These days, “Saturday Night Live” writers do not have to try hard to come up with ideas. With the daily media circus that the Trump administration continues to devolve into, all they need to do is report on current events and the result will be hilarious, right?
If the beginning of season 43 proves anything, it is that this tactic will not work forever. Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”) continues to drop in and provide his uncanny impression of the 45th president, complete with an orange spray tan and an ironed-out suit.
The cold open was a satirical take on the Mueller investigation, with Trump and his goons depicted taking a shower together. The bit was filled with mean-spirited jokes being hurled at the Trump administration, which have seemed to have lost the bite they had when the president first entered office. SNL seems more determined than ever to show America what is going on in the political system, but the results tend to be more depressing than they are funny.
Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) was the host for the night, and his opening monologue started off on a very strong note. “You tolerate me, you really tolerate me,” he said to the crowd after receiving a long round of applause. What made the monologue really interesting was the mixed reception he got for an offensive joke directed toward Jews. While David has been mostly immune to outrage for his career, this one particular joke was enough to put him in the crosshairs on social media. “If I’d grown up in Poland when Hitler came to power and was sent to a concentration camp, would I still be checking out women in the camp?” he asks the crowd, and was met with an interesting mixture of gasps and laughs. If David had executed the joke a little better, there was a good chance he would not have received so much hate for it, but that was not the case. The joke virtually came out of nowhere and fell flat mostly because it did not have any real context.
The skits were the usual bag of great, average and horrible. Some felt a lot more thought out than others, while others dragged on for way too long. Cast member Kyle Mooney (“Brigsby Bear”) delivered his usual brand of off-putting comedy with the bit “Beers,” a parody of mid-90s sitcoms that was strangely lovable. The fact that SNL approved it shows they still have an experimental side and are willing to explore new territory. David gave his famous Bernie Sanders impression on “The Price Is Right Celebrity Edition,” which had all the typical pieces of an SNL skit. It may have gone on for too long, but for the most part, it delivered laughs.
The low points came with bits like “The Baby Step,” an annoying music video starring Miley Cyrus that just felt uncomfortable. They were shooting for the video to go viral by loading as many gimmicks in as possible, but the final result was just a complete mess. Andy Samberg is sorely missed with the digital shorts.
“Saturday Night Live” continues to evolve and be a stepping stone for young comedic actors, and this new season picks up exactly where the last season left off. Cast members like Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon and Vanessa Bayer continue to keep the show going strong, with the end nowhere in sight.
Image from Saturday Night Live via YouTube.com