The cast and crew of Saturday Night Live (SNL) has run a creative marathon to start the season. After picking up more Emmys they kicked off a stretch of six consecutive shows. I’ve spent the last few Saturday nights (or Sunday mornings, thanks Hulu) cocktailing with the current not-ready-for-primetime players. Like the rest of America, the cast and crew have to feel exhausted.
It used to be that doing three shows in consecutive weeks was out of the ordinary. And while the show’s always embraced political satire, over the past few years they’ve truly leaned into the brand. The fact that they’ve got A-Listers lining up to appear at, what I’m guessing, is well below their normal quote (pay
demands requests) speaks to how much the show is a bigger part of the cultural zeitgeist than ever before.
SNL alum Maya Rudolph’s already won an Emmy for her spot on interpretation of VP-elect Harris, and insiders think she’s in it for the long haul. Kinda like coming back to your old high school and giving a master class. And let’s take a minute here to give big props to the wardrobe team. They nailed Maya’s costume for the top of the show. Keep in mind, the actual Kamala Harris didn’t take the stage until 8:28pm eastern time. That means when Maya did dress rehearsal at 8:30, she was in something completely different. Wardrobe pulled the look together and nailed it, all the way down to her sorority earrings.
Jim Carrey has to be taking some satisfaction in the fact that he auditioned to be on SNL, twice, back in the day. Now he’s poised to be a recurring star at 30 Rock for years to come.
As for Alec Baldwin, he said he didn’t want to do his Trump character for years, and now voters have relieved him of that duty. But he’s going out in style. His downbeat version of Macho Man made me spill my drink. He’ll probably make an appearance as Trump from time to time. Usually I would say he’ll pop up for the Christmas show, but since there aren’t any after parties this season, I expect he could lay low until the inauguration episode.
Also, I’m glad I made another drink during the open, because Dave Chappelle’s monologue was 16 minutes long. It was great, moving, and puts comedic-commentary bookends on this era of the show.
Play On Players
Kate McKinnon’s vicious take on Rudy Giuliani has become legendary. I foresee fewer opportunities for her to bring him out. Couple that with the loss of Justice Ginsburg, I was worried for a hot minute that her best moments at SNL are behind her. But she is a comedic chameleon and can thrive at SNL as long as she wants. We’ll have to see how long it’ll be until movies and other projects lure her away.
As for the guys on the Update desk, they’re still in stride. Michael Che is openly drinking brown liquor during the show. Respect. Colin Jost just married Scarlett Johansson, and as she pointed out as guest host, they don’t need his paycheck. So we’ll see how long the boys stick together.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
As SNL goes on a much deserved break, I’m selfishly concerned about how to fill my time and my glass. I still can’t go out to bars on a Saturday night, though the lure of Key West calls.
So I will watch reruns on Hulu. For Saturday night, I’ll join Michael Che with something brown, straight up. For Sunday mornings, Mimosas. Heavy on the Mim. Light on the Osa.