On Saturday night, Saturday Night Live, SNL, did not shy away from joking about the country’s current most controversial topics. The season 46 opener, hosted by former cast member Chris Rock and musical guest Megan Thee Stallion, was the first show to take place in studio 8H at 30 Rock since the production was suspended on March 16th.
The Opening Sketch: The Presidential Debate
The opening sketch of the show started with a parody of the first 2020 Presidential debate. President Donald Trump was played by Alec Baldwin with former Vice President Joe Biden being played by Jim Carrey.
The writers of the show did not hold back with this sketch! The opening addressed President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis on Thursday while also poking fun at the former Vice President for losing his temper towards President Trump during the debate.
SNL did not shy away from including President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis within the sketch. When Beck Bennet, an SNL cast member playing the role of the moderator Chris Wallace, asks if Baldwin took the COVID test before the show he responded with, “absolutely, scouts honor,” while holding up his fingers crossed. When Carrey entered the sketch, he used a measuring tape to measure the distance between his and Baldwin’s podiums.
Baldwin impersonated the President throughout the sketch by interrupting Carrey when he attempted to answer the questions of the moderator. As a reaction, Carrey quoted the former Vice President by stating, “Would you just shut up man!”
The sketch also poked fun of Biden’s anxious demeanor by having Carrey breathe into a paper bag and listen to a meditation tape narrated by Harry Styles in an attempt to calm himself down during the debate. President Trump’s immaturity was also emphasized by using a laser pointer to distract the former Vice President.
Carrey even paused Baldwin with a remote to get him to stop talking. Carrey, as Biden, encouraged the American people to vote for him and Senator Harris to “make America not actively on fire again.”
Former SNL cast member, Maya Rudolph, also made an appearance in the episode playing the role of Vice President nominee, Kamala Harris. In the sketch she states, “America needs a ‘W.A.P.’: woman as president.” Rudolph also imitated the vice-presidential nominee while wearing low-top converses, an unofficial signature shoe for the senator.
Chris Rock’s Monologue
Chris Rock walked onto the Saturday Night Live stage to deliver his monologue, while wearing a mask. Although he took his mask off to speak to the audience, the members of the band behind him and the audience in front of him continued to wear their masks throughout the duration of the Show. Within the opening credits of the show, which contains small clips of the cast, numerous cast members were either also wearing masks or are standing by signs that read, “Max Capacity.”
The audience on the floor was filled with emergency first responders. This area of the audience is typically almost exclusively reserved for the cast, crew, and other NBC employees and their friends and family.
Rock did not shy away from the topics of the Coronavirus and the upcoming election within his monologue. He also spoke of the mandatory precautions that are being taken place within the Saturday Night Live studio, consisting of numerous temperature check and COVID-19 test.
He talked in his monologue about how COVID has ruined the concept of making plans, and that since the pandemic people are beginning to take a step back and reassess their lives and their relationships with others; whether it be a break up, divorce, or people renegotiating their relationships. Rock says that the American people should take it a step further and begin to renegotiate our relationship with the government.
He said within his monologue that, “I think Joe Biden should be the last president ever. Like, we need a whole new system.” He goes on to say that there should be more rules to becoming the president because the only rules that exist are that “you have to be is 35 and born in the United States.”
Rock also goes on to joke that the Presidency should not be a mandatory four-year job. He uses the example that if a chef cooked a meal that made everyone vomit, would you do nothing and say, “well he’s got a four-year deal.”
Rock also said that our government does not work because we need to instill term limits. Towards the end of his monologue, Chris Rock stated, “We’ve agreed in the United States that we cannot have kings yet we have dukes and duchesses running the Senate and the Congress making decisions for poor people.”
He ended his monologue by stating the importance of voting and teasing that the government does not want you to vote, which is why election day is on a Tuesday in November. He continues by joking about how no one plans something important on a Tuesday. Rock even stated, “If this was Tuesday Night Live it would have gotten cancelled in 1975.”
Megan Thee Stallion
Megan the Stallion was musical guest for the first episode of the season. The first song that she performed was her song, “Savage.” The song features Beyoncé however she did not attend the show. Megan used her platform on the show to promote the Black Live Matter movement.
While preforming the song, the walls surrounding her, and her backup dancers, were filled with graphics that read, “Protect Black Women,” as well as names of black women who have been killed by police such as “Yolanda” and “Breonna.”
During the song the music stopped, the graphics cut to black, and the lights turned down. Gunshot sound effects were played as gunshot holes appeared on the walls surround Megan and the dancers. Audio from different speeches by Malcom X and activist Tamika Mallory began to play as their words were displayed on the screen behind the performers.
During the song Megan stated, “We need to protect our black women, and love our black women, because at the end of the day we need our black women. We need to protect our black men and stand up for our black men, cause at the end of the day we’re tired of seeing hashtags about black men.”
Megan also appeared in a music video sketch with members of the SNL cast and host Chris Rock called, “Bottom of Your Face.” The comedic sketch was about not knowing what the full faces people you meet during the pandemic look like because of their masks. The men in the music video attempt to get the women they meet to take off their mask, so they can see what their entire face looks like.
She also appeared in a sketch about an NBA draft taking place in the bubble. For the last performance of the show, Megan the Stallion preformed her song, “Don’t Stop” featuring Young Thug. Young Thug also joined Megan on the SNL stage to perform the song with her.
The weekly re-occurring news show sketch staring cast members Colin Jost and Michael Che, “Weekend Update,” did not fall short. Jost and Che delivered jokes about recent news topics such as President Trump testing positive for the coronavirus, the LGBTQ+ community supporting Joe Biden, Adam Silver’s creation of the NBA bubble, the potential Tik Tok ban, etc.
New SNL cast member, Bowen Yang appeared in the sketch as well. He imitated Chen Biao, Chinese Trade Representative, to discuss the potential Tik Tok ban. Yang imitated popular Tik Tok dances and trends, while also joking about how China is collecting personal data from American citizen via Tik Tok, but data being too boring to do anything with. “Weekend Update” also joked about on more interesting stories, such as a Canadian woman illegally importing bull semen.
The sketch ended with SNL cast member Kate McKinnon dressed as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg sitting in the audience. McKinnon famously played the Supreme Court Justice on the show for years. McKinnon holds her heart and nods while looking into the camera. “Weekend Update” was then followed by a graphic reading “Rest in Power.”
The next episode of Saturday Night Live is set to air on Saturday, October 10th, hosted by Bill Burr. Morgan Wallen was set to be the musical guest for episode two, however after not following the show’s mandatory COVID-19 protocol, Jack White will take his place.