Don Cheadle Hosted Saturday Night Live

Weekend Update

Both Michael Che and Colin Jost had a couple jokes fall flat during this Weekend Update, but what I love and wish we’d see more often is their patronizing of each other after they don’t land very well. It’s those kind of fun moments that made Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler so good at Weekend Update. Jost and Che are great friends in real life, and it’s maddening that they keep avoiding that kind of camaraderie at the desk.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer – Alex Moffat’s Chuck Schumer is so good, and Kate McKinnon’s Nancy Pelosi is solid enough that teaming them together makes for some good chuckles. This particular appearance by the two wasn’t the best, but it still mostly worked.

Jules on the Oscars – Honestly, this character doesn’t do anything for me. It feels like an overly theatrical iteration of Fred Armisen’s Nicholas Fehn, just with a lot more wokeness instead of stammering. Beck Bennett is giving it his all, but the character feels stale to me.

Supercentenarian Mort Fellner – Well, this was an odd addition to the Weekend Update desk, but Mikey Day reading an abundance of stories about geriatrics that always turn into obituaries does have a certain charm to it. That’s something Day is quite skilled at with many of his characters.

The Host

With the exception of stand-up comedians, this is the first time in a long time that the monologue felt like it was written by the host himself. There were so many personal references to things that only Cheadle would experience himself that it felt like the actor was doing his own stand-up. Surely the writers could have helped with that, but Cheadle made it feel so natural, and I was thoroughly impressed with that. Of course, that’s on top of the fact that he had no problem performing in live comedy sketches.

The MVP

Saturday Night Live - Don Cheadle

Don Cheadle – It’s been awhile since a host did so well that they deserved to be called the MVP. But without any major standouts from the cast (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it lets the ensemble shines), Cheadle was clearly the star of this episode. That’s not always the case with certain hosts, as evidenced by last weekend’s episode with Halsey putting in a solid hosting turn without being given much to do.

The Final Word

After a disappointing episode last weekend, having Don Cheadle host this week was a vast improvement. With the exception of the cold open and the opening of Weekend Update, SNL took a break from political satire, and the show overall was better for it. The more SNL figures out how to create unique sketches from the week’s political headlines instead of spoofing cable news and the halls of politics, the better their topical satire will be for it. Hopefully that’s what happens when SNL returns with John Mulaney hosting again on March 2.

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