Saturday Night Live was a treat many of us missed during the beginning of the pandemic. It ended it’s last season on zoom doing what it could to make us laugh with it’s very limited abilities.
Unfortunately, the season premiere was also missing that pre pandemic spark.
The beginning of the show had a promising beginning by rolling out Jim Carrey as the new Joe Biden during a skit making fun of the last presidential debate. Alec Baldwin returned as Donald Trump and so did Maya Rudolph’s popular take on Kamala Harris.
Carrey sounded like Biden but didn’t look the part. Baldwin gave us little that we hadn’t seen before and if you blinked you could have missed Rudolph playing the grown up in the room between our two bickering choices on November 3rd.
Weekend Update rolled out it’s unfunny Chinese ambassador character along with some flat jokes from yet another year featuring Colin Jost and Michael Che that introduced nothing new. The segment also seemed much shorter than usual.
Meghan Thee Stallion rolled out a powerful social justice message during her first musical performance which did benefit from some sharp set design. The musical guest also pulled some double duty appearing in a skit later in the show.
The rest of the material was just forgettable including a childish skit featuring dirty names during a pandemic outbreak news report and a spoof on Drew Barrymore’s talk show. The NBA Bubble Draft gimmick could have been funny but it still missed.
And the live element just seemed off with the reduced crowd and whatever else they were trying to recreate a full audience. The laughs were late and there was just a lot of aloofness during the show.
Saturday Night Live did do right by honoring the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg after weekend update with a brief shot of Kate McKinnon in costume. McKinnon has done a fine job playing the Supreme Court Justice for the last few years.
Chris Rock was the host but with someone of his comedic stature and long time history with the program there wasn’t even he could do much with what he was being given to work with. The writers must do better or this is going to be a very long and unfunny season.
Next week will give us comedian and actor Bill Burr and country music star Morgan Wallen.