By: Melissa Jouben and Mark Henely
The Host: Chance the Rapper
Melissa: I’m glad he started his monologue with “I’m not here to promote anything tonight,” because I was very curious to know why he was hosting. It still seems like an odd choice. Did he ask? Did they enjoy having him around that much when he was a musical guest last season? In any case, he may be a little inexperienced and he may have had a little TOO much fun (some of his lines in the first few sketches were almost impossible to understand through his stifled laughter), but he was a solid host and I think this is one of the more solid episodes this season so far.
Last week I felt like Tiffany Haddish’s hosting abilities were overshadowed by a lack of ideas on the part of the writers, which was not the case here at all. Keenan Thompson, Chance, and Chris Redd were a dream team that seemed to have a lot of fun together, and it was nice to see Redd have a lot more screen time than usual.
Mark: I think the most effective use of Chance was in the Family Feud sketch. The premise is that it is host, Steve Harvey’s, real family against the family of one of Steve’s old friends. The joke is that one of the boys in Steve’s friend’s family looks and talks an awful lot like Steve Harvey. While other shows wouldn’t have let Chance do his great Steve Harvey impression knowing that Kenan is their guy that does it, I thought it was cool of SNL to steer into the curve and let them both do it.
Best Sketch – Wayne Thanksgiving
Melissa: I like this sketch because it’s always fun to imagine the real-world problems a fictional city like Gotham might have, and the idea that the city (and Batman) might have a real problem with racial profiling is not only likely, but a funny situation to watch Bruce Wayne grapple with the realization of. The world of a comic book character, as gritty as Batman’s is, is still sort of cartoony, and so the citizens of Gotham’s predominantly black neighborhood complaining to Bruce Wayne that their friends are all getting their jaws broken and then hung from their underpants on a gargoyle for very petty crimes is light-hearted in its execution, but also eye opening in the reality of it. Just like good satire should be.
Mark: I need to take this moment as a Batman Stan to state that Batman does not racially profile. While this was a funny sketch, I do not believe it accurately portrays Batman’s actual intentions or actions. Writers at DC have made explicit in many comics the philanthropy that Bruce Wayne does for predominantly black neighborhoods. I know this is a weird interjection on my par, but, Damn it! Batman is a good man!
Worst Sketch – Career Day
Mark: I guess my least favorite sketch is “Career Day,” but I honestly didn’t hate it. I thought a lot of the dialogue from Chance and Mikey Day’s characters was funny and I liked the concept, that these two boys were so excited about their dads talking about their mediocre jobs that they were literally getting horny over it. I did feel the execution was slightly sloppy, it felt like some of the lines were being delivered over each other, and the scene where Mikey Day’s character collapses onto a table was NOT graceful. If suffered a lot of technical problems that ruined the flow, but it still looked like it was a lot of fun for everyone.
Musical Guest – Eminem
Melissa: I did not need a medley of all of Eminem’s greatest hits. But I am glad that he didn’t come back up a second time after that. It was just Eminem being Eminem and I still have no idea why he was there.
Mark: I think it is interesting that they did both Eminem performances at one time. I wonder if future guests will follow in this mold.