Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Regina King/Nathaniel Rateliff

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SNL: Nathaniel Rateliff, Regina King, Beck Bennett (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

For the third episode in a row, SNL has two guests making their Studio 8H debuts, and for the third review in a row, I’m making mention of that fact. The host is Regina King, who’s probably better known for her dramatic work nowadays, but she’s sitcom royalty to a lot of people thanks to her time on 227. That’s a show I’ve never seen an episode of, though I have seen all 6 of her guest appearances on The Big Bang Theory. And as for musical guest Nathaniel Rateliff, I’m more familiar with him when he’s credited with his backing band the Night Sweats, but it seems like his music is pretty dang similar even when he’s flying solo.

This episode aired in the midst of the Australian Open, which is something I also enjoy watching.

I’ll start with the cold opening (a very cold place to start), which was Tucker Carlson Tonight (Grade: 1 Coup out of 2 Coos), which, indeed, featured a Tucker Carlson, and indeed, aired during the night.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: John Krasinski/Machine Gun Kelly

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SNL: Machine Gun Kelly, John Krasinski, Heidi Gardner (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

It’s the end of January, and Saturday Night Live has finally aired its first new episode of 2021. I’ll let you numerologists determine what significance those digits have as far as SNL is concerned…

Host John Krasinski and musical guest Machine Gun Kelly are both making their Studio 8H debuts (as will be all the recently announced guests for the coming weeks). Krasinski was actually supposed to host back in March 2020, but that is now neither here nor there.

Here’s where my head was at while watching this episode: most days, I wake up and write my dreams from the night before down in a dream journal, but I didn’t remember them this morning, so I didn’t have to arrange my dream scribbling around my SNL viewing as I normally do. But then later while I was running, a dream came back to me, so I had to pivot a bit. But it was a pretty easy pivot.

Vaccines are being rolled out, but the pandemic is still ongoing, so my reviews will continue to be spaced out.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Kristen Wiig/Dua Lipa

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SNL: Dua Lipa, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

The final Saturday Night Live episode of 2020 aired six days before Christmas and was hosted by Kristen Wiig, who was accompanied by musical guest Dua Lipa. I love Christmas! Kristen Wiig has made me laugh, often! Dua Lipa’s songs have brought me so much joy! Sounds like we’re in for a good time…

I actually watched one (1) full sketch before I even started to eat my breakfast. Now onto my review…

The cold opening sketch is very, very, very often based on a notable piece of news from the past week, and that is indeed the case here, as Mike Pence Gets the Vaccine (Grade: A Plain Lollipop). Some silly impressions, Rudy pops in for a rabies joke, la la la la la, onto the opening montage.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Timothée Chalamet/Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

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SNL: Timothée Chalamet, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Cecily Strong (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

The eighth episode of the 46th season of Saturday Night Live (now concluded [the episode, not the season]) was hosted by Timothée Chalamet, who at 24 years, 11 months, and 15 days is the youngest host of the season thus far. Here’s another Timothée Chalamet factoid: on last week’s Card Sharks, there was a question in which a group of 100 women were asked if they thought “Timothée Chalamet” was an actor or a fancy wine, and more than half said wine!

The musical guest was Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Everybody loves it when The Boss, Patti, Little Stevie, Max Weinberg, The Professor, and The Big Man’s nephew come to town, don’t they? I sure do!

I had cereal for breakfast while watching, but this time, my Honey Nut Cheerios were Medley Crunch.

The very first sketch headed to the Situation Room (Grade: 2 and a Half Coors Light Cold Activated Cans), as Drs. Fauci and Birx discuss the Covid vaccine rollout. And no, your eyes don’t deceive you, Brad Pitt hasn’t suddenly started looking like Kate McKinnon, but rather Kate is playing Fauci now, instead of Brad when he zoomed in back in the spring.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Jason Bateman/Morgan Wallen

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SNL: Morgan Wallen, Jason Bateman, Heidi Gardner (CREDIT: Saturday Night Live/YouTube Screenshot)

Hello December, Saturday Night Live would like to return to airing new episodes. I imagine that is similar to the conversation that Morgan Wallen had with NBC executives after his initial booking for this season’s second episode was cancelled due to maskless partying. Something along the lines of, “Hello Lorne, I would like to be booked again.” And maybe Jason Bateman also had a conversation like that about hosting. “Hello 2006, I would like to host SNL a second time.” “Hello 2007, I would like to host SNL a second time.” Et cetera. It took a while, but 2020 finally said yes. As for me, I said, “Hello morning of December 6, 2020, it’s time for me to review an episode of SNL once more.” So I sliced up some banana onto my cereal and got to work!

