Saturday Night Live: 10/14/17 Kumail Nanjiani

SNL Kumail NanjianiWhen the first three hosts of the season were announced, I was obviously fired up for Gosling. But seeing Kumail Nanjiani as the host for the third episode of the 43rd season of SNL was certainly an interesting choice and a super welcome sight. I was excited to see how the stand up and actor would fare in the setting. While the show as a whole was “fine”, Nanjiani was great in his role, bringing an earnest almost innocence to his role as host.

For all the problems SNL has experienced, it is usually at its best when they just let funny people be funny. Nanjiani fits that bill. Whether he’s a podcast guest, performing stand up, or acting in Silicon Valley or any number of projects, Nanjiani always feels fresh and different. Moving forward, it would be nice to see SNL take more “risks” with their hosting choices.

Again, this episode was ok. There wasn’t anything transcendent, but there also wasn’t anything that would clock in as a dud. Hopefully the upcoming break will give the cast and writers a chance to recharge and veer toward the zany and obscure rather than the obvious foray into politics. Nanjiani was great at this, and it was super fun to see him get an opportunity on this stage.

THE GOOD

In his quest to win money for dope jackets and jeans, Nanjiani squares off against Cecily Strong’s character, who just wants to be able to fund a surgery for her young daughter. Nanjiani’s smug arrogance slowly evaporates as the sketch plays out, when several other reveals uncover his opponent’s much more benevolent lifestyle.

THE BAD

Nanjiani tried his hardest to save “Hotel Check-in”, using his cheery, oblivious demeanor to toll the virtues of the Chatsworth Hotel and the Stargazer Lounge. It just didn’t really work for me. By no means was this a bad sketch, per se, but it was just slightly off and just didn’t completely land.

THE REST

  • Nanjiani crushed his monologue, not surprisingly, reminding us that uninformed racists are the worst.
  • Once again, Kate McKinnon does the most with the least. In “Nursing Home”, she plays a 91-year-old grandmother whose grandkids are appalled by her cavalier sexual activity. She doesn’t say much, but those looks. Damn.
  • I really enjoyed the Anderson Cooper/Kelly Anne Conway “It”-inspired digital short. Kellywise is truly more terrifying than her clown counterpart.
  • Nanjiani’s relationship with Strong’s Melania Trump character in “Customer Service” was weird and wonderful. It was the perfect 10 to one sketch.

LINES WITHOUT CONTEXT

  • “He doesn’t need sex rehab. He needs a special facility where there are no women, no contact with the outside world, metal bars, and it’s a prison.” – Colin Jost
  • “Don’t think about me saying happy holidays anymore, think of it as me saying All Holidays Matter.” – Michael Che
  • “No one is taking advantage of your grandmother. They’re running a train, but she’s the conductor.” – Kumail Nanjiani
  • “It’s difficult to talk to him about things that are not, uh, solid. Things that are abstract.” – Cecily Strong

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