It’s the best time of year, Saturday Night Live is back on the air! Season 42 started off with some large cast announcements with the firing of 3 cast members, hiring three new features, upgrading some repertory players, 7 new writers, and just the other day bringing on stand-up comedian Drew Michael to write for Weekend Update. They even brought in a few animated tweaks to their bumpers. Did it work? The answer after watching the season premiere right now, is a solid “yes.”
Our host was excited to be there, Alec Baldwin is our new Donald Trump, Leslie Jones seemed invigorated by her crazy summer, providing a darn near perfect 10-to-1 sketch. Furthermore, the newbies got decent screen time fast, Weekend Update is fully humming, and Michael Che was Lester Holt. Let’s roll.
Cold Open: Presidential Debate
Well here it is, the moment we’ve been teased with all week long. Alec Baldwin is officially taking over as Trump this season. Last season when Donald Trump hosted the show, it was a pretty dismal episode, one that was even recently criticized by Samantha Bee as helping humanize Trump. SNL once again made the chance of who is handling the Republican candidate (third in this last year). While it would’ve been great to have a cast member portray Trump, Alec Baldwin was pretty great. His Trump is both over the top, angry, and a buffoon.
Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton is great as always. With a fantastic homage to the late, great, Gene Wilder making the entrance, she pulled what we could imagine be Hillary’s inner monologue and just splayed it out before us.
Here’s Margot Robbie, hosting the show for the first time and she seems happy to be there. It always goes down better when the host is present and is down for everything and Robbie starts the night off with conveying this. Poor Pete Davidson, can’t we all just agree he’s the cute one?
And here we have our first look at new featured player Mikey Day. Day has experience with the SNL crew after spending the summer appearing on the Lorne Michaels-produced Maya & Marty. This sketch takes the concept of a man (Day) who ended up with a much more attractive woman and wraps it within a news segment. It was well executed and Kenan Thompson, pulls off one of the best lines of the night, with “she’s a Kennedy and she put a Shatt on it.” The sketch just keeps spiraling further out as more correspondents are introduced, peaking with Leslie Jones and her two theories.
This is our first recorded sketch of season 42 and it’s a great one. It seemed fairly evident that there’d be more than a few sketches that would play up on Margot Robbie’s attractiveness. This sketch turns up that concept and just starts to travel down a weird path and really hoped for some good Bobby Moynihan responses.
Celebrity Family Feud: Political Edition
We’re 4 sketches into the new season and things are humming. We’re also seeing a decent chunk of the new featured players as Melissa Villaseñor pulls out a pretty solid Sarah Silverman impersonation and Larry David, who was a hit last season, revives his Bernie Sanders. But what we’ll all be talking about tomorrow is the Margot, Alex Moffat and Mikey Day pulling off the Trump children.
The Weeknd “Starboy”
Dude cut his hair.
Let’s step back and take a moment to absorb how Weekend Update has gotten so good! Michael Che and Colin Jost are such a well-oiled machine by this point. It took a while but they are there and they delivered some howlingly- funny moments of the night. Jost’s reaction shots are just aces as they offered up jab after jab. In fact, lines were so on point that it felt by the time the first desk guest showed up it kinda just stopped the momentum of an endless barrage of jokes. Jabs comparing the election to a forced iPhone or exploding Samsung Galaxy into a refrigerator reference with “just tang and prunes!” They nailed the bias of Stop and Frisk. Che’s take on the National Anthem was on point, and the final 1-2 punch of Jost reminding us that James Brown died of Pneumonia and Che stating, “if she had black friends she woulda known that.”
Undecided Voter: Cathy Anne
David Ortiz is retiring and Kenan Thompson is trying to find the most ways to say mofungo.
The Hunch Bunch
Kyle Mooney is the Shaggy of Shaggiest person we got not named Shaggy in this sketch. That’s important because he is the one character who gets the distinct honor of being called a “pussy” by Margot Robbie. The joke of the sketch was an outsider girlfriend tagged along with a mystery-solving crew and tried to get into the action.
This sketch clocked in just over 30 seconds. Just long enough to get the laugh and get out. If this sketch reminds you of the classic, “Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy” sketches of SNL past, well, you’re correct.
Actress Round Table
We’re deep into the night and still getting great sketches like this to entertain us. When this one kicked off, it was almost expected to get Kate McKinnon performing a delightfully odd character. And that character got Margot Robbie to crack.
The Weeknd “False Alarm”
What a great 10-to-1 sketch. Leslie Jones is hot off a heavily event-filled summer. Some great, (The Olympics) and some not so great (website hacks, online harrasment). While Jones addressed this on Seth Meyers a few weeks back, what better way to tackle the topic than in a pitch-perfect Mr. Robot parody. It also proves that you just can’t keep Jones down. Tackling a heft and personal topic head on.
Let’s get pumped for next week when Hamilton creator/star himself Lin-Manuel Miranda drops by with musical guests, Twenty One Pilots.