Cold Opening – Trucker Rally
- I see that Luke’s talents are being wasted in a very useless, brief, almost pointless role early on in this open.
- Not caring for any of Trumpwin’s lines so far into this open, which is nothing new for me.
- We now have a “new” direction in this cold open different then the last few ones, with us getting Trumpwin & Pence talking, with the latter being in various locations each time. I appreciate a change the formula, but it isn’t doing anything to mask the dullness and aggressive hackiness of these cold opens for me.
- I already have the feeling that I’m in for some great stand-up.
- Right from his entrance, Kumail shows effortless charm, charisma, and unique approachability in his presence. When you hear him once, it’s like you’ve known him forever. He certainly has that warm atmosphere around him when speaking or delivering a stand-up set of his. I recall getting the same exact vibe from John Mulaney when I first discovered him as a stand-up comic, before even knowing his history with SNL, and several years before his hosting debut in this very season.
- I always love it when stand-up hosts mix personal truths with their stand-up sets, as Kumail’s whole bit about being from Pakistan & him marrying a white girl to spite his family is very funny.
- A fantastic, memorable bit from Kumail about the “undercover KKK dragon” that I always loved and remembered from this already-hilarious monologue.
- This monologue is so funny & sharp so far. I’m getting laughs from pretty much everything Kumail is saying here.
- I absolutely love how Kumail is addressing both Islamophobia & racism in his monologue, much like Aziz Ansari’s great monologue from last season, and doing so in such a funny, clever, sharp, and brilliant way that doesn’t feel clapter-y nor preachy to others.
- Great bit with Kumail theorizing about an online racist commenter sitting through his movie that he’s promoting here, The Big Sick (highly recommend, by the way), waiting for Kumail to rip off his face and reveal himself to be Chris Pine all along.
- This has always been my favorite monologue from this entire season, even when I’m looking forward to the rest of the stand-up monologues that are coming up later in the season, and the Natalie Portman monologue as well, which I recall finding it to be very strong & unique.
- Great to see Mikey in yet another gameshow host role.
- A pretty creative & unique gameshow sketch concept.
- Fantastic sudden turn with Cecily’s character revealing that she’ll use the prize money for a medical procedure for her daughter, which hilariously results in Kumail now changing his mean thumbs-down gesture into a hesitant thumbs-up.
- I love the various categories to choose from here, even when they don’t match up to some other legendary & iconic gameshow sketches such as Old French Whore! & Who’s More Grizzled?, both from the classic season 23 Garth Brooks episode.
- I’m loving the increasing revelations throughout this sketch, which is making the hilarious & creative concept even better than it already is.
- A big laugh from the cutaway to Pete wearing the loser shirt next to Cecily’s daughter in the sketch.
- I believe that the girl, sitting next to Alex here is the same girl from the James Franco cold open later in the season, Laurel Griggs, who would tragically pass away two years later at only the age of 13.
- Kumail is doing an excellent job in selling his character’s sudden change of heart, his reactions here are providing many laughs.
- Overall, one of the more memorable & great gameshow sketches from this SNL era.
- Yet another inspired & brilliant parody of Kellyanne Conway from this era, and the horror-esque turn in this short is excellent.
- Great sudden appearance of Kate as Kellywise, and I LOVE the reaction from a startled audience member as soon as she appears.
- I absolutely love the dead-on recreation of the iconic scene in It, and the casting of Alex as a childlike, wondering Anderson Cooper in particular is nothing of short of excellent.
- Kate is doing an absolutely FANTASTIC Pennywise impression, not only in terms of vocal inflections alone, but also the way her head moves and her general demeanor. Even the detail with how she pronounces the “t” sound is excellent.
- Very solid turn with Kellywise transforming into Hillary Clinton, in order to lure Cooper to the sewer.
- Kate’s Hillary Clinton voice sounds even more accurate than ever here, which is saying something considering how strong it was since Kate debuted it.
- An impressive & gory visual effect of both Kate’s Kellywise chomping on Alex’s Cooper’s hand and dragging him afterwards with her extended arm into to the sewer.
- A fantastic & genuinely scary ending visual of Kate’s Kellywise dancing and then appearing to devour Alex’s Cooper at the end.
