Saturday Night Live: Chance the Rapper/Chance the Rapper
October 27, 2019 9:56 AM - Season 45, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Chance the Rapper hosts and is the musical guest in this Halloween Episode.

Cold Open: "Trump Rally" Cecily Strong, Alex Moffat, Alec Baldwin, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Darrell Hammond, Fred Armisen, Kate McKinnon
Monologue: Chance the Rapper, Melissa Vilaseńor, Heidi Gardner, Kyle Mooney
League of Legends: Chance the Rapper, Bowen Yang, Kyle Mooney, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman
First Impressions Court: Chance the Rapper, Jason Momoa, Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villaseñor, Chris Redd, Ego Nwodimb, Mikey Day, Kyle Mooney, Kate McKinnon
Tasty Toaster Tarts: Chance the Rapper, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Melissa Villaseñor
Spooky Song: Chance the Rapper, Heidi Gardner, Kyle Mooney, Kenan Thompson, Mikey Day, Aidy Bryant
Music: Chance the Rapper: "Zanies and Fools"
Weekend Update: Colin Jost, Michael Che, Mikey Day and Alex Moffet as the Trump sons
William: Nice But Shy: Chance the Rapper, Ego Nwodimb, Heidi Gardner, Cecily Strong, Beck Bennett
Space Mistakes: Chance the Rapper, Ego Nwodim, Alex Moffatt, Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Bowen Yang
Dazzle Designs: Aidy Bryany, Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Chance the Rapper, Chris Redd
Music: Chance the Rapper: "Handsome" with Megan Thee Stallion,
Dance Rehearsal: Chance the Rapper, Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd, Heidi Gardner, Chloe Fineman
posted by jessamyn (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Everyone was having FUN on this episode. Even the way Michael Che stopped his Jenner joke in the middle cause he knew the writers had gone too far. (How DID that even make it to the final show?) Everyone was all corpsing, people were cast well, the skits (for the most part) didn't drag into infinity... I'd say a B+/A- show.

I love when they put the actors in flying suits and then fuck with them. You know they were supposed to have smooth entries and retreats. I am glad nobody got injured, bbut it was funny watching Cecily eat up time while they tried to fix something on Beck's or Chance's setup.

I like Chance the Rapper a lot, but his first song, while I realized I was watching something VERY genius-level, I couldn't follow it because my ADHD had me trying to pay attention to too many things at once: the music, the lyrics, the set-and-props, the people behind him...

Toaster Tarts: classic commercial, instantly. Tasty Toaster Tarts can make you forget anything.

First Impression court was squirmy in that "YOU ARE NOT NORMAL" way—but at least there was another sketch with "YOU ARE NOT NORMAL" in which the abnormalities were definitely in the "comedic" court and not the "ummm normal people actually do this" way.

Anyway, I had fun watching this. No huge beefs with anyone. The writers could use a little talking to about inclusion. That's my read.
posted by not_on_display at 11:05 AM on October 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Chance was in everything except the news! I'm not sure I've ever seen a host/musical guest in everything before. I love this episode with two specific did-not-loves

1. First Impressions Court should have gone another way. There are already too many people who get in trouble with the cop/legal/prison system because of first impressions and most of the people who the judge was like "NOPE" to were already "punching down" candidates. (white woman with bad teeth, black man in fancy suit, young black man with hair half done) I got what they were going for but wish they'd done it differently, or maybe ended with Trump.

2. No idea what Che or other writers were going for with the maybe-Jenner joke that didn't get fully made but NO. Aggravating and angering.

Happy to see Ego in more things, Bowen not playing the same guy and Chloe in more stuff. Even though she's got small parts, it's still more screen time than Brooks Wheelan or Luke Null ever got.
posted by jessamyn at 1:32 PM on October 27, 2019 [6 favorites]

Chance is always a delight when he's on SNL, plus he even managed to one-up Donald Glover and Garth Brooks.

First Impressions court could've been much worse but it's just ill-conceived as a concept, both from a punching down perspective and also failing to subvert expectations. At least it had that Jason Mamoa cameo.

I assume the long sequence of Cecily flailing with her purse was because they only had two flying rigs set up and they were transferring the other one from Chance to Beck.

This episode actually felt a little light on Keenan. Of course, a light show for Keenan would still be pretty decent screen time for almost anyone else.
posted by ckape at 2:17 PM on October 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

More Keenan for you. Cut for time, 80s Drug PSA.

I'm not sure if I agree that First Impressions Court was too mean to be funny. Yeah, I agree that marginalized people are treated unfairly by the justice system, but this is a made-up small claims court. No one is being hauled off to jail. They're just walking away from the pretend court with less money than if they won, but everyone walks away with money. It seemed to make Chance laugh.

Loved the cold open, though I feel bad about it. It was about successfully turning citizens into cult members, and it was funny in that sad and scarey kind of way.

