• Saturday Night Live recap: Don Cheadle leads SNL bounceback episode

    Saturday Night Live recap ranking scaleIt’s surprising this was Don Cheadle‘s first time hosting Saturday Night Live since the Avengers star has been a household name for years. Cheadle brought his acting chops to every role he played Saturday night no matter how silly, which really elevated this week’s SNL. While some sketches fell a little flat, there were a lot of hits. Most of those hits came from risky or flat out weird sketches that felt new. More importantly, they felt fun! As always, Laughspin is letting you know which Saturday Night Live sketches you need to stream on a lazy Sunday using our very own super official Star Scale.

    Saturday Night Live Cold Open

    Alec Baldwin returned as Donald Trump to parody a recent press conference the president gave about the border wall and his declaration of a national emergency. The real-life press conference was so unhinged it seemed very easy for Baldwin to lampoon. This sketch is funny, but because the source material is so wild, it falls flat at moments and is entirely too long. That being said, Baldwin carries the sketch all by himself and gives a solid performance, as expected by the Glengarry Glen Ross star. Some of the jokes in the cold open like, “Trump doesn’t want to be president,” feel very stale, but it’s impressive that SNL put this one together considering the press conference itself only happened the day before.

    Don Cheadle SNL Monologue

    A lot of first-time SNL hosts do a sincere monologue rather than a funny one, but Cheadle somehow blends them both. The monologue is funny without getting too sentimental or precious. While the ending is a little cheesy, the lead up to it is very charming.

    Pound Puppy

    This sketch will give you nightmares in the best way. The premise of a fake dog you can have sex in is so outlandish that once it is introduced, the sketch becomes a little one note, but that note is funny. It is hard to call what is happening in this sketch physical comedy since, for a lot of it, there are no actors on screen, which works since this sketch is all about the visuals.

    Fresh Takes

    When SNL brings back a sketch they already did, sometimes the question is: Why? No one was clamoring for another Fresh Takes, but this is a rare case where the remake might be better than the original. The original features Larry David and Miley Cyrus. David and Cheadle play the same characters and Cheadle does it way better.

    Extreme Baking Championship

    Something just doesn’t work in this sketch. The issue might be that it’s just the popular Netflix show Nailed It! There is something innately funny about ugly cakes, but for any viewers who have actually seen Nailed It! this sketch will leave you thinking, “Did whoever write this not know that an ugly cake baking show already exists?” They raise the stakes, but the premise just doesn’t feel original.

    Family Feud: Oscar Edition

    SNL has done a lot of Celebrity Family Feud sketches over the years. These sketches always feel a little like an excuse to show off how great everyone is at impressions—usually that’s okay. This iteration felt a little weaker because some of the impressions were not great. Kenan Thompson’s Steve Harvey is always a delight and it is good to see him in the episode since he was largely absent this week. Maybe it had something to do with announcing an All That reboot at Nickelodeon!

    SNL Weekend Update

    This week’s Weekend Update was forgettable. Colin Jost mourned the cancellation of Amazon’s proposed headquarters in New York City, even though back in November he was heavily criticized for remarks about Amazon’s move to Queens. Mikey Day closed out the segment with an old man character whose only joke for nearly four minutes is that people over 100 die of natural causes. Overall, Weekend Update was fine but didn’t manage to bring the laughs. They should have talked more about The Mule.

    Bar Fight

    What a weird and fun sketch this is. The dance number to Mika’s Lollipop is perfect. Beck Bennett and Cheadle are pitch perfect as rowdy bar patrons. This sketch is better the less you know about it going in and explaining it makes it sound really dumb—so just watch this one. It is pure joy.

    Roach Ex

    This fake ad has so many tonal shifts. At first, it really feels like a typical roach killer ad, but the end is where this SNL sketch really shines. The intensity that Cheadle brings to his character of a giant cockroach who slept with a human woman is impressive. Throughout this episode, Cheadle really showcases how good of an actor he is which really elevates sketches like Roach Ex.

    Wedding Venue Ad

    Kate McKinnon plays a male character in this sketch and, when it is revealed, you just know that this is going to be a perfectly weird sketch. The stock video used in Saturday’s final SNL scene is perfect. Aidy Bryant and McKinnon are doing two different accents that are unrecognizable, but somehow it only makes the sketch funnier. While this sketch is, in essence, just a list of things that can be found in a banquet venue, the way they are described in a slightly ‘off’ manner is really funny. The more things they say, the better it gets which points to really smart writing at the core of a really goofy sketch.

    Rosa Escandon

    I am a stand up comic and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. When I'm not on stage, I am Comedy Editor for The Tusk, sit on the board of the Cinder Block Comedy Festival, and writing my next project. I am passionate about writing about feminism and comedy as well as how women, LBGTQ people, and minorities are changing the face of comedy and entertainment. You may have seen me on Buzzfeed Video, Seriously.TV, aplus, or maybe just on twitter.

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