LIVE FROM NEW YORK IT’S… The Debate Saving SNL’s Premiere

A.J. Tierney ‘20 / Emertainment Monthly  TV Section Contributor

Quote of the Night

“They used to pay me in broaches. Long story short, I ended up flapping my toots for a bunch of Krauts” -Debette Goldry (Kate Mckinnon). 2016 Actress Roundtable Sketch.

Political Sketch

©2016/Will Heath/NBC
©2016/Will Heath/NBC

At this point, this election writes itself. The debate was off with a bang with Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon) Willy Wonka-ing in with a limp, followed by a cartwheel. Then comes Trump. Alec Baldwin steals the show with his spot on impression of the presidential candidate. I’d even go as far as to say his version is better than Darrell Hammond, although Hammond has the best Bill Clinton impression of all time. The sketch focuses on Trump’s failed efforts to be presidential and Clinton’s failed attempts at being “off the cuff.” The recurring joke of the night was Trump’s constant mispronunciation of “China.”

Best Line of the Sketch :

“My own human father. He was relatable and I am also relatable.”- Clinton (McKinnon)

Host/ Margot Robbie

©2016/Will Heath/NBC
©2016/Will Heath/NBC

The equally stunning and talented Margot Robbie was average on the premiere show. The writers failed to produce any roles she could really shine in. Per usual, Robbie began the night with her monologue. Audiences have seen better (ie Taylor Swift monologue song in 2009) but they’ve also seen worse (looking at you, Michael Phelps). She began by referencing the election, saying she will be fact checking her own monologue. She went on to say statements and then turn to the camera to “fact check” them.

Ie: “[During the filming of Suicide Squad] Jared Leto stayed in character the whole time, which was very fun” (turns to camera) “It wasn’t fun.” Then cast regulars joined her in the fact checking fun. Overall, the monologue was good, but it wasn’t great. This was a consistent theme for the episode.

Musical Guest/ The Weekend

©2016/Will Heath/NBC
©2016/Will Heath/NBC

In an age when live musical performances tend to disappoint, The Weekend was a breath of fresh air. In addition to sounding great, he captivated the audience with his stage presence. The stage aesthetic was well thought out. While he sang the fan-favorite “Star Boy,”  a giant, digitally-lit, white cross hung above him, giving a crisp, clean feel without overpowering his performance. During his second song of night, “False Alarm,” the cross went from blue to bright red and began flashing along with the beat.

Weekend Update

Although they’re no Tina and Amy, Colin Jost and Michael Che are crowd pleasers. What they lack in humor, they typically make up for in chemistry and funny ad-libs. However, tonight the segment bombed. You could probably find wittier debate commentary on a fifteen year-old’s twitter. Kenan Thompson is famously known for his spot-on impression of former Red Sox player, David Ortiz, and he stole the otherwise lacking segment.

Best quote

“Do you like Pepsi, but hate how sanitary it is? Reach for Hepsi. It’s the only soda that is also an S.T.D.

‘You got Hep?’

‘ Sì ’  ”

-Big Papi (Kenan Thompson)

Best Sketch of the Night: 2016 Actress Roundtable

In the sixth sketch of the night, famous actresses gather to discuss sexism in Hollywood. While famous beauties such as Lupita Nyong’o (Sasheer Zamata) and Keira Knightley (Margot Robbie) complain about lower wages and less roles for women in the industry, elderly actress Debette Goldry (Kate McKinnon) discusses sleeping with casting directors, being paid in broaches, being married to a gay monkey, and performing for the Nazis. The best sketches are always those involving Kate Mckinnon doing what she does best- portraying a wacky character in the midst of normal people. When Kate shines, SNL shines.

Honorable Mention: Family Feud: Political Edition

The political satire edition of Family Feud was hilarious and chalked full of fan-favorite impressions. However, they do some form of a Family Feud sketch almost every episode and portraying Ivanka Trump as a dumb blonde was out of left field. No matter what your political affiliation is, you’ve got to admit the girl’s got brains.

©2016/Will Heath/NBC
©2016/Will Heath/NBC

Worst Sketch of the Night: Scooby Doo Parody

Although the Not-So-Sexy Librarian Digital Short was a close second, The Scooby Doo Parody Sketch takes the cake for worst sketch of the night. In it, a knock-off version of “The Mystery Gang” called “The Hunch Bunch” is solving a crime with one addition: Becca Ashley. Portrayed by Margot Robbie, Becca Ashley is one of the other crime fighters’ spastic girlfriend. She is a crude, idiot who cannot solve crime. In the end, she shoots the villain in cold blood. To top it off, Kyle Mooney’s Shaggy impression was so bad it was almost funny. The humor in the sketch was dumb and it left the audience with the impression the writers ran out of ideas, tossed this sketch in at the end, and hoped no one would notice.

MVP of the Night: Kate Mckinnon

This one was a no-brainer. At this point, Kate is carrying the show. Not only does she do a hilarious Hillary, but her abundance of quirky characters are each perfect in their own special way. Her Emmy win was more than well deserved.

Newbie MVP:  Melissa Villasenor

This season, Saturday Night Live hired three new comedians. While Mikey Day and Alex Moffat left little to no impression, Melissa Villasenor made her mark with a decent Sarah Silverman impression in the Family Feud: Political Edition sketch.

Overall, Saturday Night Live’s premiere episode was average. The once extraordinary sketch show is now coasting on political satire. While Alec Baldwin and Kate Mckinnon shined, that isn’t enough to consider the episode a success. SNL let three actors go before the season premiere. Jay Pharoah is missed. Taran Killam and Jon Rudnitsky, not so much. Next week (October 8th) will feature Lin-Manuel Miranda and musical guest, Twenty-One Pilots. Hopefully, the Hamilton star will help the show get into a season stride.

Overall Episode Grade: C+


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