Zsigray’s Take: SNL Weekly Review, Week 3

Hi All! I apologize for this going up so late. I worked all this past week and had to catch up with my core school work. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to be able to review the episode right after it airs, sometimes life happens and my fun work gets pushed to the side.  Anyways, I cannot believe that it has already been three weeks of Saturday Night Live! We are already three episodes in and Kumail Nanjiani’s episode marked the last live show before the production goes on break until early November. I went into Nanjiani’s episode pumped because my mother, who adores him as a comedian, could not stop talking about how excited she was to watch the show the entire week prior to the episode airing. I am going to be honest though: I do not think that the showrunners fully exploited Nanjiani’s potential. The show fell flat in a lot of places and that bummed me out. Nanjiani reminds me a lot of Dave Chappelle and even with Chappelle the show took risks that paid off. I wish that they would have done the same thing this past weekend. Anyways, below is my review of SNL with Nanjiani.

“SUPERSTAR!” (The Best Sketch of the Night)

“Bank Breakers”: There was not really a point to this sketch. I mean, it clearly was not satire because it did not touch on any sociocultural issues or provide commentary on current events. But, the writing in this sketch was stellar and really opened an opportunity for both Nanjiani and Cecily Strong to fully immerse their respective characters. This sketch was very funny. The chemistry between Strong and Nanjiani was very positive and the timing of every line was perfect. It literally seemed like Nanjiani was realizing that he was digging himself a hole he could not get out of as the sketch progressed. Sometimes, we need a sketch where the sole purpose is to make people laugh. This sketch certainly accomplished this.

“I gotta have more cowbell!” (Solid Sketches)

“Hotel Check In”: Once again, there was not a point to this sketch. But, it was well written which made it funny to watch. The chemistry between Nanjiani and Mikey Day was stellar. Nanjiani represented every hotel check-in clerk who recommends things to you that you clearly have no interest in. I thought that this was amplified successfully with the fact that Day’s character had just been rescued from North Korea.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how passionate Nanjiani was with this role, which made the whole sketch much more realistic.

“Weekend Update”: Weekend Update was once again very solid this week. Both Michael Che and Colin Jost were absolutely brutal with Harvey Weinstein — rightfully so. Their comments took over the internet Sunday morning and it was nice to see that SNL still has a cultural impact in the news, regardless of which topic it is satirizing or commenting on. Besides from the news breakdown, Cecily Strong’s Ivanka Trump was alright. To be honest, I felt like the writers wanted to try a new character and picked Trump out of a hat. It seemed superficial and arbitrarily put together.

“Well, isn’t that special” (Hit or Miss Sketches)

“Kellywise”: What a bold statement made by SNL with this digital short. Now, I have not seen It, but I do have a basic understanding: Pennywise is bad news. People should stay away from him. With this in mind, it was entertaining to watch Kate McKinnon act as Kellyanne Conway in a Pennywise-esque fashion. It was creepy but funny at the same time. It just got old very fast. A nearly four minute sketch could have been cut in half to get the same point across.

“Nursing Home”: This sketch was so uncomfortable to watch. I mean, we all think of nursing homes to be these nice, quaint establishments where retired folks go to crochet and sit by the fire. This sketch took this idea, but then made it quite, shall I say adult-like. It definitely is not a parallel that one would form normally.

“Office Halloween Party”: I have a similar look for this as above. The joke was funny, for the first 90 seconds. But once it reached the three minute mark it just got really old. This trend concerns me sometimes. Do the writers just not have a lot of ideas? If this is the case, do they then resort to making sketches much longer than they should be, at the risk of losing the comedic effect that it has in its normal state? These both are reasonable questions. Maybe Lorne Michaels knows the answer to this.

“Buh-bye” (Bad Sketches)

“Customer Service”: I had such high hopes for this sketch when I started watching it. I thought it would be a satirical take on those customer service call centers that we all hate. But, of course, SNL had to play the politics card and it instantly ruined it for me. That is all I have to say about this. It just was not good at all.

“Donald Trump Trucker Rally Cold Open”: A note to SNL: Please, please, please choose something else for the Cold Open besides Trump. I mean, I get it that he provides so much commentary but I feel like we’re pulling at the threads here. This sketch was just so terrible. It was not funny, too forced, and bland to watch. They could have done literally anything else for the Cold Open and it would have been better. I do sincerely hope that Trump is not in the Cold Open each week from here on out. I may lose my mind, literally.

“Film Panel”: This instance marks either the fourth or fifth time McKinnon has appeared as Debette Goldry in a sketch like this and each time it happens, it gets less funny. I feel like Goldry is one of those one-time characters, where they appear in one sketch, it works, and then they never come back. Sometimes recurring characters are good. Goldry is not. She needs to go back to her Hollywood nursing home and stay there.

SNL now goes on a break for two weeks. The show will return on Saturday, November 4, with host Larry David. And, fun fact, David and Bernie Sanders are distant cousins!Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 8.38.34 AM

Dylan’s Ranking of the Episodes [1 (lowest quality) – 5 (highest quality)]

  1. Gal Gadot (★★★★)
  2. Kumail Nanjiani (★★★★)
  3. Ryan Gosling (★★★)