The Girls Trip breakout star returned to NBC on Saturday (What? You already forgot about my beloved Carmichael Show?) and brought with her an infectious energy that was felt throughout the broadcast. She probably gained quite a few fans with her humble, apolitical monologue, which spoke about what SNL meant to her while growing up in the foster care system. Best of all was her promise to turn up in her $4,000 dress again before the end of the night, then fulfilling that promise by popping up at the tail end of Weekend Update.
Haddish also called out the Louis C.K.s of the world, telling them to keep their “thang thang” in their pants and away from women. (More on that, plus Update’s C.K. commentary, can be found here.)
Keep scrolling for additional highlights from the episode…
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BEST: MESSAGE FROM THE DNC
Who would have thought that SNL‘s most scathing political commentary of the still-young season would be aimed at the democrats? With Alec Baldwin a no-show to play President Donald Trump (honestly, did anyone miss him?), SNL instead turned its attention to the DNC, mocking leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer for riding the celebratory wave of Election Day victories and assuming their work here is done. Joining them are “great new leaders waiting in the wings,” including Jason Sudeikis’ Joe Biden, Larry David’s Bernie Sanders, and Kate McKinnon as both Hillary Clinton and, umm, “Not Hillary.”
BEST: LION KING AUDITIONS
You all know the drill: a bunch of cast members appear before us and do celebrity impressions. If a handful work, the sketch succeeds. A few of them we’ve seen before (including Kenan Thompson’s LL Cool J and Cecily Strong’s Lin-Manuel Miranda), but some of the ones we haven’t are truly great. Melissa Villaseñor as Celine Dion? Great. Mikey Day as John Oliver? Even better. But my personal favorite was Heidi Gardner’s Kristen Schaal. Of all the new cast members, she’s really growing on me.
BEST: BECK AND KYLE
This ongoing series of shorts focused on an interoffice romance between Kyle Mooney and Leslie Jones continues to delight. This one repeats a lot of the same beats as the last one — Lorne Michaels says something preposterous, and Colin Jost barely cheats death — but instead of being a detriment, it actually makes it funnier.
BEST: THE DOLPHIN WHO LEARNED TO SPEAK
What initially comes across as a straight documentary parody takes a welcome turn towards the absurd when it’s revealed how Drs. Jean Frye and Mary Hartman finally got their dolphin to speak. Haddish’s rightfully disturbed reaction puts this one over the top.
HONORABLE MENTION: TOURNAMENT FIGHTER
Haddish’s energy absolutely saved this one, which was ultimately so-so despite the clever concept. In it she plays Boo Boo Jeffries, an out-of-her-element video-game character in what’s essentially a Mortal Kombat ripoff. Her primary and secondary modes are amusing enough, but funniest of all is learning what it means to “get Mark’d”!
WORST: ROY MOORE & JEFF SESSIONS COLD OPEN
Like Aidy Bryant’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Beck Bennett’s Mike Pence is not strong enough to carry a sketch — especially not the cold open. Kate McKinnon couldn’t even save this one, whose Attorney General Jeff Sessions popped out of a cabinet and declared senatorial candidate Moore “too Alabama.” (Moore was later singled out as a “sex monster” during Update.)
What were your favorite sketches of the night? And what missed the mark? Grade the episode via the following poll, then hit the comments to flesh out your thoughts.