Larry David Hosts a Painfully Tone Deaf 'Saturday Night Live'
Cold Open — Alec Baldwin — who is not exactly Mr. Popular right now — returns to play Donald Trump, appearing in Paul Manafort’s Trump Tower apartment while his “lookalike” goes on the Asia trip with Melania. As Trump, Baldwin makes maybe the only acceptable Weinstein joke: “He could have gotten away with it, if only he’d had himself elected President.” Touché (That said, Baldwin should not be making Weinstein jokes right now). Beck Bennet and Kate McKinnon also show up in the shower as Pence and Sessions (the latter now sporting a tail). Sessions comes up with a brilliant plan to pardon Manafort in lieu of the Turkey this year. Eh. Given all that’s going on this week, this is a pretty damn disappointing cold open and a waste of Baldwin, who SNL should maybe consider replacing before the walls close in on his career. (Score: 3 out of 10)
Larry David Monologue — I know that Larry David has done stand up, but I can’t say that I’ve seen much of it. Based on his stand-up act on SNL, I’m beginning to understand why. Uh, the bit on Weinstein and other sexual predators being Jewish? Nope, not good. Also, the joke about hitting on women in a concentration camp? I mean, look: I get it. This is Larry David’s thing. He pushes the boundaries of good taste. Well, consider the boundary pushed. David completely lost his audience here. Stand-up acts rarely miss on SNL, but this was crashed and burned. READ THE ROOM, LARRY. (Watch here). (Score: 3 out of 10)
Celebrity Price is Right — Lots of celebrity impressions, none of them particularly good, except Beck Bennett as Drew Carey, which is not good so much as it is joyously inexplicable. It’s also kind of fun to see Alex Moffat play Chris Hemsworth playing alongside a non-celebrity played by Miley Cyrus, whose boyfriend — Liam Hemsworth — shows up as himself. But the sketch is otherwise forgettable. (Watch here) (Score: 4 out of 10)
Press Briefing — Aidy Bryant does a pretty great Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She mixes up her incoherent answers with a song parody of Demi Lovato’s “Confident.” This is … good. Mostly. Seems like it could have been better, but I’ll take it. (Score: 6.5 out of 10)
Ad Council — Larry David appears as an ad exec who is getting a lifetime achievement award for ads that he made back in the ’80s, when it was more acceptable to say, “That’s gay,” or “That’s retarded.” Again, the joke is that the ads are out of touch, but this still feels spectacularly tone deaf, particularly because people still say “that’s gay” and “retarded.” I mean, come on! (Watch here) (Score: 2 out of 10)
Baby Steps — Miley Cyrus and cast do a music video for “Baby Steps,” which is a hip hop song about being a baby featuring sexy grown-ups dressed as babies, and the joke is basically that Larry David refuses to participate. I mean … it’s OK. It’s basically a bad Lonely Island video, but the song is catchy. (Watch here) (Score: 4.5 out of 10)
Weekend Update — I haven’t said this in the Che/Jost era, but God, can these guys save tonight’s SNL? Uh, yes, sort of. Che gives a helluva lecture to Trump, and they both do a nice job on the political section of “Update.” Eric and Don Jr. also show up to deny collusion with Russia, and Moffat kills it as the dumb Trump. The new female cast member (I refuse to learn new cast members’ names until season 2) also crushes it as “Every boxer’s girlfriend in every boxing movie ever.” In things I never thought I’d say: “Weekend Update” and musical guest Miley Cyrus are easily the best part of tonight’s SNL. “Update” was so good that I’ll forgive Leslie Jones’ pretty obnoxious segment, where she basically harasses a bunch of Houston Astros. (Score: 8.5 out of 10)
Fresh Takes — A television high-school panel where three students and a teacher debate high-school things, and again, the joke is that the old guy (Larry David) says a lot of weirdly inappropriate things about the students’ sex lives, so … (Watch here) (Score: 2 out of 10)
Cocktail Party — What is going on with tonight’s episode? It’s like Larry David said, “Let’s push all the buttons of those PC snowflakes for the sake of pushing their buttons, and let’s not worry about whether it’s funny or not. Just try to make as many people uncomfortable as possible” and then he assumes that he’s got enough cachet to get away with it. (He doesn’t.) I mean, if you’re going to go out of your way to offend, at least make it funny. Here, at least, in the midst of all the gay lingo jokes, David loses it and breaks, which provides at least 30 seconds of entertainment value (mostly for Larry David himself). (Watch here) (Score: 3 out of 10)
Kyle Mooney 10 to 1 sketch — People who like Kyle Mooney sketches — all six of you — will like this, maybe. The rest of you? Don’t bother. (Watch here) (Score: 3 out of 10)
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