Would this be the week that “Saturday Night Live” finally got out from underneath its own soap opera and turned its full attention to the world beyond Studio 8H?
Having spent the first leg of its season accounting for its own in-house drama — Kanye West’s outbursts, Alec Baldwin’s arrest and Pete Davidson’s various self-immolations and apologies — could “S.N.L.” now find a narrative in which the show itself was not at its center?
In the absence of a central premise for its cold open or a Baldwin-size impersonation to hang it on, “S.N.L.” returned to its recurring parody of Fox News’s “The Ingraham Angle” as a clearinghouse for various celebrity impressions and riffs on recent news events.
The segment opened on Kate McKinnon (as the host Laura Ingraham) lamenting that “celebrities in California are whining about some tiny wildfires while our heroic president is under constant attack from rain.”
McKinnon then turned to what she called “the rampant voter fraud that allowed Democrats to literally steal the election.”
“Some have claimed that suburban women revolted against the Republican Party, but doesn’t it feel more true that all Hispanics voted twice?” she asked. “You can’t dismiss that idea simply because it isn’t true and sounds insane.” (McKinnon added that preposterous premise to her list of “Feel Facts,” which also included entries like “Latinos Can Have a Baby Every Three Months,” “Santa Is Jesus’s Dad” and “If the Earth Is So Warm, Then Why Are My Feet Cold?”)
The sketch also featured Cecily Strong as Jeanine Pirro, a fellow Fox News host, who warned, “In Georgia, many people were wearing disguises in order to vote multiple times.” Indicating a photograph of Tyler Perry, Strong said, “I saw this man vote in Atlanta. Then he went into his car and changed into this woman.” (Here the photograph changed to a picture of Perry in drag as his Madea character.) “And he was threatening white voters with a gun and yelling, ‘Hellur.’”
Strong warned of such dubious tactics as “stacking” — when “multiple children will stack on top of each other under a trench coat and then vote as an adult” — and “Klumping,” or when “a single man poses as a family of five.” (Here the screen displayed a poster for Eddie Murphy’s remake of “The Nutty Professor.”)
On the sketch went, with appearances from the Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg (Alex Moffat), defending his company from criticism about its handling of Russian interference and hate speech on the site (“I can’t be any more transparent. Have you seen my skin?”); and Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio (Leslie Jones) who has said she may run against Representative Nancy Pelosi as House speaker. “Nancy Pelosi is tainted,” she said. “For years, the GOP has used her name against us. But Republicans can never find a way to make fun of me, a middle-aged black woman named Fudge.”
In other memorable moments from the show:
Opening Monologue of the Week
Returning to host the show for the first time in a decade, Steve Carell did not get far into his monologue before he was asked (by “S.N.L.” ringers) if he would consider appearing in a reboot of his NBC sitcom “The Office.”
“It was a great experience,” Carell responded. “I love all those people. But I just don’t think it’s the best idea. I think maybe we should just leave it alone.”
He then had to address questions and comments from other former “Office” cast members who’d been planted in the audience. Ellie Kemper told him, “People would really love to see an ‘Office’ reboot. ‘Cause I need that money. Let’s get that money, Steve.” Ed Helms said, “Yeah, so, I just don’t think you understand how much money we’re talking about. Like you wouldn’t have to do all those sad movies anymore.”
Jenna Fischer asked, “Don’t you want to see what Pam and Jeff are up to these days?”
Carell said, “It’s Pam and Jim.”
Fischer replied, “Who cares? Why are you getting hung up on the details?”
Even Carell’s wife, Nancy, who was seated in the studio next to their children, urged him to consider the proposition. “We think you should probably do the show,” she said. “We don’t really need you to hang around anymore.”
Jeff Bezos Impression of the Week
In a filmed segment, Carell played the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who recently announced that the company would establish new headquarters in Long Island City and in Arlington, Va. “And everyone, except for the people who live there, and who live in all the places we didn’t choose, is thrilled,” Carell said.
Some folks have speculated that I was somehow trolling President Trump by building one headquarters in his hometown of Queens and the other in his current residence of Washington DC, thereby overshadowing or humiliating him. But that’s simply not true. Sure, he attacked me repeatedly on Twitter. But I chose our new locations because they were ideal for growing business. Not just to make Donald Trump think about how I’m literally a hundred times richer than he is.
Carell went on to announce other corporate decisions — some real, some satirical — that seemed perfectly calibrated to get under President Trump’s skin: establishing a “satellite office in Palm Beach, across the street from Mar-a-Lago”; the purchasing of The Washington Post; and a brand-new delivery option called Amazon Caravan, which Carell explained to mean, “Any package going to any Trump building will get delivered by hundreds of Honduran and Mexican immigrants.”
Music Video of the Week
Pete Davidson and Chris Redd paid a hip-hop tribute to the endurance of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was recently hospitalized with three broken ribs after falling in her office. McKinnon, who usually plays Ginsburg on “Weekend Update,” appeared in the video but had little to say. Most of the heavy lifting was done by Davidson and Redd, who traded rhymes like: “Supreme Court’s a boys’ club, she holds it down, no cares given / Who else got six movies about her and still living?”
The video ended with Redd asking Davidson, “Yo, tell ‘em your favorite RBG decision, dawg.”
Davidson awkwardly replied, “I don’t know.”
Weekend Update Jokes of the Week
From the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on Amazon’s announcement of its new headquarters and the recounts in Florida’s midterm elections.
By the way, only New Yorkers could complain about getting 25,000 new jobs. All the cities who lost out must be like, ‘Shut up you whiny bitches.’ New York basically won the lottery and we’re like, Eh, but the subways might be slightly more crowded. Meanwhile, people in West Virginia are like, Well, back to the mines. And yeah, I know it’s going to raise housing prices but it’s a little late for New Yorkers to complain about rent. I mean, even Amazon had to move to Queens because it couldn’t afford to live in Manhattan.
Election officials in Florida said their ballot machines overheated, causing mismatched results in the recount. Word. They overheated in 2018? With all this technology? I have a watch that can count every step I take and lets me watch porno on the treadmill. For motivation. But your voting machines can’t even handle a little recount? How come the IRS never has these problems? I would love to hear, we didn’t count your taxes this year because our abacus is busted again. They always make it so simple to pay taxes. Meanwhile, to vote we’ve got to physically line up on a Tuesday in November like we’re getting meat rations in the 1930s.
Weekend Update Character Bit of the Week
Highlighting what he said was “one of the stranger stories to emerge from the midterm elections,” Che introduced Representative-Elect Denver Riggleman, Republican of Virginia (played by Mikey Day), who is also the author of a book called “Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him.”
Facing accusations that he is “a devotee of Bigfoot erotica,” Day explained, “I’m not into that stuff.”
He added, “Porn is a cheap thrill, Michael. I write, as a joke, Bigfoot erotica, where the sexual scenes come out of story and character and the sex is earned, and therefore hotter. And if you had read any of my ‘Forbidden Forest’ trilogy, you would know that.”
Day then read several selections from these satirical tomes (which we won’t reproduce here).
Jost, at one point, seemed to be familiar with the books and their characters. “I hate Jake Blakeley,” he said.
Che replied incredulously, “You read this?”
Jost: “As a joke!”
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