Saturday Night Live: Jennifer Lopez / DaBaby
December 8, 2019 1:46 AM - Season 45, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Jennifer Lopez' fourth appearance, her first without being the musical guest.

  • Cold Open - NATO: Heidi Gardner, Chloe Fineman, Jimmy Fallon, Paul Rudd, James Corden, Mikey Day, Alec Baldwin, Alex Moffatt (as Latvian President Egils Levits ), Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong
  • Monologue: Jennifer Lopez, The Rockettes
  • Surprise Home Makeover: Kenan Thompson, Jennifer Lopez, Mikey Day, Beck Bennett, Bowen Yang
  • The Roadie: Jennifer Lopez, Pete Davidson, Alex Rodriguez
  • What's Going On In That House: Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Jennifer Lopez, Beck Bennett
  • Them Trumps: Alex Moffatt, Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd, Ego Nwodim, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Beck Bennett
  • DaBaby - BOP
  • Weekend Update: Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Nancy Pelosi: Kate McKinnon
    • Jules: Beck Bennett
  • Christmas Carols: Alex Moffatt, Kyle Mooney, Heidi Gardner, Pete Davidson, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson, DaBaby
  • Hoops: Jennifer Lopez, Melissa Villaseñor, Alex Moffatt
  • PottyPM: Kyle Mooney, Jennifer Lopez
  • Hardware & Bear: Heidi Gardner, Alex Moffatt, Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Lopez, Cecily Strong, Chloe Fineman
  • DaBaby - Suge
  • Barry's Bootcamp: Chloe Fineman, Mikey Day, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang, Jennifer Lopez, Cecily Strong, Beck Bennett, Heidi Gardner
posted by rhizome (22 comments total)
When the entire span between the monologue and the musical guest was "Jennifer Lopez is fantastically beautiful", I worried that this episode wouldn't be able to recover. I was right.

PottyPM tried, but as almost always, the payoff to "member of privileged group is confronted with their privilege" was "they utterly fail to learn their lesson and do not in any way suffer".

Hardware & Bear was a ten-to-one sketch that they chopped down to a five-to-one and then put it on before the second song. I guess I basically approve of them juggling the formula around, but they need better balls to juggle.
posted by Etrigan at 7:26 AM on December 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I agree. I didn't think of this episode so much as bad as unnecessary. My historical assumption is that the host hangs out during the week and has input into the material, but to whatever degree that has ever been true, it seems apparent that JLo showed up for like an hour on Friday night and then dress rehearsal on Saturday. Bland and easy.

"Them Trumps" was better, more filled out this time around.

I thought DaBaby was really good!
posted by rhizome at 8:33 AM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nice to see some actual satire in the cold open instead of a slightly exaggerated re-enactment. More of that, please.
posted by Frayed Knot at 9:14 AM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I didn't watch the whole thing but has the humor on SNL always been one person acting silly and 2 other people are there frowning and saying "No"? It seems like the basis of every sketch I see now and it's like, the opposite of comedy, especially this style of comedy that all the performers are trained in???
posted by bleep at 9:29 AM on December 8, 2019

Oh and the other formula, the "group project" where everyone puts in a line.

Also I did think it was funny that My Brother My Brother and Me made basically the same joke about candles as a universal present last week or the week before.
posted by bleep at 9:33 AM on December 8, 2019

Felt like the writers were low on ideas this week. A lot of recurring sketches, or at least recurring concepts. And the "how'd this hottie end up with this schlub?" was pretty lazy the first time.

Them Trumps took on the contradiction at the center of the concept, and had absolutely nothing for it. (Darius Trump's supporters are all the same racist Trump supporters from our world, but they just didn't notice he was black until he told them?) I wish they had gone with something like how Trump is avoiding testifying and instructing his people to ignore subpoenas, which would be much more fitting in with the sketch's concept.

It is always pretty fun when Kate and Aidy overact in black and white, and the abrupt ending was at least worth a chuckle. Hoops was also plenty of fun.

