Like many others in America, I grew up in a world where Bill Cosby taught us that accomplishing something great with your life and meeting high expectations was completely possible. He mixed comedy with earnestness, sincerity and a father-like heartwarmingness that made many of us aspire to do things we may have never imagined possible. He had a knack for knowing how to reach people (especially kids) during the latter decades of the 1900s, but continued to the present day to pour out into the children, because he realized that they were the future of our world. In other words – Bill Cosby was a highly motivational and influential figure in our lives.
Having said that…this whole rape controversy mess is…well, just terrible. Period.
The thing is: of course you never want to believe things like these are true. Especially of highly respected heroes who have done so much good for people. Yes, everyone has their faults. Yes, he did have a sketchy past that included having a child out of wedlock during his marriage to Camille years and years ago. People seem to forget that “celebrities” are people too – people who make mistakes, whether not-that-great or flat out awful. Sexual assault, of course, is no joke among these, and Cosby’s fame + his glowing past makes this even more devastating. If Cosby had less good will surrounding the name he’s built for himself, it’d be easier to write off the so-and-so as a monster we could all despise (which some have already jumped the Cosby ship in full swing anyway). But with everything I listed at the beginning (and then some), this makes the realization of a potential monsterous chain of events all the more devastating.
Now, on one hand, it’s very hard to say that a woman is lying about sexual assault, no matter how long the time frame between the incident and confession. It’s a very serious matter, one that has a long-lasting impact on the victim and their emotions. So while I personally don’t want to believe the stories that are coming forth, and while you could make a case for the timeline of these events being a potential hoax, is it really our job to say that a woman is lying about something so serious? Sure, it could be a hoax for money or to shut Cosby’s reputation down for whatever the reason. But how much can we really speculate?
Also, Cosby is not saying anything about this. Likely, this is a legal move – as in, the less he says, the better. But this isn’t like when twitter proclaims a celebrity “dead” and the celebrity is there to defend themselves. It’s really a lose-lose situation, because since he won’t say anything about it either way, we only have one side of the story – that he’s guilty. And now he’s losing a new show over it, parts of his tour as I understand are being cancelled – I mean, things have really escalated in the worst ways possible – right down to a TMZ rumor involving innocent Raven-Symone, who was a baby on the Cosby Show with him when she started her acting career.
For right now, the whole thing is truly disheartening. Unfortunately, it is possible that these things could have happened, as people do have skeletons in their closet that will come to the light eventually, as all things do. Some of these things will be very surprising when coming from people we hold in such high regard, such as Bill Cosby. Remember Robin Williams? A man who brought the rest of the world so much joy, but he himself had many personal battles with suicide, which got the best of him in the end. While we’re waiting on the outcomes of this whole thing, it really does lead to a question: are you, sitting there reading this, doing things in private that can be glorified when brought to the light…or viewed as monsterous? We get so upset about these figures we hold on a pedalstool, but think about it. Do you have anything unhealthy in your private life that could ruin you, even among just a few good people you trust – and can you live without it? Maybe this isn’t the direction our thoughts should go in, I don’t know – but things like this always make me eventually turn the mirror on myself to make sure that if it was me in the situation, what could I have done to abstain from getting there?
I truly hope something positive can come out of all of this.
When we last saw SNL, the material left much to be desired. This time around…it was pretty good! There was a consistent energy last week didn’t retain very long, and the sketch material was nearly solid. I laughed far more than I think I was prepared too. I’m not sure if this ends up being the best show of the season or does anything for the ratings (though, some of the cameos might certainly help…) but it definitely made me feel better about Chris Rock’s less-than-stellar show.
On to a re-enthused SNL Recap…
COLD OPEN: DRINK AT THE WHITE HOUSE (Pharaoh, Killam, Zamata)
Okay, as far as all the political cold opens go so far this season, this was the first one to make me laugh a good few times. Something about Taran Killan’s Mitch McConnell belting “YOU’RE BLACK” just hit my funny bone. This was simple, and set a fun tone for the night. Far more solid than most previous season 40 political cold opens.
WOODY HARRELSON MONOLOGUE (Harrelson, Hutcherson, Hemsworth, Lawrence)
Woody Harrelson is just so much fun with a crowd, and I get the impression that he’s really fun to be around in real life. We also got his Hunger Games stars to appear, first to reveal how much younger they are than him, and also to lead up to a Jennifer Lawrence line flub that ended up being rather endearing. Because that’s just how Jennifer Lawrence works. I could watch an entire half hour talk show of just Woody singing about 1989 and Jennifer giving him snarky sideye comments.
