Published Nov 11, 2018Liev Schreiber proved to be an eager yet understated host, and a grateful Lil Wayne returned to form on a strong episode of Saturday Night Live. Here's everything that happened this week.
The cold open
Kate McKinnon said goodbye to her impression of Jeff Sessions by intimating he was an elf or a gerbil, but was definitely cleaning out his office after being fired by President Trump. Special guests included Aidy Bryant as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Beck Bennett as Mike Pence, Mikey Day and Alex Moffatt as Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, and lastly, Robert De Niro as Robert Mueller, which made this a busy and amusing send-off to the rascally racist who put kids in cages and fostered a shamefully brazen normalization of bigotry across America.
Liev Schreiber engaged in a gimmick-free and amusing monologue. The Ray Donovan star acknowledged that he's not known for his sense of humour, but then went and said some very funny things. He concluded with an earnest celebration of how a record 100 million people voted in the mid-term elections on Tuesday, encouraging all who did to sit back and enjoy the show.
Good Day Denver
A morning news broadcast attempts to profile a couple of twin brothers who are investment experts but, due to a typo and communication issues, are instead repeatedly referred to as the "incest twins." Played by Alex Moffatt and Mikey Day, the twins inadvertently then make a number of double entendres as they discuss their work with a correspondent, played by Schreiber, and then bring in family members like their sister and grandma, which only exacerbates the gross confusion. This was silly and slight, but very amusing.
In a fraught nation divided by big picture problems, it's hard to find common ground. This remote music video did an excellent job of highlighting all of the small things in life that everyone hates. Everyone. We can all agree on these little things driving us all nuts and the anthemic quality of this song made it that much more funny.
Ms. Rafferty and the Ghosts
Kate McKinnon reprised her trashy Ms. Rafferty character who faces off against experts who wish to question her about a strange encounter she's had. In this case, Cecily Strong (also a constant in these sketches), Schreiber and McKinnon have each encountered ghosts, but in different circumstances. As usual, McKinnon spouted many different euphemisms for her private parts and engaged in a fair amount of crass physicality.
Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd played rappers who seem like playas, but end up being very progressive artists who respect women and rhyme about a commonly rapped-about part of the anatomy in a more dignified way than usual. With assists from Lil Wayne and, more surprisingly, Future, plus a dentally challenged Pete Davidson as Uncle Butt, this was both woke and full of subtle jokes.
Wayne made his long-awaited return to SNL by debuting "Can't Be Broken," which had all the hallmarks of a pointedly sappy Eminem track, complete with a dramatically motivational hook sung by a one-named female vocalist who, in this case, was Halsey. Later he and a larger crew, including Swiss Beats, stormed through "Uproar," which had an old school/golden age vibe and showed off his considerable abilities as an rapper, which have been relegated to the past until his recent flurry of new releases. It was cool to see Weezy in a positive mood and both his songs exhibited a fair share of gratitude and humility.
Colin Jost and Michael Che made several jokes about the midterms, including some good ones about Beto O'Rourke and the rise of white women voters. Jost threw to a funny reel of Trump saying questionable things, and then engaged in an amusing back-and-forth with Cecily Strong, who played the strange White House intern who attempted to take Jim Acosta's mic away at an infamous press conference this past week. Strong is a treasure in such roles.
Pete Davison returned to apologize for his comments he offhandedly made about Lt. Com Dan Crenshaw's appearance last week (the Republican war veteran wears an eye patch after losing an eye in combat) and was joined by the man himself, who accepted his apology and also made fun of Davidson extensively (that Ariana Grande ringtone dude) and concluded with a sincere message advocating for his fellow veterans and referencing Davidson's late father, a firefighter who died on 9/11. It was another poignant moment on an unusually serious episode.
Schreiber did a mean Michael Barbaro from the popular New York Times podcast, The Daily, and Cecily Strong reprised her Sarah Koenig of NPR/Serial for this satire of podcasts. Framed as an award show, this made fun of the preciousness and pretentiousness of podcasts and included Alex Moffatt playing an angry Marc Maron, which will likely make the real Marc Maron angry. Otherwise, this was both spot-on in terms of the platform's conventions but also a tad petty in ridiculing its modest but remarkably pervasive star system. The entire script may just as well have said "NERDS!"
Leslie Jones and Schreiber played a couple desperately searching for their dream home. In a well-executed parody of such shows, the pair chronicle all the houses they've contemplated buying and they're all ridiculously absurd for one reason or another. Playing off the frequent "man cave" trope, with the couple winding up with a place that has a toilet on the ceiling, this was good.
Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney engaged in a startling kind of physicality for this sketch that had co-stars Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson losing their shit. The pair played rambunctious young brothers who can't stop fighting and undercutting each other. This was outta hand and worked well, as Bennett and Mooney, as usual, remained committed to their characters no matter how over-the-top they got.
Dave's Outside the Women's Bathroom
A surprisingly realized five-to-one sketch, Schreiber played a terrible person who decides to interview unsuspecting women after they've finished using the bathroom at a restaurant. He was really adept at portraying this oblivious sleaze, with great assists from victims like Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong, Pete Davidson as a busboy turned eager cameraman, and most significantly, his vaguely-into-it date played by Heidi Gardner. This was short and manic but great.