Saturday Night Live: Adele & H.E.R.

October 24, 2020

BY Vish KhannaPublished Oct 25, 2020

Adele only hosted instead of hosting and singing but was also able to please her audience during one specific sketch, and H.E.R. took full command of the stage in a strangely underwritten and awkward episode of Saturday Night Live. Here's everything that happened this week.

The cold open

The latest presidential debate was sent up, with this version featuring Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump and Jim Carrey's Joe Biden, as moderated by Maya Rudolph's Kristen Welker. It was funny when Baldwin called COVID-19 the "Wu-Tang virus" and kept mistaking Welker for other women of colour, but otherwise, this was mostly just a slight heightening of the participants' personalities and an exaggeration of their sayings and catchphrases. Kate McKinnon reprised her Rudy Giuliani, as the mayor had been in the news for his featured role in the new Borat movie, but her presence was limited, as, thanks to his having most of the laugh lines, this was mostly Baldwin's set piece, and was relatively well done.

The monologue

Adele made some awkward banter about why she was hosting but not performing on the show, which is unusual for famous musicians, but then landed with good jokes about the hullabaloo around her weight loss and her history with cursing on live TV. Overall though, this was just a brief meet 'n' greet instead of a memorable, or even funny, monologue.


Kate McKinnon played a psychic, greeting a quartet of friends looking to know what 2020 might be like, in the year 2019. A funny premise, McKinnon's visions are all about the minor horrors that the pandemic has wrought that last year's versions of us could not possibly comprehend or anticipate.

The Haunted Manor

In this special effects-heavy remote, Pete Davidson's agreeably oblivious character, Chad, was a stranded traveller who happened upon an abandoned mansion, haunted by a ghost, played by Adele. She asks him to avenge her murder but things don't work out so well with Chad, which was somewhat amusing.

The Bachelor

Beck Bennett was Ben K., the prize on The Bachelor, but he's flummoxed by the emotional reactions by Adele, who played herself and sings her emotive hits about everything that seems to be happening to her on the show. A funny idea that was executed well, and treated fans to Adele actually getting to sing, masterfully at that, on the show.

Trump Addicts of America

This was a very funny fake commercial featuring cast members lamenting what the loss of a President Trump transitioning to a citizen Trump might mean to our daily lives. What would we talk about? Who would be the world's biggest asshole every single day? A lot to ponder about life after November 3.


Backed by a band and back-up singers, soulful R&B singer H.E.R. conjured a low-key, romantic vibe on "Damage," while wearing both librarian eyeglasses and a provocative, sheer blouse. Super chill and slight, this kinda just came and went. Back for "Hold On," H.E.R. played a beautiful Stratocaster and, as her collaborators each sported shirts that said #ENDSARS, she conjured Prince, with a killer guitar solo to punctuate another mid-tempo but beautiful and stirring song.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost went in on the recent debate but, surprisingly, attacked Joe Biden for not "dunking" on Donald Trump. He also addressed the Giuliani/Borat controversy with a so-so 'yo mama' joke. Michael Che discussed the weird perceptions about COVID-19 and ended it with a teary-eyed joke about how he hoped the president would've died.

Jost had a good run about how crazy old the current American presidential candidates are before Melissa Vilaseñor, who has been sadly absent of late, did an uneven and awkwardly unfunny desk piece.

All of a sudden, the Village People (not real) showed up and demanded that Trump "Cease and Desist" using "YMCA" at his rallies. Some of their more controversial new lyrics were questioned by Jost, which was more of a momentum killer than anything else but this may have been the highlight from this week's fake news.

Visiting Grandma

Maya Rudolph returned to play a grandma up on a nursing home balcony, who can't quite hear her visiting, socially distanced grandchildren, from the courtyard below. They yelled stuff at her but it's all a bit vague until their repetition makes them a bit more honest. This was strained and had no real ending written so it just concluded suddenly and strangely.


A commercial for African tourism, led by characters played by Adele and Kate McKinnon, and both named Joanne, is sidelined when the white women became overly obsessed with the sex that can be had with the local tribesmen. Really racially weird, this one, and most memorable because Adele broke harder than any host has broken in recent history.

Ass Angel Perfume Jeans

In this 1980s-inspired remote ad, Maya Rudolph was officially in enough bits to be a cast member again and she and Adele played women celebrating jeans that mask farts and Beck Bennett was an era-specific pop star singing the jingle for these jeans. This was totally idiotic and stupid.

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