THE DUDLEYS (Bennett, McKinnon, Harrelson, Thompson, Aduba)
Here’s the thing: I feel like this Dudley’s sketch was SNL openly reacting to their own twitter complainers about their ‘SNL stinks’ commentary – “we heard your complaints LOUD AND CLEAR.” Maybe I’m right, maybe not. But I don’t know…something about a show that tries to start out simple, then continually accomodate their audience’s gripes with the hope of pleasing everyone. But doing just the opposite…I don’t know. There was a certain bite to it, even in the voice-over narration. Maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe they’re just trying to cover a couple topical shows out right now. Either way, this sketch gave us Uzo Aduba licking Woody and visions of Woody being intimate with Kenan, so…there’s that.
MATCH’D (Harrelson, Strong, Bennett, Mooney, Killam)
First of all, Mooney’s “from head to butt” made me laugh. Then, Harrelson’s host character rips the rug right under these guys with the twist…and I just kept laughing and laughing. Good grief, this was funny. Easily the funniest thing of the night – good premise, good comedy, good execution…and good grief. I would watch this show every week on MTV. (And I hate MTV. Cecily definitely sounded like an MTV personality.)
A NEW DAY (Davidson, Killam, Bryant, Moynihan, Jones, Harrelson, Bayer, Thompson, Bennett)
I’m thinking this may be everyone’s favorite sketch of the night. Maybe, maybe not for me, but it was just so passionately put together. Pete Davidson continues to have that one thing a week that he just “owns” – I can’t wait to see how much SNL real estate he’s allowed to have in, say, two years. (I’m sure he spends his Sunday mornings watching Rugrats after an almost-deep thought.)
FOOTBALL HALFTIME SPEECH (Harrelson, Killam, Pharaoh, Bennett, Davidson, Thompson, Mooney)
This was another example of a simple premise carried out well. Football players trying to play safely to avoid concussions (a growing paranoia these days) was pretty funny, I happily admit. Harrelson’s delivery of ‘cup the nape of the neck…’ got me. Kenan’s obviously-been-a-victim-of-a-concussion-before guy just about threw me off with how distractible he was…but all-in-all, the best of this was how into it Harrelson was. The sketch should have just been him giving a pseudo-uplifting halftime speech about being safe.
YOUNG TARTS & OLD FARTS (Thompson, Strong, Killam, Lamar, Mooney, Zamata, Bryant, Bennett, Blue Ivy, McKinnon, Jones, Moynihan, Harrelson, Pharaoh, Bayer)
Good lord, they got Blue Ivy! I just…I don’t even know what to do with this. That’s incredible. It’s always fun to see everyone shell out some impressions once in a while in something like this…and while this wasn’t the best rendition of these, some of the pairings still made me laugh. And it’s worth noting that Sasheer Zamata is still slowly getting herself out there in bits and pieces. Not this show so much, but I hope she leads another sketch again soon.
This sketch not online likely due to copyright issues.
WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, Jones, Harrelson, Killam)
Man, I just love it when Leslie Jones comes on Update. And good grief, I missed Taran Killam’s Matthew McConaughey – even if he wasn’t in the white tux this time. The segments were great this week! Moments of Leslie’s material had show-stopping greatness in them. And hey, there were quite a few good jokes from Jost & Che this week too! All in all, a good week for Update. By this point, it was a pretty good night. It’s worth noting that Jost had another pretty solid week with his deliveries & interactions w/Leslie. (Finally: our favorite tall glass of almond milk said the word ‘gangsta’ and it sounded just as nerdy as I always thought it would. That is all.)
Not sure why Part 1 isn’t online…there’s some good jokes missing from the first half.
OLD NEW YORK (Thompson, Killam, Moynihan, Harrelson)
In the midst of this quartet’s nostalgia for the olden NY days, Harrelson’s character really misses crack. That’s really all there is to it – and then he shows a ‘Vote for Nader’ button. I feel like this sketch was written for people like me. (In terms of my line of humor…not because I like crack. ‘Cause I’m anti-crack. Moving on…)
CAMPFIRE SONG (Harrelson, Bayer, Mooney, Jones, Moynihan)
Well, they couldn’t all be great. Not the best material, but despite Todd’s friends making the same faces I was making when he just kept singing his song, Woody just kept on trying to sell it. I didn’t think much of this one, but I could see it working as a 30-second passing background thing within a sitcom scene…not a 3-minute sketch so much. But whatever. I think I’m the only one who didn’t laugh at this…alas, the song is darn catchy. (I have a personal thing for when people fake playing instruments, and Woody & Vanessa didn’t do a great job of hiding how one of the SNL band members was really playing…but I digress.)
LAST CALL (Harrelson, McKinnon, Thompson)
This was a good sketch to do with this host. It was weird, but I’m not sure yet if it’s any better than the others yet. It was up there, through. Kenan holding the Bible in innocence and then prepping to burn the bar down were my favorite parts. Kate & Woody were fully committed in this (she always is), but if the jokes in these sketches aren’t for you, the Kenan reactions are the next best part for you. (I’d have a Bible and gasoline ready too if I were him.)
