Cold Opening – Michael Cohen Wiretap
- The return of Ben Stiller’s Michael Cohen impression, for the second episode in a row. Yay?
- Interesting format to this cold open, but I feel it won’t succeed in masking the lethargy & dead feel these usually have.
- Very poor utilization of Alex & Chris.
- The whole Pig Latin portion in this cold open was embarrassingly bad (yes, even for these opens’ very low standards), and resulted in zero laughs.
- By the way, why is Stiller’s Cohen shouting his lines when this whole conversation is supposed to be secretive? Is that supposed to be amusing?
- Time for more padding! Now we get a random Martin Short cameo, as Trump’s doctor Harold Bornstein.
- Martin’s whole Jerry Lewis-esque yelling didn’t even make me smirk, and Martin usually gets big laughs from me without even trying.
- This cold open is a complete mess that’s falling apart in front of my eyes & the “epic” format the show’s using for it isn’t doing a good job in hiding the lack of premise.
- Hoo, boy. The debut of Kate’s Rudy Giuliani impression, which is the absolute bane (and that’s saying something) of her interchangeable, self-indulgent, and prosthetics-heavy impressions of male politicians.
- Shockingly, this turns out to be Kate’s first & ONLY appearance all night.
- This has now devolved into a bunch of mumbly accents & endless mugging/vamping by the performers. No laughs from me.
- LOL! Mike Pence is gay you guys!!1!1!1!
- And now this gets even more padded, as we get Jimmy Fallon & Scarlett Johansson cameos as Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, respectively.
- That fucking horrible twink cold open from last season makes me worried of what they’ll do with Jimmy’s Kushner this time.
- Jimmy is going full-on Cardi B, which wakes up the sleepy audience, but I’m getting zero laughs, which is business as usual for me with most of Jimmy’s work on & outside of SNL.
- Stormy Daniels cameo.
- Stormy’s whole scene, much like the entire cold open, didn’t work much for me, even though she came off quite likable.
- Overall, no.
- Love the suit on Donald.
- Interesting mention that he auditioned to join the show. I do know that he wanted to play Obama, as he does a great impression of him, but the show ended up choosing Fred Armisen instead, because of course you would…
- Very low-energy monologue so far.
- Sadly, Kyle’s appearance here is first & ONLY one in this episode. What a rough year he’s had this season. This episode in general will have a bit of a flat feel due to most of the cast appearing in 1-2 appearances all night along.
- The bearded cutie is SNL writer Will Stephen, interesting to see him in this role.
- Ugh at the clarinet vomiting bit, which felt very desperate for my likes.
- An overall dull-but-not-bad monologue. Donald tried his best though.
Jurassic World Trial
- Interesting look & characterization on Donald, and this seems to be a promising showcase of his comedic talents.
- Very poor utilization of Luke Null. But, what else is new?
- Donald is doing a solid work as this character, but the energy is very low so far. I’ve been noticing ever since the Jessica Chastain episode, a certain aura of lethargy and just being plain tired that’s been plaguing this season ever since that episode, which, IIRC, will get even worse in the next two episodes (especially the finale).
- The bit with Donald overfilling the water cup seems to be an ad-lib as it nearly causes Kenan to break character.
- An overall just ok sketch. I don’t know why I’m not as high on this sketch as some, maybe because I was never that crazy about Donald Glover like many are, even though he’s quite solid & committed throughout this episode. Also, the very low-energy & dullness surrounding the sketch might’ve reduced my enjoyment of it as a whole.
- I’m not that familiar with the band Migos, but I recall enjoying this piece fine enough without having much knowledge of their music (then again, I barely listen to most modern rappers, aside from Kendrick Lamar & Chance the Rapper).
- I’m enjoying both the visuals here, and the chemistry between the performers, Chris’ especially great here, he’s had a truly great rookie year.
- I recall reading that Migos absolutely LOATHED this parody, which actually speaks more of them than the short. I’m not seeing anything rude or mean-spirited so far regarding them.
- Cecily’s scenes are solid, and she’s just perfect for the role of a psychiatrist.
- A random A$AP Rocky cameo. He’s coming off in a fine form here, and his scene ended the piece on a decent note.
Raz P. Berry
- fyodoren: There’s a lot to love right off the bat. The cinematographers and of course Donald have put together a pitch-perfect take on the typical synth-heavy, dance-happy R&B/Soul track from the ’80s. Great work from the start.
- LOVE the name Raz P. Berry. Love it, love it, love it.
- Donald was born to lead this sketch, and I can’t think of any other recent hosts with the skillset to carry it. Donald is so locked-in both comedically and musically it’s ridiculous.
- He’s keeping up that killer energy throughout his whole rant to Cecily. It seems pretty clear to me that this was his favorite and most fitting sketch of the night.
- “Who’s laughing now? Not me! .. Because if I laugh too hard, all that jewelry will fall right out of my ass!” This line, with its slick, confident delivery, has just about killed me AGAIN.
- Ditto for “… But I passed out, just from holdin’ the knife!”
