Saturday Night Live: Daniel Kaluuya / St. Vincent
April 4, 2021 11:43 AM - Season 46, Episode 16 - Subscribe

Cut for time:

  • Cold Open - Oops, You Did It Again: Chloe Fineman, Chris Redd, Mikey Day, Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson
  • Monologue: Daniel Kaluuya  
  • Will You Take It?: Dananiel Kaluuya, Ego Nwodim, Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd, Punkie Johnson  
  • Prank Posse: Kyle Mooney, Daniel Kaluuya  
  • Scattergories: Kate McKinnon, Daniel Kaluuya, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner
  • Proud Parents: Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Daniel Kaluuya, Kate McKinnon, Andrew Dismukes, Beck Bennett  
  • St. Vincent - Pay Your Way In Pain  
  • Weekend Update: Colin Jost, Michael Che [1 2]
    • Smokery Farms: Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant  
    • Guy Who Bought a Boat: Alex Moffatt  
    • Jeff & Hattie Deeley: Heidi Gardner, Mikey Day  
  • Dog Park: Daniel Kaluuya, Ego Nwodim, Andrew Dismukes  
  • St. Vincent - The Melting of the Sun  
  • Half-Brother: Kenan Thompson, Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett, Daniel Kaluuya, Cecily Strong, Ego Nwodim  
posted by rhizome (31 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
rhizome, thank you for putting these posts together! I always like to know what other MeFites think of the latest SNL.

I really loved this episode. Daniel Kaluuya brought great energy and versatility, and seemed to be having a great time. I've only seen him in Get Out and Judas and the Black Messiah - he was great in both but both were serious roles, although Get Out had some dark humor, so I didn't know what he'd be like - he was phenomenal.

My favorites were Proud Parents, which ended with the best line (Is there a poet in the house?), and Frat Trip, which was just SO WHOLESOME and silly. Frat guys being super excited about hanging out with their moms was so great.

Guy Who Bought a Boat has always been one of my favorite Alex Moffatt bits, however this time it seemed less fresh and the character was lacking the smug energy I've seen in previous WUs. Maybe it was the costuming/hair too?

I was not super into Pete Davidson as Gaetz, there wasn't much effort in the impersonation, more Pete being Pete. But maybe that was intentional for the show to present Gaetz as a punchline instead of a real character.
posted by rogerroger at 12:28 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Oh and I forgot to say, Kaluuya's monologue was awesome! Sometimes I skip the monologue if it's an actor vs. a standup comedian, but this was great - short, tight, energetic with some good zingers.
posted by rogerroger at 12:36 PM on April 4


Good ep! I love Heidi Gardner’s character work on WU.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 12:47 PM on April 4


and Frat Trip

I missed this somehow! Not even on the YouTube channel, so I'll just sit here all day, mortified. ;)
posted by rhizome at 1:03 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Kaluuya was great. I was only sort of vaguely familiar with him, I saw Get Out and I'm not sure what else I've seen him in. He just seemed to have a lot of energy, which always makes for a good show.

I enjoyed the cold open. I think it's a good way to cover 2-3 recent stories that are unrelated. I agree Pete was basically just being Pete but they covered Gaetz' creepiness pretty well. I'm surprised the lapdance for God wasn't the top headline today. I'm sure someone is going to lose their shit over it.

I liked the Scattergories sketch. Kate was doing the sort of thing she's best at.

The camera work was off a bit, with several shots of people talking while the camera lingered on someone else.

Kate and Aidy killing it in the smoked meat sketch.

The first time St. Vincent was on SNL I had never heard of her before and I was immediately blown away. This time I enjoyed her even more. She sort of has a Bowie thing going on and I am 100% here for it. She's amazing.
posted by bondcliff at 3:36 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just my mood, but I didn't feel this one other than for annoyance. Daniel Kaluuya was good, though.
posted by porpoise at 4:15 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Kate and Aidy killing it in the smoked meat sketch.

Was it just me or did they have a bit of an "ew, meat" v-eater thing going on? I thought it detracted from an act that I remember liking a lot in the past.

I was surprised to learn that St. Vincent is a) from Texas; and b) still under 30 years old. I'm thinking she's a force of nature! I didn't much take to her last time, but last night I too saw the Bowie influence that isn't just a copy. The music itself grabbed me more than I was expecting, particularly the first song.

