Chance the Rapper made his hosting debut on “Saturday Night Live” this past Saturday. By stripping down to his underwear and spoofing Boyz II Men in a soulful tribute to President Barack Obama, Chance showed off his hosting and comedic stills to the “SNL” audience. Joined by musical guest Eminem, the rapper proved himself to be a multi-talented act as a musician and comedian.
In its Thanksgiving episode, the show took aim at the Trump family and Sen. Al Franken’s sex scandal. While the material was there for the writers, many of the sketches missed the mark and often left me bored.
The best sketches were the ones in which Chance was placed at the center. This included the “Come Back, Barrack” digital short, “Sports Announcer” and “Family Feud: Harvey Family Thanksgiving.” In all of these skits, the writer’s choice to utilize Chance allowed him to display his comedic talents, and worked to captivate the viewer’s’ attention and create a hilarious sketch. This was most clearly evident in “Sports Announcer,” in which Chance played a basketball announcer forced to cover a hockey game.
Michael Che and Colin Jost also deserve credit for their spectacular job on “Weekend Update.” While it feels like the show has lost its political edge lately, Che and Jost have given some of their best performances this season. They’ve continued to attack political and Hollywood heavyweights in the wake of multiple sexual harassment scandals and the ongoing Special Counsel investigation by Robert Mueller.
Musical guest Eminem also gave a stellar performance. Rather than doing two separate performances of two different songs, Eminem chose to do one nine-minute set. He sang his new single “Walk on Water,” as well as old hits “Stan” and “Love the Way You Lie.” He was joined onstage by a rock band, a violin orchestra and Skylar Grey, who took Beyoncé and Rihanna’s places on “Walk on Water” and “Love the Way You Lie,” respectively. Grey gave a standout performance and proved to be a sonical match for Eminem.
While the show’s writing has slumped lately, the guest hosts and musical acts have remained up to par. Chance and Eminem join a long list of acts over the past month who have delivered knockout performances on “SNL,” including musical acts Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift, and hosts Gal Gadot and Kumail Nanjiani.
Many of these big-name hosts and musical acts came to “SNL” because of the show’s success over the past year. However, “SNL” needs to get its act together if it wants to keep these type of acts on the show. Viewers became attached to the show and its current cast because it was different from what other comedy shows were doing during the election and the early months of the Trump administration.
Viewers fell in love with Kate McKinnon playing Hillary Clinton and Kellyanne Conway, and Alec Baldwin playing Trump. However, for some reason the writers keep dressing McKinnon as Jeff Sessions and attempting to convince the audience that this is funny. “SNL” needs to return to the material and skits that drew us to the show during the turmoil of the election and start of the Trump administration. If they don’t, they risk losing the viewers that last year gave them one of their most successful seasons.