Saturday Night Live: Bill Burr / Jack White
October 11, 2020 1:15 AM - Season 46, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Bill Burr's first time hosting.

  • Cold Open - VP Debate: Kate McKinnon, Beck Bennett, Maya Rudolph, Jim Carrey, Heidi Gardner, Kyle Mooney, Kenan Thompson
  • Monologue: Bill Burr
  • Couples Night - Ego Nwodim, Kenan Thompson, Kyle Mooney, Kate McKinnon, Bill Burr, Chloe Fineman
  • The Blitz: Ego Nwodim, Bill Burr, Kenan Thompson, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day
  • Enough is Enough: Beck Bennett, Jason Momoa
  • Jack White - Ball and Biscuit/Don't Hurt Yourself/Jesus Is Coming Soon
  • Weekend Update: Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Dr. Wayne Wenodis: Kate McKinnon
    • Pete Davidson
  • Mob Family Dinner: Bil Burr, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, Mikey Day, Alex Moffatt, Beck Bennetti, Punkie Johnson
  • Real Bostonians: Heidi Gardner, Alex Moffatt, Beck Bennett, Bill Burr, Ego Nwodim, Lauren Holt, Mikey Day
  • Jack White - Lazaretto
posted by rhizome (24 comments total)
Well, they seem to have solved most of their technical issues from last week - I heard glasses clattering during "Mob Family Dinner", but that's about it - but a lot of the episode just didn't work for me. "Enough is Enough" was cute, and WU got some punches in, but that was about it, and I found myself fast-forwarding through a lot of it.
posted by Mogur at 5:13 AM on October 11, 2020

Bill Burr is Lena Dunham for white men in Oakleys.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:18 AM on October 11, 2020 [14 favorites]

I've never really been able to figure out Bill Burr. He's funny enough but his shtick is often "Political correctness, amirite?" and then he'll twist it around. He's sort of a South Park comedian in that he doesn't really take a stand on anything, he just makes fun of everyone doing everything. I never saw him as an SNL host and I don't think he was great in that slot. Also, his dad is my coworker's dentist. Now you know.

The cold open was all over the place. You knew they were going to do something with the fly and it's obvious Goldblum wasn't available. Maya is great as Kamala but I think they focused too much on her and they did nothing about Pence constantly going over his time.

I've always been a fan of Jack White and I'm happy any time there's some guitar rock on SNL these days. He's always a little (or a lot) over the top in his playing and he likes to overdrive his amp but he sure can play.

Nice to get some Pete and Kate in WU.

The rest of the show was only ok. Nothing terrible, nothing stand out.
posted by bondcliff at 7:24 AM on October 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

posted by ckape at 8:22 AM on October 11, 2020

Realistically, I suspect that the moment with Kate and Pete in WU where she's breaking character and he says "Are you okay?" and she says ".....I'm obviously not" was scripted.

I really, really want to think it was spontaneous though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:58 AM on October 11, 2020

Dr. Weknowdis was the best part, but I wish they hadn't done the whole "Kate, are you ok" bit. I liked the silly absurdity, and although McKinnon's delivery of "obviously not" was excellent, it still felt like an unnecessary explanation of the joke.
posted by the primroses were over at 10:36 AM on October 11, 2020

Well, they seem to have solved most of their technical issues from last week - I heard glasses clattering during "Mob Family Dinner", but that's about it - sorry, forgot to add: in that same sketch, one actor on the left was blocked completely until the camera cheated right a bit.
posted by Mogur at 11:54 AM on October 11, 2020

I've never seen Burr's standup (nor his screen work), and yeah, his monologue was crap, an object lesson in comedy I don't need. However, and perhaps because of the low expectations he set there, I thought he was very good as an actor in the sketches. I'm not proud of it, but he committed to the characters, some (most?) of which mocked his standup persona, and he didn't trip over his lines. The Blitz was legitimately cringe...which is rare! He did The Thing that hosts are ideally there to do, and not badly. Certainly above average for SNL hosts. Surprised I was.

