How does ‘SNL’ deal with MLK as Kevin Hart opens the show?

01.18.15 3 years ago

NBC

Interesting that Kevin Hart wasn't the focus of the cold open. It's a fairly obvious topic to deal with, but the question is what way? How do you make a joke that involves MLK and “Selma”? Do you make it about the awards nominations? Do you play into the idea of a snub? Do you do it as the real MLK or the media character?

“Oh, my god, that mountain is miles away.”

Pete Davidson gets a nice upfront spot. It's interesting to see how far “SNL” will or won't go with specific targets. Hart's monologue that followed, focused on opening “The Wedding Ringer,” was primarily a showcase for Hart's stories about suburbia. Raccoon stories. “We've gotta move.” I hate to admit it, but it's the most relatable thing I've ever seen him do. I may not be a homeowner as of right about now, but I was, and I get it. I had a possum that I attributed a nearly superhuman intelligence to for a full summer in 2010. I've been there.

Hart's busy becoming a movie star right now, and it makes sense that he's not going to do material that polarizes. Kenan, on the other hand, should be comfortable making people uncomfortable.

The kid played by Pete Davidson is ultimately uninterested in anything specific, and more adept at the sort of surface level social media protest outrage that we see these days. I sort of wish they'd gone further with Thompson's reaction to this kid and his notion of protest, but I think they landed the punch.

It'll be interesting to see what the rest of show does with pop culture, and how far Hart bends his own recently-burnished image.

“Saturday Night Live”' featured Kevin Hart and musical guest Sia.

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