Saturday Night Live
“Sarah Silverman/Maroon 5”
Season 40, Episode 2
Chad White, RATING: Eh.
Boy, these second episodes sure are tough. First Key & Peele and now SNL. Why are our comedy shows wavering? Consistency is hard and writing can prove to be difficult on a week to week basis. Just look at literally anything I’ve ever written on this site.
Cold Open: The cold open for SNL this week tackled a 60 Minutes parody (headlined by Beck Bennett!) in the only way it could with an interview with Jay Pharaoh’s Barack Obama. This leads the show into murky territory with Pharaoh’s incredible likeness to the president but sub-par writing. Jokes fall flat with very little laughter form the audience. But we really shouldn’t be listening to them because sometimes jokes go way over their heads. I’ll just assume these jokes went below my waist. There were some good lines in there about ISIS becoming more of a presence on social media. TERRORISTS ARE EVEN ON TINDR, GUYS!
Monologue: Sarah Silverman owns her monologue. Plain and simple. She’s comfortable on stage because she’s a comedian. Most importantly, she doesn’t give a fuck. This week’s monologue seemed unplanned with Silverman taking it down to the audience. She sits on a woman’s lap and, in a bit of what looked like improve but who am I to judge, spoke about whatever crossed her mind. The woman was clearly uncomfortable but that didn’t stop our host. It was funny, long and irrelevant and it was probably the best monologue I’ve seen in a while. Silverman also talked about her season long stint as a feaetured player on the show in the 90’s. Using stock footage of herself, she answered her own audience plant questions. Again, more irreverencey. I love it.
Front Nine: We are treated to a silly but on point Fault In Our Stars sequel trailer subtitled The Ebola In Our Everything. Taran Killam and Silverman play our lovelorn heroes overcome the odds to love each other. Well, at least Silverman did. Killam’s character tried to date her at a distance to our delight. Kenan Thompson played a high pitched Terrance Howard. And the World Health Organization was given a review log line saying the movie was “plausible.” I just realized I’m not doing this sketch justice. Go watch it. What followed was a jumbled mess of a tribute to Joan Rivers. Host Sarah played the roastful comedienne in Heaven as she joins Richard Pryor, Freddie Mercury (done by Adam Levine) and a gleeful Ben Franklin. Flubbed lines abound in what I’m sure was a good idea with so-so execution. Everything just seemed so dead. No pun intended. The direction was way off with reaction shots coming seconds into them already happening. But the shining star was still Ben Franklin. Another prerecorded sketch followed and was funnier than that Joan Rivers thing. “Whites” featured all of the white members of the cast explaining how they were the dominate race. And we also learn that white people love camping and hiking. A lot. They’re on top until at least 2050. Even if they have to have a “few women presidents.” Before Update, we were treated to Kenan as the host of an archival footage show tv shows called Forgotten TV Gems. His subtlety to the reading of the character was funny in its own regard. Add to the satire of the show (women are sincere to each other and listen to one another rather than be catty and rude) and you’ve got a solid sketch.
Weekend Update: Colin Jost. People really don’t like him. I was reading a fellow reviewer’s review of this episode and they agreed. Online comments really agree. I’m trying to keep a level head on the matter. One argument against him was that he only got this job because he was the head writer and not because he was actually funny. Like I said, I’m staying out of it. There were easy Ebola jokes and jokes about the White House’s security. Kenan’s Al Sharpton made an appearance and he was still funny. His mispronunciation, inability to say Colin’s name, and self pimping were well done. I prefer this Sharpton to the one in real life. Michael Che had a few zingers (do people still say that?). It looks like he was given the biggest jokes because he got many reactions. His callous way of reading also came across as funny. Maybe he should be the lead anchor. And don’t tell me he’s co-anchor because Colin is clearly in charge. He’s lead writer for God’s sake! Finally, there was an appearance by Sarah Silverman and underused Kate McKinnon as a music playing duo called Garage and Her. It wasn’t funny.
Back Nine: The last quarter of the episode began with a Good Neighbor sketch. It’s weird seeing one so early in the episode. Maybe they’re trying out a new format. Perhaps we’ll see these types of sketches sooner rather than in the backend. Mooney stumbles upon Silverman reading a book of poetry in the park. The two bond over the author only to have boyfriend Beck Bennett threaten Mooney. Those two then connect in the same way but over bullying events. It’s strange because throughout this sketch we see lame stunts but they’re very entertaining. Mooney is pantsed and pushed down stairs; spanked on a swing; or just plain beaten up. Silverman gets in on the low budget fun as she breaks up with Bennett, takes his body and slams a dummy lookalike in the trash. The final sketch of the night is a commercial for a blender called Vitamix. It’s deprived of any sort of laughter given its okay premise. Maybe people were just tired by then. Who knows.
Quick Notes: This is also the first time I noticed Darrell Hammond as the announcer. It struck me as odd that I only now heard him. I guess last week I heard Don’s voice in my head. Curse those damn ghosts.
Also, breakout star Pete Davidson is nowhere to be seen. I only caught a glimpse of him during the goodbye credits. I’m sad now.