SNL Season Premiere: Presidential Debate & Episode Recap

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SNL Season Premiere: Presidential Debate & Episode Recap

Obviously the main headline of the premiere episode of Saturday Night Live was how they would take on this dumpster fire of an election we are suffering through. While this week’s host might’ve been Margot Robbie, the most anticipated celebrity appearance was by far Alec Baldwin pinch-hitting as Donald Trump in the debate cold open. A few takeaways:

-Baldwin absolutely killed it as Trump. He somehow managed to successfully mock a guy who’s a living, breathing, walking mockery. Normally SNL goes above and beyond to make caricatured versions of the candidates, but with so much material, Baldwin wasn’t really all that different from the real thing. Just maybe a bit smarter. SNL reaching out and grabbing Baldwin was huge, especially since last season’s Trump, Darrell Hammond, appears to have been committed to his Bill Clinton impression.

– Kate McKinnon proved again that she was well deserving of her recent Emmy win playing that awkward, robotic, and zany Hillary Clinton. It was a funny compliment to Baldwin. The cold open was a good start to the new season.

The Rest Of The Show:

Check these out on SNL’s YouTube channel.


Normally I ditch the monologue about 45 seconds in, but I’m not going to turn down extra time looking at Margot Robbie and I actually wasn’t disappointed. Running off the election theme of “fact checking” was decently effective.

Live Report

SNL leans on the newscast format often so I didn’t have high hopes, but this one legitimately brought me to tears. It did three things well; 1. Utilized Margot Robbie being a smokeshow 2. Introduced two of the new featured players and 3. Actually made me laugh out loud, which the show hasn’t been notorious for in recent years. Featuring Robbie and Day as a couple being interviewed by an in-disbelief Kenan Thompson, I highly recommend it.

“The Librarian”

Bobby Monihan’s fantasy about Margot Robbie’s hot librarian goes hilariously wrong. SNL usually puts their top material first in the show but this was an unusually strong start.

Family Fued: Political Edition

SNL game show parodies rarely completely miss. Throughout the show’s ups and downs it has always been able to nail anything with celebrity impressions. Darrell Hammond’s version of Bill Clinton and Larry David coming back for Bernie Sanders is worth not fast forwarding the sketch by themselves. McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway was also spot-on.

Musical Performance #1

The performance was fine, but seeing that The Weeknd finally cut the Picasso painting on his head threw me off from the get-go.

Weekend Update

Once the show hits mid-season and is mostly garbage, my routine will go: Cold Open, first sketch, Weekend Update, then go to bed. Weekend Update is always worth the watch because I’m a big Jost/Che guy. As it likely will until November 8th, it leaned mostly toward the election.

As is the Update tradition, they hosted two “guests.” Cecily Strong’s “Undecided Voter” would’ve been funnier if it wasn’t so unfortunately true. Keenan Thompson as Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was quality.

The Hunch Bunch

A Scooby-Doo parody gave me high hopes, but this one was just ok. Featuring Robbie as a tag-along girlfriend of one of the team’s members, she had a couple funny moments.

Melania Moments

Back on the Trump Train. Kind of in the same vein as the SNL throwback “Deep Thoughts,” it lays out Melania’s brief and not-so-deep thoughts.

New York Film Festival: Women’s Round Table

A familiar SNL formula: give Kate McKinnon a zany character and let her go to work. This time she gave us a 90 year old actress discussing her times in Hollywood. Not the best but McKinnon is too talented for the sketch to fall flat.

Musical Performance #2

I’m not exactly a music aficionado, but I can already tell you your boy is gonna be all over this new stuff by The Weeknd. Dude put on as good a show as you can on the SNL stage. Had a different vibe than the stuff that was all over the radio last year.

Mr. Robot + Leslie Jones

Parodying Mr. Robot with Leslie Jones’ Twitter hacking was a decent end to the show even if you don’t watch the show.

SNL laid out a clear gameplan of the fall season with their premier episode. Heavy election focus, as was to be expected, leaning heavily on a skewering of Trump and his family. Was happy to see them go with the star power of Baldwin and David instead of relying on just the cast.

McKinnon is again going to be asked to carry at least one sketch by herself per episode; she’s the best on the show so it makes sense. And as always they’ll lean on familiar formulas to try to get through each episode. Hopefully SNL can get us to laugh through this nightmare of an election.

Image via Youtube

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