SNL Weekly Review: November 12 by Dylan Zsigray ’18

Dave Chappelle hosted a fantastic episode of Saturday Night Live last night with musical guest A Tribe Called Quest.  Now, this show was not amazing due to its humor.  In-fact, there were only five live comedic sketches, minus the monologue and the cold open (there were a couple of digital shorts in the show as well).  This show was amazing because it spoke directly to the American people, hitting us in just the right places.  The structure of this episode was incredible, making it one of the best episodes of SNL that I’ve seen in a long time.  Although it was a smaller show for SNL last night, they got a strong message across to America to keep pushing forward and to never give up.  Below is my review of last night’s SNL episode.

“SUPERSTAR!” (The Best Sketch of the Night)

“Election Cold Open”: This was the shortest cold open that I have ever watched on SNL and all I can say is “WOW!” Kate McKinnon continues to be my favorite SNL cast member and this cold open is just another great moment to add to her career portfolio.  When I was watching this, I thought that SNL was going to launch directly into a satirical sketch after McKinnon, dressed as Hillary Clinton, was done singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”  However, they did not and I applaud them for that.  Am I sad that McKinnon’s portrayal of Clinton is probably not going to come back anytime soon? Yes.  But last night’s cold open was only two minutes long and in those two minutes, Kate McKinnon, teary-eyed, managed to tug at the heartstrings of all those watching.  She played the piano and sang aloud the words of a song that not only are reflective and poignant, but a beacon of hope after a really tough election season and result.  The country needed this, I needed this, and SNL delivered.  It was a great way to end McKinnon’s Clinton character and raise the country’s spirits high.  Bravo, SNL!   

“I gotta have more cowbell!” (Good Sketches)

“Dave Chappelle Stand-Up Monologue”: Throughout this season, I’ve been a little surprised at the language that SNL is allowing hosts and cast members to say live on the air.  This continued to be the trend in Chappelle’s monologue last night as he used a couple of words that I previously thought needed to be censored, but perhaps I’m wrong.  Needless to say, Chappelle’s monologue was long, but really good so the length factor went away.  Chappelle basically said what we were (and still are) thinking after this past week’s election and did so in way that was really funny.  I’ve never seen Chappelle act or do stand-up before, but after last night, I wouldn’t mind seeing  him again.

“Election Night”: This was one of my favorite sketches of the night because the characters in this sketch basically embodied every type of person watching the results come in after the election.  I absolutely loved how everyone in the room was supporters of Clinton and tried to figure out ways that she could still win as Donald Trump continued picking up more and more states.  Basically, they did everything that we were all doing that same night.  And then there was Chappelle who was the only sensible one in the room.  The clear divide between Chappelle and everyone else was humorous to see and his dialogue reflected what we did not want to think about while seeing the results.  Chris Rock made a cameo appearance in the sketch as well and added to the already terrific chemistry in the room.

“Kids Talk Trump”: This reminded me of Beck Bennett’s AT&T commercials from a couple of years ago.  Vanessa Bayer did a solid job in this sketch and it was funny, yet disturbing, to see the perception that kids have of the candidates, especially of Trump (now President-elect Trump).  This sketch was simple, but effective.

“Last Call with Dave Chappelle”:  This is a recurring sketch on the show and I usually find it annoying and poorly written, but last night was different.  This sketch was funny and McKinnon and Chappelle had really good chemistry.  What I loved most about this sketch was Kenan Thompson’s bits, especially when he “dumped bleach” all over his eyes, trying to shield himself from what he was seeing.  Thompson broke character was well when McKinnon and Chappelle each grabbed a bar tap and began spraying it in the air while doing whatever they were doing.  This was another solid sketch.

“Love and Leslie”: As I’ve said before, some people do not care for Leslie Jones, but I really like her.  I think that this was a clever digital short sketch for SNL to do.  Jones is a frequent guest that comes on Weekend Update and while appearing in those segments, she vocalizes her love for Colin Jost.  Well, last night SNL added another piece to the never ending puzzle of Jones and played around with the idea that she was romantically involved with Kyle Mooney.  This sketch was not “laugh-out-loud” hilarious, but it was really clever.

Walking Dead Chappelle’s Show”:  I have not seen The Walking Dead or Dave Chappelle’s characters from his past show, so other people probably enjoyed this sketch more than me.  However, it was another clever digital short that was included in last night’s episode.  I am interested to see how they pulled off the logistics of this sketch, especially since Chappelle played every single character.  

“Weekend Update”: Last night’s Weekend Update edition was very well done.  Not a lot happened during it, but both Michael Che and Jost delivered their lines, which were well written, superbly.  And, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (portrayed by McKinnon) returned! Out of all the characters that McKinnon performs during Weekend Update (and she has a lot), her portrayal of Ginsburg is probably one of my favorites.  She puts life into someone who is in her late eighties and who has had a very, very extensive career as a judge.  Plus, who wouldn’t want to hear Ginsburg say “You’ve been Ginsburned” and dance to some funky music.  Overall, I’m glad to see that Weekend Update has been pretty solid this season thus far.

“Well, isn’t that special” (Hit or Miss Sketches)

“Jheri’s Place”: I’m really glad that this sketch went in the direction it did because the beginning was disastrous, which was purposely done as it was later revealed.  I think that more could have been done with this sketch but it definitely was funny to see the cast members not take criticism well after underperforming in a sketch.  Chappelle really wanted to be the next David S. Pumpkins as well while was wearing his large wig, which was soaked when he took it off due to the amount of hair spray that he used in the sketch.  Although this sketch wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t bad either.  It just needed a little more.

“Football Game”: The humor from this sketch spawned from the weird element of Chappelle’s diet, supplied by his mother (I’ll leave it at that).  This sketch was just odd, which made it funny to watch because we do not really see much stuff like this, if at all.  I don’t have many words to describe what went on during this, but it was an okay part of the episode.

“Buh-bye” (Bad Sketches)

There were no sketches from last night’s episode that were put into this category!

Dave Chappelle certainly hosted one of the best episodes of SNL that I’ve seen in awhile.  Next week, SNL returns with host Kristen Wiig.  I cannot wait until next Saturday!

Dylan’s Ranking of the Episodes:

  1. Dave Chappelle
  2. Tom Hanks
  3. Lin-Manuel Miranda
  4. Margot Robbie
  5. Benedict Cumberbatch
  6. Emily Blunt

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