Saturday Night Live: Megan Thee Stallion aces double duty in solid episode

Singer plays host and musical guest in a better-than-average week that sees sketches on January 6, Hocus Pocus and wellness

Saturday Night Live kicks off with C-Span coverage of the closing statement of the January 6 committee. In one of the most jaw droppingly wrongheaded bits the show has ever done, outgoing Republican Senator Liz Cheney (Heidi Gardener) extolls herself for being tough and principled, citing her father’s influence for giving her a backbone: “I guess you could say I have big Dick Cheney energy.”

Video footage of a furious Nancy Pelosi (Chloe Fineman) and a finicky Chuck Schumer (Sarah Sherman) on the day of the insurrection, as well as a rambling Trump (James Austin Johnson), follow, as well as the committees delusional proclamations that Trump will answer to justice (though Kenan Thompson’s Chairman Thompson immediately refutes this).

People with #Resist in their Twitter bios will probably find this all hilarious, but anyone not enamored of (miscalculated) opportunist Cheney or her war criminal father will likely be infuriated.

Megan Thee Stallion pulls double duty as host and musical guest. The rapper introduces herself by her various alter egos (including “That Bitch,” as her haters know her); runs through her list of accomplishments, including her recent graduation from college; and thanks her fans. There’s maybe one attempt at an actual joke in all of it, but the energetic performer is clearly comfortable stepping in the host’s shoes.

On Hot Girl Hospital, Megan and Punkie Johnson’s ER nurses and Ego Nwodim’s doctor transform “mid as hell” patients into “bad bitches”. They do not, however, provide any actual medical attention.

We Got Brought is a rap about three strangers (Megan Thee Stallion, Bowen Yang and Nwodim) brought to a club by their “mutuals” and left alone to make awkward conversation. Both sketches are all set-up with no payoff.

Then, a friends and family retreat at a cabin take an aggravating turn when Megan’s father (Thompson) fails to see a cute deer standing right outside the cabin window. Soon enough, the deer is inside, wielding a knife and pantsing him. As opposed to the previous sketches, this one is way too shapeless, but it has a cartoonish quality that makes it lightly enjoyable.

On Girl Talk, Nwodim’s wise host Mo’nique Money, Mo’nique Problems helps guests deal with cheating boyfriends, stressful current events, and tough career choices. The dialog is made up entirely of the word “Girl…” (or, in the case of the one white man who shows up, “Bro…”), but as we see from the subtitles – shown out of consideration for any “white people or men tuning in”– the understanding runs deep. One of the better sketches of the young season.

A new Please Don’t Destroy skit sees Martin, Ben and John cheerfully share their new wellness strategies – which include new sleep routines (“Intermittent sleeping – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, I’m not sleeping”), post workout smoothies (“Milk, ice cream, chocolate sauce”), medication (“It’s like Zoloft, but just the side effects: so very depressed, but my penis is broken!”), and gyms (“It’s called Cigarette Fitness”) – even though they’ve only grown more miserable and insane. Like all the PDD shorts, it’s a fun showcase for ratcheting weirdness, although in this case things said weirdness peters out a little too quickly.

Then, on Weekend Update, Two Mothers From Texas (Fineman and Gardener) attempt to incite some Satanic Panic over the new Hocus Pocus, the Halloween season, and candy (“Any vending machine with a Skittle in it is a glory hole for Satan”), before one of them becomes possessed by a demon and goes all Exorcist on everyone. Based on actual conservative influencers, the only problem here is that the performance can’t match the craziness of the real people.

SNL continues to showcase its new cast on Update, this time bringing Devon Walker to the desk. The Texan admits to finding New York overrated, especially compared to his home state. “Texas isn’t a perfect place,” he says, “but every time I step outside of my apartment in New York, I’ll see the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life…like one time I saw a little kid getting in a fistfight with a bird. And the bird was winning.”

Megan Thee Stallion then plays a workout instructor helping shape club member’s asses, while Fineman and Gardner play fellow instructors with no asses. Things go off the rails pretty quickly due to a lot of bad blocking (on both the stage and broadcast sides of the production), flubbed lines and the host’s breaking.

Afterwards, we get a short PSA asking viewers to raise funds to provide oversized men’s sweatshirts to newly single women sitting alone in their chilly apartments.

Then the show wraps up with Nwodim’s tough substitute teacher attempting to inspire a group of black high schoolers who she incorrectly assumed to be disadvantaged, only to learn their actually part of an honors-level physics class in a Stem school. She quickly realizes that she’s in way over her head and manages to maintain a sense of dignity while flailing about. As with last week, it’s a nice surprise to see the episode close out with the strongest sketch of the night.

Despite the bad taste left behind by the cold open, and a few noticeable stumbles along the way, this was the best of the three episodes so far, thanks to a very game Megan The Stallion and the showcasing of the cast’s black members, including Punkie Johnson, who’s actually given stuff to do for a change, and especially Nwodim, who at this point is undoubtedly the strongest performer on the show.


Zach Vasquez

The GuardianTramp

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