Maybe I'll ask on the other boards about the accuracies of Chloe Fineman's Britney Spears, but the impossibly-extra dance things she does when guests are walking out just killed me.
posted by rhizome at 6:01 PM on April 4


My husband: "If you told me St Vincent was a Kate MacKinnon character who got out of hand, I'd believe you."
posted by joannemerriam at 6:25 PM on April 4 [7 favorites]


I was surprised to learn that St. Vincent is a) from Texas; and b) still under 30 years old

Annie Clark is 38.
posted by jonathanhughes at 6:52 PM on April 4 [8 favorites]


Thank you for clarifying jonathanhughes because I saw her perform at SXSW almost a decade ago and I was starting to seriously doubt my memory!
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:22 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


No problem! I had to look her age up, because I saw her for the first time maybe ten years ago, and I had to see if she was actually 19 then.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:52 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


To be honest, St. Vincent was the big draw for me in this episode, and I wasn't disappointed. Does anyone know if that was a new band lineup? I was surprised not to see Toko Yasuda.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:33 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


It looked to be a at least a partially new band, if not totally. Although I've seen her a few times and there were only a couple people contact from one shoe to the next. In her SNL performance, it was Just Meldal-Johnson on bass, who was in Beck's band for a long time, and also toured with Nine Inch Nails, among many others.
posted by jonathanhughes at 6:40 AM on April 5


So, what's the deal with these "cut for time" clips, since the show is purportedly live?
Aside from prerecorded bits, are they from dress rehearsals, or what?
posted by cheshyre at 9:05 AM on April 5


Again, this episode had an awesome host and a lackluster overall vibe. As my sweetie commented after we watched it, it was just way too many suburban settings sketches. One filmed bit, the Sad-Kyle one (Jessamyn referenced me to the actual people being portrayed), no funny music videos. The news was okay, nothing woweeee, a few good zingers—but the pieces: Guy with new boat, and Guy Dating Elderly Rich Woman, just were wrong. Guy with boat was HILARIOUS the first few times Alex nailed it. This time it just seemed like an animatronic version of the same character. Funny but a bit off. And that elderly-being-daft shit is getting old. I mean she could've instead been rich and had any other wierd surreal tic, WHO KNOWS

And the sketches were no gems, but not garbage either. Daniel was great, and it was nice to see five black actors in the same sketch, and all of them had funny lines. But mostly it was just funny lines here and there and no real smoke'n'fire. Kate's wrecking-the-kitchen bit was wincingly Wiiglike [hey I like that] and then she became the easy target of drunken suburban housewife with serious personality disorder, and punch 'em in the dick.

BUT! The show improved with the last three sketches, especially the two before the final sketch. Dog park was funny, especially when the two macho shitheads turned around and Ego was gone. That was a great slow-build and an excellent diversionary punchline. (But again, set in a middle-upper-class NYC Dog park with pweshus widdle doggehs yess dey are.. ahem where was I. Yeah I am a sucker for the scat-jazz SNL sketch, a long-honored tradition dating at least back to the Sweeney Sisters. Cecily just gets this character. I don't care that the sketch was goofy, it was more about the doofy sillyjazz. I mean who turns down the chance to play a upright bass!
posted by not_on_display at 9:24 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Oh and the Cut For Times (which I didnt watch yet) yeah some are from dress, some are extra films they produced either that week oranother time. The show's running schedule is always in flux, so sometimes they can't fit in something they had in dress rehearsal, or something they had in dress sucked so they have to put in a different sketch thats a little longer or shorter, shifting all the commercial breaks a little, and making things not fit as neatly into 11-minute chunks like sitcoms or some other live events have the luxury of doing.
posted by not_on_display at 9:27 AM on April 5


Other than Kaluuya, who not only was wonderful but his heartfelt monologue was one of the best I've seen in years—this episode was a disaster. I agree with the Guardian review: "SNL seems lost […] Kaluuya was responsible for a few bright spots but most of the episode left a lot to be desired. The sheer laziness on display – the refusal to take full advantage of the cast, overreliance on a handful of tired set-ups – underlines one of the biggest problems with SNL right now."
posted by Ahmad Khani at 12:02 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Annie Clark is 38.

I don't know what happened to my reading, but I could have swore I saw her birthday the other night as in 1992! It doesn't make any difference really, but I did like the idea of her first appearance on SNL being when she was 22.
posted by rhizome at 2:02 PM on April 5


Perhaps the writers are still trying to find their post-T**** funny, particularly since we're all still bummed over Covid.