If you were on Twitter a few days ago, you may have noticed that “Cecily Strong” was trending, as voter fraud testimony witness Melissa Carone sounded exactly like the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party. The joke was already there, so did SNL actually need to make it? For an answer, I would note that not every SNL viewer watches the news 24/7 (good for them), so Ms. Carone was new to them when Cecily actually did play her. Thus, the Michigan State Senate Hearing cold open (Grade: 5 “After Davids”) was kind of like the Sarah Palin sketches way back when in which Tina Fey just repeated some of the things that the actual Palin said, and it was pretty much gold. There were other conspiracy purveyors on hand to say some kooky things, but this was the “Witness You Wish You Hadn’t Started Testimony at a Hearing” Show.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Dave Chappelle/Foo Fighters

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SNL: Dave Chappelle, Foo Fighters (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

The last time Saturday Night Live aired a new episode on NBC the Saturday immediately after an American presidential election, the host was Dave Chappelle. And the exact same thing happened this year! Was that booking intentional? I would guess “yes.”

Back in 2016, the musical guest paired with Dave was A Tribe Called Quest in their first ever SNL appearance. But this time, the musical guest is Foo Fighters, in their 8th ever SNL appearance. Like the host, the lead singer of the Foos is also named Dave. How often have the host and musical guest on the same episode had the same first name?! I can’t think of any other time, so let’s take a beat to honor this moment.

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If you’re wondering where I was at while watching this episode (and I bet you are, because I usually let you know), I got up and had a fine Sunday breakfast of scrambled eggs and buttered English muffin. It was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit outside when I got out of bed, but it was forecasted to go up by 30 degrees by the middle of the day. In November!

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: John Mulaney/The Strokes

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SNL: John Mulaney, The Strokes, Ego Nwodim (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

With this, the most Halloween-iest episodes of Saturday Night Live, former SNL writer John Mulaney enters rarefied hosting territory by hosting more than once in a single calendar year. His last time on the Studio 8H stage was on February 29, 2020, which was a notable date not only because it was a Leap Day but also because it was one of the last live in-studio shows before the pandemic necessitated the shutdown of most in-person gatherings. This booking might demonstrate that the folks on SNL are not a superstitious lot, for otherwise they would fear that Mulaney’s presence would portend another shutdown. Or perhaps they are superstitious, just in the opposite direction, with the hope that his return might augur a return to safer times.

Musical guest The Strokes, like Mulaney, are also making their fourth official appearance.

They were last on in 2011, a time when Charlie Sheen was inescapable. What’s Carlos up to these days? Still throwing heaters?

While watching this episode, I downed some scrambled eggs, toast, and coffee cake, and the night before, I watched some football and put on a hybrid Halloween costume, so I was ready and rarin’ to go!

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Adele/H.E.R.

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SNL: H.E.R., Adele, Kate McKinnon (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

There is a long and proud tradition of musicians serving as both host and musical guest on the same episode of Saturday Night Live. There’s also a tradition that’s not quite as vaunted but that’s just as notable of musicians serving as only host while letting someone else provide the tunes. On October 24, 2020 AD, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (dude, we’re getting Adele!) joined the likes of Sting, Snoop Dogg, and Chance the Rapper by making her hosting debut while allowing Gabriella Wison (aka H.E.R.) to make her MG debut. And now I am going to offer you, my readers, some reactions to how they performed.

When I woke up on Sunday, it was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which was sweet relief from a preceding week that had been a bit of an Indian summer with swampy 60-something days. So as I’m writing this review, I’m not sweating any more than I ought to be on a late October day in Brooklyn.

Cold open was of course the last Debate (Grade: What We Expected). I laughed when Jim Carrey Biden revealed that he bought his suit on a train.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Issa Rae/Justin Bieber

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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.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Bill Burr/Jack White

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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.

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