Zsigray’s Take: SNL Weekly Review, Week 4

This past weekend, Larry David hosted a, shall we say, mediocre episode of Saturday Night Live. The quality of David’s episode was really disapointing for me for two reasons. First, the show just came back from a break, so everyone should have been ready to go. But more than that, David is a natural comedian. When he has done stints on the SNL stage, he has truly been fantastic. So going into this past weekend’s episode, I had high hopes that the sketches that he would be in would be complicated, satirical, and take risks. This was, unfortunately, not at all the case. David’s show was too straightforward. It was as if the writers went towards the “low-hanging fruit,” without any regard for the talent that David has. The only waves that David seemed to have made were the ones generated from his controversial comments about romance in Nazi concentration camps, a line of humour that I honestly do not believe fit within his monologue. Anyways, below is my review of this weekend’s episode of SNL.

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

“Press Conference”: I must say, there really was not a stand-out comedic sketch from David’s episode. But, in terms of originality and satirical aim, this sketch was terrific. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Aidy Bryant) basically represents the Trump administration and she still cannot effectively represent nor communicate to the general public at large what is going on within the hallowed halls of the White House. This sketch touched on this perfectly and I absolutely loved the Demi Lovato twist with Sanders’ “true self” coming out. My favorite part, though, was the puzzle about tax reform, as to this day, I still have no idea what Trump’s tax reform plan actually will accomplish. I hope that Bryant continues to be featured frequently in future sketches as Sanders’. She portrays her very well.

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

“Career Retrospective”: I loved the concept of this play: seasoned ad creator has original work looked at through a modern lense. From a satirical perspective, this sketch works wonders because it reveals just how much sociocultural elements change. I mean, in 30 years, just look at what has changed in terms of how we talk, how we act, and how we communicate. I think that it is always humorous to watch old television shows or listen to old songs because although today they may be tacky, when they were originally released, they were top-notch. The same core concept applies to this sketch, although the terminology the ad developer (David) employed in his ads seemed to be pretty derogatory at that time too. David does a good job at acting uncomfortable, which added to his character quite well in this sketch.

“Fresh Takes”: This sketch reminded me of the recurring high school improv troupe sketch that appears once or twice every single season. So many schools have video morning announcements, although at Ed’s, the PA is still my go-to. The problem is that so many of the video morning announcements are just so cringy and awful. I would have been fine had the writers focused on this, but instead they added a news talk show series to the channel, which I thought was genius. The chemistry between Mikey Day (the anchor), Alex Moffat, Kate McKinnon, and David was amazing. I watched this with my mom and she and I could not stop laughing about the nurse who read aloud the scoliosis results on the air. Everything about this worked and I wish that more schools had this, just maybe without the creepy gossip teacher in the corner.

“Weekend Update”: It was another solid showing for Weekend Update this past weekend. Michael Che and Colin Jost continue to impress. This weekend’s segment was much longer, though. They included three character mini-segments, breaking up two longer update mini-segments. In regards to the mini-segments, there is not much to criticize. The jokes were on-par and very funny. There has been a lot of content that has come up within society these past few weeks and I think that the writers did a good job of curating the best ones to include. I do think that there were too many update characters. Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were spectacular as always (the chemistry and realisticness between SNL’s interpretations and real life is just uncanny), but the Angel character and Leslie Jones were both off and annoying. Both detracted from the overall quality of the Weekend Update segment. I still have no idea what the Angel character was talking about. If anyone finds out, can you let me know?!

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

“The Price is Right Celebrity Edition”: This sketch was decent. Beck Bennett’s Drew Carey impression was hilarious and I loved Alec Baldwin’s Tony Bennett reprisal. However, beyond this, there really was not much substance. This sketch was really just a way for David to bring back his Bernie Sanders impression, which he of course did. But since it has been a year since the election, I think that most have just forgotten about it — no one “feels the bern” anymore. So while there were funny and quirky moments to this sketch, it just was not as impressive as it maybe should have been.

“Buh-bye” (Bad Sketches)

“Beers”: This sketch was absolutely terrible. Think of a cringe worthy Nickelodeon sitcom and then multiple the awfulness of that by ten. That is this sketch. Even if the sole aim was to produce a cringy sketch, this sketch did not accomplish it. It was just bad. No one wants to see David be pretend drunk on stage. There was no plot whatsoever. It was just nonsense.

“The Baby Step”: SNL enjoys creating music videos and I applaud them for their continued push to utilize the digital short. But, oh my this digital short was bad. If there was even the smallest hint at a joke associated with this I must have missed it because to me, it looked like people dancing in baby outfits. There was no underlying satirical or comedic motive. It was, once again, just nonsense.

“New Wife”: I do not watch any of The Real Housewives (what are there like 14 of them?), so I probably missed some parody joke here, but even with that, this was thrown in as a mean by which to kill time, so the quality of it was low in my book.

“Paul Manafort’s House Cold Open”: SNL writers need to come up with a new cold open that does not involve Trump whatsoever. We are four episodes in and each cold open has been less than stellar. This one was no better. It seems like the writers are pulling at loose strings. There is so much content out there and they are literally destroying it with the writing of these sketches. I do not need to see four Trump administration officials in a shower. That is just weird and unnecessary and goes to show what the writers have resorted to when writing these cold opens.

To readdress David’s monologue, I do not at all agree with the line of jokes he made about the Holocaust and I hope that the criticism he has received serves as a learning experience for him. The Holocaust is not a joking matter, even for someone of the Jewish faith. SNL will be back this Saturday, November 11 with host Tiffany Haddish (who I now realize is in Girls Trip so that is probably why she is hosting).Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 8.41.26 AM

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

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