Saturday Night Live: Rami Malek / Young Thug
October 17, 2021 2:15 AM - Season 47, Episode 3 - Subscribe

New Movie / New Album

  • Cold Open - Jon Gruden/Raiders: Cecily Strong, Colin Jost, James Austin Johnson, Alex Moffatt, Pete Davidson, Andrew Dismukes, Heidi Gardner, Kyle Mooney, Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson
  • Monologue: Rami Malek
  • Bugs: Heidi Gardner, Kenan Thompson, Andrew Dismukes, Sarah Sherman, Rami Malek, Bowen Yang
  • Squid Game: Pete Davidson, Rami Malek, Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor
  • The Prince-off: Punkie Johnson, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Rami Malek, Kenan Thompson, Daniel Craig
  • Celeb School: Kenan Thompson, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, James Austin Johnson, Melissa Villaseñor, Bowen Yang, Chris Redd, Pete Davidson, Rami Malek, Punkie Johnson, Andrew Dismukes
  • Young Thug - Tick Tock (w/Travis Barker)
  • Weekend Update: Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Gay Oompa Loompa: Bowen Yang
    • Chris Redd
    • Linus Minus: Mikey Day, Kenan Thompson
  • Mattress Store: Aidy Bryant, Rami Malek, Bowen Yang
  • Young Thug - Love You More (w/Travis Barker, Nate Ruess, Gunna)
  • Angelo: Aristotle Athari, Cecily Strong, Daniel Craig, Rami Malek

posted by rhizome (15 comments total)
I loved Bugs. Just... so good.

I am even more confused about Squid Game now. I have no idea how much of that was made up and how much was based on the show. I've only heard the name "Squid Game" but haven't seen any clips or anything.

Celeb School was good. I love the rapid fire celeb impersonations. Chloe's Jennifer Coolidge was absolutely perfect. The Pete/Rami swap had potential but I don't think either of them were very good playing the other. I do so love when celebrities are present while they're being impersonated.

I kind of liked Young Thug's first song, short as it was. The second song I skipped after a bit.

WU was mostly forgettable aside from the Oompa Loompa. I sometimes worry Bowen Yang is just being cast as "token gay dude" but I assume he's writing his own stuff so I guess it's all good.

Prince Off could have been a bit better. Seemed a but unfinished and they didn't really need the cameo.

Mattress Store was fun. Aidy is just delightful in almost everything she does.

I really thought this was a solid episode. Nothing too amazing but most of the sketches at least made me laugh.
posted by bondcliff at 6:48 AM on October 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

Wow, when was the last time Jost was in a non-WU segment?

Yang looks great in heels.

Second the Davidson/ Malek swap; Malek played a better Davidson than the other way around, who was pretty bad. Villaseñor had the least bad impression, and Austin Johnson looked more like a young Charles Dance than Adam Driver.

Nice jab at Jost's hair.

Bit weird that Craig guested in a couple of sketches when Malek is the headliner, but whatevs, might as well.
posted by porpoise at 10:43 AM on October 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

The older (longer-serving) cast members need to step aside and let the new people have a chance. It’s selfish.

Angelo was awesome.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 11:32 AM on October 17, 2021

Mattress Store was hilarious too. Aidy is the best.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 11:33 AM on October 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yesss I loved Angelo. Great to see Aristotle Athari at the center of a sketch, and he has a really refreshing weirdness - kind of a Kate McKinnon style zaniness. I hope we see more of him!

Agreed with Don.Kinsayder, there are too many cast members and it affects my enjoyment of the show. But even cast members who may want to move on may be continuing because of Lorne Michaels's wishes. He's such a huge player in entertainment (just one example, he was the producer of the Cecily Strong vehicle Schmigadoon) and I'm sure they don't want to risk alienating him by leaving on their own.

Mattress Store was great. As was everything with Bowen Yang. This is his show now!
posted by rogerroger at 3:37 PM on October 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Oh, and there was a Cut For Time sketch, another Please Don't Destroy one - Rami Needs a Treat.

It was ok. The challenge for this group will be to expand their sketches to fully integrate a fourth (or more) player. The 3 of them have great chemistry and timing together, but I didn't think this sketch was as funny as Hard Seltzer.
posted by rogerroger at 3:39 PM on October 17, 2021

I'm down for the John Oliver impression, though he needed to grin more when slapping the table.

