Roy Moore & Jeff Sessions Cold Open
With the week’s big political controversy coming while Trump is out of the country, we were spared a Cold Open with Alec Baldwin’s Trump. Instead we got a clever opening addressing the Roy Moore sex scandal with Beck Bennett’s Mike Pence and Mikey Day taking on the Moore role. There were some good jokes about Moore dressing like Woody from Toy Story and Pence not calling the boss (Putin) to fix this mess, and then Jeff Sessions (Kate McKinnon) crawled out of the woodwork, literally, telling Moore that he’s even too Alabama for Sessions. A great opening and they even coined a new term: Kidding. Watch the sketch to learn what it means.
Tiffany Haddish Monologue
I have to admit I really don’t know who Tiffany Haddish is except that she was the breakout star of the summer’s hit comedy Girls Trip. It appears she is also a stand-up comedian, and I always say they do the best monologues (well, Larry David was the exception to that rule, but more on that in a bit). Haddish killed it, keeping everything on point from talking about the $2 million she’s supposedly worth to growing up in foster care and thanking anyone who paid taxes between 1990 and 1999 which supported her stay in foster care, to a Tif Tip on sexual harassment, to her $4000 Alexander McQueen dress and how many times she was going to wear it (hint: not just once). And no one from the cast barged in and she wasn’t forced to sing. They just let her do her thang. Of the five episodes this season, hands down the best, funniest monolgue so far. And Haddish also made some SNL history this week — she’s the first black female comedian to host the show in 43 years and 566 hosts (and of that number she’s only the 12th black woman to host – Maya Rudolph, Gabourey Sidibe, Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah, Taraji P Henson, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Rosario Dawson, Kerry Washington & Octavia Spencer)! Yep, not even Wanda Sykes, Whoopi Goldberg or Mo’nique have hosted, so bravo for that accomplishment. But why did it take 43 years, SNL?
This sketch probably borders on being racist, especially if it was written by a bunch of white men, but Haddish was game for playing a video game character in “Death Fight 12” named Boo Boo Jeffries, whose signature moves were the Rihanna and the Beyoncé. Kenan Thompson accidentally selects the character in a gaming tournament where he finds her other signature move is just walking away. It could have been a disaster, but Haddish made it all work.
Lion King Auditions
We’ve seen this bit before where the cast gets to trot out a bunch of celebrity impersonations auditioning for a big movie, this time the new live-action remake of Disney’s The Lion King. Celebs parodied, some successfully, some not, include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Nick Offerman, Cardi B & Offset, Kit Harington, LL Cool J, Oprah Winfrey, Eminem, John Oliver, Sterling K. Brown and Kristen Schall, Mary J. Blige, James Corden and Celine Dion. Oddly enough, John Oliver actually IS in the cast of the new movie.
Message from the DNC
People on the right have taken offense lately at SNL‘s “obvious” liberal slant, but when the country is run by Republicans, that’s who becomes the target for political satire. With last week’s surprising Democratic wins in various state elections, the time was ripe for the show to skewer them as well with a PSA from the Democratic National Committee promoting the “new faces” of the party — Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein, Warren, even Donna Brazile, and … Hillary. Larry David returned to play Bernie Sanders and got to make a crack about his disastrous concentration camp joke in last week’s monologue. I’m willing to bet Democrats found this just as funny as Republicans did.
Beck and Kyle
Picking up from last season’s behind-the-scenes romance of Kyle Mooney and Leslie Jones, this new episode finds Kyle’s bestie Beck Bennett lamenting how their friendship has changed with Leslie in the picture and how he teams up with Colin Jost, who wants his girl back, to get their friendship back on track. It doesn’t end well for one of them. Haddish has an amusing cameo. Interestingly, this was the third pre-taped bit in a row.
This week’s edition of WU touched on the usual topics that are in the news this week — Trump and guns — but took the unusual step of bringing in a guest early in the proceedings, Claire from HR (Cecily Strong) to talk about sexual harassment in the workplace, giving Colin a quiz and squirting Purel into her mouth just to make her feel cleansed, and a little buzzed. It was actually a pretty funny bit on a serious subject. The news resumed with more on the Democratic wins, Tiffany walked through the set in her McQueen dress (told you she was going to wear it again), and Michael Che made a joke about sheep being able to recognize faces that got a delayed reaction from the audience once they figured out what he meant. The segment ended with the return of Lavar Ball, and even though I have no clue who he is, the bit hasn’t worn out its welcome … yet.
The Last Black Unicorn
Three kids venture into the woods at the supposed location of the last black unicorn. And she actually does exist. The unicorn can see into the future and tells the kids what their lives will be like, but the future ain’t looking too bright for one of them. Amusing, but Haddish was hilarious making her horse sounds. Of note, the title of the sketch is also the title of a book of personal essay by Haddish (see link below).
Get Woke with Tamika
After a good run of sketches this week, “Get Woke” was a bit of a disaster, mainly because Leslie Jones as Tamika was having the hardest time simply reading the cue cards. It was also an odd concept with a “woke” woman hosting a talk show sponsored by Brietbart and Russia. Haddish was fine as an Instagram booty model turned movie critic, and the one bit about Moonlight was funny but Jones just really seemed like this was the first time she’d even seen the script.
The Dolphin Who Learned to Speak
This pre-taped takeoff on a BBC documentary about two female scientists (Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon) trying to teach a dolphin how to speak got a lot of mileage out of their particular method, and Tiffany also got to do a little bit of comedy relief with her reaction to their methods. Just bizarre and uncomfortable enough to be pretty funny.
Whiskers R We
I always associate this Kate McKinnon sketch with Kristen Wiig or Melissa McCarthy, although other female hosts have joined McKinnon, and this time Tiffany fills that co-star role. It’s pretty much the same thing with adorable kittens and outrageous descriptions and some overt sexual innuendo between the hosts. The highlight came when a large hairless cat was not feeling the sketch and got very angry, startling both McKinnon and Haddish. It’s been done before — many times — but it’s still pretty funny.
Taylor Swift was this week’s musical guest turning out one high-energy performance with “…Ready For It?” and a slower number, “Call It What You Want”. She was fine and sounded terrific. Maybe a little too terrific particularly in the first number where it really looked and sounded like a lip-sync. The second song sounded more live with a studio echo and if you like Taylor, you’ll enjoy the performances. I do find it interesting that on the SNL website, they listed both performances as “Live” like they had to convince us she wasn’t lip-syncing. Looking at past musical performances on the site, none of them have that listing. Hmmmmm.
After what was ultimately a dreadful week with Larry David hosting, Tiffany Haddish seemed to bring out the best in the writers this week, giving us an almost grand slam of comedy. It is interesting that of the nine proper sketches (not including “Weekend Update”), four of them were pre-taped and Haddish was barely in just two of them. She did a great job this week and actually makes me want to see Girls Trip and some of her stand-up work (Haddish will also be co-starring in the new Tracy Morgan comedy The Last O.G. on TBS). Let’s see if they can keep this ball rolling next week with host Chance the Rapper (yeah, maybe not).
What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments below!