Saturday Night Live: Chris Rock / Megan Thee Stallion
October 4, 2020 1:29 AM - Season 46, Episode 1 - Subscribe

46th Season Premiere

  • Cold Open - Presidential Debate: Beck Bennett, Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey, Harry Styles, Cecily Strong, Maya Rudolph
  • Monologue: Chris Rock
  • Superspreader Event: Heidi Gardner, Mikey Day, Ego Nwodim, Lauren Holt, Chris Rock, Pete Davidson, Kenan Thompson
  • Hello: Chris Redd, Pete Davidson, Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim, Punkie Johnson, Chris Rock
  • My Mom Married Kenan Thompson: Kyle Mooney, Heidi Gardner, Chris Rock, Beck Bennett, Kenan Thompson
  • Drew Barrymore Show: Chloe Fineman, Alex Moffatt, Chloe Fineman, Kenan Thompson
  • Megan Thee Stallion - Savage
  • Weekend Update: Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Chinese Trade Minister Chin Biao: Bowen Yang
    • Carrie Krum: Aidy Bryan
    • RBG Moment: Kate McKinnon
  • Bubble Draft: Chris Rock, Ego Nwodim, Chloe Fineman, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph, Megan Thee Stallion, Punkie Johnson, Andrew Dismukes, Heidi Gardner, Alex Moffatt, Chris Redd
  • Stunt Performers Asociation of America: Mikey Day, Chris Redd, Ego Nwodim, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant
  • Megan Thee Stallion - Don't Stop (feat: Young Thug)
posted by rhizome (23 comments total)
 
I suppose it was to be expected, but I thought this was really uneven and even awkward at times. And, holy shit, that Bubble Draft sketch was about the most misogynistic thing I've seen on SNL in ages (and that's saying something).

I thought the cold open ran just a tad too long, but I thought they did an admirable job working-in updates to the sketch to reflect the current situation without killing-off the sketch entirely. They certainly walked really close to the line a few times. It was still stronger than a lot of the other sketches in the show.

The superspreader sketch was unexpectedly funny in a junior-high-level-humor way.

I guess I'm out of contact with pop culture these days, but I totally did not get the Drew Barrymore sketch.

I don't think Chris Rock brought anything vital to the show.

Overall, there were glitches that I suppose are to be expected, from both the cast side and the production side, considering the layoff. Camera direction seemed to be especially awkward, like they weren't always hitting the cues.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:30 AM on October 4


The debate sketch started rough but when Biden got the remote and hit pause on Trump I almost started balling.

Karma + science.
posted by museum of fire ants at 7:05 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


The best part of the show was Megan Thee Stallion.

She even had more lines in sketches than some of the new cast members!
posted by Ruki at 7:44 AM on October 4 [3 favorites]


At first I thought the camera miscues were due to last-minute changes to accomodate Trump's corona news, but they persisted throughout the show, even in sketches that had nothing to do with it. Have we seen this level of miscues in previous season openers?
posted by Mogur at 8:23 AM on October 4


I’ve watched a bit of the Drew Barrymore Show and the sketch was pretty much over before I realized it wasn’t an actual promo for the show.
posted by jordemort at 8:34 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]


The best part of the show was Megan Thee Stallion.

She definitely wasn’t the weakest part of the show, but I came away kind of “meh” on her first performance. The song itself was a seriously strong, important, message, but the performance just came off as pretty generic for the genre. I did love the active background graphics, though. They really focused, and added to, the message (The graphics included several women’s names, which I only saw a brief glimpse of.)

I didn’t see her second song, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:46 AM on October 4


Though that the RGB moment was class.

I'm fine with Chris Rock's performance. Seeing him in season 4 of Fargo impresses me that he might be trying to mature and find a different voice for himself.

Fineman doing both Barrymore and Witherspoon in the same shot was cute.

Looking forward to getting to see more Maya Rudolph.

