Saturday Night Live this weekend took a chance on Chance the Rapper, allowing the three-time Grammy winner to lord over Studio 8H despite having no proven track record in comedy. The results were mixed at best.
A cold open featuring Kate McKinnon as Julian Assange was a letdown, but proved not-so-terrible by comparison to much of what followed. First up, a dreadful monologue that found Chance trying to become the “Mariah Carey of Thanksgiving,” calling on the cast to help craft a song as big as “All I Want for Christmas” for the November holiday. Suffice it to say, he failed.
Chance, who was clearly nervous, was thisclose to giggling like a young Jimmy Fallon in some of his earlier sketches. He eventually calmed down, but it was little-to-no help. At best, a few of the sketches were amusing, but none of them will be remembered even a week from now.
Keep scrolling for the best, worst and predominantly so-so sketches…
BEST: SPORTS ANNOUNCER
The rapper seemed most comfortable here, portraying a sportscaster forced to cover a Rangers game without even a rudimentary understanding of hockey. Funniest of all was when he spotted the one black person in the stands, and made a point of saying he’d be interviewing him during the post-game wrap-up.
BEST: PETE DAVIDSON on WEEKEND UPDATE
Davidson is typically excellent behind the Update desk. This was no exception, as he and fellow Staten Island native Colin Jost discussed how they’re regarded by the New York City borough they call home. (Davidson was also the best part of post-Update sketch “Rap History,” featuring cameos by Questlove and Common. Watch it here.)
HONORABLE MENTION: COME BACK BARACK
Chance appeared in the “Jingle Barack” music video last December, alongside Kenan Thompson and host Casey Affleck. This amusing-ish follow-up felt like a subpar version of that.
HONORABLE MENTION: FAMILY FEUD: THANKSGIVING EDITION
Turns out Thompson’s Steve Harvey once had a thing for “white meat,” as evidenced by the reveal of his illegitimate “little fella” Cecil. The reveal was, in a word, delightful, but everything surrounding it was just OK. Chance on the verge of laughing through each of his lines didn’t help.
WORST: WIKILEAKS COLD OPEN
The cold opens this season have been largely dire. This one didn’t break the streak. Alex Moffat’s Eric Trump might be my favorite recurring performance by an SNL cast member right now. Yet the show isn’t doing itself any favors having him and Mikey Day as Donald Jr. appear with such frequency, especially since the bit is always the same. The writers also failed to do anything interesting with McKinnon’s Assange.
WORST: WAYNE THANKSGIVING
Leslie Jones stumbling through her dialogue at the outset set the tone for this poorly executed, barely funny sketch about the downside of Batman’s vigilantism.
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.