SNL’s season premiere: A sign of good things to come
Martin Kennedy | Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Hot off its recent Emmy victory, “Saturday Night Live” premiered this weekend with host Adam Driver and musical guest Kanye West. Driver hosted after having starred in the box office success “BlacKkKlansman” while West appeared in anticipation of his upcoming album, “Yhandi.” With returning stars Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Leslie Jones, along with newest featured cast member Ego Nwodin, this season of SNL is sure to be one of female power and highly political sketch comedy.
This week’s cold open, re-enacting the Brett Kavanaugh hearing, proved the supreme sketch of the evening. The sketch began with the introduction of Brett Kavanaugh, played by Matt Damon, who referred to himself as a “keg half-full kind of guy.” Damon highlighted the many mannerisms of Kavanaugh during the hearing — sniffling, excessively drinking water and constantly yelling. The two funniest cast member impressions were Kate McKinnon, who played Lindsey Graham, and Aidy Bryant, who played prosecutor Rachel Mitchell. McKinnon pulled no punches, mimicking Graham’s finger pointing and constant leaning-forward motion during his outburst at the hearing. She concluded by comparing Kavanaugh’s situation to that of Bill Cosby’s, much to Kavanuagh’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Bryant, complaining about everyone calling her female prosecutor and not “just straight-up prosecutor,” was constantly cut off due to her lack of time in questioning.
Colin Jost and Michael Che, just two weeks after hosting the Emmys, provided an enthralling Weekend Update segment full of jabs at Brett Kavanaugh and Bill Cosby. To comment on Kavanaugh’s hearings, Jost called in Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, played by Kate McKinnon. One of McKinnon’s signature characters, Ginsburg provided her thoughts on Kavanaugh and his calendars. Ginsburg even showcased her own 1982 calendar, complete with entries such as “Turn 100 years old,” “Break glass ceiling” and “Do laps in a bird bath.” Playing on her age, McKinnon also revealed Ginsburg’s current calendar, reading “Don’t die” across the whole calendar. Other appearances included Leslie Jones impersonating Serena Williams, who demanded an apology for her treatment from the media during the U.S. Open, and Pete Davidson, who delivered a commentary on his recent engagement to pop star Ariana Grande.
Perhaps the most bizarre moments during SNL’s premiere came during all three of Kanye West’s performances. His pre-Weekend Update gig featured West and Lil Pump singing their song “I Love It.” Weirdly enough, West dressed in a Perrier bottle costume while Pump was in a Fiji Water bottle costume. Whether this was a nod to Halloween, an attempt to make some sort of statement or just plain absurdity, no one knows. After all, it is Kanye West. The second performance featured Teyana Taylor. The two sang their new collaboration “We Got Love,” but they sang for only part of the performance. In a roughly three-and-a-half-minute performance, roughly one minute was devoted to West and Taylor standing on the stage while a monologue played overhead. In a rare event, instead of Driver ending the show by hugging and chatting with the “SNL” cast members on television, West performed a third song. This time, it was “Ghost Town,” part of Kanye’s recently released album “ye.” Wearing a Make America Great Again hat, West closed out the show as the credits rolled. Prior to the show, West promised to release his new album “Yhandi” after “Saturday Night Live.” Much to the dismay of his fans, West did not release the album.
“Saturday Night Live” proved strong in its opening night, sending positive signals for hilarious coverage of the sure-to-be-tumultuous upcoming midterms. Will “SNL” receive another Emmy next year for Variety Sketch Series? If it keeps up the energy and momentum from the season premiere, it’s surely on its way.