- Now we get a predictable but pretty cool reveal that Cecily ISN’T his girlfriend… and the realization lands pretty well.
- I know this is Donald’s sketch, and there’s not much here for Kenan to do, but he seems particularly low-energy here.
- Cecily isn’t doing much here either, though I am getting solid laughs out of her confused attempt to explain the situation to Kenan. She’s dramatically baffled and still trying to make sense of it herself. SNL writers: THIS is how to do an “explaining” bit! Drop the smugness and let the explaining characters participate in the confusion.
- Now we end with a flourish, with Donald’s song picking up again outside, but the lyrics are now highly specific and slaying me. Something about the way he sings “Doctor… Reginald… Saunders!” in that flamboyant ’80s way just comes wafting back to me EVERY. DAMN. DAY.
- Overall, this one is a recent favorite of mine. It’s nothing earth-shattering – a one-note piece that really only features Donald, buried in a surprisingly mediocre episode. But I absolutely love the commitment here! Anyone who’s familiar with Donald’s silly, IDGAF comedic style from Community can appreciate the shameless lengths he’s willing to go to here. A great showcase for a fantastic host who deserved better than he was given throughout the night.
A Kanye Place
- A solid idea of combining Kanye’s insane rants (which will only get worse as 2018 continues), and the then-new hit movie A Quiet Place.
- Beck is doing a great job as this character, and as a person that never cared for A Quiet Place, this piece is actually working for me, maybe even more than that dull movie.
- Nothing much to say here but that this is a solid imitation of the typical horror movie tropes and the movie parodied in general.
- A good twist at the end.
- The first installment was a huge winner for me, but I’m not sure we needed a sequel.
- While the reveal of the comedic conceit doesn’t have the element of surprise that the first one had, Melissa’s pure charm is making it work fine.
- Solid straight man work from Donald, who has been displaying reliable versatility so far into the episode, becoming an honorary cast member by that.
- Love the dork line, which is easily the best one in this sequel for me.
- While I didn’t need a sequel to the original sketch, this one was still perfectly fine, helped by both Donald’s solid straight man work & Melissa’s effortless charm and likability.
Musical Performance – “Saturday”
- Blood Meridian: How in the world don’t I remember that Zoë Kravitz introduced this musical performance? She’s coming off her usual likable self in her brief introduction, though.
- Jesse Nathan: I like how the people onstage are all wearing red and yellow shirts, though I’m not entirely sure if they mean anything.
- Great intro.
- Donald’s in perfectly fine voice here, and this song has a Pharrell vibe that I really dig.
- I like the little drum (?) during the pre-chorus.
- I really love this chorus, so it’s a goddamn shame that this song doesn’t have an official studio recording.
- The use of bongos further adds to the Pharrell vibes I mentioned earlier.
- I like Donald’s moves.
- Donald’s falsetto on the second pre-chorus is friggin’ great, and again gives me Pharrell vibes.
- Why do I detect a slight hint of autotune there?
- Wow, after the second chorus, this whole performance starts getting better and better.
- I love how everyone starts jamming and dancing at the end, and it’s very fun and infectious.
- An overall great performance.
- UGH at Colin’s opening joke about how the clock is ticking in regards to Trump’s presidency, echoing what many believed in their wishful (and delusional) belief that the Mueller report would expose Trump and end his presidency. Needless to say, any discourse before or after this episode aged like milk.
- More pandering & pathetic humor from SNL tonight (which only gets worse next season), as Michael’s whole FBI rant is reeking of utter desperation for both laughs AND clicks. Boy, between Colin & Michael’s extremely poorly-aged “jokes”, this Update is starting ROUGH.
- Interesting to see Pete making his entrance from Michael’s side of the desk.
- I’m not really caring for this commentary so far, even when Pete is still in my good graces (mostly) by this time in his tenure, there’s nothing to this commentary that makes it worthy of getting on the air. I’m not caring about Che & Jost hosting the Emmys, and Pete is basically cruising through this dull commentary.
- Hoo, boy, I’m afraid I’m in for some clapter right from Leslie’s shirt here. As if this season didn’t have ENOUGH desperate, pathetic, and poorly-aged attempts at preachy pandering and trying to stay relevant (which will again, get even worse next season).
- Ok, this commentary is going through a different route.
- Much like Pete’s commentary, Leslie’s coming off likable here, but this feels like her other interchangeable commentaries, and much like Pete’s and large portions of this episode, it’s not bad, just DULL.
- Another fairly rough Update edition, with a very dull & lethargic feeling to it, which seems to be the theme in the 2nd half of this season, again reflecting the general malaise and tiredness from world affairs that seem to have plagued both the cast & writers this season, which YET AGAIN will get even worse and worse next season.
- Solid Billy Dee Williams impression from Donald. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise due to Donald playing young Lando in Solo & the underrated solid impressionist that Donald is in general.
- Funny cutaway to Heidi as a green alien.
- A good laugh from the visual of the (very few) other black people in the galaxy.
- Very lethargic & slow sketch so far.