Office Halloween Party
- Some fun Halloween costumes on Kumail and the cast.
- Boy, this sketch is AWFUL so far. Just the same fucking gag repeated over and over and over and over…
- I recall reading that this is an Anderlette sketch, which shouldn’t be surprising considering how muddy, dull, and uninspired if feels so far. Their pieces, especially James Anderson on his own, usually have that very slow & lethargic feel to them.
- This sketch feels pretty dead & quiet so far. I recall this being the first of many wretched sketches this season that have that dead, notoriously quiet feel.
- Jesus Christ at the repetitive nature of this sketch so far. How many times am I supposed to be laughing at Beck’s character not being able to hear the others through the phone? I would like to think that the sketch is self-aware of its repetitive nature, but I digress…
- Beck, like the consummate professional that he is, is trying his best with the material, but the back-and-forth between him & Aidy is doing nothing for me. At least it woke up the audience after how quiet they were during most of the sketch.
- Overall, a flop.
Women’s Round Table
- Interesting not to see our host in this sketch, couldn’t they have given him some role to play here? When was the last time we had a hostless live sketch, and in the pre-Update half to be exact?
- Like always, very strong & lived-in characterization from Kate, and her lines remain a killer, enhanced even more by Kate’s always-fantastic line deliveries.
- Boy, all of this #MeToo talk in this sketch both serves as a time capsule to when men were starting to be put on check regarding sexual harassment & is the first of MANY #MeToo-themed sketches throughout this season.
- Kate’s Debette whole bit about not telling Weinstein’s face apart from his genitals DESTROYED ME. Quite possibly one of this character’s more brutal & hilarious lines, which is saying something.
- An overall improvement over the still-solid previous installment from the Melissa McCarthy show last season.
Musical Performance – “What About Us”
- Jesse Nathan: Is it just me or does the opening piano line have a lot of reverb added to it?
- Pink is in fine voice so far.
- I get the burning feeling that the drum has reverb added to it.
- Something about the chorus is falling flat for me, but I can’t put my finger on what exactly.
- I like the use of searchlights during the second chorus.
- Okay, this guitar line is something that I haven’t heard in the song before. That’s interesting.
- The backup singers’ vocals are mixed well with Pink’s vocals.
- I like how Pink stops singing one part of the chorus to let the backup singers sing entirely.
- Nice addition of the violin.
- Mixed feelings on how the backup band is jamming to the music.
- There wasn’t too much for me to say about this performance as a whole. I mean, Pink was on pitch, and everyone sounded great, but there’s nothing else to it other than that. It’s fine, but maybe the song wasn’t the best choice.
- Holy hell at that punchline for the new Emojis joke turning out to be about Harvey Weinstein literally caught me off guard and is having me laughing so hard right now. Absolutely priceless.
- A decent Godzilla analogy, even when I feel it was too obvious & a little bit clapter bait-y for my likes.
- Good accent & fun characterization from Cecily’s Ivana Trump, which is adding energy to the episode after some lathergy early on from that awful Office Halloween Party sketch.
- Yeah, I’m actually really enjoying Cecily’s energy & performance here, but this commentary is feeling a bit too long & somewhat trainwreck-y.
- Ok, the whole bit with Cecily’s Ivana trying to speak with her mouth filled with chocolate was fun & well-performed by Cecily.
- Good that this Update ended with a serious note on where to donate to help the people of Puerto Rico after the hurricane. Boy, do these Updates feel more and more like time capsules, more than anything else.
- I almost forgot that tonight’s episode had a host, considering how underused and invisible Kumail has been so far tonight.
- I almost confused Mikey here for Kyle, before remembering the very rough & invisible year that Kyle will have this season where he appears in 1-2 sketches per episode for almost the entire year.
- Did we really need the whole Chris/Leslie scene here? It felt pointless, even when it was performed well.
- I’m loving how this sketch feels so old-school, I’m honestly getting some Monty Python vibes from the contrast between Kumail & Mikey’s characters.
- Kumail is quite solid here, especially in selling his overly calm persona in contrast to Mikey’s angry & disinterested guest.
- Good ending.
- Did we really need TWO sketches tonight with Kate as an old lady?
