First of all, there were some great sketches on this Larry David-hosted SNL, which we’ll get to. I say this now because I want to be positive before I become negative. Now the bad stuff:
For a whole host of reasons, Alec Baldwin as Trump needs to end. Even before we get into what a bizarre week Baldwin has had, the political comedy on SNL so far this season, outside of “Weekend Update,” has not been good. Now here we get a cold open sketch about Paul Manafort that (a) somehow already feels a month old and (b) didn’t give us much of a character in Manafort. Instead it’s just Baldwin ranting as Trump as the sketch devolved into prison jokes. Whatever lightning in a bottle SNL caught with Baldwin as Trump last season is over. (Also, I’ve written about this a few times before, but I have heard from many different sources that Beck Bennett does an amazing Trump and it’s probably time we finally get to see his Trump, because this isn’t working.)
And, I’m sorry, but between Baldwin’s strange interview with the L.A. Times about James Toback and his multiple Twitter rants this week (leading to Baldwin saying he’s taking yet another break from Twitter), he doesn’t have any moral authority to be telling us that “Trump is bad.” Instead of Baldwin ranting as Trump, I now just kind of see Baldwin ranting. SNL doesn’t need this kind of baggage. It’s time for Baldwin to step aside.
Larry David is an affable host who seemed to be having a really nice time, which is nice. But SNL itself still hasn’t found its stride this season. Of course Larry David as Bernie Sanders was back, but even that was wasted on a kind of ill-conceived The Price is Right sketch that seemed to only be there to assure the world that Miley Cyrus is dating Liam Hemsworth. Also, there was a Kevin Roberts sketch planned for last night that didn’t make it to the live show, which is hugely disappointing.
Anyway, here is your Scorecard…
Sketch of the Night
“Beers” Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett have a talent for deconstructing ‘90s sitcoms. This one’s a little unusual though because they keep the ‘90s structure, but take on the infamous “Uncle Ned” episode of Family Ties in which Tom Hanks plays Alex P. Keaton’s alcoholic uncle. There’s even a scene in which Alex enters the kitchen late ate night and Uncle Ned is in there drinking. (I believe that ended with Ned drinking vanilla extract.) Though, that episode of Family Ties did not end with Ned stabbing Alex in the stomach, so this was certainly a twist ending. (There was another Uncle Ned episode, too, where he’s in some sort of financial trouble. I think he may have taken some money from his company or something? It’s too early on a Sunday to actually look this up, but the point is, Uncle Ned was always getting into some kind of trouble. I’d actually like an update on how Uncle Ned is doing these days.)
“Weekend Update” Is there any doubt Michael Che will have his own talk show someday? Yeah, I know he’s said stuff like, “Oh, that sounds like too much work.” But if someone offers him a show, and they will, he’s going to take it and he’d be great. And his commentary this week on how Trump works for us was pretty great. But this “Weekend Update” was made great by the character pieces. Leslie Jones just looked like pure joy hanging out with the Houston Astros. Mikey Day and Alex Moffat did some great physical humor with a pack of Fun Dip, of all things. And most impressively, Heidi Gardner unleashed probably the best “Update” character since Laura Parsons with Angel, “every girlfriend in a boxing movie ever.” This was great.
“Career Retrospective” The idea of deconstructing social norms from 30 years ago is clever, especially in the context of someone getting a career achievement award based on work that, today, is awful. The amount of scorn that Aidy Bryant was sending Larry David’s character the whole time was really great and pretty dark stuff.
Werido of the Night
Average Overall Score for this Show: 6.42
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