Lin-Manuel Miranda Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

The way this presidential campaign has been going, do we even need Saturday Night Live to parody it anymore?

It’s been a crazy week of political bombshells — hey, seen any good Donald Trump videos lately? — and the SNL writers had to be licking their chops at the thought of tearing into all the scandals. Plus, this week’s host was Lin-Manuel Miranda, who gave us all a U.S. history lesson in the Broadway sensation Hamilton, so he’s used to dealing with very extreme political situations. (At least we haven’t seen a pistol duel to the death… yet.)

In his monologue, Miranda poked fun at how timely his musical has become in light of the current campaign nuttiness. He joked that Hamilton is about two ruthless New York politicians fighting tooth-and-nail for control of the country: “You know… escapism.” He took a musical trip through SNL‘s backstage with backup dancers in tow — and even got to sing “never gonna be President now” to a picture of Donald Trump.

This week’s episode took advantage of Miranda’s musical chops, with him singing and/or rapping in nearly every sketch. But did the writing rise to the occasion? Let’s take a look at the best and worst of this week’s SNL:


The cold open gave us a head-fake by starting out with this week’s snooze of a VP debate. But the sketch quickly cut to Alec Baldwin’s Trump in front of that familiar cityscape, bellowing, “Are you not entertained?” He did his best to “app-la-gize” for his crude behavior, saying he was just “a young, childish 59-year-old man” when the video was recorded. He also promised this nation’s women: “If you give me a chance, I promise I can do a whole lot more than just grab it.” (Ew.) But the highlight, as always, was Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton, grooving to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate” and chugging Champagne. She had a message for all the female voters who still supporting Trump: “My babies… ya brain broke.”


Weekend Update got a visit from two old friends: former anchors Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon, who donned fleece vests and pink turtlenecks to play Denise and Doreen, a pair of undecided Philadelphia voters. (Fey: “I’m torn… from a scooter accident.”) Fey’s thick Philly accent was absolutely on point, and she got a chance to slip in a meta joke at Fallon’s expense, making fun of his character for secretly liking Trump and “messing up his hair.” But they didn’t seem to like Hillary much, either — especially the fact that she never got revenge on any of the women Bill cheated with: “At the very least, you gotta cut off the ponytail.”


It’s a little alarming that this was the first sketch after the monologue; it felt like one of those weak 12:45 am sketches that no one laughs at. Cecily Strong and Miranda played a cute couple sitting around a campfire and harmonizing together on “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Unfortunately, they were joined by Kyle Mooney and Vanessa Bayer playing a couple of unwelcome guests who insisted on singing a horribly off-key a capella version of “Footloose.” Over and over again. It was supposed to be funny annoying; it was just annoying.


For fans of Netflix’s supernatural ’80s drama, this sketch answered one of Season 1’s burning questions: “Where is that black kid’s family?” A fake sneak peek at Season 2 had Leslie Jones and Kenan Thompson playing Lucas’s mom and dad, with Mrs. Sinclair scolding the boy: “I told you not to hang out with these little white kids.” When Lucas whined about the Upside Down, she had a stinging response: “People who look like us already live in the Upside Down.” And once again, McKinnon stole the show as an intense, Eggo-devouring Eleven.


The raunchy music video “(Do It on My) Twin Bed” is one of the best things SNL has done in years, so it was great to see Aidy Bryant and company go back to that well again. After a successful high school production of “The Crucible” — “we didn’t mess up at all” — the cast is excited for “the horniest event of the year”: the cast party! The hormonal young actresses were determined to “rip it up until 11:45,” seducing hot dudes with the choreography from Chicago and taking a guy into the closet to… watch a DVD of their play. Miranda even got a chance to add a rap bridge; too bad his mom had to come in and ruin the party.


Did we mention that this episode bent over backwards to give Miranda a chance to sing? They staged a production of the classic musical The Music Man — but forgot to add any jokes. Miranda played a man from Wells Fargo who came to give everyone in town a bank account… or three. The Wells Fargo scandal is certainly a worthy target of satire, but this attempt felt half-baked and under-rehearsed. It’s sad when the sketch’s biggest punchline is a kid’s heavy lisp.

