“SNL” - Season 48, Episode 6 Review

Story posted November 14, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Sophia D’Ovidio.

People were rightfully upset when “Saturday Night Live” announced that Dave Chapelle would host the next episode.

Rumors of cast and writers boycotting the episode were plentiful, and it appeared that 30 Rock was experiencing some uncomfortable tension while preparing for the show.

Although predictable that “SNL” would have a good episode with comedy legend Chapelle as host, it would be hard to believe how much fun this weekend show would be.

The episode wasn’t just fun but entirely consistent. It wasn’t overwhelmed by Chapelle’s influence; it was a perfect balance.

Chapelle is regarded as one of the greatest comedians of all time. Unfortunately, in recent years he has doubled down on some of his more hateful speech, making it hard to enjoy much of his current work.

Considering “SNL’s” history of controversial hosts and having Chapelle host the post-election shows, it wasn’t confusing that the legend was chosen.

Controversy aside, the “SNL” cast and writers put together a flawless episode.

The cold open, which has been a weak spot for the show for quite a while, was excellent. It perfectly encaptured the disappointment of Fox with their “red wave” that never truly occurred.

“SNL’s” satire felt fresh and unique, and the writers have perfected what to do with James Austin Johnson’s incredible Trump impression.

As tradition with Chapelle’s previous two hosting gigs at “SNL,” the comic delivered a much longer monologue than typical for the show.

The 15-minute monologue started with Chapelle reading a statement about standing against anti-Semitism before talking about some of the more risky current events in the past month.

Love him or hate him, Chapelle typically manages to be funny even when what he’s saying may not align with the beliefs or opinions of the audience.

There were out-of-touch moments, especially considering Chappelle and Kanye West are known as friends. But Chapelle didn’t pull any punches while discussing the situation at all.

The “Potato Hole” sketch was an expertly written one. A bit that requires the audience to almost be sick of the anti-humor jokes, but it’s beyond worth it for its payoff.

It’s always fun when “SNL” plays around with the format of its show.

Recurring gags like “MacGruber” or, more recently, Taylor Swift's 10-minute version of “All Too Well” performance help shape the episode into a memorable one, and it feels like a reward to true fans.

Chapelle set up a couple of sketches of the night as he famously did on “Chappelle Show,” which made the episode many anticipated being a tense one feel loose and endearing.

When comedy legends like Chapelle come to studio 8H, they’ll always likely reference their past work. In “House of the Dragon,” “SNL” expertly utilized the current phenomenon and Chapelle's comedic legacy.

Rookie Michael Longfellow had a stellar night, especially being the leading man in the “Barber Shop Talk” sketch.

Longfellow is charming and has excellent timing; he kept up with Chapelle and Keenan Thompson with a truly hysterical performance in a masterfully written sketch.

With many of the sketches being thematically very similar, “Weekend Update” felt refreshing and strong as ever.

Colin Jost and Michael Che had fresh takes on this week's midterm elections, but the segment features truly stole the show.

The first feature was another standout performance from newcomer Marcello Hernández.

Coming on as Jose Suarez, a hopeful politician with dreams to be the first Latino president despite limited knowledge of actual issues.

Hernández’s energy is addicting; not only was his character extremely original, but his performance and banter with Jost illuminate the rookie's star power so well.

Speaking of star power, Sarah Sherman had another addition to her increasingly more elaborate update features with “Sarah News.”

Sherman is charismatic, and even when being “gross” is clever, her relationship with Jost is top-notch.

With Jost and Che likely leaving “SNL” soon, Sherman could bring an Amy Poehler level of chaos and class as an update anchor, and this feature was a great trial run.

Every sketch this week was strong.

“Heaven Scene” was flawlessly done; as Chapelle states before the sketch, he’s too tired and has Mikey Day fill in for his role in a sketch about black heaven.

Between Day being uncomfortable with his lines initially written for a black man, not “being able” to say some of his lines and cuts to Chapelle with a growing group of friends loving how uneasy Day is, the perfectly meta sketch worked so well.

The night rounded out with a “Please Don’t Destroy” sketch where the “PDD” boys help “SNL” rookie Molly Kearney after a drunk tweet accidentally gets her elected Attorney General of Ohio.

“Please Don’t Destroy” expertly navigates internet humor with a voice of its own. Having Steve Kornacki help with the sketch, it truly feels like anything could happen in their writing office.

Their absurd, witty and quick humor is always a welcome addition to an episode and Kearney is definitively a cast member the show should start utilizing more.

Understandably, people were upset with “SNL’s” decision to let Chapelle host.

Regardless, “SNL” had its best episode of the season. It may be easy to have Chapelle as the reason it was so great, but he didn’t write the sketches; the show's writers and cast did.

With a far more likable host in Keke Palmer on December 3, “SNL” should hopefully be able to utilize their hot streak of the past three episodes and continue shaping what is looking to be an extremely promising new era.

Best Sketch of the Night: “Heaven Scene” or “Barber Shop Talk”
Worst Sketch of the Night: Objectively? None.
MVP(s): Dave Chapelle (sorry!) and Sarah Sherman
Unsung Hero(s): Michael Longfellow and Mikey Day
A Wish for the Next Show: The same consistency, variety and energy from this week with a sought-after host for “SNL” Keke Palmer.

Rating: 5/5 

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email sgd5184@psu.edu.