Saturday Night Live recap: SNL avoids politics after historic midterm elections, falls flat (Videos)

Saturday Night Live this week featured stoic Ukrainian bear Liev Schreiber with musical guest, Young Money Alum, Lil Wayne. When you are thinking of comedy potential, the Ray Donovan star isn’t the first name you think of, but he was funnier than you’d think on the perennial sketch show. The week was ripe with political news: the 2018 midterm elections, Acosta-Gate, wildfires in California, Trump’s trip to France, and the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, this week’s SNL was surprisingly apolitical aside from Kate McKinnon’s lackluster cold open.

We broke down what worked and what didn’t work using our Katan-to-Radner star scale. A mark of the Corky Romano star means a safe time to use the bathroom. Seeing the original Not Ready For Prime Time Player means it’s worth missing the birth of your child—well, third child.

The Cold Open

It seems like every cold open focuses on politics these days. That’s not a bad thing, but it makes a weak opener more obvious since there is so much to judge it against. This was a huge week in politics, arguably the largest in years with the midterm elections getting the highest voter turnout in 50 years. It is thus strange that the show focused on Jeff Sessions leaving the White House and even stranger that it’s not that political. It is mostly just jokes about Sessions being a rodent. Kate McKinnon always shines, but she can’t save this kind of messy sketch even with her singing.

The Monologue

This monologue is a little hard to assess. It is not funny, but Schreiber warns the audience it might not be. Schreiber admits he isn’t funny, which is the funniest part. He then ends the monologue with a serious message to the American public. It’s not funny and I am not sure it is supposed to be.

Incest twins

This is one of those sketches that they have done in the past, and there is nothing new about this version of the sketch. A local news anchor miss speaks and introduces something more sexually than she meant to. It’s fine but goes nowhere new. Over 15 minutes in, we’re still waiting for something good.

Unity Song

This is a fun song. The classic premise of “we all hate the same stuff” is elevated by the level of commitment to the song. Some of the jokes fall a little flat, but overall it is silly and made me laugh—finally.

Paranormal Occurrence

I wouldn’t be mad if we never saw this sketch again. When SNL debuted the character a couple years ago, it was funny, but now it feels very tired. McKinnon always brings an amazing energy to her characters, but this one needs to be retired or shaken up. It isn’t fresh and is starting to just be gross.

Booty Song

This rap was great. It was funny, feminist and featured the Grammy-nominated Future. What more can you ask for? Both Lil Wayne and Future shine, but the true star of this video is Pete Davidson as Uncle Butt. Uncle Butt is one of those characters that is so stupid it’s brilliant. Plus, this rap has a strong positive message about consent without making consent the butt of the joke.

Weekend Update

Weekend Update had two good bits this week. Cecily Strong did an amazing impression of the White House intern that tried to take a microphone from CNN’s Jim Acosta. Pete Davidson apologized to Lt. Com. Dan Crenshaw after making fun of the veteran’s eyepatch last week on the show. This segment works, bringing the real Crenshaw on air to strengthen the bit. Other than Crenshaw being a Tea Party-endorsed candidate, my biggest gripe with the Republican Congressman’s appearance is that he also makes fun of Ariana Grande—which is unacceptable. She has been through enough; leave her alone, you monsters!

The Poddys

This might be one of the most honest takes on podcasting out there. Schreiber gets to play a character that isn’t the straight man. He even does an impression! Even though he is a little overshadowed by Strong, this whole sketch is really fun and very accurate.

House Hunters

This is just a really fun sketch. One of the writers on the show must watch a ton of HGTV because this House Hunters parody feels very on point. At the same time, this sketch pushes it so far that it feels really unhinged and funny.


There is something very funny about the brothers in this sketch. Maybe their outfits and silly dance do most of the comedy heavy lifting, but I’m into it. Though it has me laughing, it at times feels very one-note and also has the second incest joke of this week’s show. Which is one (or two) incest jokes too many.

Outside the Women’s Bathroom

This is a sketch that you will forget all about the minute you finish watching it. It’s not bad; it’s just there.

Disagree with our rankings? Tell us in the comments.

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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