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Issa Rae Is Great; The 'SNL' She Hosted Is Not

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 18, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 18, 2020 |


Cold Open — The cold open features the dueling town halls between Trump and Biden, Alec Baldwin and Jim Carrey. As with the real version of the dueling town halls, the most interesting thing about them is the contrast: Jim Carrey does a serviceable job parodying Joe Biden (giving everyone in the audience a warm blanket and a glass of milk while telling rambling, half-hour anecdotes), while Trump remains — as always — completely parody-proof. There’s nothing Baldwin can say that’s anymore insane than what Trump says. The one thing about bringing Baldwin, Carrey, and Maya on every week, however, is that it sure feels like these cold opens run way too long in order to justify their presence. Plus, while Carey’s impression is technically good, his take is not particularly funny and veers into creepy. Harrelson/Sudeikis were far superior. (Score: 5 out of 10)

Issa Rae Monologue — It’s not a very good monologue, but Issa seems like a delightful human! (Score: 4 out of 10)

BonjourHi! — It’s a French-Canadian morning show hosted by Bowen Yang and Kate McKinnon, and I can only guess the jokes are just very, very specific to French-Canadians and that no one else understands why it’s funny because it’s not funny to me. Issa Rae plays a correspondent, meanwhile, who hosts a segment called “Drake Watch,” where she talks about all the times she thought she saw Drake but it turns out it wasn’t him. Getting off to a real rocky start here. (Watch here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

5-Hour Empathy — From the makers of 5-Hour Energy comes a drink that gives users five hours of empathy, only white people don’t actually want to take it because, like, yeah, no thanks. We’re totally empathetic already! Leave us alone! (Score: 5 out of 10)

First Date Exes — While out to dinner with a decent guy, a parade of deranged homeless exes repeatedly bother Sharon (Issa Rae), who apparently has a history of “dating crazies.” I believe the phrase “titty meat” is used twice in this skit, but don’t get excited Mat, it’s still no damn good. (Score: 4 out of 10)

Weekend Update — The Che crack at NBC’s expense was great, as were the Kellyanne Conway and Timothee Chalamet jokes; Che’s joke about both candidates being “bad” was not. Biden may not be the ideal candidate, but don’t f**king put him in the same category as Trump. The segment with Don Jr., Eric, and Tiffany was OK, though (esp. Eric drinking the hand sanitizer). Meanwhile, Heidi Gardner does a great ’80s cocaine wife. (Score: 4 out of 10 for Jost; 7 out of 10 for the Trump kids; 6 out of 10 for Gardner; and Che is 8 out of 10 - 5 for the both sides joke, equals 3 out of 10 for an overall “Update” average of 5 out of 10).

Your Voice Chicago — Kenan, Issa, and Ego discuss local elections, and Issa’s character finds a reason to vote for all the Black candidates, regardless of their qualifications, including the Diamond and Silk parodies. There’s a germ of good skit here, but it doesn’t work. (Watch here) (Score: 4 out of 10)

Kyle Mooney Dancing — Kyle Mooney dances for Issa in the hopes of impressing her enough that she’ll recommend him as a back-up dancer for musical guest Justin Bieber, and it’s almost good, but it’s not. It’s really not. Painful night. (Watch here) (Score: 2.5 out of 10)

Jack Flatts — A bunch of redneck white supremacist types, uh, threaten to kidnap the Governor if they don’t open up the Jack Flatts restaurant and stop making them wear masks. Man, if you’re going to do a skit in bad taste, it at least should be funny. (Watch here) (Score: 2 out of 10)

eBay Ad — eBay is the perfect place to sell all those overly optimistic things you bought thinking you’d be productive during the quarantine but just ended up binge-watching bad TV. OK, this ad I liked, although it’s a little depressing that this is the best sketch of the night. (Score: 6.5 out of 10)

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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.

Header Image Source: NBC