What were your favorite sketches of the night? And what missed the mark? Hit the comments and make your picks.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Simon Jester says:

    I thought the Denise & Doreene bit was pretty awful… and I usually like Fey & Fallon.

  2. Tammy says:

    I loved how they tied the Wells Fargo bank scam/fraud into the Music Man. Thought it was topical and a nod to theater nerds everywhere.

    Did Jimmy not reherse his part at all? It was bad, even Tina couldn’t save him.

  3. TV Gord says:

    I didn’t like The Crucible Cast Party at all, but I enjoyed The Wells Fargp Music Man. I also thought The Substitute Teacher was funny and Kellyanne Conway’s Day Off was hilarious!

    • murley says:

      Kate McKinnon is so perfect as Kellyanne Conway. That skit was hilarious.

    • Ryan says:

      I loved Crucible Cast Party but that’s because it hit way to close to home for every HS theatre nerd…..I honestly heard from people I haven’t talked to in years like “whoa did you see that? It’s like they knew us!”
      I also thought the opening sketch was hilarious because of the incest twist. Otherwise it would’ve been not funny but Cecily’s reactions were hysterical. I thought the entire episode was amazing.

  4. Ellie says:

    I liked the weird pretaped bit at the end, Diego Calls Home or whatever it was called. “Marshmallow salad” and that guy’s “baby blue eyes” made me laugh.

    • Spidercake says:

      I also liked the Marshmallow Salad bit. Funny and somehow poignant.

    • Danielle says:

      I thought the references to North Dakota were awfully random. The could’ve at least done some research to see if there are any 7-11’s there. (There aren’t). I grew up on the North Dakota border…

  5. Michael says:

    The Music Man was a Broadway musical before the film version.

  6. Dree says:

    No mention of Kellyanne’s Day Off? Easily the best of the night.

  7. dan says:

    Stranger Things season 2 preview was hysterical! I liked how the entire cast was featured throughout this episode. Agree that the weak campfire sketch should’ve been held for the last 15 minutes. Best episode of the season so far (yeah, I know it’s only the second one)!

  8. ninergrl6 says:

    I couldn’t stop laughing over the Tic Tac bit on Weekend Update. WU actually had lots of great political zingers, but that part was my favorite.

    • paula says:

      I agree! The first part of Weekend Update was my favorite part of the show — so funny! When Jimmy and Tina came on, I stopped laughing because it just wasn’t funny.

  9. liame says:

    Best monologue I’ve seen in a while.

  10. Kevin K says:

    The Crucible Cast Party was my favorite of the night. Kate, Cecily, Vanessa, (Lil’ Baby) Aidy and Melissa (the newcomer) totally killed it. They’re like the Fifth Harmony of SNL.

  11. Sarah says:

    Miranda’s monologue was brilliant! One of the best hosts in a long time.
    I usually agree with the best
    /worst assessments, but I think you missed the mark here. I liked the Music Man sketch, and while it was great to see Jimmy and Tina, their sketch was uncharacteristically awful. I didn’t think the Stranger Things sketch was funny, but I also don’t watch the show so I’ll give you that one; I’m sure that Crucible Cast Party seemed dumb to non-theatre nerds, but for those of us who were it was totally on the nose!
    Also, why does Michael Che still have a job?

  12. Daya says:

    The only thing I liked from that cast party video was the suggestion that Lin played the Phantom. Yes, please! I’d watch a PBS broadcast of that!

  13. Cari says:

    How did his opening monologue not make it on here! It was brilliant!

  14. Carrie says:

    Miranda did a great job. He’s a natural and his rap at the beginning was very impressive.

  15. Are you high? DENISE AND DOREEN were awful. Did you just not watch it and saw the Tina Fey & Jimmy Fallon were on it and just assumed it was good?

  16. Karen says:

    Why isn’t Michael Slezak doing the SNL recap?? Anyone know?