I wrote about episode 1, with host Adam Driver, so if you haven’t seen that one, I recommend starting the season from the top because the first episode is great. However, the second two episodes are still a riot and continue the season off to a great start.
Episode 2 was hosted by Awkwafina, an American rapper and most recently, starring in the popular novel adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians. She was only the second Asian-American woman to ever host SNL, the last time being Lucy Liu 18 years ago. This is honestly shocking and highlights the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Awkwafina touches upon Liu being her idol in the monologue and it’s one of the more touching moments on this usually just comedic-centered show.
Episode 2 had some funny sketches, but it also had a couple bombs. SNL is experimental and almost always has a few misses, but the hits make up for them. This episode reflected that pattern. The late night battle, a sketch about dance battlers (is that the right term for them?) who end up dancing to the Jeopardy theme song, had potential to be funny but just felt pretty awkward and hard to watch. The baby shower sketch also missed the mark, to no fault of Awkwafina’s performance, but just a poor flow throughout the whole sketch and a weak lead-up to her character. The Cleopatra sketch also just fell a bit flat and was trying too hard.
There were a couple sketches that still landed and made the episode worth the watch. Not a sketch, but Awkwafina’s monologue was well-done and personable. It’s always great to see a host do the classic stand-up style monologue, rather than using a crutch of other cast members or use of the audience. She seemed really natural and comfortable and had the clever joke of “I was going to dress up as a water bottle, but somebody already did that last week,” referring to Kanye’s performance. A hilarious sketch from the episode was the emergency alert sketch, spoofing Trump’s emergency alert texts received that week.
Overall, the episode was on the less funny side but still had some good laughs and Awkwafina is a natural performer who I look forward to seeing in the future.
Episode 3 hosted by Seth Meyers was absolutely hilarious, no surprise as a former cast member. Episodes hosted by SNL veterans are always just innately funny, as they are already so comfortable, know how to make sketch comedy work effortlessly and have a strong rapport with the other cast members. I’ll spend less time on this episode because with a comedian like Seth Meyers, you already know you’re in for a treat.
My personal favorite sketches were Beta Force with Beck Bennett, A Frightening Tale with Kyle Mooney and Seth Meyers, who have a really great chemistry on the screen, and the cold open, Brett Kavanaugh Post-Game. Kate McKinnon in the opener will have you on the verge of tears, both from laughing and being thoroughly disturbed. By far the best sketch in my opinion was Traffic Stop because it really highlighted the talent of new cast member, Ego Nwodim. The newbie is paired with Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon where they pull over Seth Meyers just to inappropriately objectify him. The whole thing is so absurd, but works so well. Nwodim really showed off her comedic talent and seemed to already have a hang of SNL.
Thanks for reading about my obsession with SNL and hope you all enjoy the first 3 episodes of season 44 as much as I did! Feel free to call me out if I missed any great sketches, I won’t take it too personally.