“SNL” Season 48 Episode 5 Review
The last episode of “Saturday Night Live” before the dauntingly important midterms aired this Saturday with host Amy Schumer and musical guest Steve Lacey.
Schumer, a seemingly controversial host, (well, until next week's host, more on that later), helped this cast carry out another largely solid episode during their rebuilding year.
Love her or hate her, Schumer knows how to deliver on “SNL.”
The comic is clearly at her strength while performing sketch comedy, and for those who don’t like her, she’s definitively more likable when having other writers write for her.
Schumer, the entire cast, and crew deserve major props for pulling off this week's episode, as Schumer’s son was rushed to the ER on Thursday.
This forced the comic to miss a whole day at the show, and it’s imposing that the team at studio 8H continues to put on a consistent performance Saturday night.
The show was consistent but also largely predictable; last week, “SNL” was able to get out of its Trump-era comfort zone, but it seemed to settle back into it in some capacity.
Predictably, the “SNL” cold-open was politically based with the “President Biden Midterms Address Cold Open,” which was a better cold-open than last week, mainly due to the writers keeping the sketch short.
Again, it was no shock that Schumer delivered a substantial stand-up monologue, and it is easily the best of the season (not that she’s had a lot of competition).
Most of the sketches ranged from not bad but boring to not hilarious but good. It’s clear “SNL” has gotten sillier this year, which is a step in the right direction.
For instance, the “Jurors” sketch is the night's standout. Sarah Sherman and Bowen Yang can nail a simple premise of annoying jurors exceptionally well, and it would be a welcome recurring sketch.
“Jurors” is a welcome progression in “SNL” being able to include pop-culture references in a witty non-clickbaity way.
Schumer, Sherman and Yang characters wanting to play Taylor Swift's “Midnights” and then bursting out with “midnights I stay up I’m Taylor Swift” to the tune of fun’s “Some Nights” was such a layered and brilliant joke.
The “WKTVN” news was another high point, and it was nice to see rookie Michael Longfellow so involved in a sketch.
Additionally, the “Twitter Council” sketch was a great take on Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
James Austin Johnson had one of the best first seasons in “SNL” history last year but has been reduced mostly to his impeccable Trump and Biden impressions.
Saturday, Johnson got more room to shine, and his Trump impression is beyond entertaining even after years of an exhausting one from Alec Baldwin.
In the most surprising weak spot of the night was Cecily Strong’s “Weekend Update” feature with “Tammy the Truck Driver on Gas Prices and Definitely Not Abortion.”
Strong is unarguably one of the best “SNL” cast members of all time.
But, the cast member has a poorly thought-out character and ends up breaking and bantering with Colin Jost about a political issue is a trope that should’ve left when both she and McKinnon did it in the past two seasons.
Strong’s take isn’t wrong; it’s just demoralizing to hear. It feels like an ad rather than a clever jab at officials trying to ban fundamental human rights.
Moments like that are stark reminders of how bleak “SNL’s” political satire was in the past era, something the show should be trying to escape rather than fall back on.
It also doesn’t help that even with Jost and Michael Che at their best all season, their run on “Weekend Update” has been so long that the segment is boring to watch.
The “Jet’s Fan” sketch was another weak point. The Jets are a good team this year and had so much potential for a great sketch, and it was a complete swing and a miss. (Especially considering how rowdier other teams' fans are.)
The Schumer episode should’ve blown the season's previous episodes out of the water.
While it didn’t, it still was an impressive and essential episode to stick the landing on, and it’s fair to say “SNL” mostly did.
That being said, “SNL” made a controversial announcement that makes it hard to look at this episode fondly as iconic stand-up Dave Chapelle will be returning to host the show next week.
Chapelle has hosted the past two post-presidential election shows and is revered as one of the greatest stand-up comedians ever to do it.
That praise aside, Chapelle has a long streak that he continues in today’s time of blatant transphobia, homophobia and overall bigotry.
It’s not a great look that in “SNL’s” first season with a non-binary cast member, they are bringing in an admittedly transphobic host.
There’s a clear difference between dark humor and being borderline oppressive in one’s vernacular.
Luckily, Chapelle rarely participates in many sketches as a host, typically involved solely in the monologue (which can be lengthy) and a singular satirical sketch.
However, rumors have swelled that writers and cast were kept in the dark about this announcement and maybe will refuse to participate (historically, this is unlikely.)
Many, including Yang and trans and non-binary writer Celeste Yim, have already posted about the dangers of transphobia on social media.
“SNL’s” hosting choices can be one of the biggest drivers of ratings and views, and it’s evident that “SNL” and NBC care more about that than who they are giving a voice to.
So next week’s episode will be entertaining, although maybe not for the right reasons.
Best Sketch: “Jurors”
Worst Sketch: “Jet’s Fans”
MVP: Bowen Yang
Unsung Hero: James Austin Johnson
A Wish For Next Week: Nothing wildly transphobic or offensive.
Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.