Cold open was OK, I liked the "The Fly" idea. I really hope they don't make Kamala "110% Cool Mom" forever, there's some ribbing to be done and while that character is perfect for Maya, it's a little too broad and farcical for my taste. I like Beck as Pence and he had some good lines that I've already forgotten.

Mob Family Dinner was a little thin and rough. The Samuel Adams/Real Bostonians was almost great but I think it needed a bit more work. I laughed at the slow burn (for me) that he was getting drunker as he liked the beer more and more. That said, I thought they should have also riffed on those "Your cousin...FROM BOS-TON" Sam Adams commercials.

I hate to say it, but I thought Kate was milking it in both the Dr. and Couples Night sketches. I don't like when she gets like that and it makes me sad. You know what we never see? A Kate- and Kyle-centered sketch. I think that could be very good.

I thought Jack White was really great, and thought he kind of shoved it in the face of the maskless dipshit he was called in to replace in a "you could have had this" way, which was nice. I'm more of a fan of him as a person than a musician, where I simply haven't taken the time to listen to very much, but he is obviously a complete package who can pick a good band, and if I prayed it would have been an answer to my prayers that musical guests not bring their own sets. All in all one of the great performances of the past few years, and his Eddie Van Halen tributaries were well-taken.

"The noon normal."
posted by rhizome at 12:13 PM on October 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

I thought he was very good as an actor in the sketches.

Definitely agree. The first time I ever saw him was as a mercenary on The Mandalorian, and was surprised to find out he was a standup comic.
posted by Mogur at 1:28 PM on October 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Where were Aidy, Cecily, and Melissa?
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 1:54 PM on October 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

The show is in a very weird place right now, where it simultaneously seems to be coasting and going off the rails. When it's not mediocre it's a fiasco where it seems like the actors are desperately improv-ing half their lines (or the teleprompter is constantly fritzing out) and the control room is on fire.

Just like last week the cold open was a total shambles, changing premises every 30 seconds. This show's politics have felt messy and both-sides-y for a long time, but right now they're so confused and flailing I can't even get mad about it. The cold opens play like every single idea somebody tosses out in the writer's room makes it on the air. "What if Biden gets in a teleporter to go to the debate, but he gets fused with a fly like in The Fly. "Yeah, and then what if he starts to turn into Jeff Goldblum?" "Well... wait, what?" "Yeah, and then he meets Herman Cain, reincarnated as a fly!" "Hang on, I'm still stuck on the Goldblum thing. That seems kind of random and..." "He can start quoting Jurassic Park! And he can do an ad for!" Sometimes it felt as hacky as Mad TV, sometimes it was like some terrible fever dream. One bizarre little detail, among many others: Carrey and Thompson looked like they were both wired up to fly around, but then IIRC they never flew!

Weekend Update was mostly pretty solid. Che and Jost got some solid digs in at Trump and Pete seemed like he was in a relatively good place. But then you had McKinnon's Wenodis meltdown, and that was just upsetting to watch. I wasn't sure if I was watching her actually fall apart or if it was some attempt at Andy Kaufman-esque anti-comedy.

Burr's monologue was... OK? He can be very good as a stand-up and as other people have said he's a surprisingly strong actor, but his monologue reminded me of Chris Rock's in the sense that it was provocative without being very substantial. Was that Sam Adams thing a real ad? We heard a lot more of Burr saying how foul it was than the yuppie people saying they liked it. He made the beer seem genuinely gross and lame.