I think Jost has done a bit on the opening sketch a few times, most commonly the political ones.
posted by Marticus at 1:57 PM on October 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Malek was surprisingly adept at comedy... although maybe it's not SO surprising, since he started in sitcoms and stuff. Still, I think there's universal agreement that he was funnier imitating Pete Davidson than Davidson was imitating him. I doubt they really used Malek's twin in one of the sketches, but I wish they did.

I think the current arrangement is that the cast has dozens of people who all drop in and out every week, with a few stalwarts (like Kenan) we can count on to pretty much always be there. It makes some sense as an idea, but it also creates this impression that the older cast members are crowding out the new people. If Chloe Fineman has an off week, it's probably not really Kate McKinnon's fault. (At this point McKinnon probably drops by the studio once a month or so.) It can also leave the audience with this feeling that we're stuck watching the newer people flail around while the vets are being crowded out, and that's probably not accurate either. If the stuff making it on air was better we probably wouldn't be thinking about who's getting shoved aside, but when the show is this so-so there's a tendency to think that all the best stuff is getting cut.

I thought Yang was good in the Oompa Loompa bit, but I haven't really enjoyed any of his other showcase bits. Maybe he's really shocking and funny to cishet people, but to me he just seems kind of... superficial? Like, there's not a lot of challenge or spark there. The Kids in the Hall (also a Lorne Michaels production) was doing much edgier, funnier queer comedy 30 years ago. I'm not asking him to be that good, but every time he comes out to do a character I know it'll just be some guy who says yaas, queen, or whatever, and that'll be as deep as it goes. Maybe he's writing sharper stuff but this is the best they'll let him do. I don't know.

I guess we're better off they've dropped politics, given the current regime in the writers' room, but it's still kind of appalling that the world's burning down and they're doing instantly forgettable cold opens about some NFL bullshit. Who's playing Trump or Mitch McConnell, now that the guys who used to play them are gone? Will they even bother to recast the parts?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:09 PM on October 18, 2021 [6 favorites]

At this point McKinnon probably drops by the studio once a month or so.

Have we seen her this season yet at all? I really do want to see more of Fineman and Villaseñor, they are my faves that don't seem to get enough screen time whereas Heidi, who I like just fine, seems to be doing more one-note stuff. I also feel like Bowen's characters have more backstory but they're kind of buried. Like with the bug sketch the whole "I've never heard him talk before" line seemed to really make it more than just a campy thing.

I always love ensemble things like Celeb School and it was hilarious seeing Austin be exactly like Driver except... without a chin. Agree that Day's John Oliver was pretty good. I like Oliver but he's definitely got a short list of comic bits that he relies on to punch up his delivery.

I, too, would like someone to comment on this sketch's Squid Game compared to actual Squid Game.
posted by jessamyn at 9:52 AM on October 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

The Squid Game sketch is straight from the Netflix series, to the point that they licensed footage from it. The plot points described in the song are accurate. If I hadn't seen the series yet, I would be upset about spoilers. Of course there are jokes added, but you should know the song really reduces the violence in the show. No killings in the song were added for comedic effect.
posted by Quonab at 11:01 AM on October 19, 2021 [4 favorites]

Also, the song was really funny.
posted by Quonab at 11:01 AM on October 19, 2021

Like with the bug sketch the whole "I've never heard him talk before" line seemed to really make it more than just a campy thing.

Fair point, I'll admit.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:59 PM on October 19, 2021

Who's playing Trump or Mitch McConnell, now that the guys who used to play them are gone? Will they even bother to recast the parts?

James Austin Johnson does an incredible Trump impression. I pray we never have reason to see it on SNL.
posted by rogerroger at 5:06 PM on October 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh and apparently Kate McKinnon is in Australia right now filming Tiger King - she's playing Carole Baskin. She will return to SNL after that's done.
posted by rogerroger at 5:11 PM on October 19, 2021

one word can i have please


Aristotle Athari nailed "Angelo"—but I don't want to see him blow through a recurring character like that when there are so many opportunities to place Angelo in. toniiiiiight....

I thought the past three episodes have been solid, in spite or maybe because of a really spread-thin cast. The ensemble sketches are zanier. They had three desk pieces. The Bowen Yang shows up more often. I would like to have seen Kate, but knowing she'll be back is good, and having Aidy and Cecily running on all cylinders has been a refreshing throwback. The newbs are all getting lines... the sketches have premises and begin and end when they should... And we saw Rami Malek dance. And O how he danced...

posted by not_on_display at 10:16 PM on October 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

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