"Chris Rock/Prince" - SNL Review

Saturday Night Live
“Chris Rock/Prince”
Season 40, Episode 5

This review is super late. I know that. But school and work has gotten the best of me.

Cold Open: Another cold open, another easy shot at political talk shows. This one takes parody on The Kelly File, a show that does not contain any part of Kelly Ripa. Bobby Moynihan takes center stage as Chris Christie who tries to defend his quarantine of Nurse Kaci Hickox played by the muted Kate MicKinnon. There’s nothing new here and I’d rather not dwell on it.

Monologue: Chris Rock is going to be one of the best monologuers this season. Much like Jim Carrey in last week’s episode, he owns the stage. His presence is felt throughout the studio. There’s so much intensity in his words. Rock’s monologue turned into a mini stand up show as he went from topic to topic with the New York Marathon and commercializing holidays like 9/11. There were a couple of flubs but Rick was still natural.

Front Nine: A God awful sketch called “How to Dance with Janelle” followed the wonderful monologue. The wonderful Sasheer Zamata and delightful Kyle Mooney had to trudge through what I’m referring to as a millennial based sketch. It was a YouTube dance tutorial vlogger (ugh) celebrating her recent success. Jay Pharaoh played the brother and Rock was the clueless yet stern father. The only time I even smiled was at Mooney’s refusal to stand up due to his boner. What followed next was a GoPro commercial dubbed “GoProbe” where middle aged men played by Taran Killam, Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett get extreme colonoscopies. And after that was “How’s He Doing?” which is a talk show that utilized all four black cast members (headlined by Kenan Thompson with Pharaoh, Zamata and Leslie Jones) and Rock. The idea was to follow up on Obama’s current stint in the White House to see, well, how he’s doing. It was good enough for the premise but, like most of this episode, it was awkward. Nothing flowed right tonight but there’s still more to come.

Weekend Update: WU got better but not by a large margin. There were still flubs and failed jokes. It did, however, mark a change in Colin Jost. He looked better prepared; he didn’t seem scared at all. Michael Che, however, still looks like he’s reading. Pharaoh and Thompson did some stuff as Katt Williams and Suge Knight. Pete Davidson stopped by to talk about STD’s. There was a moment where he almost broke. It’s a rite of passage and I’m glad to see him enjoying himself. Speaking of breaking, Prince was messing around behind the scenes and Che was distracted by it going so far as to call the singer out. Seeing the cast have fun is what makes this show so great. I would enjoy more antics especially of the Prince variety.

Back Nine: This is why I call the sketches after WU the Back Nine. It’s the home stretch. That means there are no other ways for show to possibly screw up. They’ve already done enough. The ass end of the show is reserved for the weirder, mostly unfunny sketches. There was a Shark Tank/ISIS crossover that I genuinely hated with all of my heart. Following that was a commercial for a drug called "Swiftamine" that helped users with their Taylor Swift hatred. After that came a sketch about Leslie Jones and Chris Rock playing a dating couple that was complete shit. There were messed up lines on both ends, terrible jokes and it looked like they didn’t expect this sketch to get in rotation in the first place. There was some sort of social commentary, I guess, with Jones being the more tech savvy one in the relationship. Just don’t watch this one. It was awful. Another prerecorded sketch took over tonight. Bennett, Mooney and Moynihan played robbers of a bank that turned out to be very helpful. And lastly, a Women in the Workplace sketch used unpaid actors Rock and Vanessa Bayer in an extremely sexual way.

Should you watch “Chris Rock/Prince?”

Honestly, I hate saying this, but you’d be better off watching a handful of the sketches. This episode was not good. The jokes were tired, the sketches were too dumb and there were too many mess ups to justify any sort of redemption. Heck, the only good parts of the episode came in the form of prerecorded video. I will say that Prince’s uninterrupted eight minute set was insane though.