Thank God for Jack White. I mean, just in general, but if they'd had the maskless country fuck-up as the musical guest the show would've been like 60% worse.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:22 PM on October 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just painfully awful.
All 5 of us sat down to watch it after our Thanksgiving dinner, which is pretty rare. Usually I’m the only one awake with maybe one of my kids.
Daughter #1 asked who Bill Burr was in the intro, and I said “he’s one of those YOU CANT SAY ANYTHING THESE DAYS comedians” having only seen him on Colbert or something where he bombed to a groaning mostly silent audience. Anyhow, my son left halfway through the intro, my wife and daughter #2 left after the monologue and daughter #1 made it halfway through the first sketch before saying “yeah, no” and going to bed. That left me on my own, basically because I was too full of turkey to go to bed and I was sticking it out to see Jack White.
I think I chuckled once, don’t remember at what. May have been the first time Jim Carrey spoke as Goldblum, but then it went on way too long.
Really baffled by the Pete Davidson thing about JK Rowling. Particularly odd because he’s chummy with Bill Burr, who was in his Staten Island movie (and who is a raging transphobe.) He even cheered “Bill Burr!” at the end of of his JKR bit.
Kate McKinnon just annoys me at this point, in a similar way that Adam Sandler always did, which is a drag because I really liked her for a long time.
Really missed Aidy and Bowen, they are often the best moments of any episode, for me.
Daru Jones, the drummer in Jack White’s band, was the absolute highlight of the show. Just rock-solid and I couldn’t take my eyes off him and his forward-tilted toms. The musical segments saved the episode or at least made parts of it entertaining.
Our dog was sick at 6am so my wife and I were both awake and the one thing she said to me after we cleaned up the barf was “that SNL was so bad.”
posted by chococat at 3:34 PM on October 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

That white women shit in the monologue was unearned. If Che had said it, I wouldn't be mad. But for a white man to talk about a victim mentality that was caused by being victimized by white men is, well, it was a choice. But Bill Burr is very much not my thing to begin with.

I kinda expected that to be brought up, since it would be called misogynistic if Che had indeed said it, but OK.
posted by Ruki at 5:48 PM on October 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

I like Bill Burr... but I turned off the monolog after the second 'you can't say these days' thing. I mean, I really dig Bill Burr -- I've watched so many clips where he just nails a point, and it's usually in what I would call a politically correct pov. But that opener, wow, he should have let the SNL writers come up with something for him instead of dragging out his 'edgy' material which probably goes over well with drunk white guys. Now I'm cringing watching the rest as it's hard to worry that the performers are going to expose themselves to covid for some bad writing.
posted by Catblack at 7:38 PM on October 11, 2020

Pretty ho-hum episode. I didn't hate it, but though there were some mildly amusing moments, I don't recall actually laughing at all.

I didn't like that they had Harris drinking during the debate. I mean, seriously? And though I had looked forward to Jim Carrey's Joe Biden, I'm finding it a let down. I'm left feeling that it's painfully substandard when seen in contrast with Baldwin's Trump, and that one of the regular cast members could have done it better.

I agree with others that the monologue sucked (that "you can't say ANYTHING these days without getting cancelled" white male shtick is so unbelievably tired and shitty) but that Burr is quite a good actor.

"For all intents and porpoises...."
posted by orange swan at 10:51 AM on October 12, 2020

But Bill Burr is very much not my thing to begin with.

Yeah that is where I come down. I think he is a good stand-up with terrible material. Like generally he has good delivery but what he chooses to talk about is mostly not my idea of funny. I thought he was at his best in the Sam Adams commercial and Mob Dinner and the rest of it, less good, though yeah I did appreciate how he was committed to the bits etc.

Where were Aidy, Cecily, and Melissa?

Don't know about Melissa but A/C are both doing other projects which means they're going to be in less stuff this season. But Bowen! Showed up in the end in shorts (and Maya was wearing that pioneer dress) I wonder if we missed some other sketch that was cut for time or what was going on.

in that same sketch, one actor on the left was blocked completely

If you mean Punkie, I think that was the joke? If you mean someone else, I may have missed it.

I do not like Carrey's Biden, I do not like Carrey.

Weekend Update was really good in terms of Che/Jost but I did feel that Kate was a bit more milking-it than necessary and the "Are you ok" did feel scripted. Also Pete is good and also confusing, I think what was intended to come out as some sort of "Man JKR I am disappointed in you" became kind of both-sidesy.

