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The Stylus

Saturday Night Live needs some TLC

Credit: 2021 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The past two weeks have not been easy for fans of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL). 

On Saturday, October 2, the classic sketch comedy show returned for its 47 season with host Owen Wilson and musical guest Kacey Musgraves; from the start, things were looking bleak. The show started with a political cold-open, as has become the SNL formula during the Trump years, with SNL newcomer James Austin Johnson as President Biden.  

The premise was a speech in which Biden tried to unite the Democratic Party. A variety of longtime SNL cast members gave half-hearted and generic impressions of relatively insignificant members of Congress in what was one of the weakest cold opens I have ever seen come out of the SNL machine.  

The show then transitioned through its opening montage into its monologue from first-time host Wilson, whose lengthy filmography in the comedy genre was in no way apparent during an awkward and unpleasant speech. The next hour or so featured a mostly ineffective series of sketches, except for a somewhat enjoyable “Weekend Update.”  

“Update” had a disappointing start to the season. The jokes were mostly generic, and some were even recycled from the past. Anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che have both had great material in the past, but neither they nor their writing staff stepped up to the plate in either of the first two outings this season.  

Kim Kardashian West hosted the second week of SNL, and it was arguably even more unbearable. It was awkward, especially given the fact that Kardashian West has no connection to comedy whatsoever and is hosting purely because of her popularity. There weren’t any stand-out sketches in the second week either, and “Weekend Update” once again suffered from lame material.  

Much of the political action over the past few years lends itself well to comedy, especially the sketch comedy format that SNL has mastered, but the 47 season premiere was the lowest-rated premiere SNL has ever had in its run; they no longer have the same repeat audience they once relied on. The sketches have become redundant, and SNL needs to expand on the content they address in their comedy if they want to stay afloat. 

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