Cold Opening – The Presidential Debate
- Here comes the first of several cold opens centered around the 2016 election, which will bring great ratings to SNL that weren’t reached for decades before this season. Knowing now, in 2022, how this election went, and the next four years, I’ll go into this cold open and judge it in its time frame, and not from a current, modern-day perspective.
- Man, Kate’s Hillary Clinton voice sounds even more spot-on than usual, she sounds just like her here.
- HOO, BOY. The debut of Alec Baldwin’s very famous or rather infamous Donald Trump impression, these will be a very long four seasons for me to review (I already reviewed his final half season).
- WTF just happened with Alec’s entrance? Was the gaffe with him standing far from the camera, and for it to then move to capture him standing an intentional gaffe? If so, the show didn’t do an enough good job to make it seem intentional, even though Trump does stand awkwardly like that in real-life.
- Man, Alec is not only 1) absolutely killing it here with several very funny lines, and 2) capturing the essence of modern-day Trump much better than Darrell’s snorefest of an impression, but is also bringing great deal of energy into this cold open, and is working perfectly with Kate’s Hillary Clinton. It is no wonder that many in the press and amongst online SNL fans, including me, showered his early performances with praise and absolutely loved him in the role. Sadly, like many fans, I’d grow sick FAST of both this impression & SNL’s attempt at a supposed “satirical” parody of the Trump administration in these coming seasons. If I would give a date, I would say I got sick of him immediately after the election, and not also helping is how much Alec would half-ass his impression with DOZENS of line flubs & snooze-worthy of a performance.
- The running gag with Alec’s Trump naming Che’s Lester Holt with various black names is providing tons of guilty laughs, as well as Che’s sold straight man reactions to it.
- I love the whole gag with the interruptions by Alec’s Trump & his talk about his mic toward Kate’s Hillary, as they’re not only spot-on parody of how Trump behaved in the real debate, but are also capturing & parodying Trump around that time with sharpness & funny perspective.
- Ha, here goes the infamous “Gina!” utterance by Alec’s Trump.
- Great energy in this cold open so far.
- Pretty huge guilty laughs from Alec’s starting his spiel with him saying “The thing about the blacks!” as well as Kate’s Hillary’s PERFECT reactions to it. This has always been my favorite part of this cold open.
- An overall great debate sketch, with tons of funny lines, memorable moments, and great performances by everybody involved.
- The same montage from last season.
- Michael Che, Pete Davidson, and Leslie Jones have been promoted from featured players to repertory players.
- Mikey Day, Alex Moffat, and Melissa Villaseñor have been added to the cast.
- Already, I’m loving Margot’s energy and presence here, you could tell that she had a blast all week before tonight’s show.
- A decent idea for a monologue, with it consisting of various fact-checking moments.
- Some ok moments with the cast immediately fact-checking what they say when talking with Margot, it feels like a waste of her, as she could handle a monologue on her own, but it is still an agreeable enough monologue to me.
- Oh, here comes a very famous sketch from this season!
- Man, Mikey Day in his very first sketch appearance, with it being not only a starring role but also a now-beloved classic! Such a killer debut!
- I absolutely love how this sketch is not going through the tired “hot host” sketch that one would expect with Margot Robbie as the host, but instead focuses on how in the WORLD did Mikey’s Matt Schatt character marry her, of all other men.
- I LOVE Kenan blurting out “HE DOES PUPPETS?” outburst just now.
- I actually find Mikey Day to be quite attractive, but he’s doing an excellent job in hiding his looks here, with both his getup & especially his very solid, lived-in characterization as this character.
- Kenan’s a fantastic straight man here, especially his wild reactions to Mikey’s Matt Schatt and the various observations that he, and other commenters make of him, in order to decipher why Margot’s character is married to him.
- Fantastic escalation with contributors coming in to provide their analysis of the situation, even when I prefer the Burt Sampson sketch that Mikey will do next season over this. This sketch is still excellent & is more and more hilarious with each rewatch.
- Ah, the debut of Alex Moffat on SNL.
- Ah, Alex is already coming off FANTASTIC here, with natural presence and likability, as his analysis of why Margot is married to Mikey’s Matt Schatt gets a great audience reaction early on.
- Here comes the most memorable part of this already-fantastic sketch: the reveal of Matt Schatt’s crocks, and Kenan’s everlasting delivery of his line: “HE’S MARRIED TO THE LORD’S MISTRESS AND IS WEARING CROCKS WITH SOCKS!!!”
- Leslie almost steals the sketch from Kenan with her delivery of “Okay, I got TWO THEORIES!”
- An overall bonafide classic & widely deserving of its reputation; a great sign of how promising & reliable of a cast member Mikey will be, and the many excellent pieces that he will be providing throughout his tenure.
