Donald Trump Trucker Rally Cold Open
This was probably the least funny Trump Cold Open they’ve done thus far. Even the studio audience was finding it hard to laugh as Trump talked to truckers in Harrisburg, or Harassburg as he said it. (chuckle) The real highlights of the bit were Beck Bennett and Aidy Bryant as Mike Pence and his wife bailing out of various functions from a football game to a same-sex wedding to Starbucks because they didn’t have Christmas cups (it’s October) with him as Santa handing out coal to all the kids because the future is coal. There were a few more chuckles but perhaps this Trump is wearing out his welcome almost as much as the real one is.
Kumail Nanjiani Standup Monologue
It’s always great when SNL has someone with standup comedy experience because they can generally kill the monologue (think Louis CK). And once again, Nanjiani proved the point that a standup comedian doesn’t need a cast member or a song to turn out a great monologue. Nanjiani touched on growing up in Pakistan, where they watched Star Trek on Saturdays because they didn’t get SNL there, talked about his movie The Big Sick and how his family reacted to he and his uncle marrying white women, and even tackled Islamophobia — it’s like Will & Grace. It was hot for a while, then it went away and now it’s back big time! Funny, funny stuff.
Yup, another game show parody, and this time not hosted by Kenan Thompson, who had a very light week. The gist of it is that one contestant steals the other’s money. Nanjiani was going to use his winnings to buy a new wardrobe and was high-fiving himself on his win. But things went south real fast when he found out more about his opponent. This one ended up being a bit limp to kick off the show.
Anderson Cooper loses a piece of paper down a storm drain and comes face-to-face with Kellywise in a brilliantly written, produced and performed parody of IT featuring Kellyanne Conway as Kellywise. This will become a classic.
Office Halloween Party
And after the brilliance of “Kellywise” we get this really limp noodle of a sketch, the show’s sole nod to Halloween (remember the days of Bill Hader and the “Vincent Price Halloween” sketches?). Here an office party is tainted, literally, when the boss calls in to let everyone know he has Hepatitis A and to not eat the cake he made. Whoops. Hilarity does not ensue as everyone realizes they may be infected too. Umm …
A perfect time to roll this sketch out again with Leslie Jones as Viola Davis, Cecily Strong as Marion Cotillard and Kate McKinnon as Debette Goldry to talk about sexual harassment in the film industry. Of course McKinnon stole the show, at first, but this one too just seemed to fizzle out long before it was over. I’m getting a bad feeling about the rest of the show.
Surprisingly, Colin and Michael did not start out with Trump news this week, only because Harvey Weinstein took the spotlight off of him, briefly, and the guys hammered him good. Of course they had to go back to Trump and destablizing health care and the (imaginary) war on Christmas which gave Che some good material (#AllHolidayMatter), and Jost rendered the audience silent with a joke about Niger and how it challenges Trumps auto-correct (Che liked it though). And then “first lady” Ivana Trump dropped by to talk about The Donald and her book, and the bit was only saved by a piece of Ferrero Roché candy. The guys ended the segment on a serious note to give donation information for Puerto Rican disaster relief. Overall, a solid segment.
Hotel Check In
Mikey Day plays a documentary filmmaker recently released from North Korea who is desperately trying to check in to his room, except the front desk clerk wants to tell him about the hotel’s amenities. This one really went nowhere and the addition of a fighting couple who will have the room next to his didn’t make it any funnier.
The second sketch of the night about STDs! A couple visiting their grandma learns she has an STD, again, because of all the sex she’s having at the home. But she makes everyone, including the staff, want to keep on living. The only good thing about this was a silent Kate McKinnon using her facial expressions to garner some laughs.
Another pre-taped piece that’s not bad with Nanjiani as a call center operator who strikes up an over-the-phone friendship with a customer … Melania Trump. It’s actually pretty well-written and almost makes you feel sympathy for Melania. Almost.
This week’s musical guest is P!nk and she performed two songs from her new album, “What About Us” and “Beautiful Trauma”. P!nk is a true artist and like Lady Gaga can actually perform live with the help of studio hocus pocus. Of the two songs, “What About Us” was the better one and she sounded fantastic, but both performances were still high up there among the best that the show has seen.
I had high hopes that with a real comedian hosting and being three episodes in, the writing staff would have shaken off the summer malaise but this was probably the least amusing show of the season so far. If it hadn’t been for the monologue, the “Kellywise” piece and “Weekend Update”, this episode would have given us all the Big Sick. Let’s hope when the show returns in November with Larry David and Miley Cyrus, the writers will get their groove back. And don’t forget the animated David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special will air in SNL‘s place on October 28!
What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments below!