McKinnon’s Elizabeth Warren, basking in her takedown moment.

Also, GOD BLESS WHOEVER WROTE IN THE SASHA VELOUR TRIBUTE:

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Perfection.

Grade: A

Listen, I get what they were going for here, with the Stranger Things nod and all that, but while I did appreciate the Pete Davidson joke, overall I was underwhelmed by this monologue. David Harbour, he’s really funny! But this just felt lazy and uninspired. This could have and should have been better.

Grade: B-

“Little Miss Teacher’s Friend” is in a particular category of SNL sketches — bits about overly performative children. I put it in the same category with those sketches about the performance art high school theater pieces and going all the way back to Mary Catherine Gallagher and Gilda Ratner’s Judy Miller — sketches that were CLEARLY inspired by the childhoods of people who would grow up to become sketch comedy writers and performers. And what I’m saying is that this is one of those sketches that you love because you identify with it or you hate because ugh, annoying kids.

Grade: B+

The consensus is this Joker parody is the best thing of the night.  And I am not arguing — its cleverness! the amazing production values! … I just … MY CHILDHOOD.

Grade: A

I’ve never taken a SoulCycle class, but this feels Very Accurate.

Grade: A

“Weekend Update” is super good because Lev and Igor just write the jokes with their faces.

Grade: A- 

Bailey returns to the “Weekend Update” desk to reveal she has a crush on the Joker.

Grade: B

Well, well, well, looks who’s back from making big shot movies and dating big shot actresses:

Grade: B+

I don’t know, man. It’s not terrible (though I HATE folk music), it just felt long.

Grade: B-

Not that y’all care, but I’ve finally joined this podcast bandwagon about 7 years way too late. I’ve been taking long walks every morning (which is why my daily posts are so late, sorry not at all sorry) while listening to podcasts, and so I deeply appreciate this commercial spoof. Like the old person I am, I was all “I GET THIS! THIS MAKES SENSE TO ME!”

Grade: A-

AS AN ITALIAN-AMERICAN (SORT OF) I AM DEEPLY OFFENDED/AMUSED/FEEL PERSONALLY ATTACKED/BUT ALSO RECOGNIZED BY THIS SKETCH.

Grade: B+

So, like, what if Judge Judy presided over only dog-related cases with a jury made of dogs? Dumb, but also, a proper final-sketch-of-the-night sketch.

Grade: B — bonus points for that pug at the end. 

Final Grade: B+. This seems right.

 

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

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