SNL Recap February 6, 2016: Larry David/The 1975

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SNL: Larry David, The 1975, Kate McKinnon

This review was originally posted on Starpulse in February 2016.

If you want to enjoy life, it is best to keep complaining to a minimum. But if you want to put on a good comedy show, you’re going to want to have some complaints. That is why Larry David is an ideal “SNL” host, even though he is the type of guy who hates hosting anything. That tension of constantly being bothered by the things that he is best at is the stuff that dreams, and memorable television, are made of. The fact that he also looks and sounds exactly like one of the major presidential candidates is just a bonus.

A Message from Ted Cruz – The show kicks off with “SNL” showing perhaps its strongest bite yet in this election cycle, with Taran Killam pulling no punches in his portrayal of Ted Cruz as the most odious human being ever. While this is admirably fearless, it is not the freshest angle. It kind of writes itself, honestly, what with his daughter refusing to hug him and tricking voters into believing that an opponent has dropped out of the race. Framing the greatest challenge of his campaign as overcoming the handicap of “Being Ted Cruz” is a neat enough trick, making for a cold opening that is more clever than surprising. B-

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SNL October 17, 2015 Recap: Tracy Morgan/Demi Lovato

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SNL: Demi Lovato, Tracy Morgan, Kenan Thompson (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

This review was originally posted on Starpulse in October 2015.

A little over a year after emerging from a terrible car accident that nearly killed him, Tracy Morgan called up his “co-Obi-Wan Kenobi” Lorne Michaels (whom he loves like his daddy) to let him know that he wanted to come home as soon as he got on his feet. There was legitimate concern that he would have trouble making it through the grind of the whole 90 minutes, or if he could even walk on his own. He acknowledges in his monologue that his mental capacity may not be at 100%, but the truth is, it never has been. This is perhaps the biggest and most successful comeback story in “SNL” history, as the returns of Tracy’s most beloved characters, the show really hitting its stride with its election cycle material, and gratifying trips into the bizarre make for the best episode of the season thus far.

Democratic Presidential Debate – Seven years ago, an emergent political figure bore a striking resemblance to an “SNL” cast member. Tina Fey was no longer on the show, but it still felt inevitable that she would play Sarah Palin. This cycle’s doppelganger did not promise quite the same certainty, as Bernie Sanders’ “SNL” alum twin has a much more contentious history with the show. But sometimes, you just gotta focus on the comedy, with Larry David’s excellent cameo as the Vermont senator perhaps unwittingly committing him to at least a year’s worth of guest appearances. The shoe certainly fits, as Bernie’s propensity to spout percentages and esoteric facts sounds a lot like dialogue from “Seinfeld” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Elsewhere, Kate McKinnon continues her superstar turn as Hillary, with her debate version relating to millenials with accuracy but also insanity. And those other guys are a mix of barely present, just happy to be there, and (Alec Baldwin-portrayed) delusional. A-

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