Tiffany Haddish Becomes the First Black Female Stand-Up Comedian to Host 'SNL'
Cold Open — The cold open sees Mike Pence trying to convince Roy Moore to drop out of the race, and failing that, Sessions — a fellow Alabaman, who crawls from the inside of a cabinet where he was weaving nightmares for children — tries to persuade him. “I’m usually the creepiest one in the room, but I look at you, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’” Letting McKinnon’s Sessions dominate the cold open — instead of bringing back Alec Baldwin’s Trump — is actually to the sketch’s benefit, but Roy Moore proves to be nearly as satire-proof as Trump. There’s not much bite here. (Watch here) (Score: 4 out of 10)
Tiffany Haddish Monologue — This I have very much been looking forward to, notwithstanding the fact that many of us only know Haddish from Girls Trip (where she turned a bad script into a hilarious film). Unfortunately, the stand-up act — delivered with monologue-style exuberance — proves to be something of a letdown. It’s … fine, but it’s safe. I feel like she left a few in the chamber, although I did like the bit about the $4,000 red carpet dress she bought and then insisted on wearing to host SNL (and she later brings it back again on “Update.”) It’s cool that she makes history as the first black, female stand-up (which is insane, given the 42 years of SNL), but I wish the act were more remarkable.
Video Game Tourney — So, it’s like a Street Fighter competition between to video gamers, and Kenan picks “Boo Boo Jefferies” (Haddish) as his fighter. SNL is going for a David S. Pumpkins hit here, but they come up short. It’s a mostly lame sketch, but it has a couple of amusing moments once the fighting begins. (Watch here) (Score: 4 out of 10)
The Lion King Screen Tests — Celebrity impressions. So many celebrity impressions. I really don’t like sketches slapped together as an excuse for the cast to show off their impressions. That said, Mikey Day’s John Oliver is good, and so is Beck’s Offerman impression. However, the Kristen Schaal impression is so good that I thought for a second that it was actually Schaal. Who would even think to do a Kristen Schaal impression? I mean, it’s a 3 out of 10 sketch, but I give it two bonus points for the Schaal impression alone. (Score: 5 out of 10)
Democratic National Committee — A satire of the Democrats is actually pretty good. I mean, we got a little taste of victory, so it’s only fair that the Democrats get trashed as out of touch, boring, old, and incapable of appealing to anyone outside of the same 10 states. And you know what? I ain’t mad at this. It’s nice that the Dems are doing well enough right now that we actually merit being made fun of plus, you know, it’s not entirely inaccurate. We do have to figure out how to appeal to the “mouthbreathers in Ohio” and the “window lickers” in Wisconsin. Depressingly, this is the best skit of the night. (Watch here) (Score: 6.5 out of 10)
Kyle and Beck — One of those Mooney segments that tracks the friendship between Kyle and Beck, who came to SNL as best friends, but have been torn apart by Kyle’s relationship with Leslie Jones. It’s kind of pointless, and pretty boring, but hey! At least it’s overly long! I mean, it’s really, really long. My God, it’s so long. (Watch here) (Score: 3 out of 10)
Weekend Update — The Trump jokes this week were actually fairly weak, but Che and Jost picked it up when they turned to Roy Moore (and they get a great dig in on Louis C.K., a once popular SNL host). In light of the sexual harassment scandals, Cecily does a segment as an HR professional, and it’s actually more depressing than funny (not a bad thing). Che also delivers a few groaners (including a terrific/terrifically bad O.J. joke), and Kenan comes out and does a segment as Lonzo Ball’s father, Lavar (if you don’t know who these people are, join the club). Not the best “Update” this week, but definitely worth a watch. (Score: 6 out of 10)
Black Unicorn — Haddish plays the last Black Unicorn, and apparently, she can see into the future, and what she sees for Aidy Bryant’s character is not good. This sketch is real bad. (Watch here) (Score: 2 out of 10)
Get Woke with Tamika — This skit is also bad, and Leslie is all over the place. It’s one thing to break character, but it’s quite another to break when there’s absolute no reason to. This was terrible. (Watch here) (Score: 2 out of 10)
The Dolphin Who Learned to Speak — Aidy and Kate play scientists in a documentary about their research in dolphin speech, which … well, there’s a twist. They also jerk off the dolphins. This sketch is somewhere between genius and horrible misfire, and I actually can’t figure out which it is. (Score: 6 out of 10)
Whiskers R We — This is just dumb enough that it works. Or I’m tired enough that it works. Working with live cats also gives the whole experience a sense of the unexpected. In fact, one of those cats nearly bites Kate’s face off. It’s a hairless cat, too, so it’s like something out of a horror movie. (Score: 7 out of 10)