- Ah, our first of MANY memorable, fantastic shorts this season, continuing this era’s and the 2010s SNL’s killer record when it comes to digital shorts by various filmmakers/writers in general.
- The name of this short’s fictional school, Villines Academy, is a tribute to Matt Villines, one half of the brilliant Matt & Oz directing duo, as he tragically passed away from cancer in that summer.
- I love the very well-done escalation of the guys’ horny comments in regards to Margot’s character as she turns more and more terrifying as the short goes along.
- A very priceless & memorable bit with the “Haley Joel Osment Then” & “Haley Joel Osment Now” tattoos on Margot, as well as the baffled reactions by the guys.
- A great subversion with the implied girl-on-girl action between Cecily & Margot, as the latter cracks her neck immediately, and I do love the detail of Margot’s character balding from the back.
- Beck’s stealing this entire short with his entrance as a sleazy, snake-holding dancer next to Margot.
- Excellent visual of Margot’s insanely long & scary tongue, as well as Bobby’s reaction to it.
- Overall, YET ANOTHER fantastic SNL short, this era’s & the 2010s in general continue to be an absolute killer when it comes to delivering memorable, priceless, and brilliantly filmed pieces.
- The debut of Kate’s important Kellyanne Conway impression.
- Right out of the gate, Kate is doing a solid vocal impression of Kellyanne, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the great impressionist that Kate is in general.
- Didn’t care for Steve’s interaction with Margot’s Ivanka Trump, which came off to me as desperate and unnecessary.
- A pretty fun conceit to this edition of Family Feud, with it being between the Trump & Clinton teams.
- The memorable debuts continue, as we get the debut of Beck’s Vladimir Putin.
- Ah, Beck steals the sketch with his very creepy turn after his initial laughter, as his delivery of “I Know!”, and subsequent scary look are hilarious.
- Great to see newbie Melissa Villaseñor’s SNL debut, with her doing a very solid & funny Sarah Silverman impression. Not only vocally, but also in how she manages to look EXACTLY like her here; an observation that I also noticed with future cast member Chloe Fineman’s impressions as well.
- Ah, the debut of Mikey & Alex’s Don Jr. and Eric Trump impressions, and Alex steals the sketch with his absolutely priceless look and delivery of his memorable “and I’m Eric!” line. Great to see that the two impressions are well-defined in their debuts, being the only two impressions in the whole Trumpwin era that were tolerable and funny to me, and I’m sure many others.
Musical Performance – “Starboy”
- Jesse Nathan: I love the way Margot introduces The Weeknd, even if it’s not as memorable as the way Daniel Craig introduced him in Season 45.
- The audience is really going crazy for Abel.
- And now we get the debut of Abel’s haircut, which came off as a major shock to fans back in 2016, including me. Abel would soon clear things up later in this episode’s “Weeknd Update”, in which he claims that he “got a haircut”.
- Neat staging.
- Abel sounds like he’s struggling to get on-key, as his live vocals don’t sound as good as they do on the album version.
- Speaking of keys, I can’t help but feel that the piano is slightly off-key.
- These lyrics are a bit hard to interpret.
- I like how Abel is wearing a shirt that has outer space on it, with both stars and planets.
- The robotic “ha-ha-ha”s don’t sound as good here as they do on the album version.
- Why are some of the drums tuned a tad bit higher than the other drums?
- Wow, Abel seriously fucked up the “cut that ivory into skinny pieces” line.
- Huh, so those big lines that we saw at the beginning actually make a cross. I like that.
- I like how the cross flashes during the final chorus.
- Excellent note hold on the word “done”.
- Some very funny riffing on Trump & Clinton, and the presidential debate early on in this Update.
- I’ve noticed that the globe graphic is now gone from the story graphics next to Colin & Michael.
- OH, NO. The return of Cecily’s dreadful Cathy Anne character.
- Unlike many other fans it seems, I never warmed up to Cecily’s Cathy Anne after she turned into an Update correspondent, as it is probably her two absolutely WRETCHED sketches that she starred in in the past that will never make me warm up to her.
- Yeah, sorry, I’m now about two minutes into this commentary, and I’m completely STONE-FACED and continue to be baffled in what many see in this character, or for that matter Cecily Strong as a performer in general.
- A very priceless & funny joke, as well as interaction between Colin & Michael in regards to Colin’s National Museum of African American History joke. One of my favorite interactions between them.
- Great to see a sequel to the very funny “The Weeknd Update” with The Weeknd.
- Ah, I love how very brief & pointless the whole bit with Abel was, he continues to be surprisingly very funny on SNL, making me wish that he would be used more in some sketches.
