The doors to Studio 8-H in Rockefeller Center’s GE Building are currently closed and locked. The Saturday Night Live cast and crew are away for the summer doing other things. Until then, enjoy an encore performance of SNL tonight hosted by Lin-Manuel Miranda at 11:30pm on NBC. Tonight’s episode comes from early in Season 42. It was only the second episode of the season and it was taped live on October 8, 2016.
At the time, Lin-Manuel was the toast of Broadway, coming off a summer where his mega-hit musical “Hamilton” had won 11 Tony Awards. Lin-Manuel Miranda had been nominated for Best Actor in a Musical, but came home with Tony hardware for Best Musical, Best Music & Lyrics and Best Book. It was no wonder that SNL nabbed him to host during Season 42.
Now if you’re thinking, how well would a Broadway hip-hop artist do hosting a comedy variety show? Lin-Manuel Miranda didn’t have to worry too much because the focus was all of sudden off of him and back on the Presidential election. Because again then-Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump had dumped pure comedy gold into Saturday Night Live‘s lap. This was early October, just a month shy from Election Day and it was when the Trump Pussy-Gate / Billy Bush audio had been released to the public. Amazing timing for SNL, which had 30 hours to scramble to start writing and fit a Pussy-Gate sketch into that Saturday’s show. And that they did.
The scandal was the focus of the cold open with Alec Baldwin coming back to play Donald J. Trump. His impression was still very, very new at this point and still engaging. Baldwin’s Trump was questioned by CNN’s Brooke Baldwin (Cecily Strong) about the tape and during the interview, CNN cut to a mad celebration going on at Hillary Clinton Campaign Headquarters. There they found a dancing, champagne drinking Hillary Clinton brought to life by Kate McKinnon. The cold open sketch gave us a quick look at new SNL cast member Melissa Villaseñor and introduced us to a new Trumpism, “APPLE uh gize”.
The rest of the episode was pretty listless with only a few highlights. One of the show’s better moments actually came during the last sketch of the night, which is unheard of. It was a parody of “Stranger Things” and it featured Lucas’ parents being added into a scene from the Netflix series. Leslie Jones and Kenan Thompson starred as Lucas’ parents with Sasheer Zamata, Kyle Mooney, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Kate McKinnon as the “Stranger Things” kids. We know you start to drift off before 1am, but this sketch alone makes it worthwhile to stay up through this entire episode of SNL.
Weekend Update was a straight up killer in this episode with Colin Jost and Michael Che using the Donald Trump / Billy Bush Pussy-Gate audio as source material and inspiration. Also, this edition of Weekend Update would come back to haunt Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. Former SNL cast members and WU anchors Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey came back as guest characters, Philly undecided voters Denise McDonough and Doreen Troilo. It wasn’t Fallon in drag that bombed. It was his horrible, horrible attempt at a Philly accent. Tina Fey’s was passable, but only by the low-bar that Fallon set. You’ve been warned. Tonight, when you get to Weekend Update, prepare to cringe. Fallon was already taking heat for playfully mussing up Donald Trump’s hair a month earlier, but his accent was so bad, even the Philadelphia mayor gave Fallon a bad review. Here’s a few more of the Fallon – Philly Accent critiques from Twitter.
Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon's Philly accent is more yinzer than anything.
— JohnnyBCool (@JohnnyBCool) November 27, 2016
Between Jimmy Fallon's Trump mess and the failed Philly accent, I'm ashamed that I ever found him even mildly funny
— Zaki (@zakiedwards) October 18, 2016
Fallon fucking up the Philly accent.
Fallon fucking up a Tina Fey appearance.
Fuck Jimmy Fallon.https://t.co/qIuq5uydli
— Akuma (@westofthedial) October 10, 2016
The promos for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first time hosting Saturday Night Live included Lin-Manuel talking with Cecily Strong and explaining to her that he can’t even get tickets to see “Hamilton“, Lin-Manuel surprising fans waiting in the lengthy SNL stand-by line with pizza and the host with Aidy Bryant trying her hand at some free-style rap with the musical guests for the episode, Twenty One Pilots.