Saturday Night Live
Timothée Chalamet & Boygenius
November 11, 2023
The last time Timothée Chalamet hosted, it was December 2020, in the height of the pandemic, and I’d never seen any of his movies. It is now 3 years later, COVID is still with us, but (hopefully) on the retreat, and I have seen one (1) Timothée Chalamet movie: Dune. It was good! He was good!
Back in 2020, I noted that Chalamet wasn’t exactly a comedic actor but seemed to be having a good time, even with mediocre material. Three years later, I’m happy to report that Chalamet is still having a good time and much more comfortable doing comedy, even with mediocre material. Last night’s Saturday Night Live was not one that I’m going to remember, but I’m not mad at it, either, and Chalamet neither made that better nor worse. He was a servicable host for a servicable episode. Which, I’m afraid, is something of a compliment these days.
I will note that social media did have two very specific issues with tonight’s episode, which some people were REALLY MAD ABOUT. I challenge you to guess what they were as we go through the bits. I’ll reveal the answers when we get to the end.*
The cold open features the Republican Presidential debate with some questionable casting choices, including one of the Please Destroy boys playing Ron Desantis, and Ewo Nwodim as Vivek Ramaswamy. But then Former President Attention Whore interrupts, and while riffing about how none of these people are going to be the nominee, makes the meta point that the casting decisions reflect how little faith SNL has in any of them being around for much longer. It’s clever, more so than many of their political opens, but it does drag a bit.
Timothée Chalamet’s opening monologue celebrates the end of the actors’ strike by singing a song about actors promoting projects to the tune of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. But then Marcello Hernandez interrupts with what was clearly the original monologue before the strike ended: a song about adult men having baby faces. It’s much better than the Wonka bit. In fact, it would have made a good fake music video, but I guess they didn’t have time to do a whole shoot for it once the strike ended.
A panel of scholars and hip-hop icons and Chalamet’s character, a white boy rapper named SmokeCheddaThaAssGetta, discuss the 50th anniversary of rap music in this bit, in which SmokeCheddaThaAssGetta is ridiculously out of his depth. And I was going to write that it’s not particularly original, that it reminded me of a bit that Pete Davidson and Machine Gun Kelly did maybe? But NOPE. The reason it’s familiar is that Chalamet played SmokeCheddaThaAssGetta alongside Pete Davidson the last time he hosted. Points for how they ended the sketch, though.
Here, the cast do their best celebrity impersonations “auditioning” to do the audiobook for Britney Spears’ memoir, The Woman in Me. I know some complain that the celebrity impersonation bits are just lazy writing, but I still enjoy them, and Chloe Fineman’s Timothée Chalamet and Michael Longfellow’s Bill Hader are well worth it.
In this bit, a woman calls a gym where she accidentally left her bag, only to learn the employees are unhlepful idiots. It’s less than four minutes long, and yet feels so much longer.
The last time Chalamet hosted, he did a digital sketch known as “Tiny Horse” and at the time, I wrote this about this bit:
“In this digital sketch, a young man laments that he has to free his ‘tiny horse’ when his family has to sell their farm.
Things I typed in my notes while I watched this, typos included:
“what is happeng”
I SEE YOU, KYLE MOONEY. I KNOW THIS WAS YOU.”
Well, it turns out it wasn’t Kyle Mooney who wrote “Tiny Horse,” it was Dan Bulla and Steven Castillo. And guess what: they’re still on the staff.
Anyway, “Tiny Horse” has taken a dystopian turn, and now he’s “Giant Horse” set on destroying humanity.
I still don’t like it.
“Weekend Update” is relatively brief this week, with jokes about the debate, Eric Adams, and President Biden’s poll numbers. It’s fine, but nothing there’s nothing particularly memorable here.
Crystal Your Co-worker Who is Seemingly Extremely Busy Doing Nothing is back and as frantic as ever.
Here, Sarah Sherman plays a woman who is suffering from sleep paralysis and a sleep demon, except her sleep demon is TikTok pop star/actor Troye Sivan who dances terribly and shows her his red underpants. It is very specific and even though I already knew who Troye Sivan is, it still makes me feel very old.
Here’s something I don’t usually say, but this week’s “Please Don’t Destroy” bit might be the funniest sketch of the night. The Destroy Boys notice a man about to jump to his death because his music career isn’t taking off. Problem is, his music is terrible. It’s a simple premise that is executed well.
The other stand-out sketch of the night features the newest cat member, Chloe Troast, as “Little Orphan Cassidy,” an orphan girl who wonders in song why no one will adopt her. Chalamet plays her only friend, Mr. Moon, who listens on sympathetically until Little Orphan Cassidy reveals that she’s 27, a flat earther, and may have been the one to spread COVID. Additionally, all of this is being delivered in a full-throated contralto which in itself is very funny. It goes on a little long, but all in all, a strong showing from the new girl!
Finally, Chalamet plays himself recording a sleep story for the Calm app in which a woman steps in dog shit. And then Alec Baldwin shows up. This sketch itself is dogshit. They should have made a music video to “Baby Face” instead.
*The answers are:
1. Britney Spears — some people thought SNL was making fun of her? All I saw was a not very good impersonation of Britney explaining the set-up of the sketch.
Britney Spears’ manager Cade Hudson reacts to Saturday Night Live parodying his client’s trauma:
“No wonder you all reached out to me to get her on the show… SNL is on life support.” pic.twitter.com/dXSEydgaHA
— Fan Account (@breatheonmiley) November 12, 2023
snl writers look at abused women and start foaming at the mouth https://t.co/0YSyzZxYzX
— sk (@kirkxxs) November 12, 2023
2. The Hamas joke in the “Please Don’t Destroy” bit, suggesting that you wouldn’t want your band’s name to be associated with a terrorist organization who kidnapped hundreds of innocent people and massacred nearly 900 civilians? I understand this is a messy, moving situation, but they were not mocking the Palastinian people — they were mocking a literal terrorist organization, and the fact that some people can’t distinguish between the two is worrisome to me.
SNL had a Ukrainian choir sing over a candlelight vigil where the candles spelled out Kyiv when the Ukraine was attacked, but when it’s Palestine being bombed, and thousands of Palestinians– men, women, and babies– being killed, they feel comfortable making that into punchline. https://t.co/hK8XchH9b4
— jay (@kendallhosseini) November 12, 2023
making jokes about an ongoing genocide? when people are actually dying every single second of the day? so fucking disgusting these people are sick fuck timothée chalamet fuck snl https://t.co/bnJO6tcwY0
— una (@alicehenryli) November 12, 2023
SNL making a joke about Hamas with over 10,000 dead doesn’t sit right with me but I guess what did I expect pic.twitter.com/emSZFkZBnQ
— 🇵🇸 (@midosommar) November 12, 2023
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC and streams on Peacock.