Saturday Night Live review: Charles Barkley highlights

Saturday Night Live reviewThis week’s new episode of Saturday Night Live is hosted by Charles Barkley, which remains in some ways an interesting choice for a four-time host. He’s mildly funny, but did we really need him four times when there are some other athletes who haven’t hosted once? (We’re already waiting for the Joel Embiid SNL gig fifteen years from now when he retires.)

We didn’t have high hopes for Barkley’s monologue, but there were some pretty good lines in here, including him saying that he was hosting for “no reason” and also that Lorne Michaels just wanted a black man talk about Black Panther with. He took on Fox News and beyond that, really hit home the point that athletes can speak out on social issues. This monologue did feel fairly short, but the whole message was pretty clear: Charles always spoke his mind and he turned out just fine.

We’ll be updating this review tonight with some more highlights over the course of the episode. Be sure to refresh throughout!

Related Check out our take on the SNL cold open

The Grabbies – This was a way to mock the Oscars and some of the sexual misconduct stories that have come up over the past few months. This felt like a sketch that the producers have been probably sitting on for some time. It was a little bit predictable given the national climate, but there were some laughs — including the co-host changing throughout the sketch. (Was that a Ryan Seacrest jab?)

Ned’s Roach Away – The only way that can stop a bad roach is a good roach with a gun. This was absolutely insane. This is satire at SNL‘s best. Barkley did a really good job making the ridiculous narrator of this commercial realistic for the character he was supposed to be — this was about as good of a sketch as you’re going to get about roaches shooting each other.

Homework Hotline – Barkley played the host a public access show, someone who wanted to help people with their homework. Unfortunately, everyone just wanted to make fun of him supposedly having sex with his puppet. By the end of the sketch, we started to understand why.

The Champions – Alex Rodriguez made a cameo in this sketch as himself for a sketch that was all about athletes discussing their chosen profession. The crazy character here was Kenan Thompson’s, who was apparently playing a former Steelers player who may have had too many concussions. He was basically just playing LaVar Ball again.

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Weekend Update – This was a pretty good show leading up to this, but we’d say that this was one of the weaker Updates of the season. Michael Che had some issues hitting the timing on his jokes. Meanwhile, Cecily Strong’s impression of Hope Hicks left something to be desired and for some reason, Kyle Mooney played a different version of himself begging to hang out at their Oscar party than the version where he dated Leslie Jones.

The best part of Weekend Update tonight was Leslie Jones’ talk about the Olympics where she apparently discovered hockey for the first time. Cue the cameo from the Olympian from the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team in Hilary Knight.

Dating Game – This was really dark for a sketch on this show. Barkley played Doug, a contender on the show who basically threatened to kill himself in the event that he wasn’t picked — this was a weird sketch that had some funny moments, but also a really weird ending that seemed to be social commentary on how television personalities may pretend to care about mental health but really don’t.

Construction Workers – At least the Dating Game took an interesting risk. However, this was a dud hearing construction works casually talk about what they would look like if they had the flexibility and styles that women have.

Last Call – YES. This is one of the best recurring sketches that SNL has. We give Charles a LOT of credit for going along with this, which involved him supposedly licking deodorant and also tonguing each other wearing dental gear.

Final Verdict

Sure, the end of the night had its flaws but the presence of Last Call alone helped to make most of Barkley’s show a fairly pleasant surprise. There was a lot of comedy here and while Barkley still isn’t the best host, the writing was very good around him.

Also, check out the video version of our review below and subscribe to our CarterMatt YouTube Channel for more.

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