Wakanda was in the house as Saturday Night Live rolled out a brand new episode this week with Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman hosting. One of the better episodes of the season, most of the sketches hit all the right notes minus some difficulty ending a few of the bits, which, lets face it, audiences have long come to accept as the price of sketch comedy.
The show opened with the return of Alec Baldwin, as President Trump joins the leaders of the Baltic states (“Estonia, Lithuania and Stankonia”) for a Press Conference. Trump read a prepared speech that included a callback reminder not to congratulate Putin which of course was followed up by congratulations, and a few insults thrown at the Baltic leaders. There were jokes about Trump’s love for Roseanne, (“I wish I was watching ‘Roseanne.’ How great is that show? Roseanne loves me. She’s like a good Rosie O’Donnell”), Trump’s decision to send the National Guard to the border, and a commentary about Trump’s true motive in becoming President: “Here’s the thing no one else is saying, and I’m the only one who’s willing to actually say this: I don’t care about America. This whole presidency is a four-year cash grab, and admitting that will probably get me four more years.” It wasn’t a bad cold open as far as Trump cold opens go, but was overshadowed by a much funnier, biting commentary on Trump policies later in the episode.
A digital short advertising The Game of Life, DACA edition, made fun of the Trump Administration and the dullness of the classic board game in one shot. Described as the “only board game where the ups and downs are just like in real life.” “I’m a rock star, I’m going to law school, I’m having twins!, and I’m….a dreamer!?” the contestants declare up front. Heidi Gardner, Chris Redd, Melissa Villasenor, Pete Davidson enjoy the game where only “dreamers” get to jump through bureaucratic hoops, duck from ICE officers and work three jobs just to get by. The game includes an adorable western union, a border wall, Presidential Tweet cards and a deportation catapult.
Other great sketches included Black Jeopardy, which should be tired and worn thin by now, but continues to showcase great writing and bring big laughs, the return of one of the better Weekend Update characters this season: Heidi Gardner’s “Angel” the wife of a boxer unhappy with her life as the wife of a boxer, and the introduction of the phrase “racial indigestion” to describe white people imitating the black panther salute in a sketch called “Wakanda Forever.”
The sore thumb award goes to the only one glaringly bad sketch in the bunch this week- and no, surprisingly it wasn’t the sketch about acapella singers complaining about their meal, that was funny. The sketch that stood out for its lack of funny starred Boseman as a fireman who planned to leave his job early after “squirting” a fire, because he had to go work on an investment that involved dolls and dogs. If you watch it two or three times, (no reason you would but it might explain how it ended up on the show this week), you will start to giggle at the silliness, but this one could easily have been cut for time.
But congratulations to the team for a tight episode, and we’re all excited to see what’s on tap next week, as John Mulaney returns to 30 Rock, for his first time hosting the show, on April 14.