It’s always interesting to see how standup comedians fare when hosting SNL. It can be a difficult transition, and rightly so, as comedians have to switch from the individual, totally in control nature of standup, to the more group-oriented approach of sketch comedy. For some, they can combine these two styles and create a memorable and hilarious show, such as Louis CK a few years ago. Yet for others, it’s nearly impossible, like for Jerry Seinfeld, who failed miserably when he tried bringing his own writers onto the show.
Unfortunately, Chris Rock’s performance fell close to the latter, delivering an overall disappointing show. Harking back to his days as a cast member, Rock has never really fit in to sketch comedy game, where his comedic voice was limited. However, he certainly does not deserve all the blame, as almost everyone was off their game tonight. Flubbing lines, poor timing, and just some bad sketches all contributed to a pretty sloppy show. Nevertheless, there were a couple good sketches so let’s take a look.
This one really hit home with me as I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve told my roommates, “We need to start playing more Taylor Swift in here.” People can talk all they want about how she’s psycho or how her new stuff sucks, but as soon as one of her hundred fire jams come on people can’t help but lose their mind. SNL has been killing their fake commercials lately and Swiftamine was no exception. Also, props to David Doctor for having the best doctor name of all time.
Per usual, Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett and Bobby Moynihan shined in a filmed bit that featured a respectful robbery adhering BC’s Jesuit values. This killed on both sides of the emotional spectrum, as the robbers effortlessly shifted from the intense, dangerous villains, to the polite, older kids down the street who’d help you out with homework. It feels like every week, Beck and Kyle get to perform one of their dynamic duo sketches on air and every week, its one of the top sketches of the night.
Chris Rock’s Monologue
Chris Rock started the show off big and created a bit of controversy with an aggressive monologue covering everything from the Boston Marathon Bombing, 9/11 and even Christmas. Personally I didn’t see anything wrong with it. He’s a comedian and his job is to take bold angles on sometimes touchy topics. Granted, not every joke landed, but Chris Rock was clearly most comfortable and most effective when delivering jokes. Also, as with most of Rock’s comedy, one cannot deny the truth behind his thoughts on the commercialization of America (if you don’t believe me, just ask the 9/11 Memorial gift shop and their 9/11-themed cheese platters).
This 10-1 sketch takes the audience back to the olden days, showcasing women in the work world who faced being out-diversed by African Americans in society. Thankfully, Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon offer guidance during these troubled times, acting as the pleasantly weird co hosts on a woman’s corporate training video. There’s nothing much to say about this sketch aside from it being really weird, but in a good way. Chris Rock also benefitted from his character’s uncomfortable and stiff delivery which nicely covered his uncomfortable and stiff delivery that he carried throughout the entire show.
How’s He Doing?
After a successful first go last season, Keenan and the gang return to express their undying loyalty to Obama. Despite the sketch having the exact same premise, the panel’s reaction when Keenan asks if they should have voted for Mitt was just as funny. The hypotheticals were on point, especially Sasha and Malia’s back talk to Barry. It should also be noted how far SNL has come from being criticized for its lack of diversity less than a year ago.
A few more thoughts…
If I had to give an MVP of the show, it would one hundred percent be Prince. Opting for only one 8-minute performance instead of two shorter ones, he absolutely dominated, delivering one of the best SNL musical performances in recent memory. Now I’ll admit, everything I knew about Prince comes from Dave Chappelle’s skit about him, so aside from his love of pancakes and unreal basketball skills, I didn’t really know what Prince was about. But after watching him play guitar, rock the triple lens sunglasses and not even bother coming out at the end of the show, I have a new appreciation for him and his unfathomable level of coolness.
I know these articles only showcase the best SNL sketches of the week, but I feel like this review would be incomplete without addressing the absolutely horrendous sketch “The Couple” that aired midway through the show. It was painfully awkward, with weird pauses, poor timing and seemingly no plotline. It should be noted that Chris Rock brought in his own writers to make a sketch for him, which as I explained earlier, never works out too well. I can’t remember a sketch bombing as bad as that one did. Even the studio audience, who are always pretty generous with their laughs were dead silent the entire time. Just a bad look all around.
After taking a week to recover, SNL will return on November 15 with Woody Harrelson, who last hosted in 1992, and musical guest Kendrick Lamar.