NewsCult Entertainment Editor Jeffrey Malone watches every new episode of Saturday Night Live and then organizes the sketches into the following categories: “Love It” (potentially Best of the Season-worthy), “Keep It” (perfectly adequate), or “Leave It” (in need of a rewrite, to say the least). Then he concludes with assessments of the host and musical guest.
In my review of the last episode, I said that it was my last time reviewing SNL for NewsCult. But a few developments have happened since then, thus holding off expected changes a bit, so for now I will actually continue to post my SNL reviews right here. Enjoy!
Black Jeopardy – SNL’s most resilient current recurring sketch is its ghetto take on the answers-and-questions game show, as it just keeps on discovering new spins on the same formula. This time around, the odd man out is Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the Black Panther himself. As the formula dictates, his answers are way off from what the judges are looking for, but it is hard to outright say no to the utopian world of respecting your elders and police always living up to the requirements of their job. And on top of that, it is a hoot to hear T’Challa give his own erudite spin on zinging a white woman who does not adequately season her potato salad.
The Game of Life: DACA Edition ad is not too uproarious, but it is too relevant and too hellish not to embrace as solid comedy.
Fertility Frontier Project – This sketch examines the implications of a man delivering a baby through with his urethra with admirable thoroughness. I appreciate that this bit does not go for the easy jokes, but ultimately it is hard to laugh at a concept that is so viscerally painful. The description “Picture a bowling ball going through a Twizzler” is clever, but it also causes severe lightheadedness. One more note: I do love a good joke that has nothing to do with the rest of the sketch, as when Cecily Strong’s reporter notes, “That detail was not necessary” when she is referred to as “the woman in the wrinkled skirt.”
Outnumbered is the latest Fox News show utilized for the cold opening, which is something to do with Baldwin’s Trump having a press conference with Baltic heads of state; “I want to say Stankonia” provides the requisite silly laugh…Chadwick Boseman is plainly poised and confident during his Monologue (and his Rachel Dolezal reference is weirdly on point), so it’s a little frustrating that Kenan stepping in as a Thundercat totally interrupts his rhythm…The Aidy B short is most enjoyable for everyone else’s confused reactions to Ms. Bryant emulating Ms. Bartier…Michael and Colin have a lot of shticky fun this week…Angel (aka Every Boxer’s Girlfriend From Every Boxing Movie Ever) doesn’t quite have the punch of her first appearance, but applying the lessons of her own situation to why she won’t be attending the royal wedding is a blow that lands…The Magic Mirror sketch has incredibly messy pacing, but the bizarreness of R. Kelly showing up makes it worthwhile enough…The Warehouse Fire features Chadwick’s firefighter proposing a business idea I’m kind of intrigued by; too bad it already exists and that the sketch about it is too short and tonally wonky…The Restaurant Complaint features Chadwick doing his best Louis Armstrong, and it wraps up with good vibes all around.
Black Panther Screening – There are some interesting ideas percolating here about cultural appropriation and the policing thereof, as well as the lack of understanding between young and old. Unfortunately, it is all strewn together messily in an afterthought of a final sketch.
The Nike Pro-Chiller Leggings commercial has one decent joke about how the product can be used a napkin, but for the most part, it is just obvious gags about laziness…Alex Moffat’s Mark Zuckerberg is an off-putting assemblage of hyper-antisocial tics.
Why has Chadwick Boseman played so many legendary black historical figures? Perhaps it has something to do with his ability to look straight ahead and thereby deliver powerful messages right to our souls. Does that quality serve him well in his SNL hosting debut? Certainly. Ridiculous concepts often achieve memorability when presented super-seriously. He is intense and poised, with a bit of a wild side that can be readily deployed when called upon.
I like the staccato rhythm of “Bodak Yellow,” but I don’t feel too strongly about what else Cardi’s shown us so far. Chalk it up to “she’s not quite my thing,” but also “I think she might just evolve and deliver something killer in the future.” My biggest takeaway from her SNL debut? I dig her Bride of Frankenstein-esque look.
I’ll be back next week to let you know what I’m loving, keeping, and leaving from host John Mulaney and musical guest Jack White!