HomeTelevisionSaturday Night Live Review: Kanye & Donald, Seth Meyers Goes Home, &...

Saturday Night Live Review: Kanye & Donald, Seth Meyers Goes Home, & Paul Simon’s Farewell

Photo Credit: Will Heath/NBC

Saturday Night Live featuring Seth Meyers (host), Paul Simon (musical guest), Alec Baldwin (special guest)

By: Melissa Jouben and Mark Henely

The Host – Seth Meyers

Melissa: Seth Meyers is one of my favorite cast members to come out of the show within the last 20 years. I have a very specific fondness for just about anything he does. I was ten when he joined the cast and a lot of the sketches he did during those early days were more or less the only parts of the show that I could relate to or understand with my limited life experiences or lack of political knowledge.

As I grew up so did the kinds of characters he played, and by the time I was a senior in high school he was head writer, anchoring Weekend Update, and writing the Sarah Palin sketches that were putting the show on the map, politically, in a way that it hadn’t been in a while.

He visited my college during my first semester and I woke up super early to wait in line for tickets, and then ended up being pretty much the only person who had to wait in a line for tickets to see Seth Meyers. I went to a taping of Late Night for my birthday in 2015. I, like, really love Seth Meyers.

Seeing him back on SNL was weirdly surreal. The current version of Seth Meyers – though he hosts a late night comedy show – seems very serious in comparison to some of what he did on SNL. He’s one of the most socially conscious and politically righteous comedians with a substantial platform, a platform he uses for good by giving a voice to the women and people of color he employs, as well as by taking the kinds of steadfast stances that other television show hosts would shy away from (his decision to ban Donald Trump from ever being a guest on his show, for example).

He’s a host – a guy who feels the most comfortable at this point in his life sitting behind a desk. He even adjusted the format of his monologues early on in the history of his show so that he could deliver them behind his desk as opposed to standing up. A good call, by the way, since the fact that Seth doesn’t know what to do with his hands is noticeable when you watch him deliver a standing monologue.

He has maybe outgrown his need to be at SNL, but it’s clear that he will never outgrow the relationships he built there or the memories he has being a cast member for thirteen years. He comes off more straight-laced than he did at the start, but he is always down to have fun and be silly – in fact, Seth Meyers seems to thrive in the silliest environments possible, and the fun he has in those environments is both visible and contagious.

When a cast member returns to host the show, it’s never really about the performance – it’s about how well they can reintegrate themselves into the world of a show that will always find a way to more on with you, no matter how important you were when you were there. I think it’s because his current office is literally at the other end of the hallway from SNL, but watching him host the show, you get the sense that he still feels right at home.

Mark: Unlike Melissa, I didn’t hear about Seth Meyers until he did the White House correspondent’s dinner. I watched him when he was on weekend update and I’ve seen a few episodes of his late night show. I’m not a major fan, but I’ve always liked him and I was very impressed by his performance on this episode. He was strong in every sketch (except for the Bill Cosby in Jail sketch where he seemed uncomfortable with the material).

This was a pretty solid episode from beginning to end. It didn’t have too many highs, but it didn’t have any real low points either.

Melissa’s Favorite Sketch – Bayou Benny’s Liberal Lagniappe

Remember when I said that Seth Meyers thrives in the silliest environment possible? This is what I meant. He absolutely lives for this kind of sketch, and you can tell. What I loved about his performance here is that it almost reads as though he didn’t read the script and genuinely has no idea what’s happening, which is probably very likely. The sketch is kind of confusing and is, for lack of a better description, a whole lot. In other words, it’s my favorite kind of sketch, and probably one of the few genuine highlights of the entire episode.

Mark’s Favorite Sketch – Beta Force

Beta Force is a silly sketch about workout supplements. The sketch equates the culture around older men who use these supplements as the side effects of taking these supplements. So, in the sketch, in the world of the sketch, those who take these supplements will become will becoming sunglass wearing douche bags as they get into better shape. It’s a funny premise and is definitely a sketch you can show friends and co-workers without boring them.

Worst sketch – Traffic Stop

Melissa: I do want to give credit to both Leslie Jones and new cast member Ego Nwodim, who were genuinely funny and very good in this sketch. They’re both good performers, and I’m happy to see Nwodim front and center in something three episodes in. However, this sketch made me uncomfortable and I don’t know that material like this can be as innocent and fun as it maybe could have been a year ago.

The part that really put it over the edge for me was when Seth Meyers’ character refused to do the demeaning things the thirsty cops were asking him to do, and they reminded him, “You’ve admitted to drinking and you’ve had a traffic violation. You’re going to need to do as we say.” The idea of anyone using the obvious power they have in a situation to do something inappropriate while reminding the person they’re abusing that they have no choice but to go along with it? Not something that I personally find good comedy material.

Mark: The subject material of two women cops sexually harassing a man they’ve pulled over doesn’t offend me personally, but the sketch does feel sort of out of place. Perhaps in a different year, “Thirsty Cops” are a sensation that could be beloved recurring characters (and spun off into a women’s “Superbad” style movie), but they just seem ripe for criticism. I felt like, as I was watching it, I could imagine the think pieces that would be written about it if it started to gain real popularity. And, as much as I hate to admit it, that does actually hamper my enjoyment of it. Sort of like watching someone do an excellent job of parallel parking in front of a fire hydrant.

Musical Guest – Paul Simon

Melissa: I love Paul Simon, a lot. I don’t have as many sappy stories about Paul Simon as I did about Seth Meyers, but I love Paul Simon. At the same time, one of his more recent songs is about the bouncer at one of his shows not recognizing him and him being annoyed that the man asked to see his wristband, so his stuff isn’t exactly relatable anymore. Luckily that wasn’t an issue though, because he sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and that was extremely awesome to see. It’s nice to have a moment like that before Paul Simon retires.


Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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