Saturday Night Live: 12/9/17 James Franco

SNL James Franco

First things first. I had to take last week off. Pulling up the cold open for the December 2nd show only to see Trump and Kelly Anne and Michael Flynn and Hillary, complete with Roy Moore jokes, was just a little too much. I didn’t want to have to write about how bad the Trump/political sketches have been for the 3,184th week in a row. So I punted. It’s a strategy I thought SNL should take, although I understand why they can’t.

It’s too bad, because the rest of the show was pretty fun. Saoirse Ronan was really good as host (and her “Saoirse like Inertia” monologue was not only funny, but super helpful for pronunciation). The music video “Welcome to Hell” was especially great while also being frustrating and sad for its real life implications.

While I still enjoyed the episode, the bitter taste from the cold open just lingered for the duration.

Luckily, this week they punted.

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Saturday Night Live: 11/18/17 Chance the Rapper

SNL Chance the Rapper

Every now and again a host will come along, and things will just click. He or she will clearly be down for anything and everything and it will feel as though the cast was just increased by one member. Those are the best shows. By far. When Chance the Rapper took the stage at 8H, it felt like one of those nights. The result was one of the best shows of the year.

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Saturday Night Live: 11/11/17 Tiffany Haddish

SNL Tiffany Haddish

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.

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Saturday Night Live: 11/4/17 Larry David

SNL Larry David

Another week, another Trump cold open. I get it. This dude gives us more stuff to roll our eyes at in a week than pretty much anyone else ever in history of everything, or whatever. At the same time, all the faux pas and general evilness don’t really play well in sketches. Somehow it doesn’t really play seeing Alec Baldwin play the president as he’s meeting with Paul Manafort, Mike Pence, and Jeff Sessions (Beck Bennett’s Pence and Kate McKinnon’s Sessions are super great btw) and trying to wrestle with indictments and, well, general evilness. While the jokes are fine, and everyone is really great in their roles, it just feels like Jimmy Fallon tussling Trump’s hair. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll get a sense of humor and start enjoying these at some point. Sadly, they’re going to be around for a little while.

Next, we get to Larry David as host, who was prettay, prettay, prettay good (I’m shocked that I didn’t hit this well in the first paragraph. If you would’ve set the over under at 1.5 paragraphs it would take for me to write make that reference, I would’ve gone under, easily). After spending the weekend traveling, I knew I was going to be late on this week’s recap, so I tried to shield myself from any spoilers or reviews before I could catch the episode myself. Unfortunately I wasn’t media savvy enough, and caught a whiff of some controversy surrounding David’s monologue. Following David’s career and his carefully cultivated persona, I was ready for the worst.

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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.

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Saturday Night Live: 10/7/17 Gal Gadot

SNL Gal Gadot

This probably won’t be one for the highlight reels, but with everything going on in the country (and really the world), it’s safe to assume that comedy writing was really hard this week. Luckily we were spared another Trump cold open, and instead Jason Aldean sang the Tom Petty classic “I Won’t Back Down”. It was poignant and apropos for the moment, and served as a nice changeup to open the show.

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Saturday Night Live: 9/30/17 Ryan Gosling

SNL Ryan Gosling

Coming off one of the highest rated, and most critically acclaimed seasons in the show’s history, Saturday Night Live entered its 43rd season last night, poised to build on the adulation and buzz. Early reports have the season premiere as a huge ratings success, but as a whole, the show is still a little uneven, and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, there’s a bit of a Trump Problem (TM).

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