Believe it or not, Awkwafina is the only the second-ever Asian women to host Saturday Night Live, and the first in 18 years (following a December 2000 hosting stint by Lucy Liu). That much was acknowledged during one of the most endearing monologues in recent memory — but did the material that followed do the Crazy Rich Asians star justice?
After an above-average premiere headlined by Star Wars‘ Adam Driver (watch highlights here), the second episode of Season 44 was something of a mixed bag. Awkwafina wasn’t given much to work with, playing the straight person in a series of mostly forgettable sketches, while the very best the show had to offer came in the cold open and Weekend Update. So without further ado, my ranking of the best, worst and somewhat in-between sketches…
BEST: BRETT KAVANAUGH POST-GAME
For much of the country, Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court was no laughing matter. Yet the post-confirmation cold open worked as a searing commentary on the GOP, as a celebratory Mitch McConnell claimed the Kavanaugh vote was a win for everyone from “white men over 60… to white men over 70,” and Kate McKinnon’s Lindsey Graham told CNN, “We made a lot of women real worried today, but I’m not getting pregnant so I don’t care.”
BEST: EMERGENCY ALERT
This week’s presidential alert paved the way for this amusing short, which found Kate McKinnon’s street jogger tossing her phone into a vat of boiling hot dogs, and Leslie Jones’ business woman asking if “September 11th was a month ago” was “even information.” Best of all was the reveal that this was actually an ad for a lesser-known cell phone provider.
BEST: WEEKEND UPDATE
Colin Jost and Michael Che were once again on-point with their Kavanaugh commentary, while Pete Davidson’s response to Kanye West’s pro-Trump rant was easily the best thing of the night. Slightly less successful was the latest Eric and Donald Trump Jr. bit. While Alex Moffat’s ability to lose himself in the character of Eric still leaves me in awe (it’s never not funny watching him react to a new toy), the schtick is wearing thin.
HONORABLE MENTION: LATE NIGHT BATTLE
Not only was I impressed by Mikey Day and Chris Redd’s dance moves, I was tickled by musical guest Travis Scott’s cameo as Lil’ Bang Bang, who capped an otherwise mediocre dance battle sketch by busting a move to the Final Jeopardy score.
HONORABLE MENTION: BABY SHOWER
Cecily Strong’s hilarious performance as a former high school cool girl saddened that she’s the last single, childless gal among her friend group elevated this otherwise subpar skit.
WORST: SO YOU’RE WILLING TO DATE A MAGICIAN
If this was a tryout for Leslie Jones to succeed Thompson as the host of myriad game- and dating-show sketches following his inevitable departure, she won’t be getting a callback. The only memorable thing about this dud was Jones’ inability to hold it together after the 2:45 mark.
What were your favorite sketches this week? And what missed the mark? Watch all the highlights above, then grade Awkwafina’s hosting stint in our poll. (Next up: Weekend Update grad Seth Meyers hosts on Saturday, Oct. 13.)