Minor grumpiness: I know that everybody got checked out, but Megan Thee Stallion wearing a fake mask in the outro doesn't send the best message.
posted by porpoise at 2:57 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


There was stuff I liked, like the time travel thing and the goofy names sketch, but otherwise I thought this was kind of a mess. I'm sure there are some very conflicting opinions about current events in the writer's room, and it really showed. That cold open was all over the place, with like 9 premises warring for dominance. Biden is struggling for lucidity, and to control his rage, and he has zen-like calm and a magic remote that freezes Trump. He's also an overgrown child who needs Kamala to fight his battles for him and make him snacks. Carrey is a genius as a comic actor but even he was struggling to find a groove with a characterization this confused. At least Trump looked fucking ridiculous throughout the bit, but then you had Chris Rock come out and talk about how Trump is full of energy compared to the sleepy old Biden, and it was one of those weird moments where it feels like the show is going out of its way to be nice to Trump, giving him props he's done nothing to earn. (Seriously, at the best of times the man looks like he's about to flop over and melt.) I spent last season pleading for Che to get fired already but then I heard Jost someplace talking about how they were all really impressed by Trump's hosting gig, so now I'm just waiting for Che and Jost to GTFO.

I still blame Che for the show's semi-regular wallows in misogyny though. That Bubble Girlfriend sketch was just rough. The clomping footsteps were also so loud I could hardly focus on the stupid bro jokes! They had a lot of technical issues last season, when they were still in the studio, and this episode was maybe the worst yet in that regard. They botched some jokes by cutting to the wrong person and I had this constant feeling like the teleprompter was fritzing out or something. There were too many moments where the performers looked like they didn't know their next line and they were trying not to panic while they stalled for time. (Was Carrey's bit about Biden looking for the answer "up here" in the script, or was it a not-bad ad-lib to cover yet another tech snafu?)

I know I sound super negative, but I am a long-time fan and I think this is the first season of the show I'm not really looking forward to. The show should be thriving right now, with all this juicy stuff to satirize, but I knew that with the current writers they'd just keep muddling along. So I was expecting lukewarm, confused bits, missed cues and clomping footsteps, and this was that, but worse than I'd expected. I don't envy them trying to make a show under these conditions, but if the show's going to be this anemic it really doesn't seem like it's worth literally risking people's lives. The Stunt Performers thing felt like something they could have all done from home, and it was probably written with the idea that they might. I kind of wish they were still doing that. Just stay home and focus on the damn writing!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:27 PM on October 4 [4 favorites]


I thought it was a decent first episode and given all the restrictions they've had to deal with I'm willing to let some stuff slide. Who knows, maybe the miscues were due to fewer people in the control room or something.

Not sure how I feel about Jim Carry doing Biden. It felt very much like he was Goofy Jim Carry first and Biden second. I'd have just preferred Jason Sudekes but maybe he wasn't available. Carry did it well enough, I like the idea of Biden being this nice guy who is barely in control of his anger. Does that come from anywhere? I've never really heard of Biden being an angry guy, just an old guy who doesn't want to put up with your guff.

In case you want to know what an almost 51 year old white suburban dad thought of Megan Thee Stallion I thought... she was ok. I mean certainly not my thing and not something I'm going to listen too but I liked it well enough. Good message, good beat, etc.

Sketches were the usually hit and miss. I loved the silly name sketch, loved Heidi's deadpan "Well, maybe if you keep at it you can find Mike Klit later." delivery.

Mostly I'm really glad they're back. I hope they can get a few good episodes out before everything has to shut down again.
posted by bondcliff at 5:52 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Huh. I think I'm the reverse of y'all - the Superspreader "silly name" sketch was one of my least favorites.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 PM on October 4


I forgot to mention I'm 12 years old.
posted by bondcliff at 7:11 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]


I don't like Jim Carry and never had, but of the show parody Bidens, he isn't bad. The eyebrow prop is aces; best Biden reference of the parodies to date. Colbert's Biden (aviator sunglasses and lopsided grin) is terrible.