I enjoyed this episode. It made me tinkle a little.
posted by Stanczyk at 2:54 PM on October 27, 2019

First Impression Court is everything that bothers me about the Second City comedy writing style -- and I'm slap in the middle of writing stuff for a Second City [student] show right now. Deeply disturbing.
posted by amtho at 3:10 PM on October 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

In fact, I just had a rehearsal of a piece I wrote, where I was trying hard to un-stereotype a woman as "too demanding" -- and the other people involved thought it was a lot funnier if she was so fixated on her petty desires that she wasn't affected at all by another character. I'm sad about it.

It's like you can't have things be funny unless characters are reduced to stereotypes. I mean, it's... agh.
posted by amtho at 3:14 PM on October 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

I couldn’t stay awake past Chance’s first musical performance, but the sheer silliness of “Spooky Song” plus Kenan as the enforcer ghost was super fun. Plus, the cool screen effect of the clouds animating was neat.
posted by gladly at 6:00 PM on October 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Michael Che [...] Jenner joke
god i hate this show and i hate michael che
posted by gaybobbie at 7:38 PM on October 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

I did enjoy the dead silence followed by one person shouting "No!" during that terrible joke. I think that's actually what made Che stop.
posted by bleep at 8:44 PM on October 27, 2019 [10 favorites]

Yeah, wtf was with that joke? He's trying to say Kanye wants to change gender? There's something about Calabasas? It didn't occur to anyone this was going to be an issue?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:00 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I do wish to hear the rest of that joke to see where it was going, he cut it off before I could even suss out what angle it was meant to be. Jenner isn't a great person but the joke didn't seem to be going for that sort of thing and a joke centering on transition seems pretty guaranteed to not be tasteful or funny. Weird that it even got through rehearsal though.

The rest of the episode was actually pretty good though, I even liked both chance songs even though his most recent albums were a bit too gospel for my tastes. Everyone looked like they were having fun and I loved the pop tart sketch. We used to have a friend who had a whole pantry stocked with infinity snacks, though their parents were not murdered... though I only ever met one of 'em in person....

The first impression court had some punching own but it also had just some fun, goofier moments, like Jason Momoa's whole thing.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:58 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Weird that it even got through rehearsal though.

Someone at dress rehearsal put up a reddit thread that says the Kayne bit wasn't in dress rehearsal. That explains a lot.

As far as I can tell, Che told the entire joke. But it's a poorly structured joke where the shocking bit comes first and then he explains the connection is that they are both from Calabasas. So instead of setup then punchline, it's the punchline first (or at least, the shocking part), the audience turns on him HARD, and he's left mumbling through the rest of it. It's really a joke that fails on every level.
posted by Gary at 11:51 AM on October 28, 2019 [11 favorites]

Pretty solid show, although the Jenner joke was indeed awful. The First Impression court seemed like it HAD to be a Che bit too. It had his special combo of occasional laughs mixed with jokes about POC that would seem pretty racist if a white person wrote them.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:53 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wait, what jokes about POC?

First case was not about race, he was judged by the suit he wore, and confirmed by his magic stick. Second case was decided over which person walked away from their braid in the middle of it, that was a joke for POC, not on POC. Third case centered on the ventriloquist dummy, so yeah, perhaps it was unfair to white puppeteers. Fourth was about a male exotic dancer, and again decided over how he dressed which had nothing to do with being Asian. Fifth was decided over her teeth and cunalinga. And there was nothing wrong with the sixth, we got to see Jason's nips twirling chandelier earrings. If liking that is wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:57 PM on October 28, 2019

The Kenan character was an eccentric, flamboyant guy in a flashy suit. Deciding he was guilty based on a glance would be very Fox News, if a white guy wrote it. Same for the Redd guy with his "rachet," half-done hair. The whole premise of looking at these two black guys and declaring them criminals on sight is super racist... unless a POC wrote it, in which case it gets a lot more complicated.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:09 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

You need to make room for black writers writing directly to a black audience. I sometimes wonder if the constant policing of Che isn't coming from discomfort with his dismissal of the white audience and his interest in writing for a specifically black audience, in spite of the criticism he gets for it.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:14 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

My own "policing" of Che comes from the fact that a lot of his stuff is really conservative, misogynistic and shitty. His Caitlyn Jenner joke is kind of par for the course with this guy, and I don't think that stuff is okay just because he's a POC.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:24 PM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was on my phone before, and it's hard to make your point well when you're hunting and pecking with your damn thumb.

It kind of sounds like you're saying somebody has to be an ignorant racist to dislike Michael Che, but a lot of Che's Weekend Update material reads like it was written by a cranky, woman-hating, middle-aged, conservative white guy. Close your eyes and he's basically Adam Carolla. The problem with his "dismissal of the white audience," as you put it, is that the show still goes out to a mostly white audience and they're seeing all these negative stereotypes presented as comedy. It doesn't help that we never know if a particular sketch was written by a POC or some edgelord Harvard white boy. Both are quite possible on the SNL of 2019. (Remember, this is the show that got in trouble mere weeks ago for hiring that idiot with the racist tweets and videos, specifically because Lorne Michaels wanted to cozy up to the Fox News crowd.)

