The Best of SNL: November by Dylan Zsigray ’18

The Best of Saturday Night Live – November

So far this season, seven episodes of Saturday Night Live have aired.  During the beginning of the season, which ran through October, the primary focus of the show was the presidential election.  However, once the election concluded in early November, the show saw a dip in overall episode quality.  Don’t get me wrong, there were some great sketches in each episode throughout November.   It just seemed as if the show as a whole lost focus.  Needless to say, compared to past seasons, this season has been significantly better quality and numerous featured and repertory players have shined.  Let’s take a look back at the month of November for SNL.  This recap also includes the late October episode hosted by Tom Hanks.  It does not include the December episode hosted by Emma Stone.

Hosts: Tom Hanks (late October); Benedict Cumberbatch; Dave Chappelle; Kristen Wiig

Best Host: Dave Chappelle was by far the best host for the month of November.  Chappelle hosting SNL marked the first step in his return to television and his episode was stellar.  As I had mentioned in my individual episode review, Chappelle’s episode was not amazing due to its humor.  It was amazing because it spoke directly to the American people.  It perfectly captured all of our emotions post-election.   Plus, the episode opened up with Kate McKinnon singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which set the tone for the entire episode.  This season marks the fourth season that I’ve watched SNL and Chappelle’s show is by far one of the best episodes that I’ve ever seen.

Best Sketch: I already briefly mentioned this above, but the “Election Cold Open” sketch from Chappelle’s episode, where McKinnon sang Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is the best “sketch” from November.  Although it did not include any acting, McKinnon, dressed in Hillary Clinton apparel, tugged at the heartstrings of those watching.  SNL sometimes fools us when we watch sketches that look serious in the beginning, but actually take a comedic turn midway through.  This was not the case for the “Election Cold Open.”  This was a perfectly executed sketch that communicated such an important and necessary message to the American people.  McKinnon ended it perfectly when she said, “I’m not giving up and neither shall you,” which could have been a reflection of her own thoughts or Clinton’s.  I am so impressed with SNL’s demeanor with this sketch and McKinnon’s willingness to go the extra mile.

Standout Cast Member: Although he is not current cast member, Alec Baldwin has been a great addition to the show list as he portrays Donald Trump in all of SNL’s political sketches.  Although there have been times this season when Baldwin was off, he has been a pretty solid addition to the cast and is remarkably better with his portrayal of Trump than Darrell Hammond was last season.  Since Trump won the election, it is expected that Baldwin will continue to portray him for the next four years, and I am frankly excited for it.  Baldwin has also done a great job of defending his portrayal of Trump and how the show writes his character on social media, particularly defending himself against the President-elect himself.  

Cast Member to Watch For: Bobby Moynihan has not had a large role this season thus far.  There’s around fifteen episodes left this season, so it will be interesting to see if Moynihan plays a larger role.  Remember, Moynihan has been on the show since Season 33, which is close to nine years.  If Moynihan does not have as much of a role for the rest of the season, it is possible that he will choose to take his talents elsewhere, meaning that Season 42 could be the last time we see Moynihan on the show.  However, I do not want to speculate too early.  Just be on the lookout.

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