‘Saturday Night Live’: Chance the Rapper keeps alive a good episode streak

Saturday Night Live
“Chance the Rapper and Eminem”
November 18, 2017

Saturday Night Live is finally on something of a (sorta) winning streak. Following last week’s strong outing with Tiffany Haddish at the helm, Chance the Rapper hosted the series for the first time and was an easy fit with the cast. Chance the Rapper is a charming human being who, like Justin Timberlake and Drake, radiates an air of wit and intelligence, making him something of an ideal Saturday Night Live host.

But aside from Chance being a natural comedian who is willing to embrace the goofy, the material was just better this week than it had been earlier in the season. If I were to speculate, I’d point out that the hosts of the seasons’ best episodes both happen to be African-American and that maybe, possibly what is happening here is that the minorities in the writers’ room were given more of an opportunity to pitch their ideas and express their perspectives, leading to better, more original material. And if SNL were smart, they’d realize that maybe they could make that a regular thing, instead of just saving it for special, minority-hosting occasions.

Ha ha, that’ll never happen.

Continue reading “‘Saturday Night Live’: Chance the Rapper keeps alive a good episode streak”


‘Saturday Night Live’ should thank Tiffany Haddish for saving the best episode of the season so far

Saturday Night Live
“Tiffany Haddish & Taylor Swift”
November 11, 2017

Tiffany Haddish, the breakout star from this summer’s hit Girls Trip, hosted an inconsistent but occasionally brutally funny Saturday Night Live. While I’m not ready to say that it was a great or even really good episode, thanks to Haddish’s vibrancy and a slew of blisteringly on-point jokes about sexual harassment and abuse of power that took aim at both Roy Moore and SNL favorite Louis C.K., it was the best episode of the season so far. Not that that’s a particularly high bar to clear, LARRY DAVID. Still, I’ll take what I can get at this point.

Continue reading “‘Saturday Night Live’ should thank Tiffany Haddish for saving the best episode of the season so far”

Larry David and the Astros appear on a ‘Saturday Night Live’ that was pretteh, pretteh, pretteh all over the place

Saturday Night Live
“Larry David & Miley Cyrus”
November 4, 2017

Larry David hosted Saturday Night Live for the second time last night and it was … not great. For instance, in the monologue, what should have been a fun stand-up routine by an experienced comedian ended up being an exercise in awkwardness as David bombed repeatedly before ending on a potentially offensive note. Though there were a few bright spots — Aidy Bryant’s Huckabee Sanders is coming into its own, for instance — late into the episode, my younger son wondered about a sketch: “is this as bad or worse than Larry David making concentration camp jokes?” — which pretty much sums up the night.

Not even the handful of Houston Astros who made an appearance in celebration of their World Series win could save the episode, seemingly wandering in as an afterthought, only to be manhandled by Leslie Jones. All in all, everyone deserved better.

Continue reading “Larry David and the Astros appear on a ‘Saturday Night Live’ that was pretteh, pretteh, pretteh all over the place”

Kumail Nanjiani deserved better, ‘Saturday Night Live.’

Saturday Night Live
“Kumail Nanjiani & Pink”
October 14, 2017

Oh, I wanted this episode to be better. I love Kumail Nanjiani as an actor and comedian and was hoping that his input on the show would lift what has been a lackluster season so far. For the most part, Kumail Nanjiani’s debut as Saturday Night Live host was fine, it was OK. Nanjiani himself was quite good and seemed perfectly comfortable working in a live format. But the writing left so much to be desired. Aside from a couple of sketches that were unexpectedly sweet and compassionate, the writing last night was all over the place — sometimes mediocre, other times just plain bad. And one bit left me very angry with everyone involved.

Very. Angry.

Also? Saturday Night Live? Maybe it’s time to hire more women on your writing staff. 8 women out of 32 writers seems embarrassingly low for 2017. (And 6 out of 16 players isn’t too hot, either.)

Continue reading “Kumail Nanjiani deserved better, ‘Saturday Night Live.’”

‘Saturday Night Live’: Gal Gadot’s less-than-wonderful appearance

Saturday Night Live
Gal Gadot & Sam Smith
October 8, 2017

Look, Gal Gadot is gorgeous. This is not about me being insanely jealous of her beauty or her ridiculous height — which I totally am. She is gorgeous and she is charming and she is a real honest-to-God badass. But, you guys, she was not good last night as host of Saturday Night Live. I don’t know if it was a function of her not being a native English speaker or not having much experience with comedy, but her timing was dreadful — and the only thing worse was her delivery.

It wasn’t entirely Gal Gadot’s fault that this episode wasn’t great, however. The writing felt underdeveloped in most places — which was frustrating because the ideas for the sketches themselves weren’t terrible, the writing just needed some editing. On the plus side, there were a lot of bits in last night’s episode, which means they kept the sketch length down and we didn’t have to endure any one half-baked sketch for too long.

Oh, and we’re one week closer to Kumail Nanjiani hosting, so there’s that.

Continue reading “‘Saturday Night Live’: Gal Gadot’s less-than-wonderful appearance”

‘Saturday Night Live’ returns and Ryan Gosling can’t stop laughing.

Saturday Night Live
Ryan Gosling & Jay-Z
September 30, 2017

Ryan Gosling is charming as hell, and watching him crack up over mediocre material is about the only thing that saves this uneven Saturday Night Live season premiere. Well, that and Colin Jost and Michael Che finally deciding that maybe Trump shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt anymore, that bothsidesism is NONSENSE, and finally taking off the gloves and delivering jokes about our Asshole-in-Chief that have some real bite to them. CALL TRUMP A BITCH AGAIN, MICHAEL CHE! DO IT!

But other than that and Jay-Z’s performances (one in which he wore a Colin K jersey) which unfortunately are not embeddable, this was a fairly unmemorable season opener. Was it terrible? No, but it wasn’t one of those episodes that we will look back on as a highlight of this particular era of SNL, either, charm or no charm.

Continue reading “‘Saturday Night Live’ returns and Ryan Gosling can’t stop laughing.”

‘Saturday Night Live’ ends its season on a high note with Dwayne Johnson

Saturday Night Live
Dwayne Johnson & Katy Perry
May 20, 2017

Saturday Night Live ended this rollercoaster of a season in the capable hands of the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as host, welcoming him into the increasingly less exclusive Five-Timers club, and saying goodbye to two long-standing cast members, Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer. And aside from a couple of wild misses (what even was that bar sketch, guys?), the show did right by everyone: Johnson was given material that suits his disarmingly charming nature, and Bayer and Moynihan were in practically every sketch (one or both of them were in 10 of the 15 sketches below). It was a fitting farewell to two of the show’s most dependable performers; it’s just a shame they didn’t receive more recognition in the final credits, Lorne.

Continue reading “‘Saturday Night Live’ ends its season on a high note with Dwayne Johnson”