Saturday Night Live: a stream of Trump jokes but more misses than hits

Elise Czajkowski

Guardian

15th January 2017

As is its habit, Saturday Night Live addressed the most significant topical event of the week in its cold open, launching with its take on Donald Trump’s recent, chaotic press conference. Alec Baldwin returned with his serviceable Trump impression to confirm that, indeed, “this is real life” — Trump is about to become the 45th president of the United States, and “two months later, Mike Pence will become the 46th”. The show made no bones about its fears of a Trump presidency when a reporter suggested that repealing the Affordable Care Act could kill people, the responded flippantly: “Listen sweetheart, I’m about to be president.

We’re all gonna die. ” The strongest moments came in cameos from Cecily Strong as Trump’s exhausted lawyer and Kenan Thompson as a the Family Feud host Steve Harvey: “I do government now. Does this bode well for our country? Survey says: no.

” And of course, the show couldn’t resist playing up the most salacious rumor in this week’s leaked intelligence document, with puns ahoy about the “steady stream” of jobs that Trump claims he will create because he’s a “major whiz”. host Felicity Jones never seemed to fully relax into her monologue, reading stiffly off the cue cards before being interrupted with, of course, some Star shenanigans. The whole segment was saved by the “hologram” appearance of Tina Fey, who took on the heavy lifting and allowed Jones to relax into an endearing scene.

Fey’s advice to Jones quickly turns into a on SNL — Thompson’s long run on the show, the use of a “horny” Leslie Jones whenever the writers have run out of ideas, as well as the “way too many” reviews of each episode and Trump’s tendency to tweet about negative things about the show. The only truly solid sketch of the night was the first scene, a spoof of The Bachelor clearly written by someone who’s spent way too much time absorbing the dating reality show. “Beard Hunk” featured the titular hunk on a bench as a series of women in evening gowns “steal” some time to tell him about themselves — “My name is whatever and I have the most abrupt ombré” “I’m a bitch.

” Jones’ American accent wasn’t great, but she gave it a go and held her own in a cycle of impressive SNL women, including a particularly hilarious turn by Aidy Bryant. Weekend Update had a few hits and more than a few misses. Much of it was devoted to Trump’s press conference, which felt redundant after the cold open.

Colin Jost’s best line referenced a Trump tweet asking if we are “living in Nazi Germany? ”. “Of course not. Nazi Germany at least had the guts to take on Russia.

” The two guest segments — Pete Davidson’s first impressions of Trump cabinet appointees, Beck Bennett as a pop star — both felt a bit undercooked. Luckily, Michael Che seems to be finally putting more of his own comedic persona into the role, showing off the charisma and sharp wit that rocketed him to success in : “It seems like every decision Donald Trump makes begins with the sentence, ‘Yo, you know what would be hilarious? ’” His take on racial profiling in the Chicago police department slowly built into a great riff that was pure Che. There wasn’t much else to recommend of this episode — a with Thompson and Jones as rival drug dealers never quite cohered, while a sketch with Kate McKinnon as Susan B Anthony seemed like it had potential but ultimately landed on the idea on a vague idea about the vapidness of modern life that didn’t say much.

Jones did her part admirably, but sketch comedy doesn’t appear to be her strongest suit, and the show’s material certainly didn’t give her enough to ensure success..
 

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