After a cold open that placed Kate McKinnon’s Robert Mueller in a savage Bachelor parody, Brown kicked things off with a monologue that saw him admit the “K” in his name stands for “Kathleen” — ha! — and then start crying thinking about his This Is Us castmates, and Kenan Thompson… and everything, really. Leslie Jones joined him on stage to try to help — but then she started crying, too. It’s contagious!
Brown is such a talented performer, he even sold some of the weaker sketches this week. (C’mon people, he even sang Nickelback!) Let’s take a look at the highlights (and lowlights) from his inaugural stint as SNL host:
BEST: BLACK PANTHER
Hey, an SNL sketch without any white people! Thompson shined in this parody of the Marvel blockbuster as T’Challa’s corny “Uncle M’butu,” flipping burgers on the grill and cackling at his own jokes. (He had one question about this supposed afterlife paradise: “Where’s the weed at?”) After he hit up T’Challa for some vibranium and sang a Lion King song to his lion burger, even Brown and Jones had a hard time stifling a laugh.
BEST: FAMILY FEUD
SNL‘s latest game-show parody was mostly just a vehicle for celebrity impressions, this time pulled from this year’s Oscar nominees. But to be fair, they were solid impressions across the board: McKinnon’s Frances McDormand (in a burlap dress) was spot-on, as was Heidi Gardner’s Allison Janney. Alex Moffat contributed a disturbingly intense Willem Dafoe, and Pete Davidson was obnoxiously adorable as Timothee “I’m so cute!” Chalamet.
BEST: THIS IS U.S.
The inevitable This Is Us parody was actually a clever twist, with the tear-jerking drama following the Trump White House rather than the Pearson family. Brown played a conflicted Ben Carson, while Aidy Bryant revived her Sarah Huckabee Sanders impersonation. Plus, Davidson played a Manischewitz-chugging Jared Kushner. Everyone eventually broke down in tears… except McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway: “Can’t cry. I have nothing in me.”
HONORABLE MENTION: DAWN LAZARUS
Former cast member Vanessa Bayer was a sight for sore eyes, returning to revive her nervous-meteorologist character Dawn Lazarus, who fumbled through a storm forecast that made absolutely no sense. (“Winty winds are coming out of your north and your yeast, pushin’ it way down into that major cold kahuna, yeah?”) Live TV really freaks her out, she explained: “Cameras will make that mouth go poop!”
This agonizing pre-filmed sketch just never seemed to end, did it? When a bunch of friends gathered around a campfire late at night, a massive Bigfoot came over and took a special interest in one of the campers (Day), slapping him silly before sticking his furry hands in the guy’s mouth. Then he… wiped his butt on his head? Slapstick is great and all, but this just made us cringe.
WORST: ROCK ‘N’ RAP
We’re struggling to comprehend what was supposed to be funny about this man-on-the-street sketch, with devoted rock fan Kyle Mooney quizzing random people on their thoughts about rock music versus rap music. (It played like a parody of some viral video, but if you haven’t seen the original, you don’t get it.) Worst of all, Sterling didn’t even appear in it!
What were your favorite sketches this week? And what missed the mark? Grade the episode via the following poll, then hit the comments to flesh out your thoughts.