SNL: Bill Burr (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

Bill Burr is a comedian who’s been around for a few decades, but this episode is his first time ever appearing on Saturday Night Live. So what finally got him on the radar of Lorne & Co. enough to land that hosting gig? Is it because he starred in a movie this summer with Pete Davidson? That certainly could’ve helped. Is it because his name is almost the same as current American Attorney General William Barr? Possibly, although no reference was made to that during the episode.

The musical guest was originally supposed to be country singer Morgan Wallen, but he was recently behaving in a way that’s not recommended during a pandemic, so SNL vet Jack White stepped in as a replacement. I’d never heard of Morgan before he was booked; hopefully he does something more commendable at some point in the future so that his reputation isn’t forever based on a lapse in judgment.

I got up early Sunday morning and started watching with my typical bowl of cereal. I also made time to write down the dream I had the night before, which featured Drs. Doug and Carol from County General Hospital (even though I’ve never seen an episode of ER!).

Now let’s get on to the review! And for as long as the pandemic is ongoing, I will continue to space out my thoughts on each sketch.

The VP Debate cold open (Grade: 2 Flies) was as expected, in terms of being a greatest hits rundown of “this stuff happened during the actual event.” I laughed when moderator Susan Page said she was missing book club and when it was revealed that Joe Biden’s teleportation device was powered by Amtrak.

It was interesting that Bill Burr referenced The Matrix during his Monologue (Grade: 2 Rick Moranis Sucker Punches), as he was giving off a bit of a Joey Pants vibe.

How do we title the sketches that are just a group of friends sitting around and talking? In my notes, I called the one in this episode “Firepit Gathering.” According to SNL‘s YouTube page, it’s “New Normal” (Grade: Noon No-No Normal). There’s a weird mix of low and high stakes in Bill and Kate McKinnon’s minor mispronunciations, which didn’t really do it for me, but at least Kenan’s pleas to everyone else to not correct them had me feeling what he was delivering.

The Blitz (Grade: 2.5 Steak Dinners) is uncomfortable in a comedically vibrant way, and goshdangit, I think it could’ve really leaned even more into the discomfort.

Beck Bennett makes a plea to humanity in the “Enough is Enough” pre-recorded short (Grade: 2 Jason Momoas), and I understand the criticism that he endures, but honestly, I think we’d all be better off if instead everyone tried to nurture a better effort out of him.

Time for Jack White to rock out! He performed a medley of “Jesus is Coming Soon,” “Ball and Biscuit,” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself” (Grade: 4 Tasty Guitar Licks), and I wouldn’t have known it was a medley if somebody hadn’t alerted me. It all flowed together so seamlessly. The blue light flooding the stage was also a nice touch.

Now for the Weekend Update portion of the review~ Michael and Colin gave us a satisfying number of quips to nibble on, particularly the zingers about a ventilator being under the seats and a simpler time when you could name kids “Whitey.”

So then Kate McKinnon comes on as Dr. Wayne Wenowdis (Grade: A Perfectly Timed Finger Wag), and the entirety of the gag is pretty much her pronouncing “We know this” as “Wenowdis,” and that’s all you need to know to realize how hilarious it is.

Pete Davidson (Grade: He Didn’t Read the Books) has some thoughts about J.K. Rowling. Biggest takeaway: Pete is part Dobby and part goblin.

Now onto the post-Update portion of the show, which kicks off with Bill Burr playing the head of a Mob Family (Grade: 4 “MafiaSoWhite” Hashtags) who is flummoxed by how woke his associates have become, and honestly? That’s pretty damn good casting.

The Sam Adams commercial (Grade: 3 Chugs) trades in typical rowdy Boston stereotypes, but I enjoyed how Bill Burr’s character kept pounding away the Jack-O Pumpkin Ale even though he hated it.

And after all that, we have time for one more musical performance from Jack White, and his chosen song is “Lazaretto,” (Grade: So Much Natural Rock ‘n’ Roll Spirit) off his 2014 album of the same name. Did anyone notice that the drummer’s drums appeared to be inverted? What up with that?!

Well, I guess that’s it. I’ve been informed that there will be another new episode next week, with Issa Rae making her hosting debut and Justin Bieber providing the tunes for the fourth time ever. I hope it’ll be a good show!