There is a particularly problematic style of sketch that's become a hallmark of the Che era. Case in point: Batman, but black. It starts off as a thing about how the cops would unfairly hassle Batman if he was a POC. That's a potentially funny, pointed sketch idea. But then it becomes a thing where the superhero is actually a shifty character who is secretly carrying coke, so the cops were arguably right to be suspicious of this guy driving around with lots of weapons and a 16-year-old boy in his car. If a sketch like that aired on a show primarily intended for a POC audience, maybe it would land differently. But going out on a show like SNL, which has a largely white audience and a history of employing conservative, regressive writers like Adam Sandler, Jim Downey, Norm Macdonald, etc., it runs a real risk of reinforcing hateful stereotypes and being read as, "If there was a black Batman, he'd just turn out to be a thug." With too much of SNL's recent stuff you kind of need to know if a sketch was written by a POC before you can know if it's racist, and that's a problem.

Besides, we just saw Che attempt a trans-bash gag last Saturday night, even if he lost his nerve when he saw the crowd wasn't having it. He's a turd.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:53 AM on October 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

I think Che can be super funny. I love seeing him on Update. I also get, mostly from Fanfare, that he makes people uncomfortable. I didn't remember the Batman sketch, so I watched it. I laughed. I showed it to my wife, and she laughed harder and sent it to a friend. I am white. She is black. Is it possible that what makes some uncomfortable on behalf of others is exactly what makes those others laugh? It's a funny, pointed premise and the whole point is not that this black superhero is sketchy, but that white people being sketchy get away with shit exactly like this all the time. Energy powder? That is both hilarious and an indictment of who is punished for drug "crime".

I'm not defending the trans joke, it was indefensible, but I have honestly never understood the widespread pushback on Che specifically when he is just doing what SNL always does. My wife doesn't watch much SNL, and her comment was "so white people think the one person of color doing the news segment ever isn't funny and also goes too far? That's so...not surprising".
posted by donnagirl at 9:17 AM on October 29, 2019

To be clear, I'm not defending the aborted Jenner joke either, but I also don't even understand where he was going with it, not being familiar with whatever place he mentioned or what it had to do with anything. I've never really kept up with the Kardashians. The only thing I was defending was First Impression Court. I didn't see it as punching down. To me it was not about PoC, it was for PoC, and it was funny from that perspective. Very funny.
posted by Stanczyk at 11:49 AM on October 29, 2019

Even if First Impression Court wasn't about POC or was for POC, it was basically saying, "stereotypes are true all the time," which is not good. And I think it was punching down, but that's not important for my central point.
posted by amtho at 1:25 PM on October 29, 2019

That's a potentially funny, pointed sketch idea. But then it becomes a thing where the superhero is actually a shifty character who is secretly carrying coke, so the cops were arguably right to be suspicious of this guy driving around with lots of weapons and a 16-year-old boy in his car.

Was the search legal? If so, was suspicion based on non-drug behavior enough to justify it? What could "shifty" mean here? A fear of being set up to be murdered? Perhaps this is melodramatic, but I think black and white people would interpret these aspects differently enough to be meaningful, and perhaps both would find it funny, but for different reasons. It's not to the level of "check your privilege," but I think there's some layers wafting around a little here.

I don't mean to be fighty, it's just something that jumped out at me as a person who reads the tweets of Constitutional and/or defense lawyers. This is also not a defense of Che, who for a white guy like me the jury is still out on.
posted by rhizome at 2:04 PM on October 29, 2019

it was basically saying, "stereotypes are true all the time,"

I'm not sure that's true. It's more like what I recognize and connect with may be different from what you recognize and connect with.
posted by Stanczyk at 6:01 PM on October 29, 2019

It's more like what I recognize and connect with may be different from what you recognize and connect with.

Stanczyk, could you expand on that? I don't think I get what you're saying here.
posted by amtho at 9:24 PM on October 29, 2019

What might feel like a stereotype to you because it's not something you identify with can ring true to someone who shares that identity. So a guy with half a braid might seem like a stereotype to you, but it might remind someone else of their cousin. And someone overdressing might seem like a stereotype to you, but in someone else's life, there's a guy like that at every church picnic. Because you saw those characters as problematic stereotypes that doesn't automatically make them stereotypes to all PoC.
posted by Stanczyk at 2:14 AM on October 30, 2019

To me, the stereotypes weren't in the particular ways they dressed, but in the relatively naieve way they spoke to the judge, the fact that they WERE dressed unusually in that situation, and the fact that they were just more colorful and expressive in general. You know, oddballs. Or just less educated folks. The odder they were, the quicker the "judge" judged. That's really troubling to me.
posted by amtho at 4:01 AM on October 30, 2019

Yeah, both Che and Jost use the "Joke setup as a punchline and trail off, deadpanning at the camera..." format a lot. I think we heard the whole joke, but the audience reaction threw the rhythm off a little.
Which, GOOD. It was bad and lazy writing, and I'll just bet that they were all " but we're making fun of Calabasas, not Caitlyn Jenner!" which, yeah no. Unacceptable.
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:01 PM on October 30, 2019

Hi all, I wanted to drop a note to other posters that if I don't post right after the west coast broadcast, I wasn't able to watch or fell asleep at some point and won't be posting the episode myself.
posted by rhizome at 10:39 AM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

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