For the cold open, I think it works a lot better when Trump is a minor character, rather than their usual approach of just having Alec Baldwin say basically the same thing Trump said in basically the same way Trump said it. Still, it would be nice if they actually had something cutting about Trump, but I've largely given up on that happening.
posted by ckape at 1:04 PM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

n_o_d and I were talking about this, we loved this episode but it definitely felt like that was maybe because J-Lo is our age and part of the general thing for this episode was "she looks and acts amazing." Like, I enjoyed seeing Chad (and Pete) again. I thought the cold open was great and especially fun to see cameos but also Alex Moffat playing Levits. I thought Hoops was nice and dumb. Weekend Update was funnier than usual (and hey hey Mackinnon as Pelosi was new and great). DaBaby's dance crew was GREAT and he seemed to be having a good time (and popped up in a sketch). We laughed out loud at Surprise Home Makeover, even though it's an SNL trope at this point. So I definitely agree there was a lot of recycled content, but it also felt like we saw a lot of a lot of the cast which I always appreciate.
posted by jessamyn at 1:21 PM on December 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

The end of 'PottyPM' was awkward enough to be funny, I liked 'Hardware & Bear.'

In 'Them Trumps' was MASA an inappropriate play on the African American Vernacular English pronunciation on master?
posted by porpoise at 1:30 PM on December 8, 2019

DaBaby's masked dance group is called Jabbawockeez, and there's a ton of YouTubes and they have a channel themselves.

In 'Them Trumps' was MASA an inappropriate play on the African American Vernacular English pronunciation on master?

If so, I'm inclined to see it as an ironic comment on Trump rather than anything inappropriate, especially given the actors involved.
posted by rhizome at 3:04 PM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

In 'Them Trumps' was MASA an inappropriate play on the African American Vernacular English pronunciation on master?

Not inappropriate at all. It was the whole point: white people cheering for patently obvious racism.
posted by Etrigan at 3:40 PM on December 8, 2019

This was a terrible episode. The ego-stroking, my god!
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 4:17 PM on December 8, 2019

Okay, WU was fun.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 4:20 PM on December 8, 2019

That cold open was... confusing, at best. It really made Trump seem like the victim, and the other world leaders were literally a bunch of stuck-up high school bullies. That's massively fucked up. But then it turned out to be an anti-bullying PSA from Melania, kind of making fun of her hypocrisy for decrying bullying while being married to the Bully in Chief. So, that's like 10 seconds at the end that almost redeems it. And being depicted as a lonely, uncool little boy nobody likes is exactly the kind of shit that will drive Trump nuts. He won't see it as SNL being weirdly sympathetic to him, because he doesn't get how human sympathy works. He'll just see it as him looking like a loser, and that's his worst nightmare. So... yeah, yet another "edgy" SNL political sketch where you can't quite be sure what the point is and Trump gets off easy. The man's a ridiculous fucking fascist, SNL. Pick a side, already.

The rest of the show wasn't unwatchable but the stroking of Lopez's ego got downright bizarre. A while ago I complained about this thing SNL was doing where they would bring some handsome actor dude on to host and then spend the whole damn episode creepily drooling over him. At the time I noted that SNL didn't really have a history of doing the same thing with women. Well, last night they did it with a woman. It wasn't better. It felt like the entire show was trying to get in J-Lo's pants, it was just endless stuff about how unbelievably hot and wonderful she was. Were they pushing those bits on her, or is she so insecure that she wouldn't do anything but celebrate her own fabulousness?

That opening number with the Rockettes was the exact kind of 1979 Donny and Marie shit that once represented everything SNL was rebelling against. That faint scratching sound you heard was Mr. Mike trying to claw his way out of his coffin.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:43 PM on December 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I thought the cold open wasn't bad. In my view, it satirized the idea of politicians acting like clique-y high school kids who don't like Trump because he's unbearable rather than making him a sympathetic figure. The "Impeach Me" sign made me laugh. Although I do wish they'd come up with someone better to play Trudeau than Jimmy Fallon. And was that poutine on Trudeau's plate?

At the time I noted that SNL didn't really have a history of doing the same thing with women.

I take it you've never seen the episode Pamela Anderson hosted? (And to be fair, what else can one do with Pam Anderson, given her painfully complete inability to act?) There were several "she's so hot" sketches the time Elle Macpherson hosted, but they also had a number in which her looks were never referenced -- more like this episode, which had just a few sketches which revolved around Lopez's looks -- "The Roadie" is more about how irresistible Chad supposedly is. I didn't think the show fawning over Lopez was a problem, really -- at least not more so than is usual when they have an especially attractive guest.

