‘Saturday Night Live’ review: Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump, ‘Mr. Robot’ spoof, Larry David, and Margot Robbie highlights
“Saturday Night Live” is back! We waited for it for several weeks, and that said anticipation was probably increased tenfold because of both the cast turnover (farewell, Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah, and Jon Rudnitsky) couple with the fact that Alec Baldwin is now playing Donald Trump rather than Darrell Hammond.
We really don’t think that it took a whole lot of effort to figure out what the cold open this time around was going to be: A spoof on the first Presidential Debate. You’ve got a new impression, you’ve got Kate McKinnon (as Hillary Clinton) coming off of an Emmy win, and it’s dominating the headlines. The only question that remained was if it’d be funny enough to justify the days of inevitable anticipation.
The big winner here was clearly Baldwin, who was absolutely genius as Trump. Not only did he capture some of the candidate’s mannerisms, but he also really played up some of his comments from earlier this week. The bit about China was great, and the same thing goes for the random tirade about “kissing” Sean Hannity. Overall, a really great and funny start for the show.
As for some other sketches on the night…
Margot Robbie monologue – For a monologue (which often disappoint), this was rather funny as we had a monologue from Margot that was all about “honesty.” She would say something to the crowd, and then she or another cast member would turn to the camera with the truth. It was a conceit that could have played-out quickly, but it genuinely did produce some laughs — especially Aidy Bryant proclaiming her love for Drake.
News broadcast – This was surprisingly great, mostly because it got more and more insane as it went on. The central premise here was about a sinkhole report that turned into something completely different when the newscasters became fixated on how ordinary man Matt Shatt managed to get Robbie’s character Alexandra Kennedy Shatt to marry him, despite him wearing Crocs, lacking a certain part of the male anatomy, and working as a puppeteer.
Librarian video – For the first minute or so, we thought this was going to be the first miss of the night, yet another skit that was all about “let’s just use Margot’s superficial appearance for humor.” Then, it went completely off course by having her really be completely psychotic, having very little hair, and two tattoos of Haley Joel Osment. It probably didn’t need the moment at the end, since it still worked without it.
“Family Feud: Political Edition” – Wonderful yet again, especially for the surprise return of Larry David as Bernie Sanders. We honestly didn’t think we’d see him again, and his line about Hillary as prune juice was genius. It helps to offset the fact that his Jill Stein joke for whatever reason completely tanked in the room.
Weekend Update – The first edition of this is probably going to be mixed. We thought most of the jokes were good, and while we know that Michael Che’s bit on the National Anthem is going to be controversial, we appreciated the show allowing there to be perspective. The first correspondent wasn’t tremendous to us, but David Ortiz’s potentially-final appearance was amazing. The best thing about this is that Kenan talks almost exclusively about food and endorsements, and never mentions baseball really at all.
Hunch Bunch – This was a moderately-amusing sketch about a “Scooby Doo” sort of crime-solving team (minus the dog), who ran into a problem when their friend (Robbie) took it far too seriously and ended up shooting the guy in the mask.
Melania Moments – This was short, and odd. Clearly, the joke here is that Melania doesn’t interact with normal people.
Actress Roundtable – There were a few funny moments in here as McKinnon played a screen icon who had to do things a very different way in her era in order to get by and find success. This structurally felt like Kate’s alien-abduction sketch, albeit in a slightly different form. It was a tad too long, and while enjoyable, it would have been better if it ended a minute earlier.
“Mr. Robot” with Leslie Jones – It’s funny that a “Mr. Robot” sketch was something we figured would be coming this season, and we totally love that both “SNL” and Leslie were willing to take on her own personal hack from earlier this summer. She’s definitely an amazing sport for going along with this, and this was a worthy parody of the show to go along with being ridiculously funny at the same time. (We’d be including this clip, but we’re not sure NBC is releasing it for some reason.)
Overall, this has to be the best “SNL” premiere in a long time. While not perfect, there were legitimately some great sketches throughout and some we’ll remember for a long time. As a reminder, we’ll have videos in the morning! Grade: A-.