Why SNL’s Black Jeopardy sketch with Tom Hanks was perfect (VIDEO)

Depending on what side of the political fence you’re on, you may be thinking that Saturday Night Live has been killing it so far this season. Their comedy coverage of the three presidential debates starring Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump (the last of which dropped this weekend, naturally during the latest episode’s cold open) and one vice presidential debate has been, in my opinion, near perfect and fairly balanced. And when I say “fairly” balanced I mean that it’s slightly off-balanced but only because the writers at Saturday Night Live would likely suffer brain aneurysms if they tried to make Donald Trump seem human, which he isn’t.

Although this weekend’s take on the final presidential debate was, again, pretty damn funny and on point, the Black Jeopardy sketch starring Tom Hanks as a Larry The Cable The Guy-quoting Trump supporter is what really stood out– not just because Kenan Thompson was, as usual, stellar as Black Jeopardy host Darnell Hayes but also because SNL writers were able to present a more nuanced version of the parody game show than they’ve ever presented before. You may remember Elizabeth Banks‘ or Drake‘s appearances on Black Jeopardy. As expected, both contestants — Banks played “Allison” and Drake played “Jared” — faired poorly throughout the competition, routinely allowing their whiteness (Drake his half white/half black) ruin their chances on a show in which they likely shouldn’t have been part and then hilariously finding redemption in the last few seconds of competition.

But Hanks’ character, Doug had a much different experience. Doug, decked out in his “Make America Great Again” cap and American flag/bald eagle t-shirt, was pitted against Keeley (Sasheer Zamata) and Shanice (Leslie Jones), whom routinely nodded in agreement with his answers, all of them correct. All of that changes, of course, when the Final Jeopardy topic is announced: Lives That Matter. “Well it was fun while it lasted, Doug,” Thompson jovially announces as Doug stands frozen, Keeley and Shanice shooting lasers toward him through their eyes.

So, yes. In the end there’s more that brings us together, regardless of how hopelessly different we seem to be. But there’s still a long way to go in reaching understanding when it comes to some of the country’s biggest racial and political divides.


Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor emeritus of Laughspin.

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