Saturday Night Live: John Mulaney & the Strokes, October 31, 2020

Saturday Night Live: John Mulaney & the Strokes, October 31, 2020
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Well, after some less than stellar writing over the past couple of weeks, everyone at Saturday Night Live stepped up for townies, John Mulaney and the Strokes, for the best episode of the season. Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.
The cold open

Jim Carrey appeared as Vice President Joe Biden to present a special Halloween message. After a few good bits about masks and Melania Trump, Biden read from Edgar Allan Poe, conjuring Kate McKinnon's doom-and-gloom Hillary Clinton, Mikey Day's less-than-reassuring statistician Nate Silver, Kenan Thompson's Ice Cube and Chris Redd's Lil Wayne, Maya Rudolph's Kamala Harris and Beck Bennett's disfigured Mitch McConnell, all of whom contributed to a worse case scenario election outcome, before Biden and Harris closed this thing on a hopeful note. Perhaps last week is the last we'll hear from Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump (but likely not).
The monologue

For his fourth turn as host, John Mulaney once again aced his monologue. Some good NYC jokes here, including an extended run about Governor Andrew Cuomo's melodramatic daily briefings and then a funny thing about how the "elderly man contest" on November 3 may not much impact daily life in the United States. Still, his 94-year-old nana will be voting and he's not sure she should be able to? Or should even driving cars at this point in her life? John Mulaney's nana sounds like a pistol.
The Birds

Kenan Thompson's Cinema Classics host, Reese De'What, introduces an alternate scene from the Alfred Hitchock classic, The Birds. Kate McKinnon plays Tippi Hedren's Melanie Daniels, trapped inside of a phone booth, calling a sheriff, played by John Mulaney, for help. Y'know, the concept of The Birds is fairly absurd when you really think about it, as this and an additional scene demonstrated. Top marks for McKinnon and Mulaney for great performances in this rather hilarious sketch.
Strollin'

In this music video remote, four Black voters sing an optimistic funk-soul song about voting, like it ain't no big thing. What they discover instead is the road to casting one's vote is full of obstruction and obfuscation when you're a POC. This was harsh but felt true and, as such, was some good satire of how shitty America can be.

The Headless Horseman

John Mulaney's Ichabod Crane encounters the Headless Horseman in the spooky Sleepy Hollow. After some small talk, things get very awkward when Crane asks if the Horseman ever uses his severed head to perform oral sex on himself. After the Horseman expresses disgust with Crane, other puritans, played by Pete Davidson and Mikey Day respectively, also show up for more of the same line of questioning, all of which was very funny.
Thank You NYC

In a remote designed to thank New York City for its pandemic perseverance, a strange local woman, played by Kate McKinnon, proves to be more than a little eye-catching. A short, weird thing that showed off how NYC is great for being so weird.
The Strokes

The beloved mop-tops in the Strokes celebrated their twentieth anniversary of putting NYC back on the musical map by returning to a stage that helped them conquer the world. They held our attention with a spirited version of "The Adults are Talking," with Julian Casablancas dressed in a leather suit and cupping a 57 mic, which distorted his voice, but he also crooned and belted out parts of the song at some points, impressively.



On the equally airtight "Bad Decisions," Casablancas performed a wardrobe change and looked quite a bit like Bender from The Breakfast Club, and if you squinted your eyes, the mid-1980s musical vibe made it totally seem like the very solid band practice Bender would've attended after getting out of detention. Good stuff here.



Weekend Update

Colin Jost led with a clip of Trump telling supporters that doctors make money from declaring people have COVID and went in on how many cases his own rallies have spread. Michael Che had a good run about why politicians should stop negotiating with rappers before Jost did a quick but funny bit about Jared Kushner. Both men expressed concern about Trump winning the election, just because of how exhausting and dumb it will be. Kyle Mooney's Baby Yoda returned to the desk for an update on The Mandalorian, but he really came across as more of an opportunistic hipster hustler. When Jost and Che returned, they were packing some really great jokes that killed and then wrapped up the relatively short WU strongly (fewer correspondents gave the segment a particular momentum this week).
Big Nick's Souvenirs

Ah yes, this is what we were waiting for: the traditional John Mulaney NYC-centric musical sketch. From diners, bodegas and airports, we moved into a Times Square souvenir shop where, as always, characters played by Chris Redd and Pete Davidson upend the day when Davidson opts to purchase something truly weird that no one in history has ever even given a second glace. In this case, it was a pair of soiled "I Love NYC" underwear that prompted an adaptation of theatrical productions like A Little Night Music, Sweet Charity and Fiddler on the Roof, among others, and brought Times Square and Broadway together in an ambitiously hilarious production. Bravo and encore; these things with Mulaney are always the best.
Brenner Goods

Pete Davidson's Tyler continues to torment his uncle Ron, played by Mulaney, by memeing him relentlessly. This confrontation was funny the last time and funny again this time, though it ended darkly and suddenly in its 5-to-1 slot.