Hello folks, and welcome back to another season of Saturday Night Live highlights. As we did toward the end of last season, we’re only going to include embeds of the best sketches of the night, because including them all causes browser crashes. Links, however, are provided to the lesser sketches.
Margot Robbie hosted the 42nd season opener, and she was very good when the writing was there for her. Most people, however, did not tune in for the Suicide Squad star, however. Most tuned in to see how SNL would tackle the election. To that end, the two political sketches were great, but “Weekend Update” was a mess. More on that below.
Here were the highlights.
Cold Open — SNL has a lot riding on tonight’s Cold Open. There would be no question that it would be a parody of this week’s debate, but would SNL work its way toward redeeming itself for having Trump on as a host? Hiring Alec Baldwin to play Donald Trump was a good start, and he was more than effective. He was brilliantly spot-on. Trump gave Baldwin plenty to work with and Baldwin sold it gloriously, while Kate McKinnon — like Clinton — stood back and reaped the whirlwind of crazy. (Score: 9/10)
Margot Robbie Monologue — A cute monologue where Robbie and several cast members “fact-check” themselves in various semi-amusing ways, although the best “fact check” was Margot Robbie admitting that Jared Leto’s method acting on Suicide Squad made her uncomfortable. Overall, the monologue was OK. Robbie, on the other had, was great. Watch the monologue here. (Score: 5/10)
9 Action News — During a local news report covering a sinkhole in Tampa, Kenan Thompson’s reporter interviews a couple played by Margot Robbie and her dweeby husband, played by Alex Moffat. You could see the joke coming a mile away. Keenan’s reporter can’t effectively cover the sinkhole news because he can’t get over the fact that Robbie’s character is married to a below-average looking puppeteer who wears crocs and is named Matt Shat. Obvious joke is obvious, but Kenan makes it work. Click here for the full sketch. (Score: 6/10)
The Librarian — In a pretaped segment, Margot Robbie plays a hot librarian because it seems like Margot Robbie being hot is the only angle the writers have for the actress. There is, however, a fantastic horror-movie twist in the sketch that makes it all worth it. (Score: 8/10)
Family Feud — It’s a political edition of the game show: Trump surrogates (including Putin, McKinnon’s perfect Kellyanne Conway, and Chris Christie) vs. Clinton surrogates (including Cecily Strong as Lin-Manuel Miranda and Larry David as Bernie Sanders). Both the new dude cast members — Alex Moffat and Mikey Day — play the Trump brothers (i.e., the “Children of the Corn”), and they’re the best, creepiest thing about an otherwise above-average sketch with a lot of obvious but still funny punchlines. (Score: 6.5/10)
Weekend Update — OK, “Weekend Update” can go screw. Che and Jost can go straight to hell. I mean, I get making fun of Hillary as much as Trump — you gotta — but the anchors fully spend the first five minutes playing into the notion that both candidates are equally bad, or both equally undeserving of our vote. They’re creating a comedy false equivalence. This is infuriating. Where’s Tina? Where’s Amy? GODDAMNIT. We have never needed them more. They would not let this slide.
Watch “Weekend Update” Part 1.
They’re a little better in the second half, although Michael Che — in trying to make his point about Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest during the National Anthem — throws in some awkward analogies, weirdly using Bill Cosby and gendered jokes to make his point. Che cannot seem to get out of the way of his own tone-deafness. Watch “Weekend Update” Part 2. (Score: 2/10)
Scooby Doo Sketch — Really great casting here for the Scooby Doo characters. Really bad sketch. Here’s a screenshot of the casting. The sketch itself is not worth watching (but you can do so here). (Score: 3/10)
Melania Moments — Feels like “Deep Thoughts” with Jack Handey, only with Melania Trump. Meh. Watch here. (Score: 4/10)
Women’s Round Table — As a showpiece for Kate McKinnon — and for Kate McKinnon to break Margot Robbie — it works. It’s basically a different iteration of the UFO sketch where McKinnon just says a bunch of absurd things, but I’m OK with that. (Score: 7/10)
Mr. Robot — In a pretaped segment, Leslie Jones seeks out the help of Mr. Robot to help her figure out who hacked into her Twitter account and uploaded nude photos of her onto the Internet. The idea is funnier than the sketch, but the idea is gold. (Score: 7/10)