- This has now turned into more of a sad sketch, after a few laughs from the beginning. Donald is giving a solid performance at least.
- Great makeup job on Max Rebo near the sketch’s end, it looks just like the real thing.
- Huge night for Kenan, he’s been all over this episode.
- I get what this sketch is going for, but it is a little slow & dull for my liking, although not weak at all.
- Some good, subtle absurdist humor in the suggestions, but why the hell is Pete here? He doesn’t fit at all into the sketch’s format, and his delivery remains as one-note as always.
- I read that this is a Julio Torres sketch. If so, this is probably amongst his least impressive, but it’s still good.
Musical Performance – “This Is America”
- Blood Meridian: Seeing Daniel Kaluuya here is reminding me of how much I loved him & his hosting stint later in season 46.
- Jesse Nathan: Daniel Kaluuya!
- I’m surprised they allowed Donald to be shirtless for this performance.
- I like the way this performance starts, with Donald standing there mostly alone, except for some schoolgirls near his left.
- Good intro.
- Every time I hear this song, I keep expecting the instrumental for Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” to play. I think oneboredjeu’s mashup (link here) may have spoiled me.
- Neat usage of lasers in the background.
- I like the visual of the dancing schoolgirls.
- Donald’s rapping is on point, but not the best rapping I’ve heard from him. Honestly, I kinda prefer his singing voice.
- And now the schoolkids start throwing money, which is another good visual.
- I like the way Donald sings “get your money” near the end.
- And now Donald starts dancing in lasers, and the whole thing looks great.
- Strong ending with Donald leaving while the only thing we see is a dancing schoolgirl.
- This sketch seems to be attempting a slice-of-life, dialogue-driven type of a sketch. And seeing only three main performers on stage makes me interested in the sketch already.
- Good back-and-forth between the performers, even when the sketch so far is fine, yet nothing special as a whole.
- A funny, sketch-stealing walk-on from Beck as a Hannibal Lecter-esque prisoner. His transition from menacing to friendly was perfectly pulled off.
- Wait, the sketch is over?? Yeah, much like Wakanda Forever, this was definitely trimmed at the last minute to get on air. I would’ve loved a longer, more flashed-out version, but this was still good.
Cut For Time: Cleveland Cavs Promo
- Great visual quality & color grading; the graphics & font used are also adding to the piece quite well.
- I’m not a sports person at all, and more of a movies/books one, but I’m familiar enough with this team, as well as some others to *get* what the joke is supposed to be, thanks to sitting through these games with family & friends too many times.
- A funny & promising premise to this short, with it highlighting the other team players not named LeBron James, and this was during the homestretch of his second tenure with the Cavs.
- The whole sequence with the other players being proud of their mundane tasks is hilarious, especially the laundry bit.
- Love Heidi’s look here.
- The random bit with the dog had me laughing out loud.
- Great short overall. A damn shame that this was cut from the live show, as it worked perfectly for me as a non-sports fan, and had some very silly & funny moments.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Raz P. Berry
CFT: Cleveland Cavs Promo
A Kanye Place
Jurassic World Trial
Michael Cohen Wiretap
- A fine, mostly-consistent, if not a little dull and low-energy episode, where most of the material ranged from good to solid, even when only “Raz P. Berry” & “Cleveland Cavs Promo” stood to me as pretty strong. And aside from that wretched cold open, most of the show was quite enjoyable. Donald Glover excelled in double duty, and got solid showcases throughout the night, in particular the aforementioned “Raz P. Berry” and as well as “Jurassic World Trial” and “Friendos”.
- Amy Schumer hosts the Mother’s Day episode with musical guest Kacey Musgraves.
4 Replies to “May 5, 2018 – Donald Glover / Childish Gambino (S43 E19)”
You said it, fyodoren! I’m 100% familiar with Community, and it’s one of my favorite live-action comedy shows, along with Arrested Development and 30 Rock.
As I said in Kabir’s review, I am so goddamn sick of hearing “move your friend Scott’s blood around”, mainly because it appears in way too many YouTube compilations.
I actually recall liking A Quiet Place when I first saw it on a plane. Then again, I didn’t know how to criticize movies yet, and IIRC, that was the same flight where I watched Game Night, and that movie was way better.
All three all clear-cut favorites of mine as well, brother.
This may have been the best night of music in SNL history.
Cold Open *****
An absolute blast and was hilarious from start to finish
Donald was very funny in this as was the ending to this monologue.
Jurassic World Trial ****
Great sketch the ending could have been better.
Kenan and Chris was hilarious in this. This pretape overall was awesome.
Raz P. Berry ****½
A great sketch I especially loved the part with him putting pee in his hair and jewelry in his ass.
A Kanye Place **½
Didn’t care for this to much but certainly not awful.
Dirty Talk *****
A great second installment of this sometimes I prefer this one over the first.
Barbie Instagram ****
Heidi had me cracking up in this and this was excellent.
Prison Job ***
This was decent that’s all I can really say about this.
CFT: Cleveland Cavs Promo ****
A great sketch and love that fact that it didn’t go on for to long.