It took me a few comments in the actual Matt Gaetz thread to realise they were trying to put a bit of (giggity) Quagmire in there - it could probably work as a more explicit character, a family guy parody sketch might be too meta though.
posted by Marticus at 6:26 PM on April 5


I think you're right about too-meta, plus Pete's simply wasn't a good enough impression to pull the punchline off among those who caught it.
posted by rhizome at 6:28 PM on April 5


Daniel Kaluuya was an excellent host who hit to the back of the stadium in everything they gave him to do. He and Ego Nwodim were a riot in "Proud Parents".

I really appreciated Colin Jost going for Matt Gaetz. I bet Jost hates having his looks compared to Gaetz's, because ewwwww (though at least he gets to be the non-funhouse mirror version), but he was all, welp, I might as well use it to take him down. I certainly hope I never wind up with a Republican doppelgänger.

I didn't get to see "Scattergories" or "Half-Brother" as they were cut out of the version available on the GlobalTV site for some reason.
posted by orange swan at 6:39 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman are my featured player MVPs this season. Although honestly they're all pretty great this year. (Also Melissa Villaseñor is criminally underappreciated.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:03 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


...plus Pete's simply wasn't a good enough impression to pull the punchline off among those who caught it.

To be fair, though, that's kind of how Pete plays all his characters (or, at least the characters that don't feature an identifiably NYC/Jersey accent.) I liked his playing of Gaetz, myself. I'm not sure it's necessary to go all-in on an impersonation of a character, so long as it's established who the actor is playing. I'd rather they hold back and get the gags across, rather than do a bad, distracting impersonation.

Though, I will say this Gaetz thing would be a perfect opportunity for Jost to do something beyond just WU.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:33 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Kate and Aidy killing it in the smoked meat sketch.

Was it just me or did they have a bit of an "ew, meat" v-eater thing going on? I thought it detracted from an act that I remember liking a lot in the past.


I think it's more about how the meat smells after ten or fifteen hours in a warm damp place. The chicken especially would be rancid. Yes, last year they did a similar bit, and at the time the cast seemed genuinely surprised by the smell - I think this one was a callback to that previous sketch.
posted by Mogur at 4:37 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


I was a little surprised they went with Davidson as Gaetz when, as Jost himself pointed out, Gaetz and Jost look a hell of a lot alike. I mean, this is a Sarah Palin/Tina Fey situation, where it's like an actor was born to play the part. But I guess they're always looking for stuff for Pete to do... or maybe Jost really doesn't want to be in sketches.

The writing continues to be mostly mediocre. They've pretty much ditched political material, which may be for the best given the current writers (they made a hash of it, often as not) but seems kind of nuts for an "edgy" sketch comedy show in 2021 America.

The new cast members aren't popping for me yet. Chloe Fineman comes closest, but I wouldn't call myself a fan. She sure plays a lot of baby-voiced airhead types. I mean, even aside from her impressions, she plays all these ditzy girlfriends and beauty pageant ladies with blank, staring eyes. I don't know if that's what the writers are handing her or if that's just her wheelhouse, but I'd like to see some more range there. (Even her Timothee Chalamet impression was all about how he's dopey and cute!) It's a little frustrating that she keeps getting these showcase bits for her impressions while Melissa Villaseñor was never really given the same kind of chance and now seems to be fading from the cast. Villaseñor is so gifted as an impressionist that it's honestly kind of creepy, but you wouldn't really know that from watching SNL.

I liked the little froggy sculpture in the Proud Parents thing. The poem was awful, but I can see the other guy going places with his froggies.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:36 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Looking at the cut-for-times, yeah there's not much that could have saved the show.

And if the cast is underutilized, it's because the cast is the largest it's been in a long time. But individually they're so talented in their own ways. Whoever doesn't come back next season would be missed—but it wouldn't leave so much of a gap in the show. I kinda miss those seasons where Lorne would suddenly change half the cast during the summer. It was usually a good idea. Like the purge between Season 20 & 21, you lost some superstars, but also gained Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, Tim Meadows, Colin Quinn...

But now it'd be tougher because no one cast member stands out head and shoulders above the rest anymore, not Kate, not Cecily or Aidy, nobody. Everyone has their areas where they shine, but you need sketches to contain those characters, and you need to give people airtime to develop. In a cast this crowded, and Lorne and the writers aiming for the bland rather than the risky these days... yeah, dunno.

