SNL: Justin Bieber, Issa Rae (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

SNL Season 46 Log. Episode 3. No major emergencies. Time for some funnies!

Insecure creator-star Issa Rae is making her hosting debut, and I think that’s a commendable booking decision. She has the chops to be goofy, which she doesn’t always have the opportunity to show off in Insecure. But on SNL, there’s plenty of room for her to kick back and be silly. In fact, it’s encouraged.

As for the tunes, Justin Bieber is the musical guest for the fourth time in his career and the second time in this calendar year. To which I say, “Huh.” I’m open to the possibility of liking his songs more now and in the future than I have in the past, but I wouldn’t have pegged him to be such a Studio 8H fixture at this point.

I woke up early Sunday morning. Before 7:00 AM, even! But I stayed in bed a little past 7:00 because I like to rise with the sun. Then I watched this episode and took some notes while I watched.

In the world of real-life politics, the second presidential debate of 2020 was cancelled and replaced with dueling town halls. The world of SNL politics followed suit with its cold opening. I didn’t watch either of the actual town halls, but I imagine I would have thought that they were longer than they need to be, which is what I tend to think of the debates. It’s also what I tend to think of SNL debate sketches. The Dueling Town Halls sketch (Grade: 1 Real Mickey Mouse) was also quite long.

Issa Rae declared that she was the first black person to ever host SNL during her Monologue (Grade: A Bit of Mary J. Blige-Style Energy). She quickly assured us that she was joking, but I kind of wish that she had run with that premise…

Someone on the SNL writing staff really thinks French-Canadian culture is funny.     That’s my explanation for the existence of Bonjour Hi! (Grade: No Drake).

My favorite part of the 5-Hour Empathy commercial (Grade: Not Enough Empathy) is when Heidi Gardner asks, “Are too many NFL players kneeling again?” Otherwise, this goes overboard on the vibe of jumping out a window.

Is “Karate Man” Pete Davidson’s best character ever? For real, all the times that Issa said “Karate Men” went a big way towards the First Date Exes sketch (Grade: 4 Karate Men) being as funny as it was.

Did you know that in addition to the comedy, Saturday Night Live also features musicians performing their music? It’s not exactly a secret! For Justin Bieber’s first song of the night, he was joined by Chance the Rapper for his new song “Holy” (Grade: Joe Pesci Reference Coming Through in the Clutch). It kind of looked like they were performing in a pumpkin patch. Using religious language to sing about personal love is nothing new, but it was well-deployed here.

It’s always nice to report on Weekend Update after Colin Jost and/or Michael Che have made me laugh. This time they made me laugh multiple times, particularly when Che talked about the statue that was shot multiple times by the police and when he revealed what you might find if you search “Jost” on

There were also a few Weekend Update correspondents! So you know, a typical Update session. First up were Alex Moffat and Mikey Day returning with their impressions of Eric and Donald Trump Jr. and Chloe Fineman then joining them as Tiffany Trump (Grade: 3 Wet Paw Patrol Masks), and I must say, it was a clever idea to suggest that Eric and Tiffany had never met before this moment.

Aidy in America (Grade: A Dang Stylish Denim Jacket) is a lovely blast of 1-minute absurdity. Let’s send Aidy out to a field of cows more often!

Time was made for one more Update correspondent, as Heidi Gardner continues her exploration of frantic love interest movie tropes. This time it’s Famous 80s Cocaine Wife Carla (Grade: 3 Nose Powders), and I appreciated the mention of eating lasagna with Lorne Michaels at 3:00 AM.

If you’ve got an SNL sketch featuring Kenan Thompson in which someone mentions “dookie” at some point, you know you’ve got gold on your hands. Your Voice Chicago (Grade: 4 Entrepreneurs) gives Issa Rae the role of a lifetime as a political advocate struggling to defend the most embarrassing members of her race who are running for office. “It’d be like hiring Wesley Snipes to do your taxes” has never stung so hard.

The pre-filmed sketch titled “Dancer” (Grade: 4 Funky Jams) features Kyle Mooney and Issa (and then Chance the Rapper) showing off some sweet, sweet dance moves. And that is the damn truth.

Justin Bieber’s second song, entitled “Lonely” (Grade: 3 Orange Beanies) begins with him in his dressing room, and it’s always a good idea to mix up the typical trappings of the music performance, no matter how minor the change. I’m surprised to say I’m actually kind of intrigued by his new musical direction.

The Jack Flatts commercial (Grade: 3 and a Half Camo Jackets) that then gets interrupted by some guys who want to “reopen” their favorite local fast food joint has a satisfying amount of “last sketch of the episode” demented energy.

But it’s actually not the last sketch! There’s also a commercial parody for eBay (Grade: 3 Shipping Boxes) that I probably would’ve slotted in for the post-Monologue spot if I had my druthers. Anyway, I thought that Heidi Gardner looked really sweet when she said, “I want to enjoy myself.”

Well now we’ve come to the end of the review, and this would usually be the part where I tell you who the guests are going to be next time, but they haven’t been announced yet! I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a new episode next week, so apparently the SNL booking team is really cutting its close. Or maybe they just want to surprise us at the last minute…