As for the anger stuff, he's been on record talking about taking (under different circumstances) Trump "behind the gym" (to have fisticuffs with) and bragging about confronting POC ruffian(s) like Cornpop (?) in his youth.

fwiw, I've been seeing, for years, memes image macros featuring Biden wanting to do an expedient/ violent/ funny thing and Obama going, "No, Joe... you can't do that."

--

Gardner's material has been uneven, but she has good control and can definitely do range.

I thought that the silly names sketch was a throwback to classic (ie., even more unsophisticated) SNL

I think that Fineman could be up for Bryant's "naive" roles (and she has her own talents), but it feels like Fineman is carrying more of the "conventionally attractive young lady" roles now and I'm hoping that opens more meaty parts for Gardner, not that Gardner isn't gorgeous.

Neither are currently McKinnon strong, but I want to see Gardner and Fineman trying out "dirtbag" roles that KcKinnon takes.

We didn't see Villaseñor (I'm really digging her not covering up her grey) this episode and only a cameo in the opener (as Guilfoyle) by Strong.

Not sure we've seen Nwodim in a "glamour" role yet.
posted by porpoise at 8:20 PM on October 4


They've done the silly name shtick before, haven't they? I'm certain I remember something built around the same, news story at the place where you go to change your name business before. Anyone else?
posted by Naberius at 8:22 PM on October 4


They've done the silly name shtick before, haven't they?

Yes, when Rachel Brosnahan hosted. Last year I think (time is like a big bowl of Jell-O for me at this point)? It was fine this time but I liked it better the first time. I don't think that's because it was better but because they were very nearly the same so at least it was new before.

Tech issues aside I thought it was a decent episode. The karma + science thing was very good and I'm glad they went for it. I was afraid they wouldn't. Carrie Krum was funny as usual. I did NOT like Bubble Draft. Stunt Performers was a better version of some similar characters that Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon have done before.

I'm bummed Cecily Strong got so little airtime. She's still my favorite cast member but the newer cast are really getting good.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:06 PM on October 4


Drew Barrymore was perfect. I think Jim Carrey as Biden will grow on me, I think he's working something subtle he sees in Joe so hopefully he's attached to continue upon a Biden victory. I don't think it's necessarily stunt-casting, and really I don't think Carrey would do it just to remind people of Fire Marshall Bill. This was only the first attempt.

I refuse to believe anybody didn't laugh at "Edith Puthie."
posted by rhizome at 9:49 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


And just for the record, I flubbed a bunch of the sketch cast/participants up there. I was taken by surprise at how much new meat made it into the show!
posted by rhizome at 9:52 PM on October 4


I could go on and on about how mixed I felt about this episode. Some of the jokes landed, some didn't, it was meh. Megan Thee Stallion really used the stage well, and was likable in the cameos. But the show was so much more than your every-year premiere. I remember seeing the premiere of the 01-02 season, and how it felt like a return to normalcy. This felt like it commented on some aspects of, but largely ignored most-of-the-rest-of, the absurdity surrounding this year's premiere.

(a) I'll let this article from yawn the Atlantic speak for me as to how underwhelmed I was by this episode, especially given the context of the events surrounding the show and upon which it comments. I wasn't disappointed—just underwhelmed. I did appreciate the few social or political stabs they got in, even if the jokes themselves were easily decoded and not subversive when decoded. Even Rock's monologue, I'd heard a ton of the same sentiment by anyone I've spoken to in the past two days. (My sweetie and I saw it early Sunday Night.)

(b) The cast is talented, but way too large. I applaud the addition of Punkie as a second POC female cast member, and bumping Ego up to reperetory cast. But Lauren Holt and the new white guy just seem like extras, and there's more confusion because Lauren resembles Aidy, who is a genius; and Lauren, while I'm assuming she's megatalented, isn't Aidy, and they don't need two Aidy's. I think I read somewhere that this is the largest cast in the show's history? Add four cameos, and ... hey whait, where'd Melissa go? Whoops! I feel like it's going to be a lot of that. (And watching Chloe Fineman doing multiple impressions at once was like Being John Malkovich.) So they seemed stretched too thin and not lined up well just yet. Even Pete was underwhelming.

