Chadwick Boseman Hosted Saturday Night Live

Whenever anyone says Saturday Night Live isn’t funny anymore, it’s because they tuned in on a night when the writers and cast didn’t come together for a good episode, and they used that as a judgment for the entire series. And anyone who tuned into this weekend’s episode with Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman hosting for the first time certainly got fuel for that misguided fire.

Chadwick Boseman did a decent enough job hosting the show, but overall this was a supremely disappointing episode, especially in the second half after Weekend Update. After that, the show completely went off the rails and could barely muster a chuckle in some of the worst sketches I’ve seen in a long time. So where did SNL go wrong this weekend? Find out as we recap the best and worst sketches in the Chadwick Boseman hosted Saturday Night Live.

The Best

Black Jeopardy – It’s so great that SNL has found another successful recurring Jeopardy sketch after their wildly successful Celebrity Jeopardy run when Will Ferrell was still on the show. Even better is that it allows for some great racial material to shine at SNL. In this case, incorporating Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, who is a little out of touch with black culture in the United States, was a nice touch that made this another great installment of the recurring sketch.

Nike Women’s Ad – Commercial parodies are consistently the strongest part of SNL, and this one is no exception. Selling Nike workout pants in the manner in which they’re most predominantly used (as pajamas and couch clothes), but in the same intense way that they sell the rest of their athletic gear? Brilliant.

The Game of Life: DACA Edition – Even though SNL’s political satire has been lacking for the most part this season, every now and then they still find a great way to offer up some commentary on relevant matters. In this case, the game of Life gets some dark twists and turns as it makes immigrants go through a terrible bureaucratic process designed to work against them. Plus, I love the joke at the end about the game not fitting in the box.

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Chadwick Boseman Hosted Saturday Night Live

The Average

Aidy B and Cardi B – Anytime Aidy Bryant gets to act super sassy and gets in people’s faces, I just love it. Maybe it’s because she usually plays characters who are more reserved and adorable that she gets so much mileage out of it, but this particular instance is pretty great. Also, I’m not super familiar with Cardi B, but the way she kindly brushes off Aidy Bryant at the end was amusing.

Medical Breakthrough – The gag of this sketch is a simple one, but Mikey Day’s perfect reactions to hearing news about how his penis is going to be completely destroyed by birthing a baby through his urethra makes it fairly entertaining. However, there’s something strange and stilted about Chadwick Boseman’s delivery. He’s not to adept at performing and reading cue cards, but even the voice he’s putting on feels like a struggle for him.

Wakanda Forever – This sketch was just on the cusp of being bad. The pacing is off and it unfolds in an awkward way. But the idea of negotiating who can do the Wakanda Forever salute and when is a funny concept. Chadwick Boseaman appearing as a kooky sort of character was an amusing touch too, but it still didn’t help the sketch overall to be better.

The Worst

Donald Trump Baltic States – Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump has run its course. It’s gotten to the point that the inappropriate things he says on SNL don’t even feel out of character for him. This is barely a caricature, and it’s just not funny anymore. Not even the rest of the cast doing some goofy Baltic accents can make it work.

Magic Mirror – The set-up for this sketch seemed like it would be a funny one, but then I have no idea what is going on here. At first, the prospect of Chadwick Boseman appearing in this sketch as R. Kelly for no reason was funny. But then it never went anywhere or did anything except be inexplicably ridiculous. It just makes no sense, and not in a way that absurdity can be funny.

Restaurant Complaint – First of all, I don’t know how this sketch wasn’t in the 10-to-1 spot when the weirdest sketches usually get placed. Second of all, how on Earth is shit supposed to be funny? What is Chadwick Boseman doing with his voice? Why do these people look like they’re from the 1990s? It’s weird with no explanation as to why, and worst of all, it’s not funny.

Warehouse Fire – It might be getting redundant, but just what the hell is going on in this sketch? Nothing about it feels natural, especially Chadwick Boseman’s delivery. Perhaps a more seasoned comedic actor could have made this work, but it feels like he’s reading this sketch for the first time. Furthermore, all the blocking and technical aspects of the sketch feel like they’re off too. This is easily one of the worst sketches I’ve seen in recent memory.

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Chadwick Boseman Hosted Saturday Night Live

Weekend Update

At the very least, Colin Jost and Michael Che were mostly on top of their game. The one-liners recapping the week’s headlines were top notch and skewered Donald Trump better than the cold open sketch did. That’s really how Donald Trump should be approached from now on since any sketch with him appearing as a character has consistently been underwhelming.

Mark Zuckerberg on Cambridge Analytica – Alex Moffat does some great things on Weekend Update and I’m torn on whether this will be one of them. He’s not exactly doing a great impression of Mark Zuckerberg, but he still does some funny things here, especially that high-ptiched scream laugh, but otherwise, it’s nothing to write home about.

Angel on the Royal Wedding – I’m not entirely sure why this character by Heidi Gardner is a recurring one on Weekend Update. Her performance in this role is great, and she nails the tropes of every wife in a boxing movie, but using the character in this way feels contrived and takes away from the humor of it. It’s not that this instance was unfunny, it just felt forced. There has to be a better way to utilize such a great character.

The Host

Chadwick Boseman has plenty of charisma to spare, but it appears that comedy (especially live) may not be one of his strong suits. Boseman certainly did his best on the show, but he couldn’t help but feel consistently unnatural while reading cue cards, which made the timing of some jokes fall flat. Plus, it also messed with the pacing of several sketches. But the strangest thing is that Boseman seems to have trouble doing different voices, occasionally even drifting into his Wakandan accent throughout the evening.

The MVP

Saturday Night Live - Aidy Bryant

Aidy Bryant – No one really had a great show this weekend, but Aidy Bryant certainly came close. She’s hilarious in the Nike advertisement parody, and even though the sketch as hole wasn’t downright hilarious, Bryant is fantastic in her team-up with Cardi B. It’s just a shame the episode overall wasn’t better to give her more to do this time.

The Final Word

This episode was supremely disappointing. Not only did it waste Chadwick Boseman, but it was a huge missed opportunity for the writers and cast of SNL to show off to everyone who was tuning in simply because Chadwick Boseman was hosting after the success of Black Panther. Instead of bringing in new viewers who might reconsider the fact that SNL is still funny, and usually consistently so, this episode serves as fuel for general audiences to void tuning in because they think every episode is going to be like this.

Anyway, here’s hoping the cast and crew return to form when their old friend John Mulaney hosts on April 14.

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