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Chance the Rapper Hosts an Exceptionally Average 'Saturday Night Live'

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | November 19, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | November 19, 2017 |

Cold Open — “The Mueller Files” is a reenactment of events that may have happened last year between Don Jr., Eric and Julian Assange (Kate McKinnon, of course). I think this is the first we’ve seen of Erick and Don Jr. in an actual skit (rather than a segment on “Weekend Update.”) And guess what? Eric is just as hilariously dumb in a sketch. It’s smart of the show to move their most popular political characters into the cold open, where Eric fucks up even the “Live from New York, It’s Saturday Night.” Unusually, this is a cold open that I’d have actually like to have seen go a little longer. (Score: 6 out of 10)

Chance the Rapper Monologue — I genuinely don’t know much about Chance the Rapper, who opens with a Thanksgiving song (“I want to be the Mariah Carey of Thanksgiving.”) He’s got oodles of charisma, but the song is funny only in a generic way, but I’ll give it a bonus point because Cecily and Kate look terrific as backup dancers. Watch here. (Score: 5 out of 10)

Wayne Manor Thanksgiving — Beck Bennett plays Bruce Wayne, who accepts needy visitors with whom his donations have helped over the holidays. Chance plays a black teenager who takes issue with Batman using excessive force in his neighborhood. So, even Batman shows up in black neighborhoods in a disproportionate rate. Short and sweet. (Score: 5 out of 10)

Come Back Barack — This is outstanding. Chance, Kenan, and Chris Redd perform a ballad perfect a year since Donald Trump won the election. It’s catchy, and I love the message. Watch here. (Score: 9 out of 10)

Family Feud Thanksgiving Edition — For Thanksgiving, “Family Feud” pits Steve Harvey’s own family against the lily white, square Dedrickson Family, except for one of the family members, a kid played by Chance the Rapper who looks and acts a whole lot like Steve Harvey and is, in fact, Harvey’s love child. The revelation creates tension between the two families. Chance actually does a fantastic impression of Kenan’s impression of Harvey, and while the joke is good, it doesn’t really have the power to sustain an entire otherwise mediocre sketch. Watch here. (Score: 6 out of 10)

Weekend Update — Jost rips Franken, and it’s both funny and absolutely perfect (and Jost doesn’t hold back despite Franken being a former cast member). Again, Jost and Che continue to kill it this season with their political coverage. They’ve dropped the false equivalence; they don’t laugh at their own jokes as much; and they seem more comfortable, less defensive. The non-political jokes this week, unfortunately, aren’t great. McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions also comes out and lies his way through the segment and expresses enthusiasm for Thanksgiving, where he’ll get to hang out with Linda, from “the possum side of the family.” Unfortunately, Kyle Mooney’s Bruce Chandling also shows up to talk Thanksgiving. He remains terrible. Finally Pete Davidson talks about going home for Thanksgiving, but it’s mostly about how the Staten Island media likes Jost way more than Davidson (they’re both from Staten Island). It’s terrific, probably the funniest four minutes of the show, and may actually make up for Bruce Chandling. (Score: 8 out of 10)

MSG Sports Broadcast — Chance the Rapper plays a sideline reporter, or whatever the equivalent of that is in hockey, and because he’s black he has no idea how to cover hockey. That’s the joke, and Chance’s cluelessness is intermittently funny. Watch here. (Score: 5.5 out of 10)

Rap History — A “Rap History” documentary explores the careers of Lil Doo Doo (Pete Davidson) and Soul Crush Crew, and I’ll give it this: The production values are really good. Like most of the night’s sketches, however, it’s pretty funny, but not that funny. Watch here. (Score: 5.5 out of 10)

Career Day — Chance and Mikey Day play high-school students who introduce their Dads for career day. They are General Contractors, a profession that Chance and Day try really hard to try to make sound interesting when they are in fact not interesting professions. This is a very bad skit. Watch here. (Score: 2 out of 10)

Porn Movie — Chance the Rapper and Heidi Gardner, who is crushing it in her first season on SNL, are playing a pizza delivery guy and babysitter in porn movie that Aidy Bryant (who plays a kid) mistakes for her actual babysitter and an actual pizza delivery guy. It’s a recurring sketch, as I recall. Like the rest of the episode, it’s OK! Just really OK! Watch here. (Score: 5 out of 10)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.