(c) Megan Thee Stallion was great and used the effects onstage in a minimally striking way, very original, and added instead of detracted.

(d) there was some offensive shit in there as well. The whole draft-as-reality-show sketch felt like a great idea but turned the WRONG direction. Andrew Silver is shitfucko enough as-is, we don't need to say, "oh and."

OK so I had some chuckles and it felt good to see a familiar signpost that autumn is here, and it was a nice date night with my sweetie. But this episode? I think they were too much trying to be normal, rather than WTF. Cause I mean WTF. Right?
posted by not_on_display at 12:15 AM on October 5


Yeah gosh my feeling was that I was just happy to see something from the Before Times start up again after the summer, even if it was in vastly different circumstances. But I had so many feelings about it in a variety of ways.

- Megan Thee Stallion - she is great and made the best use of that weird stage and I appreciated that she was in some sketches
- Cameos - in general were fun but I would have liked to see more Cecily and/or Melissa
- New people - I am confused by the "a lot like Aidy" woman, Punkie seems good and other two are still ghosts to me
- I AM NOT OK WITH CARREY AS BIDEN. Carrey's an anti-vaxxer and I think has a sort of vacuum in his soul and at some level there's a sweetness to Biden (even if it comes with a lot of his other weirdness that are good/bad) that Carrey can't hit. His Biden was kind of mean-spirited and didn't land for me.
- I like Chris Rock's opener and I felt it was better than the last time he hosted
- Hello was good and I hope they keep doing these numbers because I like them
- Bubble Draft - terrible, as everyone has said. Like besides just being kind of offensive it also wasn't very funny?
- Stunt Performers felt derivative but maybe if you haven't seen a ton of those TikToks already. Better role for those older women played by Kate/Aidy than other stuff they've done

Ego was really good and I'm glad she's been promoted. Was surprised they ended with the musical number (because of time) and now I very much want to read a "making of" this episode because it seemed like they had to do a LOT to even get it to work and I wonder if some of the flubs we saw with camera work and etc were because of this.
posted by jessamyn at 2:17 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Aidy as Carrie Krum was the highlight.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 9:50 AM on October 6


The name change sketch was fun, but admittedly a dumb concept with cheap laughs. You know, a return to normalcy.

Normally I love the Kate 'n' Aidy sketches, but this one just missed for me. Maybe because it felt like a bait-and-switch with how much I've enjoyed the actual stunt fight videos.

They had started moving the last musical number to the last thing of the night last season, and I still think it's a bad idea. (and at least on my local broadcast the start was cut off by the commercial break)

Overall, it seemed like a worse than average episode and not a good way to kick off the season.
posted by ckape at 9:10 PM on October 6


Thank god for Megan Thee Stallion in this episode. And I am struck by the fact that, within a few days that I rolled my ankle in August, she was SHOT IN BOTH FEET and is now onstage doing THIS?!, while I am still wearing a brace to the damn grocery store.

The rest of the episode was okay.
posted by knotty knots at 11:00 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]


I do want to give some love to Kyle and Beck for their stoopud Ghost of the Future sketch. It had the right arc, and hen swerved off the highway off the cliff right at the end. That was actually a good sketch in what was otherwise a C-/D+ show.

Two things related: this is after al their first show in a new environment, just as they had to correct after their first episode of Covid-SNL, I bet the next episode will flow much more smoothly once they iron the kinks out and figure out what they need to be doing AND the message coming across.

Also, it's good to see that Kyle and Beck are In Studio and I am hoping we may see a mini-renaissance of theirsover the next four shows. Their comic voices are like, if Beavis and Butthead, like, went to acting school or improv something?
posted by not_on_display at 12:22 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


It was surprising to see a live studio audience, although it turns out that they were paid to be there (NYT):
Reopening guidelines implemented by the state of New York prohibit the public from attending live television shows — unless the show pays its crowd like cast members.
posted by autopilot at 3:32 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


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