Saturday Night Live
Issa Rae & Justin Bieber
October 17, 2020
I really wanted to like this episode of Saturday Night Live. The past two episodes have been weak and pointlessly misogynistic, so I was hopeful that with a smart and funny woman like Issa Rae hosting, this week would be better.
Friends, it was not better. Leaving aside the weekly assault that is Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden, many of these sketches were awkwardly unfunny and barely elicited even polite chuckles from the audience. And then there was the sketch in which a woman is harassed by three different men, all of whom refer to her “titty meat.” Cooooooool.
What’s going on in the writers’ room, you guys? Are y’all alright? Anna Drezen, can you get control of this situation, please?
Saturday Night Live
RuPaul & Justin Bieber
February 8, 2019
I’m just going to be honest: there are some people who host Saturday Night Live who I am just completely incapable of grading fairly because I love them so much. RuPaul Charles, Mama Ru, the Queen of Drag, is one of those people. RuPaul is unquestionably the world’s most famous drag queen, having managed to break into straight pop culture awareness back in 1993 with his single “Supermodel” and then bringing the universe of drag into all of our homes with RuPaul’s Drag Race, his drag competition series that started out as a spoof of Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model, but which has become so much more. RuPaul, more than anyone else, is responsible for making drag culture part of the popular lexicon. But more than that, RuPaul helped create a more understanding, and accepting culture, giving drag queens and transwomen agency over their identities instead of just being the butt of jokes.
One of my few pop culture bragging rights is that I saw RuPaul in a small teen club in Houston, Texas in 1986. A 6’4″ black man in platform boots, what appears to be football shoulder pads covered in streamers and little else, flanked by two shirtless men in tight pants and brandishing toy guns, all singing “Starbooty, Starbooty, Starbooty, yeaaaaaaaah! Starbooty, Starbooty, Starbooty, awwwwww!” in falsetto — it left quite the impression on a 13-year-old me. It was wild and funny and unlike anything I had ever seen before, and in a small way it shaped me. The performance begins at the 1:20 mark in the video below.
And this is going a long way to basically say, no matter how Mama Ru did on Saturday Night Live, no matter what garbage they gave her to work with, she was going to come away with a high grade from yours truly.