- This sketch is doing nothing for me so far, despite Kumail’s reliable delivery.
- Solid conductor line from Kumail, too bad it was hurt with him messing it up at first.
- Ah, Kate just got me with her look to the camera after that line.
- Kumail’s various “I see” lines here are funny.
- This sketch is starting to feel too long for me, and is dying horribly as it goes along.
Musical Performance – “Beautiful Trauma”
- Jesse Nathan: The violins don’t sound too great here.
- Pink’s mic could be turned up a bit more.
- Maybe it’s because I’m too used to the studio recording, but hearing Pink say “we’re messed up” instead of “fucked up” just sounds weird to me.
- Mixed feelings on Pink’s outfit.
- I actually like this chorus, and it’s being executed decently here.
- Not too sure about the use of the guitar.
- The instrumental sounds great here, but not too great.
- I like Pink’s harmony on the second “blow out”.
- Pink’s interaction with a guitarist is decent, but it doesn’t look like he’s singing along.
- Ah, there’s the moment where Pink censors herself by covering her hand. I had misremembered her doing this throughout the whole performance. In hindsight, doing that the whole time would be overkill.
- Didn’t care for the outro.
- Fantastic reveal of Melania Trump being the customer that Kumail is talking to.
- Cecily’s solid night continues, between her role in Bank Breakers & her fun Ivana Trump performance and now her take on Melania Trump in this short.
- I’m absolutely loving the sentimental, semi-dramatic, yet filled with emotions atmosphere that this short has, which isn’t surprising as this is yet another of those wonderful Julio Torres shorts.
- Very lovely interactions between Kumail & Cecily’s Melania, and the former’s narration is adding to the aforementioned atmosphere that this short has.
- I love the whole callback with the spider bit here, such excellent direction as well.
Cut For Time: Climate Change
- John: Thank you again to Blood Meridian for kindly asking me to review this pre-tape.
- Beck’s character here is a knockoff of Ian Somerhalder, who had a show along these lines (Years of Living Dangerously), and even wore a similar hat. Ian himself acknowledged the…homage on Twitter.
- Beck spent a great portion of his 8 seasons lampooning showbiz liberals, but he always managed to make it seem fresh and not overly strident.
- “One of the highest-grossing doctors in the climate world” being used as the intro for Kumail’s character is a good line, and a great way to show just how shallow Beck’s character is.
- Kumail is somewhat wasted here, as he was in most of this episode, but he is serving as a good serious foil to Beck. They have good chemistry. I don’t think I appreciated just how much Kumail sells the escalation of his character’s anger at all the egomania.
- Beck’s character saying he wants to “fight climate change” and then doing cheesy fighting moves always makes me laugh when I watch this.
- The ridiculous showoff moment cutaway of Beck’s character doing tai chi is perfect for this type of vanity piece.
- “The environment was getting worse and I had a hard out at five-thirty so I had to act quick.” Kudos to the show for letting Beck say “a hard out” without trying to explain what that is.
- Another good laugh when he shows Kumail and Chris his head shots and throws a tantrum when Chris says they all look the same.
- The whole segment with Beck in his poser pilgrim hat, saying “the fish are drowning,” and trying, very badly, to cry when Kumail shuts him down is maybe the hardest I ever laughed at anything Beck did on SNL. Even the fart joke doesn’t bother me.
- A part of me wishes this idea had gone further, but with all the time I spend complaining about pre-tapes that are too padded and overwritten, I can’t have it both ways. This is short, sweet, brilliantly performed, holds up well on multiple viewings, and is one of the pieces like the Pepsi commercial or “Enough is Enough” that demonstrate just how at home Beck was at both carrying a challenging pre-tape and skewing his industry.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
CFT: Climate Change
Women’s Round Table
Office Halloween Party
- A pretty solid show that aside from few flops had A LOT worth bragging about. Including several sketches that are an EASY choice for a “Best Of” for this entire season. Kumail Nanjiani was a likable and fun host, but sadly wasn’t utilized to his full potential, and was strangely invisible at times and missing from few sketches throughout the night.
- Thank yet again to the great John for his terrific writeup of the hidden Beck gem “Climate Change”, and for his continued support of this blog.
- Larry David & Miley Cyrus return to 8H.