Best Sketch of the Night: Match’d
Worst Sketch of the Night: Apples
Jokes of the Night:
“I’d you the ride of your life…from head to butt.” – Kyle Mooney
Leslie Jones: “Look at my breasts, Colin!” Colin Jost: “I feel like I’d have to talk to HR first.”
“…All while Jimmy Carter spent his week plowing through Tinder.” – Michael Che
Observations: This was a pretty consistent show, and Woody was a fine host who had a blast, meshing in with the cast rather well. With the given material, he didn’t really have to work too hard to seek anything other than just be his fun self at times – and at times he went beyond just enough to really push it to the top. The battles with the cue cards continue for everyone. It is interesting that similar to last year’s Bruce Willis-hosted show, we saw mostly the guys this week, and the most notable female leads this week were Kate in the final sketch & Leslie on Update. (Cecily was seen twice tonight, both times just doing “a voice”, and Sasheer did a brief Michelle Obama & Diana Ross.) I know this isn’t the point and likely doesn’t mean much, but I do miss having Aidy Bryant being the over-the-top put-upon character. But anyway – yeah, this was a fun show! I hope things will continue to be as consistent as possible in the next week for SNL.
Also, Kendrick Lamar was on fire last night! (Here’s his first song…I didn’t like the female singer from his second song, who sounded like she pre-gamed with sandpaper down he throat…but that’s just me.)
BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.80
Next time: Cameron Diaz for the pre-Thanksgiving show! Also, I’m sure Bruno Mars shows up in a sketch. (I hope he comes back as host sometime as well.)
Bill Hader: 6.91
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Chris Rock: 5.75
So yeah, Chris Rock and Prince! This show was hyped up to be ‘legendary!’ With these two dynamos and a great cast, it certainly had that potential. Was it?
Well…sadly no. Unfortunately, Rock and Prince had to be the duo booked when we got our first ‘off’ episode of the season. The 40th season of SNL has been very solid so far, but last night’s show definitely had a weird, ‘not yet ready for air’ vibe to it, or something. There was an amount of line flubbing, some questionable staging, and at times a near-silent audience. Chris Rock was great and gave it his best, but not always being used in the best of ways in sketches, even he couldn’t salvage the given material. Of course, these things happen, and even when they flop, it’s still amazing how much comedy they have to put together in a very short week. Still, a lot of things were tried that sadly did not work. The good news: Prince was phenomenal! (The bad news: this show really needed a second Prince song.)
On to a distraught SNL Recap…
COLD OPEN: CHRISTIE (Strong, Moynihan, McKinnon)
Bobby Moynihan is a fun Chris Christie, I’ll give him that….a.k.a. a “likeable Kevin James-type.” I’m sure Kaci Hickox didn’t expect to be an SNL parody (eh, who are we kidding…) but then, I really thought the two of them would get into an interesting fight of sorts, and the sketch just stopped. That would have been so great! Alas, this is just another safe topical cold open in which the characters (esp. Moynihan & McKinnon) give it their all, but despite a few laughs, this doesn’t make an impact.
CHRIS ROCK MONOLOGUE (Rock)
No one should be surprised with how much Chris Rock’s stand-up here was running the gauntlet, even mentioning terrorism and getting to the Freedom Tower (by then, the crowd felt safe enough to react). Because, if you’ve ever heard his material, yeah, this is about right. But it was so true- and hilarious! Chris Rock is good at his job. Period. I would have been fine with Rock doing standup in every other sketch.
VLOG (Zamata, Mooney, Rock, Pharaoh)
This was so interesting…I finally get Sasheer as the lead in a sketch, Chris Rock is old enough to play the old out-of-touch dad, and a funny, desperate Kyle Mooney youth character. This was idealistically too awkward to be laugh-out-loud funny, but it was identifiable enough to be a decent sketch. Who else had that dad who made up fake chores and compares all music to 70s soul classics? (I do wish there was a little more of Pharaoh’s embarrassed big brother…and that I could have actually seen him the first time.)
GO-PROBE (Killam, Mooney, Bennett, McKinnon, Thompson)
Well no, I didn’t see that twist coming. Best part was easily the flashback to “your grandpa’s colonoscopy.” Second best part: “Those are polyps, son…worst I’ve ever seen.” “Sick!” “…yes.”
HOW’S HE DOING? (Thompson, Pharaoh, Zamata, Jones, Rock)
Hey, a sketch with five African-Americans all on together! That’s super remarkable for SNL right now. That alone should have brought enough energy for a great sketch. Sadly…the material just wasn’t there this time. The best installment was one year ago on Kerry Washington’s show. Sadly, the material here was just waiting until that final joke, which was funny…but the entire thing was a waste for what could have been way funnier. Anyway, poor Sasha & Malia.
WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, Davidson, Pharaoh, Thompson)
Pete Davidson, back again! He basically lives on Update now, legit. We’ve seen him as the “resident young person” 3 times in 5 episodes – that’s amazing. And yes, his material here is great. However, when he was fighting the character-breaking laughter, it was endearing for some reason. Che stumbled pretty tough over some lines tonight too…and never seemed to fully recover, even after gaining applause. It wasn’t hard to watch, it was just a little odd. But whatever, I laughed at another Jost ebola joke that I felt bad about, so there you go. Pharaoh & Thompson as Katt Williams & Suge Knight was fun, but nothing new or anything. Not the best Update thus far, but Davidson was great.
SHARK TANK (Rock, Mooney, Bennett, McKinnon, Thompson, Killam, Bryant, Davidson, Pharaoh)
I don’t think the audience knew what to do with this any more than I did. It’s a great example of ‘interesting idea that sounds edgy’ but doesn’t go as far as it needs to go. Throwing ISIS in this already drew me in, but there was a bite to this that seemed to be missing. Plus, Chris Rock doesn’t really know how to act Middle-Eastern, going in and out of character and using his ‘Chris Rock telling a story’ hands. (To be fair, while Chris Rock is versatile, I don’t know if this was the right route for his versatility, all due respect.) Also, people on twitter noticed that he seemed to look like he realized the sketch/show wasn’t going so well by now…
SWIFTAMINE (Killam, Rock, Strong, Bennett, Thompson, Bayer, Jones, Bryant)
So, is this a defense of people who listen to/like Taylor Swift’s music? I had to watch this again to fully appreciate it, but I’m sure it’s what Swift’s version of The Beygency would have you take. Out of a few good jokes, the best part was Leslie Jones in that tutu, worth the price of admission.
THE COUPLE (Rock, Jones, Moynihan, Zamata)
…ooookay. At first this felt like a sitcom couple argument from the 70s/80s and I was into the dialogue. Then, Leslie Jones had a major flub (as far as we know), walking out, then walking back in, looking confused for what felt like forever in live show time. I’m not sure what happened (maybe a last-minute writing or directing change threw things off) but matched with the lack of laughter, it really threw things off. The entire thing felt underrehearsed, and I wasn’t even sure what the point was until Sasheer Zamata walked in. The result is, I’m not sure what this sketch was really supposed to be, but man, I wish I knew.
I’m pretty sure the online version here is not the live version that aired, but likely the dress rehearsal version, or at least an edit without Jones stumbling back onstage. However, my grade is based on what I saw live:
ROBBERS (Bennett, Mooney, Moynihan, McKinnon, Zamata, Bryant, Thompson, Killam)
I appreciate the weirdness of this sketch more so than anything that aired post-Update. It didn’t even make me laugh all that much – I just appreciated it more. However, it was pointed out on twitter that this sketch was recorded another week and has been in waiting from that dress rehearsal. In other words…there was some last-minute change. (Like, the second Prince song that we unfortunately didn’t get?) Anyway, this was fine. At least Beck Bennett & Kyle Mooney had a nice night.
WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE (McKinnon, Strong, Bayer, Rock, Bryant, Killam, Pharaoh, Bennett)
By now, it felt like the cast was just trying to get through this odd, odd night. However, this was still funny. Good lord, Kate McKinnon was good in this. Vanessa Bayer, even flubbing her line (like many of her fellow cast members tonight), was also great. She now owns the final esoteric sketch of the night slot this season.
Best Sketch of the Night: Chris Rock Monologue
Worst Sketch of the Night: The Couple
Joke of the Night: “We had a horrible Jesus’ birthday this year; hopefully business will pick up by His crucifixion.” – Chris Rock, as an economist on the Christmas season
Runner Up: “I sent a picture of my penis to my mom because she’s a nurse…she said ‘there’s definitely something wrong – you’re sending me pictures of your penis, what’s wrong with you? I’m a school nurse!” – Pete Davidson
Observations: At the end of the night, all of us took to twitter, upset about how ‘off’ tonight’s episode was. However, I’m more disappointed than upset, just because the stars that seemed to be aligned fell through the same trap any lackluster episode falls through: lacking (albeit forgettable) material, under-rehearsed moments, last-minute changes, and so on. In other words, these things happen. It wouldn’t been the same live show if changes weren’t made. (And there’s been FAR worse shows w/terrible hosts.) So while I could live without much of what I saw last night, they still had a good host, I still think what these talented people do every week is amazing (even to see something flop) and I’m holding out high hopes for the next show.
Again, Prince was fantastic: https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/prince-clouds-marz-another-love-080041842.html
BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 5.75
Next time: Woody Harrelson & Kendrick Lamar (oddest pairing yet this season to be sure, but I’m holding out for a better overall show.)
Bill Hader: 6.91
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Chris Rock: 5.75