Jack White brought it and I appreciated that, though the first song I was like "Really? TWO solos?" but generally it was a good musical bit.
posted by jessamyn at 9:57 AM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I do not like Carrey.

I grew up in southern Ontario not far from where he did, and am a few years younger than Carrey. I have some friends who knew him in high school, and each of them to this day can only see him as John Carrey’s annoying little brother who would not stop with the fart jokes. They all recount rolling their eyes at his mom’s requests of, “Are you going out? Take Jimmy with you!”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:45 PM on October 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

I kinda expected that to be brought up, since it would be called misogynistic if Che had indeed said it, but ok.

Whereas I watched Burr's monologue and thought, "Wow, Burr is probably going to catch a ton of crap for saying stuff Michael Che gets celebrated for saying." It was a bit more nuanced than Che's usual anti-feminist miliennial white girl stuff, but it was far from Burr's best. I've ranted about Che's misogynist stuff plenty in these threads, but I always get a lot of pushback and I didn't feel like I was changing any minds, so I backed off from it. (In fairness Che does seem to be backing off from that stuff... on WU, if not in sketches.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:58 PM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I posted that from my car, during a break when I was out running errands. The Burr/Che misogyny thing is such a minefield, and I only posted that latest comment because I felt like I was being called out for not crabbing about Burr's comments about feminists when I've crabbed plenty about Che's. I actually started a whole post kind of comparing and contrasting Burr and Che, but then I realized all it would probably get me was a flamewar and I bailed out. I will say that Burr insisting LGBT people don't deserve Pride month because we were never enslaved is some serious bullshit. We still get killed, constantly, just for existing. (But if you wanted to give us February instead of June, that'd be fine by me. I hate the summer heat.)

It's fun to argue about SNL in these threads sometimes, but I don't see any way to have this particular discussion without it going badly. So, I guess I'm out.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:31 PM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'll bite. I don't want to start a flame war either. But I think Burr is a good indicator of a certain current...propensity? for...let's call it projection? Interpreting something as the worst-case-scenario reading?

Because I took the Pride Month bit not as 'you don't deserve June', but as a sort of impressed 'wow, how'd you pull that off? I wasn't paying attention. You claimed a whole month! And one of the really good ones! Props!'

And his out-of-touch schtick, to me, services not a 'how could this possibly happen, what has the world come to!' Reactionary Old Man Yelling At Clouds routine; but as a setup for 'cultural change X happened while I was preoccupied watching SportsCenter. I'm going to ask impudent questions about it, because as a stand up comedian, lot of the rhetoric kinda sounds like repackaged bullshit; _comedy example follows_'.

Are we both right? Both wrong? Are both readings possible?

To put jokes in someone else's mouth, how about this?
"I'm no expert on social media, I don't know a hashtag from a hole in the ground. But I DO know that posting a black square on your Instagram from your rose gold iPhone, while you yell at the Cambodian girl who's giving your White-Devil hooves a pedicure, does not exactly make you Rosa Fucking Luxembourg."
Puncturing the hypocrisy of white, priveleged, for followers, beauty-blogger twitter activism?
Or a mysogynist fossil, punching down at women and making light of human trafficking?

I'm not trying to force anyone to laugh at jokes or comedians they don't find funny.
Or silence anyone pointing out that ha-ha or not to humorous phrasing in one instance, issue X is also a really serious problem, not a bit made up for laughs.

But I'd rather live in a world where someone at least gets a shot at saying 'who put rich white girls at the front of the line? when did they sneak that one in past everyone else?' in public, without it being Mysogynist Oppression! Beyond the Pale!
And judging from POC Twitter's overwhelming response of 'YES! Finally someone says it out loud!' vs. Pearl-Clutching 'Le Gasp! Well, I Never!' Twitter and Her white-knighters...

I desire a world where everyone is safe from harm, but not safe from mockery.
Where no joke punches down, because nothing's considered 'lower'.
But to make that happen, I first NEED a world where hypocrisy can be called out, even if the hypocrite is currently a member of a protected class.

