Earlier this week, I told my editors I was going to stop writing this piece. I started writing SNL Scorecard in 2010 as a labor of love. I gave up significant time on my weekends to do this because I legitimately loved writing about this show. I don’t really feel that way about SNL right now. I do honestly believe that SNL was the first mainstream piece of entertainment that normalized Donald Trump’s message by letting him host. I don’t know if I will ever get over that. And now that Trump has won, this is something that will always haunt SNL. The people who booked Trump on the show didn’t take him seriously, and now here we are.
My editors thought I should continue, even though they told me they’d support me if I decided to stop. But I decided to continue for now. I decided to continue because making some “grand stand” of quitting doesn’t do anyone any good. It’s the equivalent of these “If you voted for Trump, unfriend me on Facebook” type declarations. What does that solve? Sure, it blows off steam, but it doesn’t do anything.
At dress rehearsal during Benedict Cumberbatch’s show, during the cold open, Kate McKinnon broke down crying during the “we can’t tell you who to vote for” part. (This did not happen on the live show.) This is not an easy time for the writers and cast members who had nothing to do with the decision to let Trump host. And in speaking to sources close to the situation, the week Trump hosted sounded pretty miserable. The cast and writers certainly weren’t proud this was happening, they were all very aware of the protests happening outside the building – and, to top it off, Trump was a disinterested host who wasn’t happy he had to actually read lines. (Which, frankly, should surprise no one.)
And stopping this piece, for this reason, feels more like a “screw you” to the cast and writers, who are still trying their best every week (which is evidenced by Kate McKinnon’s cold open last night), than it would the people who actually made that decision to let Trump host.
So, like them, I will still try my best every week. (Though not next week because I’m out of town for a wedding, so don’t read into that.) And, last night, Dave Chappelle hosted a really great show. So let’s at least try to get on with another Scorecard:
Sketch of the Night
“Dave Chappelle Monologue” There’s not a lot to say here except that this hit the perfect tone. it was funny, but he also felt like Chappelle could have been talking to each of us individually than to millions of people. Like I had asked, “Dave, what do you think about all this?,” and then he answered. It’s kind of lucky that this worked out the way it did. Chappelle was obviously booked before the election happened. But there he was, delivering us a set that made us feel a little better for a few minutes.
Other Highlights and Lowlights
“Election Night” On Tuesday night, I was with my girlfriend and some friends at our local New York City pub to watch the election. The conversations we had that night mirrored this sketch way too much, that this was painful to watch. “Well, we knew she’d lose Ohio.” My gosh, it’s like someone was eavesdropping. I can’t imagine I’m alone here. Maybe I am. Maybe we are all alone now.
“Jheri”s Place” I feel stupid writing about this sketch because that’s the point. I have to admit, I burst out laughing when Kyle Mooney did his accent. It was so over-the-top in only a way Kyle Mooney could do. But then it was all a goof. Now I feel dumb for laughing. And point taken, but what can I do? You’re the people on the brink of fame and fortune. I’ll just be sitting here in my pajamas on a Sunday morning writing about this show for eternity it seems. So who’s laughing now? (It’s been a long week.)
“Football Party” I think my favorite part of this was watching stone-faced Kyle Mooney look on in innocent wonderment as the rest of the cast did everything they could not to laugh. You know, after a week like this, and a show as serious as this one, we all deserved to watch Dave Chappelle get milk sprayed in his face by Leslie Jones. This was so dumb in the best possible way. I needed this. We all needed this. We should all be so lucky to have milk sprayed in our face and laugh.
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Average Overall Score for this Show: 7.44
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.