WikiLeaks Cold Open
A second Cold Open in a row minus Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump, but with all of the WikiLeaks news breaking this week, we get a sketch with Don Jr. meeting up with Julian Assange in what appears to be an underground parking garage. But the bit isn’t really about WikiLeaks, it’s about how dumb Erik Trump is. Yes, we’ve seen this joke several times on “Weekend Update” so the only thing new here was Kate McKinnon as Assange and Erik mispronouncing “Live” for the show open, forcing them to do it again. Not exactly a brilliant way to start the night but it provides a few chuckles (unless you’re a Trump fan tired of seeing Erik portrayed as a dolt).
Chance the Rapper makes his SNL debut in a hosting capacity but he gets to show off his musical skills right from the get-go with a brief few words about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday that segued into a song about the horrors of spending the day with your family. The song was funny, the presentation was a bit of a mess. Were Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon at rehearsal, because they seemed to have no clue what to do as the back-up singers. And then every cast member had to come on to portray a specific family member mentioned in the song. It was a bit of overkill.
Bruce Wayne hosts an event for less fortunate families in Gotham City and a kid tells Bruce to ask Batman to give his neighborhood a break … because he’s always there. More residents chip in with their experiences with the Dark Knight, talking about his use of excessive force and leaving men hanging from gargoyles by their underwear. This one was pretty funny as the descriptions of Batman’s actions became more and more absurd and Chance managed to hold it together even though he was obviously trying not to laugh.
Come Back, Barack
A Boys II Men style music video with Chance, Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd as the singers performing a song that actually turned out to be a plea to Barack Obama to come back and save us all from certain death and destruction. Clever, funny and well-shot.
Family Feud: Harvey Family Thanksgiving
The writers must have felt guilty about not giving us a proper Halloween episode so here we are with yet another Thanksgiving sketch, the third holiday specific bit before “Weekend Update”. This time it’s back to the reliable Family Feud sketch with the Steve Harvey family facing off against long-time family friends the Didricksons. But one of the Didrickson boys looks suspiciously familiar. This sketch gave Chance a moment to shine as he did a perfect impression of Kenan Thompson’s Steve Harvey impression. A fairly solid effort even if it did run out of steam by the end.
This week’s edition of WU spent a few moments on all of the sexual harassment allegations coming out about Al Franken and Jeremy Piven (with a great Entourage punchline), tax reform, dog cloning, Roger Goodell’s NFL contract ($50 million AND health insurance for his entire family for life) and more, but very little Trump or politics this week. Except for an appearance by Jeff Sessions (McKinnon doing her usual possum schtick) and then … an unfortunate return visit from Bruce Chandling, the terrible comedian performed by Kyle Mooney. I get that the guy is supposed to be awful and unfunny, but that just means the whole thing is not funny and it drags down the show. Please stop! At least Pete Davidson got to do a bit about Thanksgiving and Staten Island, comparing how he’s viewed by the locals compared to how they view Colin Jost. Pete may want to consider going someplace else for dinner Thursday.
Chance plays a basketball correspondent for the MSG Network filling in for the hockey guy who is on paternity leave, with Beck Bennett and Cecily Strong as the in-studio hosts. Chance was hilarious and nailed the bit from being extremely cold to not being able to pronounce the players’ names because they lacked vowels, and then spotting the one black hockey fan in the arena. This was funny stuff coming post “Weekend Update”.
A pre-taped faux documentary on the history of rap with cameos from Questlove and Common. The stars of the piece were Pete Davidson as modern rapper Lil Doo Doo, a ridiculous looking white rapper with orange dreads and all blinged out whose songs are full on nonsensical words, and a group of early rappers known as the Soul Crush Crew (Chance, Thompson and Redd again) reacting to Lil Doo Doo and talking about how they came up in the business, not realizing just exactly how ridiculous they looked and how nonsensical their own songs were. Chance again did a great job as both the young and older rapper. This kid’s got some real talent!
After a mom talks about designing rollercoasters for Six Flags, two dad come in and talk about being General Contractors as their sons try to hype them up, more and more inappropriately as the presentation goes along. Chance was one of the kids and he did a good job, but I’d love to know what was happening when the camera wasn’t on him because the audience was laughing and you can see Kenan visibly trying to not crack up.
Porn Pizza Delivery
What looks like a standard porn movie set-up (with the title “Skank Babysitter 17”) — the pizza man has a delivery for the babysitter with nine inches of sausage — gets flipped when there is a real kid in the scene excited for the pizza, the fact that the delivery guy gives the babysitter the tip (think about it for a second) and he’s also brought 100 pounds of chocolate (which was himself, but all the kid knows is that he brought food). For an end of the night sketch, it was actually pretty humorous thanks to Aidy Bryant as the kid and Chance’s delivery of his dialog.
The last time Prince appeared on SNL he got to do one seven minute performance. This week’s musical guest Eminem apparently falls into the same league as Prince, or at least he thinks he does, with a similar one-time only performance this week of a medley of three songs: “Walk on Water”, “Stan” and “Love the Way You Lie” with accompaniment from Skylar Grey. Grey sat at a piano and sang the chorus from “Walk on Water” as the NBC censors were ready with their finger on the button to bleep out any F-bombs. They did a good job but it was a bit surprising to hear the word “retarded” make it through, so I’m sure we’ll hear some controversy about that. Eminem stood at the mic for most of the song but then became a little more animated towards the end as Grey moved to a standing mic as they segued into “Stan”. Overall, it was a fairly good nearly nine minute Eminem concert.
It was going to be tough topping Tiffany Haddish’s week, but Chance the Rapper turned in probably the second best show of the season to date. Not all the sketches may have been complete home runs, but Chance really did shine in each one he was in. He said in his monologue that he didn’t have anything to promote so perhaps some Hollywood big wig will take note of his comedic skills and put him in a movie that he can promote the next time he hosts SNL.
What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments below!