They need to get back to a few weeks ago, when their sketches had arcs, beginnings, punchlines, weren't repetitive during the sketch, or overusing tropes (e.g. dinner table sketch, restaurant sketch...) I think they probably could have swapped the Hero film for something else—not because the writing was great, but because Chris Redd was so funny in it. You need good WIERD sketches in order for this cast to showcase their talent; and you need more ensemble sketches to fit them all in, especially when the cast is this huge.

Still time to get their game back!
posted by not_on_display at 9:50 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


But now it'd be tougher because no one cast member stands out head and shoulders above the rest anymore, not Kate, not Cecily or Aidy, nobody.

Agreed on the S20 purge…
but…
I feel Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon are on an entirely different level than the rest. Need to figure out how to somehow raise the others up.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 10:28 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


I feel Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon are on an entirely different level than the rest.

I would have to agree that they are indispensable at this point, and have earned it. HowEVer the writers have been relying way too much on Kristin Wiig antics for Kate. She is NOT being underutilized, but miscast instead.

Kenan, though, he gets better the more diverse the cast gets. He used to carry the show with characters; now it's mostly random characters with a few older sidebits to pull out every so often (e.g. Poor Ol' Willy, or Reese D'WHAT?). He gets tenure, he gets to stretch out and not just "KENAN REACTS" or "KENAN DOES IT ALL". He gets to play weirdos now! But like Phil Hartman or Will Ferrell or Gilda Radner, every sketch is a little better when he is in it. I was so happy when he was hired, it was a fun surprise. Now I'm so happy he's got seniority and still killing it.

So if you had to save two and burn the rest of the set down like at the end of season 11, Kate & Kenan would be the equivalent of Jon Lovitz and Dennis Miller? (Not like NBC is thinking of cancelling the show now that it's a cultural institution. But I'm now starting to wonder what the post-Lorne years will be like, if the show continues after he calls it a day. I am really hoping Lorne is grooming Kenan to take over.)

God I loved the shoutout to Kel.
posted by not_on_display at 10:56 PM on April 6


Guy Who Bought a Boat has always been one of my favorite Alex Moffatt bits, however this time it seemed less fresh and the character was lacking the smug energy I've seen in previous WUs. Maybe it was the costuming/hair too?

Yeah they ditched the sweater over shoulders and so he went from being a very preppy That Guy to being interchangeable with any number of dudebros. I mean I think there was something lagging in Moffat's delivery this time because the writing for that bit still felt good.

I agree though that everything felt weird after the monologue (which was great), and I thought Pete-as-Gaetz was played wrong kind of. Like Gaetz is repulsive and he seemed more like a Pete-kinda-schmo.. But yeah, odd camera timing cues, a lot of suburban house bits (not my fave) and they just don't seem to know what to do with Biden and so they're... not doing anything.

Villaseñor is criminally underappreciated.

Yes! I wonder if this is just because she's kind of a shy person so doesn't get her stuff through the writer's room or if she's doing other things) as a lot of the cast seems to be. I feel like with a cast this big it can be hard to figure out who has really good chemistry the way Kaluuya and Nwodim did in that proud parents sketch. Also I've gotten tired of nerdy/insecure Kyle bits so I liked this one which felt a bit more "Yeah that is how those things work and this is a funny take on it." I thought all three cut for time bits were better than most of what made the show.
posted by jessamyn at 2:49 PM on April 10


But I'm now starting to wonder what the post-Lorne years will be like, if the show continues after he calls it a day. I am really hoping Lorne is grooming Kenan to take over.)

Rumor I've heard is Seth Myers.
posted by rhizome at 3:58 PM on April 10


I'd be surprised if Meyers got the job, because running SNL is pretty much a behind-the-scenes deal and Meyers is thriving with his on-camera gig. I doubt Thompson would get (or want) the job either. He's a natural performer, he belongs on-camera someplace. I suspect it would go to somebody who was more of a writer than a performer, probably with a long history as a head writer. That makes me a little worried it might go to Jost or Che. I can easily picture Michaels picking either guy, and they'd keep the show on the air but it'd probably never be any better than it is right now. They desperately need to get away from the "both sides" stuff, and Jost probably isn't the guy to do that and Che definitely isn't.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:24 PM on April 11


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