SNL Recap: Daniel Kaluuya Deals With Anti-Vaxxers, Viral Apologies, Scat Singing In Charming Hosting Debut

Last week, SNL vet Maya Rudolph delivered a sketch comedy masterclass on Saturday Night Live—and this week, we got to see an SNL newbie pull off a pretty impressive debut as well, despite an episode plagued by slow pacing, weird directing (it was really noticeable this week how many times people were talking off-camera), and a dreadful cold open.

On the plus side, Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya made his SNL hosting debut this weekend with musical guest St. Vincent, and he acclimated himself seamlessly into the show. Kaluuya is known for his intense onscreen presence in intense films like Get Out, Widows, Judas and the Black Messiah and Queen & Slim, but his easygoing charm and confident command of the stage throughout the episode—like in the Monologue below, in which he thanked his mom, God, and Kel (of Kenan & Kel) for inspiring him—made me hope he gets to utilize those comedic talents in a film soon.

My favorite sketch of the night was the 10-to-1 sketch, the designated last sketch of the night often given over to the weirdest, most abrasive ideas coming out of the SNL writers room at 4 a.m. on Thursday morning. They’re the sketches made for other sketch comedians, the ones that don’t always necessarily make sense to the live audience—hence why they get put on air at 12:50 a.m., when nothing really makes sense. Half Brother was a shining example of the whatever goes spirit in one of these—clearly, one of the writers is as obsessed with the immortal Kim Cattrall scat clip as I am, and decided now was as good a time as any to parody it.

Kyle Mooney also knocked it out of the park with Viral Apology Video; it’s specifically mocking disgraced YouTuber David Dobrik and the Vlog Squad, but you don’t need to know anything about that controversy to enjoy the universality of this sketch.

Kaluuya was particularly good as the host of Vaccine Game Show, in which he tried to understand why his unvaccinated relatives won’t get the COVID vaccine.

Kaluuya was also at his strongest in Proud Parents, in which he and Ego Nwodim played the very disappointed parents of aspiring poet Chris Redd. It also had the best ending of any sketch of the night.

After Colin Jost got his Matt Gaetz jokes out of the way, Weekend Update had a trifecta of guests, including a couple returning faces: Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon brought back Wylene and Vaneta Starkie, owners of Smokery Farms Easter Meat gift delivery service, who had a lot of fun with Jost (involving raw meat). Heidi Gardner, the current queen of Weekend Update guests, played an elderly lady in a May-December “romance” with Mikey Day with Jeff and Hattie Deeley. And best of all, Alex Moffat returned as his best recurring character, the wonderfully obnoxious Guy Who Just Bought a Boat.

Check out three more hit-and-miss sketches below: the surprisingly sweet Frat Trip, in which a bunch of bros try to include their moms in their activities; Scattergories, in which Kate McKinnon tries to make a thin premise funny by going big and making a lot of noise; and Dog Park, which was all about dog voices and misunderstandings, but wasn’t quite silly enough to work.

Yes, it is good SNL has moved past having political cold opens where they just regurgitate whatever stupid stuff Trump/Republicans/Democrats have done in the past week. But having something like the Britney Spears Talk Show Cold Open is really not much of an improvement. Chloe Fineman’s Spears impression is impressive as hell, and Chris Redd’s Lil Nas X giving God a lapdance was fun. But the stilted format of the sketch just killed any laughs, and Pete Davidson, who has never been great at impressions, really doesn’t work with his Family Guy-inspired “take” on Rep. Matt Gaetz. It was a missed opportunity considering how much the Gaetz scandal lends itself to the SNL treatment.

There were an unusual amount of cut-for-time sketches this week, all of which featured Kaluuya heavily. In the best one, Kaluuya plays an employee pitching bios for emotionally-unstable, sexually-frustrated Beanie Babies tags to his colleagues played by Aidy Bryant and Bowen Yang. This would have easily been one of the best sketches of the night had it been in the episode!

In another good cut-for-time sketch, Beck Bennett hilariously played Salt Bae as a theatrical, creepy, sexually inappropriate attention-hog, which seems pretty close to reality.

And Chris Redd got to take the spotlight for the third cut-for-time sketch, a pre-taped segment called The Hero, in which he plays a Vietnam War soldier who unwittingly volunteers for a rescue mission.

St. Vincent unveiled a pair of fantastic new songs inspired musically and visually by a mid-’70s aesthetic, including the inspired glam/funk jam “Pay Your Way In Pain” and the more soulful “The Melting Of The Sun.”

Next weekend, Oscar-nominated Promising Young Woman star Carey Mulligan will host with musical guest Kid Cudi.

Source