Weekend Update was good -- really enjoyed Pelosi's prayer! -- but I could have done without Beck Bennet's spot.
posted by orange swan at 8:31 PM on December 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

And was that poutine on Trudeau's plate?

Yeah, he had poutine and maple syrup. Macron had an eclair, I think? Boris Johnson had fish and chips.
posted by Gary at 8:49 PM on December 8, 2019

I could have done without Beck Bennet's spot.

I think I love this bit because I went to an alternative college in the US which was literally FULL of this guy and I think that there are a lot of him wandering around the Bay Area now trying to be tech disruptors. So for me, just seeing this guy being ruthlessly pilloried was super cathartic. Can totally understand how he would be incredibly annoying.
posted by jessamyn at 9:21 AM on December 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

Falling over themselves to declare that the woman hosting is hot is something that happened a fair amount in the more frat comedy days but in recent years I think they've generally realized it's a bad look. My guess is they thought they could get away with it this time by throwing in the "Can You Believe She's 50?" angle.
posted by ckape at 5:18 PM on December 9, 2019

Her "I'm 50!" in the monologue was possibly more cringey than her changing into the green dress. The only thing that could have saved it is if she had parodied Sally O'Malley, but whaddya gonna do.
posted by rhizome at 5:52 PM on December 9, 2019

I think there's should be a "Jarret's Room" with Jules and some Kyle Mooney character.
posted by rhizome at 4:34 PM on December 10, 2019

I take it you've never seen the episode Pamela Anderson hosted?

I actually mentioned that episode in the comment I linked to before, saying there may have been some drooly stuff in that one. I did see that episode, but it's been so long my memories are hazy. It could well be that old episodes feature more leering and ego stroking than I remembered, and there were probably times (like Anderson) where being a sex symbol was kind of the host's entire brand and the writers ran with it. But I've been watching the show for decades and I don't recall the show ever going crazy with this thirsty stuff the way they have the last couple of years. Like, they'll have actual actors on, people who aren't known primarily for running on the beach in slow motion, and they'll do sketch after sketch where they're stripping the person down and gushing about how hot they are.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:45 PM on December 10, 2019

Lopez's ego stroking IS the joke. I mean, duh, she's [to a subset of humans] "gorgeous" but she also BROUGHT THE FUNNY. That's all that mattered to me. She coulda been Billie Jean King. Except in that robbery sketch, which was kinda problematic. Unless Billie Jean King HAD been in it. But I see where they were going with that: aggressive subway busking crew, in a different context. Unfortunately, they coulda picked a funnier context. Maybe mix that with the schoolteacher-takes-a-smoke-break-and-brings-in-a-guest trope.

Oh, the I'm 50 thing? I liked it, I just turned fifty. I CAN STILL UNDERSTAND THE YOUNG FOLKS THOUGH, and comedy isn't about demographics, it's about getting the larfs. I laughed because I'd recently seen a repeat of the episode Ellen Barkin hosted sometime in the 70's, where she's wearing something slightly rawr-rawr, and she's psyched that she just turned FORTY! And she actually looked SIXTY! A good sixty, but yeah a lot older than JLo-now.

But the rest of the episode? Great. Sketches were short and to the point. They had clear messages and tight endings. Mostly, they were not blatantly offensive, but hey, comedy's in the bee of the eyeholder. Che and Jost had their timing down, and spoke truth rather than fucking off. And yes, Pelosi. I was starting to get sick of Kate, butI think it's just a side effect of over-casting her; she's talented.

And so's the rest of this cast. I can even see it in Chloe Fineman, the rare times she's given a choice line.

Oh, the Trump thing. I think the joke hinged on the Melania anti-bullying campaign—and on the fact that we'd like to see him get as shamed as he deserves to be. You'd get mad if someone bullied Hitler? (Not you, Ursula.)

I am fucking psyched to see what they do with Eddie Murphy. Usually that means I've automatically jinxed the show to be the wierdest uncomfortable mess ever, but hey. Comedy. Whatcha gonna do?

posted by not_on_display at 10:52 PM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, also: I like DaBaby. He was smiling, he had flow, looked like he was having a good time. No autotunes, no video projections, he had actual musicians, and yeah his dancers were TOIGHT.

Really, I think this is the best episode they've had all season. They usually hit their stride around now, I've noticed from year to year.
posted by not_on_display at 10:59 AM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

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