Saturday Night Live recap: Awkwafina and the best and worst moments
This week’s cold open didn’t exactly get the warmest reception. Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed to the Supreme Court was naturally the topic, with the gang staging a party in a GOP locker room. Beck Bennett, nearly unrecognizable as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, quipped that the confirmation pleased everybody, “from white men over 60 to white men over 70.” While Kate McKinnon as Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “we made a lot of women worried today, but I’m not getting pregnant so I don’t care.” And then — well, look, it’s not a very pleasant subject for many this week, and the cast tried. As one Twitter user noted, “As much as I love SNL, I’m just not ready to joke about this now.”
“I was going to come out dressed as a water bottle but apparently someone did that last week,” Awkwafina rightly quipped to open her set. She then had a few jokes about her role in Crazy Rich Asians (“I’m not a Crazy Rich Asian, I’m more like a Rebuilding My Credit Asian”), then made a poignant statement about the fact she’s the first woman of Asian descent to host SNL in 18 years — the last was actress Lucy Liu in 2000. All told only 5 Asian-Americans have hosted the show ever (Jackie Chan, Aziz Ansari and Kumail Nanjiani are the others). Awkwafina managed to reflect on this without criticizing the show, poignantly recounting how she waited outside the SNL studio hoping to meet Liu back when she hosted. “I remember how important that episode was for me and how it totally changed what I thought was possible for an Asian-American woman,” she said. “Thank you Lucy for opening the door. I wasn’t able to make it in back then, but 18 years later I’m hosting the show.”
The highlight by far was Pete Davidson delivering the SNL response to Kanye West’s pro-Trump speech during last week’s episode.
“A lot of people thought [Michael Che] should be the one to talk about Kayne because Che’s black, but I’m crazy, and we both know which side of Kanye is at the wheel right now,” Davidson said while Che nodded in agreement.
Davidson then called the speech, “One of the worst, most awkward things I’ve ever seen here — and I’ve seen Chevy Chase speak to an intern.”
On Kayne’s bit about abolishing the 13th Amendment, which Davidson interpreted as saying slavery wasn’t real, he said: “You know how wrong you have to be about politics for me to notice?”
Then Davidson suggested Kanye was, well, basically off the rails. “I know you’re like, ‘This is the real me, I’m off the meds’ … take them … there’s nothing wrong with taking them. Being mentally ill is not an excuse to act like a jackass.”
Also in the Update: A long list of potential trigger terms to rally the Republican base, such as Lena Dunham, The Last Jedi, farm-to-table and “Jeff Sessions for some reason.”
A tie? The Cleopatra hairstylist skit had a so-bad-it’s-good quality due to the totally shameless slew of ancient Egpyt puns — “put my organs in little jars cause I am dead” and “send me to a vomitorium because I am gagging!,” etc. (Actually, a vomitorium was used in ancient Rome, but we got the idea.) While the “So You’re Willing to Date a Magician” dating game had a strong concept and managed to have both Pete Davidson and Leslie Jones cracking up (“Waiting tables is my side hustle!)”
Awkwafina as a deranged dogsitter crashing a baby shower sketch was a perfect example of what will be cut for the 60-minute rerun of this episode, though when picking the weakest moment from this week you can’t really dismiss a sketch that was entirely about having sex with pumpkins.
President Trump can now send emergency text messages nationwide. It’s an obligatory topic for SNL and an easy target yet it still worked — of course, the texts are going to sound like his tweets.
Oct. 14, former SNL head writer and current Late Night host Seth Meyers will emcee, with Paul Simon as musical guest.