‘Saturday Night Live’: Kim Kardashian defies (low) expectations

Saturday Night Live
Kim Kardashian & Halsey
October 9, 2021

When it was announced a few weeks ago that Kim Kardashian was going to host Saturday Night Live, the reaction was entirely predictable: outrage, derision, irritation. After all, what exactly qualifies Kim Kardashian, famous for being … famous, to be the host of television’s longest-running sketch comedy series? Can she act? Is she funny? Does she have any talent at all? In fact, the answers to those questions are in order: “No,” “No,” and “No.” Last night, Kardashian was just as monotone and stiff as she is in her Instagram posts, adding little to any particular sketch other than her own Kim Kardashian-ness.

However, if you think I’m going to completely shit on this episode, you might be disappointed. I don’t think the episode was particularly good — I certainly don’t think it was as good as people are falling over themselves to say it was over on Twitter — but it wasn’t the utter disaster that it could have been, either. After all, the Elon Musk episode was just not that long ago; we all remember what a host completely devoid of talent can do to this show. It ain’t pretty.

Instead, I think this episode was salvaged from catastrophe by two very important things:

1. To Kardashian’s credit, she and her family were all more than happy to poke fun of themselves and their image.

2. The writers not only knew the Kardashians and their brand well enough to craft multiple sketches around them, but also knew that Kim Kardashian could really only be able to handle playing Kim Kardashian, and so they wrote to her very limited strengths.

Again, it was not a great episode — it was not even a particularly good one. But thanks to low expectations, the Kardashians understanding that being able to laugh at themselves is money in the bank, and some very skillful writing, the Kim Kardashian episode will be remembered as being better than it had any right to be.

The cold open took on this week’s Congressional hearing on Facebook, and I was expecting a lot of jokes about out-of-touch Congressmen not knowing basic things about social media or computers. What I was NOT expecting was the weirdest Lindsey Graham impersonation I’ve ever seen. Lindsey is maybe one of the easiest people in Washington D.C. to impersonate, and the new kid — who did a decent job with Biden last week — completely butchered it, to the point I wouldn’t know it was Graham except for the nameplate in front of him. It should be noted that Kate McKinnon usually handles Lindsey, and she’s a no-show again this week, presumably filming that Tiger King series she’s working on. Anyway. There’s really not much reason to spend a lot of time with this sketch, other than to marvel at the terrible Lindsey Graham impersonation. Which, again, is terrible.

Grade: C+

Kim Kardashian, as the world knows by now, was the host last night for reasons that elude only those who don’t understand that Lorne Michaels will do anything for ratings. (See: Elon Musk.) Kim Kardashian delivers her monologue in her trademark monotone, but she manages to take shots at her mother, her sisters, OJ Simpson, Kaitlyn Jenner, Saturday Night Live, and herself. It’s genuinely not bad — but mostly because she was willing to go there with the jokes the writers’ room wrote for her.

Grade: B

The first sketch features Kardashian as Princess Jasmine with Pete Davidson as Aladdin, who uses his last wish for a bigger dick because he’s insecure about being able to satisfy Jasmine. It’s genuinely terrible. 

Grade: F

The episode begins to redeem itself with this song about women in their 40s hitting the club — only to fall asleep, complain about there not being any place to sit down, the music being too loud, and WHY ARE WE WEARING THESE TERRIBLE SHOES? Not going to lie, this was easily my favorite bit of the night, which I am sure has nothing to do with me being a woman in my 40s who suddenly hates overly loud clubs and six-inch heels.

Grade: A+

So … this is a spoof of The Bachelorette in which Kardashian chooses from a large selection of famous contestants, including Chris Rock, Chase Crawford, Jesse Williams, John Cena, Tyler Cameron, Blake Griffin, Amy Schumer, and a dork played by Kyle Mooney. It’s basically just a showcase for a bunch of celebrity cameos. However, when it started, because I don’t know anything about sportsball, I thought Blake Griffin was actually Kris Humphries, Kim Kardashian’s first husband (and publicity stunt), and I thought THAT was going to be the joke.

Please note, aside from being too tall, these men do not resemble each other:

Still, it would have been quite the coup if they were able to land Humphries. OH WELL.

Grade: B-

In this digital film, Kim Kardashian and Aidy Bryant swap lives, only for Kardashian to quickly realize she doesn’t want to live an ordinary life, and for Bryant to not want to give up Kardashian’s extravagant lifestyle. There are a lot of jokes at the Kardashians’ expense in this episode, and for my money, I thought this sketch was the one that handled the topic the best.

Grade: B+

In this absurdist bit, lotto numbers are drawn — except they aren’t all numbers? Sometimes they are random things like letters or meatballs? What I can say about this sketch is that it maybe utilizes Kim Kardashian’s wooden delivery to its best and highest purpose as the vapid lotto girl.

Grade: B

“Weekend Update” doesn’t have a whole lot to work with this week. Facebook, Indigenous People’s Day, R. Kelly … you know. President Biden just doesn’t throw the same slow pitches directly over the plate that Former President Malignant Tumor did.

Grade: B

Alex Moffat plays a movie critic who watches No Time To Die, Paw Patrol, and Venom on LSD. It’s good enough.

Grade: B

Heidi Gardner is a life coach who responds to everything with that Icona Pop song, “I Love It.” It’s a one-joke bit that is not that funny of a joke to begin with.

Grade: C

OK, so Kim Kardashian has a sister named Kourtney Kardashian, and “Kourt” sounds like “Court,” so in this sketch, Kourtney Kardashian is the judge on “The People’s Kourt,” in which she presides over her family’s fights. Get it? It’s pretty high concept, so if you need me to explain it again, I can.

Grade: C+

This season, Saturday Night Live hired New York sketch comedy group, Please Don’t Destroy, to be their new Lonely Island. This is their first digital bit about weird brands of hard seltzer. I don’t hate it?

Grade: B+

But you know what I did hate? This sketch in which Kim Kardashian introduces a line of her shapewear for dogs. This is exactly the kind of material I expected from a Kim Kardashian-hosted episode.

Grade: C

Here’s a sketch that was cut for time in which a pop band is hired by Costco to lure in teens? The best part of this bit is Bowen Yang, which begs the question: Where was Bowen Yang this week?

Final Grade: B-.

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

2 thoughts on “‘Saturday Night Live’: Kim Kardashian defies (low) expectations

  1. I liked this episode… but by incorporating all of Kim’s cameos (her mom, her sister, the celebrity dating pool) it cut out chances for the cast to get any screen time… like Bowen who only got to be the genie?!

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