The second episode of the 46th season of Saturday Night Live kicked off with a visibly energy-efficient sketch that scrambled last week’s vice presidential debate.
Mike Pence (Beck Bennett) is repeatedly called out by Kamala Harris (Maya Rudolph) for interrupting her, though he effectively puts her to the defense by pivoting to “the two issues that worry Americans: swine flu and hydraulic fracturing.
The fracking issue leads Harris to flip-flop and dodge, as does a later question regarding forensic packaging.
But that doesn’t measure up to the pesky bug that claims Pence’s snow-white dome. Turns out, it’s actually Joe Biden (Jim Carrey) who, sensing Harris needs his help, teleports into the debate but transforms into a half Jeff Goldblum / half fly creature. (For those unaware of their David Cronenberg, this is a reference to the classic Goldblum – with The Fly).
The show takes the long road to making what is essentially an unspoken (and brutal) Joe Flyden joke, but at least it ultimately is. trying something, rather than just lazily rehashing the actual quotes from its targets. It must count for something.
Comic Bill Burr animates for the first time. The easily aggravated Everyman, who has slowly but steadily entered the mainstream over the past two years, lays down in an exuberant ensemble in which he applauds people who don’t wear masks (“If you’re that stupid and you want to kill yours family members, do it! It’s literally a dream come true! “), happily recounts Rick Moranis’ recent assault on New York City (” This is what happens when you stick an M&M store in Times Square! ”), and the lamenters cancel culture (“ They’re trying to cancel John Wayne… God did it 40 years ago! ”). The defining moment sees him tearing up white women for “hijacking the awakened movement,” noting that “white women swung their Gucci feet over the fence of oppression and got stuck in front of the line.”
It was clear the (paid) public was on the fence the whole time, and a quick scan of social media reveals that culture warriors on both sides of the political divide took the bait, but whatever one thinks of Burr’s worldview, at least his monologue makes for a decent change of pace for SNL.
In the first skit of the night, a group of friends hang out in person for the first time in months. Things go south fast when one of the couples is corrected for their mispronunciation of the word “unprecedented” (they had pronounced it “non-PRESIDENT-ed”) and the expression “new normal” (“noon normal”). There is a lot of screaming and commotion, but it all ends with a moan.
On The Blitz, Burr’s sports commentator rejoices over his favorite team’s victory, only to find himself horribly embarrassed when his two black co-hosts mourn the latest racist police murder. This clever premise is unfortunately hampered by the fact that Burr visibly erases his lines and misses his signals.
Enough is Enough is a decent, yet quiet, viral spike of celebrity videos. A desperate C-List actor is rightly shamed for his terrible anti-Trump poem, he marks other celebrities, including Jason Momoa, who shows up just to tell him he’s a loser.
The evening’s musical guest was supposed to be Morgan Wallen, but earlier this week images of the country star partying without a mask in Alabama and without caring about social distancing protocols surfaced. So, in a major case of a swap, SNL started it up and replaced it with Jack White, who performs an apocalyptic blues ballad seemingly written directly in response to those troubled times.
The next step is the weekend update. Burr’s spleen sense seems to have rubbed off on the hosts, with Michael Che finding the silver lining in Trump’s (apparent) health rebound: “Either Trump is telling the truth and we finally have a cure for COVID,” or he is lying and he will always die. I’m not saying it’s a win-win, but it’s not a lose-lose. Meanwhile, Jost is baffled to see someone come out of a near death experience without learning anything: “It’s like watching a guy smoke a cigarette through a hole in his throat.
Kate McKinnon plays first guest Wayne Weknowdis, an eccentric doctor who discusses Trump’s health through silly variations on the phrase “we know say”. It turns out that this somewhat confusing character is how McKinnon deals with the pressures of the world. Next, Pete Davidson discusses his disappointment at JK Rowling’s recent wave of transphobic comments, saying, “It hurts because I have a close connection to these movies: I even look like Dobby the Elf, if he does. was becoming a Tik-Tok rapper. “
In the penultimate sketch, Burr plays an Italian mafia recently returned from prison. He is dismayed to discover that his subordinates no longer care about his brash and politically incorrect style, having woken up after the #MafiaSoWhite trend on Twitter. Crowd stereotypes are always good for a few laughs, but it mostly plays out like a lazy retread of bits and pieces from Burr’s monologue.
Short and sweet, Jack-O Pumpkin Ale is an advertisement for Sam Adams’ new fall season beer. Beers take a taste test with real Bostonians, including a Southie bastard (played to perfection by Burr) who swallows several bottles, even though he says it “tastes like shit”, and fights with it. his adult son.
For the second consecutive week, the musical guest closes the show. White performs Lazaretto, playing the guitar Eddie Van Halen in tribute to the great deceased rocker. (His bassist, meanwhile, sports a shirt that reads: PRINE, in honor of the brilliant country singer John Prine, who died over the summer). This is followed by a short clip of Van Halen similarly shredding a past appearance.
This episode was a small step up from last week’s season opener, mostly thanks to Burr’s monologue and White’s performances, though the show again failed to produce any memorable sketches. Meanwhile, election-driven cold openers are pretty much a completely lost cause.