- The return of Kenan’s David Ortiz character.
- It is either me who is in a bad mood, or this commentary isn’t providing me with my usual laughs, even the “Hepsi” one, which is a supposedly big laugh-getter has me groaning.
- An overall solid Weekend Update, with tons of great jokes from Colin & Michael, and a very funny appearance from Abel. Yet, the two subpar commentaries will sadly make me lower my rating for it as a whole.
The Hunch Bunch
- Ah, the Nick at Nite opening is bringing to me some warm childhood memories from the mid/late 00s.
- Mikey’s huge night continues, as this is his second starring role this episode ALONE. Man, I guess his more than a decade of experience in sketch comedy AND being a writer on the show for three seasons prior to this one helped him find his footing immediately.
- Kyle is surprisingly spot-on as Shaggy, in both his looks and vocal impression.
- Mikey is excellent here with his reactions, and how he’s anchoring the sketch; a great sign of how valuable and consummate of a professional he will be in his tenure.
- Good laughs from the various inappropriate acts by Margot, as well as Mikey’s reactions to it.
- Wow, the sketch is over already? Surprised by how short it was. At least it was good & to the point, even when I would’ve loved it to escalate more.
- Yes! The debut of these very memorable, Jack Handey-esque shorts from new writer Julio Torres, whose unique & absurdist writing style will prove most important to the show in these three upcoming seasons.
- I love how the whole short revolves around Cecily’s Melania wondering what happens to those who leave the 5th Avenue, and wonders if there’s another avenue after the one she resides in. A very funny take on Melania Trump that is FAR better than the confused & muddy take that the show will eventually have on her, with it sometimes making her sympathetic & other times standing with her husband. Much like how they took on Kellyanne Conway too.
- An overall short & sweet piece, and to the point in such a perfect degree; a great sign of what to come from new writer Julio Torres.
Women’s Round Table
- The debut of Kate’s old Hollywood actress character Debette Goldry, one of my many favorite things that Kate did throughout her tenure.
- Aidy’s doing a solid job anchoring this sketch, and her reactions here are providing good laughs, without being suffocating to the material.
- Already, Kate is coming off hilarious as this character, with sharp lines and delivery to boot. And to think that this character debuted before the whole #MeToo movement began that put men on check speaks to how sharp Kate’s comedic instincts were during her peak seasons on the show, before she became a hit-or-miss performer.
- Margot seems to be struggling in keeping a straight face as Kate’s Debette is going on and on about her treatment back in the old days of Hollywood, another Will Ferrell comparison that I always noticed in Kate is how she could easily cause the host & cast members around her to break, much like how Will always broke the host and his fellow cast members back in his days in the cast.
Musical Performance – “False Alarm”
- Jesse Nathan: Interestingly, Margot’s wearing a shirt that says “Say ‘I Do’ Down Under”, which I believe is her representing her home country of Australia. I know that’s a minor observation, but hey, that’s what I do.
- Whoa, all of a sudden, the stage has a blue color filter.
- Neat intro.
- Fortunately, Abel’s vocals are better than they were last time, as they don’t sound off-key, at least to me.
- Boy, these are some very dark lyrics.
- This whole portion with Abel screaming “false alarm” is really good, and I love how the cross keeps flashing, this time in the shade of red.
- Unfortunately, Abel’s vocals are slightly drowned out during the second verse.
- I like Abel’s moves during the second chorus.
- This rapid beat is making me want to headbang right now.
- And now the entire stage is bathed in red, giving me flashbacks to Anderson .Paak’s second performance.
- Whoa, now the song’s beat changes and we see Abel bathed in blue. I love that.
- Interestingly, you can hear a few screaming audience members during this portion. I think I heard one say “Abel, I love you!”.
- Great ending.
- A very accurate spoof of Mr. Robot, as the performances here & especially the direction are absolutely dead-on of the aforementioned show.
- A solid way for Leslie to address the leak of her personal photos over the summer by some trolls, and the setting is quite promising.
- Pete is perfect as Rami Malek/Elliot here, as the resemblance is quite noticeable between them.
- Ok, I did NOT need a reference to Leslie’s absolutely WRETCHED Ghostbusters reboot movie that was released during the summer of that year. And this is coming from someone who never cared for the original movie too.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Women’s Round Table
The Presidential Debate
The Hunch Bunch
- A killer season premiere, with lots of great sketches, including three of which are easy choices for the “Best Of” of this entire season. One of which (Live Report) is one of my personal favorite sketches from this entire era. And the great, infectious, and very fun energy of the night also helped with the quality, and no single segment tonight got a rating of below three stars. Very impressive, and what a way to start off a new season with an absolute bang.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda hosts with musical guest Twenty One Pilots.