Saturday Night Live S42 E6: Dave Chappelle Brings Comfort With Special Guests

I don’t have an introduction paragraph for this week. I’m just hoping that the new episode can provide some catharsis and relief from an unbelievably stressful week. Whatever happens, it’ll be a defining chapter for SNL, at least in terms of their status as a topical show.

Cold Opening: In a beautifully understated piece, we get what might be Kate McKinnon’s final appearance as Hillary Clinton. I believe that it can work both as a tribute to the late Leonard Cohen and a reminder to not lose hope over the results of the election. That isn’t just because she said to not give up at the end of the performance. ‘Hallelujah’ works as an oddly appropriate commentary on the current political climate.

Monologue: This is the catharsis we need and deserve. Some of the jokes at the end were iffy, but I just loved hearing Dave’s stand-up on Trump. I need to seek out some of his earlier stand-up comedy work.

Election Night Sketch: Thankfully, despite my initial fears, this sketch wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. What could have been a depressing recap of the nation’s thoughts last Tuesday turned into a great commentary on racism and white privilege. Chris Rock’s guest appearance made it even better. I’ve missed seeing him on the show.

Walking Dead/Chappelle's Show: The opening with Dave on the monologue stage reminded me of the really old-school days of the show. Back in the first few seasons, episode would have multiple monologues. I admit, I didn’t understand a lot of the Chappelle’s Show references, mostly due to not doing as much research on the show as I should have, but I still liked it. It was also neat to see a mini-reunion of cast members from Chappelle’s Show with Donnell Rawlings’s cameo.

A Tribe Called Quest Performance #1- “We The People…”: I actually really like this song. I found myself dancing during it. Comedy shows can introduce you to new things after all. You can watch it here.

Weekend Update: Colin and Michael had some really stellar knocks towards the Trump campaign and the man himself. I was quietly cheering multiple times. In terms of correspondent pieces, this was Kate McKinnon’s best performance as Ruth Bader Ginsberg.; From her emotional appearance in the cold opening to this, she is on a roll tonight. You can watch it herehere, and here.

Jheri's Place: Total fake-out. I really thought it was a goofy health inspector sketch. The mock press conference caught me completely off-guard. I wouldn’t have minded that because it actually looked pretty good, but the twist was really unique. In the forty-plus years that the show has aired for, I’m not sure if they’ve ever done anything strictly like this. It’s good that they can still find fresh ways to make fun of themselves and amuse the audience. Also, the David S. Pumpkins reference partially felt
like pandering, but I don’t really care because it made me laugh. You can watch it here.

Kids Talk Trump: I almost thought it was unscripted, at the start. I wish it was a longer bit, but it was incredibly effective. You can watch it here.

Last Call With Dave Chappelle: I admit, I’ve never been the biggest fan of this recurring sketch. Still, it surprised me with a genuinely funny sketch from start to finish.

A Tribe Called Quest Performance #2- “The Space Program” ft. Consequence & Busta Rhymes: I really like the visuals in the performance.

Love And Leslie: I wonder if there’s something in the water at 30 Rock. For whatever reason, the show has been really meta tonight, but I’m not complaining. Some of the show’s best moments have come from self-parody. This pre-recorded sketch comes in the form of a genuinely touching mockumentary about Leslie Jones’s love life. It starts off with potentially real-life pictures from her past relationships, then a reveal that she’s in a relationship with Kyle Mooney. To my delight, it references the running joke on Weekend Update where whenever she appears to do a guest piece, she ends up flirting with Colin.

It even turns into a bit of a soap opera with Kyle angrily sniping at Colin in the hallways of the studio. I have a feeling that Kyle wrote this bit, because the jokes about the explicitness of his romantic life might have felt mean coming from someone else. Lorne Michaels’ brief cameo discussing the need to get Kyle to lose his virginity made me laugh much more than it should have. This is one reality show that I would absolutely watch every night. Saturday Night Live After Dark, anyone?

Football Party: I thought it would just be a series of tired riffs on a fully-grown man still living with his mom. I was so wrong. It quickly becomes apparent that Dave Chappelle’s character still breastfeeds. Yes, they went there. They actually went there. I burst out laughing and couldn’t stop until the sketch was over. It was just so wrong and disturbingly awkward. I’m going to be giggling about it for weeks to come. In fact, I’ll still be chuckling to myself on Sunday night, causing my coworkers to give me weird looks. You can watch it here.

Overall Thoughts: It’s been a hard week for almost all of us, but this episode of SNL cheered me up. I felt the happiest that I’ve been since last Sunday. Humor can act as a form of catharsis and a solvent for even the harshest of bad moods. It didn’t hurt that the writing staff is more diverse this year, allowing for an especially topical episode. While the episode was somber at times, almost all of the jokes were a hit. It’s okay to laugh during a bad situation. Self-care is important, especially if you use humor as a form of it, but it’s also important to remember the serious parts in life. I would say that Saturday Night Live did just that tonight, with Dave’s wonderful monologue on the presidential election. So far, it's my favorite episode of the season. Finally, I am glad that they didn’t utilize Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump. It would have felt too raw and soon for jokes. Next week might work, but it depends on the general mood.

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.