Hosts of SNL seem to fall into a handful of different buckets. There’s the “young star of the moment” bucket that typically includes a mailed-in performance that comes with several belated pot shots from the cast. Then there’s the “veteran host” bucket, where you know what you’re getting and it’s usually a baseline level of fairly decent. There’s also the “first-time host brimming with energy” which is either the perfect blend of exuberance and excitement or way over-the-top (and not in the cool Stallone arm wrestling movie, sorry, arm wrestling classic type way) and kind of annoying.
Tiffany Haddish hosted this week, marking the first time a female African-American, stand-up comedian woman graced the stage as hosted, and she was brimming with confidence and energy.
Lucky for all of us, she was awesome.
After starring in the break-out movie of the summer, Girls Trip, Haddish brought her brand to the Studio 8H stage. Stand-ups always own the monologue and Haddish was no exception, her ensemble complete with the $4,000 dress she wore on to the Red Carpet Premiere for her movie, breaking an unwritten rule of Hollywood that you can’t be seen in the same outfit twice. The comic was all about breaking the rules on Saturday night, and the dress would show up again, as she promised, during Weekend Update. With real world issues of awfulness seemingly popping up as frequently as weather reports, it’s nice to have the respite of seeing new stars have fun in big roles. Haddish was a great host, and it would be nice to see the show take a few more chances like this in the future.
All hail Boo Boo Jeffries. Haddish plays a video game character promoting love, not violence and uses Rihanna and Beyonce dances as her signature moves (to little success, but still). Mikey Day’s bobbing Scorponox character was similarly hysterical.
I’ll spare my standard “the cold open is the worst because everything is the worst” spiel, and instead shift to “Get Woke with Tamika” as this week’s pick. Leslie Jones was fine as the host of a Breitbart and Russia sponsored show, while Aidy Bryant and Haddish did their best. This one just wasn’t for me, and a pretty dead audience reaction sure didn’t help matters much.
- These political cold opens are basically the same every time. It’s getting a little stale.
- Even though the “Lion King: Screen Tests” sketch was the typical showcase for the cast’s impressions, it still worked, and was pretty great. Heidi Gardner’s Kristen Schaal impression was a deep cut, but damn near flawless.
- I absolutely adore the Kyle Mooney and Leslie Jones documentary sketches. In “Beck and Kyle” we got treated to learning their son Lorne was already in college, and classic Masquerade Ball hijinks.
- The “Democratic National Committee” sketch was both spot on and terrifying for the future. Let’s get behind new starts like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders (btw it was hilarious seeing Larry David back making fun of his controversial joke from last week).
- Cecily Strong killed it again during Update, this time playing an exasperated HR manager, tasked to keep people apprised of acceptable workplace behavior between coeds. Her natural habitat is in character, behind the Update desk.
LINES WITHOUT CONTEXT
- “Perhaps, Roy, it’s hard to convince people you’re not in to young girls when you dress like Woody from Toy Story.” – Beck Bennett
- “Tiffany you been married before? Yes, I’m a beautiful woman! I might get married two or three more times, I might Elizabeth Taylor this thing, you don’t know!” – Tiffany Haddish
- “The Masquerade Ball is always my favorite time of year, the cast gets to let loose and there’s always a random hookup.” – Lorne Michaels
- “It’s a good weekend to stay inside because it’s 20 degrees out and everyone you’ve ever heard of is a sex monster.” – Colin Jost
- “If you ain’t gettin’ it in, you gettin’ em out.” – Haddish