I don't think that's something we need to come to blows over?
Maybe I'm wrong.
Or maybe it's just because this is Metafilter, and there's something here besides hot-take dunking competitions?
posted by bartleby at 6:45 PM on October 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

I agree with you about more things than you might think, Bartleby. These are complicated issues and I have complicated opinions... but for me, talking about Michael Che vs. Bill Burr on Metafilter is just asking for a big ugly fight.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:02 PM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

~shrugs~ No worries, I get it.
I don't have a dog in that fight. But I've had other "ooh, this would be the perfect place for a discussion about this! : except it would also be the worst possible place, damn."
So I do also wish for an post-whatever age where we don't have to back away from the keyboard from fear of Metafilter: Metafilter.
posted by bartleby at 12:12 AM on October 14, 2020

Only partway through the episode, just finished Couples Night, and feeling very annoyed at yet another flagrant joke theft by SNL's writers. The "stubbornly insisting on misusing common aphorisms" bit has been used for decades by Tom Scharpling & Jon Wurster, and "Couples Night" repeated some of their very specific running jokes in that category.

I know this is small potatoes, but it's depressing when they steal jokes that are already tired, even to the biggest fans of the source (I haven't laughed at a S&W aphorism joke in many years, but I tolerate them because I love those guys).
posted by knotty knots at 4:34 PM on October 14, 2020

I'm skipping most of this thread because Bill Burr hurts my head, and I'm assuming there's some sort of push-pull above this comment, debating Bill Burr's message and method of delivery. I personally can't reconcile him in a lot of ways—let's just say I laughed as much as I winced, which is what I expect whenever I see his stand-up. But surprisingly not as much of the BILL BURR as I had anticipated, thankfully. Except the Boston sketch—that was why Bill was ultimately created, maybe. But when it comes to the kinda comedy he wields, Bill Burr is no contest versus, say, Bill Hicks. Maybe Burr's still better than Bill Maher. What's with these Bills? And why is Boston's NPR station WBURR?

[Also, as an aside, I shudder when I imagine: what if JOE ROGAN ever hosted SNL? His material is very button-pushing, ... but then I counter-think that Rogan probably would scoff at the prospect now. And then I anti-counter-think, he acted next to Phil Hartman for four years... Hmmm. Then I get tired and go to bed.]

The sketches themselves were middle of the road, they still need a bit more "bite" to them. Nothing memorable pops out after a few days without consulting the list (aside from the Boston sketch). And except oh god, we have a few more weeks of BAD POLITICAL COLD OPENS. Jim Carrey's schtick as a comic actor is tired, period. I am impressed with his physical agility, but I find his over-the-top delivery actually exhausting. I hope Biden wins, but Lorne chooses a different actor for Biden. I found it ironic that Carrey's Biden was the guy lampooning Baldwin's Trump, especially right before Trump developed covid. It was like a bizarro world of casting choices and circumstance, given what I know of Carrey's presentation of himself IRL which, again, yeah not gonna go there, you've all seen that show, go vaccinate your kids fer fucksake.

Maya is a national treasure.

Anyway, this show as a whole was a step in the right direction—in spite of its host and cameo—in terms of production smoothness, general joke quality, and sketch arc. Good to see Pete at the news desk, but he could kick it up a few more notches I think. Also nice to see some faces getting more of the screen time; but also disappointed to miss some others entirely. The cast is too big in general; I am glad some of the cast have other projects, but I hope it doesn't thin out the show too much.

Oh, and Jack White was just having a blast out there—so two solos? He's filling in for dumbass original musical guest whoever that was, so I'll give Jack White a hall pass. The whole second song was a time filler. He does such a great sloppy tight-but-loose Jimmy Page imitation, surpassed in sloppiness only by Jimmy Page himself. He also makes playing the guitar look so effortless. So SNL's 2-for-2 in the musical guest department, hooray!
posted by not_on_display at 11:59 PM on October 15, 2020

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