Saturday Night Live: Daniel Kaluuya & St. Vincent

April 3, 2021

BY Vish KhannaPublished Apr 4, 2021

Fantastic efforts by St. Vincent and Daniel Kaluuya, who had some inspired writing to sink his teeth into, made this an excellent episode. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.

The cold open

Reprising her recent turn as Britney Spears turned host of her own confessional talk show, Oops, You Did it Again, Chloe Fineman kicked off the show with her idiosyncratic energy. Chris Redd appeared as Lil Nas X to address his recent Satan-infused music video, which was amusing. Then, things got absurd when Kate McKinnon appeared as Pepé le Pew to address his recent removal from the Space Jam sequel because of his history of sexual harassment, and to make amends for his past looney behaviour. Pete Davidson turned up as disgraced U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz, which he did as though the teen predator was The Family Guy's Quagmire. This was all just pretty good.

The monologue

Daniel Kaluuya made an amazing joke about the British Royal family and then tore into some excellent observational jokes about racism and his family's large brood. He also told the funny story about his Zoom video being muted after he won a 2021 Golden Globe, which enabled a good Get Out nod, and then he paid Kenan Thompson a nice tribute. A really funny and charged up monologue from a dramatic actor with good comedic sense.

Will You Take It?

Kaluuya played Dr. Tevin Jones, the host of a game show in which he tried to convince his family members to take the COVID vaccine in exchange for $500. As it turned out, in spite of their increased susceptibility to the virus due to health issues, they each deny they need to take it because of various strains of stubbornness and being misinformed. This was both funny and sad.

Prank Posse

This remote riffed on a few different news threads, where some YouTubers that ran a prank show turned out to be really terrible assholes. Kyle Mooney played the lead jerk here who, after every prank video, had to post both related and unrelated apology videos for his life, generally. Topical but not hilarious.


A young couple played by Kaluuya and Heidi Gardner engaged in a games night with her parents, as played by Kate McKinnon and Mikey Day. For some reason, McKinnon's mom leaves the table and loses her shit, drunkenly guzzling wine and making a huge racket in the kitchen. This aimless and strange thing ended on an equally pointless note.

Creative Writing

Three families are gathered together for a dinner and things go awry when the Nigerian hosts (Kaluuya and Ego Nwodim) learn that their boy David (Chris Redd) has given up med school to take up creative writing. A classic immigrant family story about practical versus seemingly ill-considered career planning, this was very well-written and performed (which was lucky because, with cameras frequently pointed at non-speaking performers, it was a directorial fiasco).

St. Vincent

Always a stunning visual musician with an ear for cool sounds, St. Vincent returned to SNL and, armed with songs from the forthcoming Daddy's Home, was ready to play. Costumed and choreographed with a number of bandmates (including talented bassist and one-time Beck crony Justin Meldal-Johnsen) and three theatrical back-up singers, "Pay Your Way in Pain" was a 1970s sonic spectacle to behold.

With a similar aesthetic but more subdued pacing, "The Melting of the Sun" found Annie Clark sitting cross-legged on a leather chair for the first half of the song, one of her signature electric guitars in her lap, before rising to close the song out with familial flair and a nice solo. Remarkable stuff.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost began Update with a torrent of jokes about Matt Gaetz, who seems like a real jerk. Michael Che outlined some of Joe Biden's policies in a humourous manner before Jost got back into Gaetz with a series of tie-ins to QAnon's hypocritical silence on the matter. Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant appeared at the desk in Western wear. They've played these kinds of down-home, agrarian salespeople before, but Vaneta and Wylene Starkie stand out. In a ploy to appeal to conscientious consumers, they were upselling their brand of woke meats, made out of animals that lived reprehensible lives, which meant they were okay to eat. With funny scenarios and McKinnon and Bryant barely able to keep a straight face during the whole thing, this was fine.

Jost got in a good joke about Johnson & Johnson screwing up a batch of their vaccine. Oh man, Alex Moffat's terrible douchebag, Guy Who Just Bought a Boat, returned after a long absence and fired off one smarmy line after another while, in the vein of Kevin Nealon's old Mr. Subliminal, often undercutting his sexual prowess. Brilliant.

Che made an awesome joke about his penis being smothered in peanut butter. The desk was soon visited by May-December newsmakers, Jeff and Hattie Deeley, as played by Mikey Day and Heidi Gardner. Playing off a massive age difference and the fact that Jeff has clearly married Hattie for her vast fortunes, this was a bit predictable but well performed.

Mama's Fratboy

A fraternity that has been vaccinated plans a trip to Tahoe and all the dudes are excited until one of them, played by Kaluuya, slowly convinces all of them to invite their moms on the trip. With his character's insistent resistance to the idea, Mikey Day was likely the most amusing here, though the slow boil of Kaluuya's idea spreading among his frat bros was rather inspired.

Dog Talk

At a dog park, a friendly encounter goes sour when Kaluuya's Mark tries to playfully engage some dog owners in conversation. Unfortunately, they resented the voices he employed to reflect their dogs' thoughts and fisticuffs almost ensued, which was charming enough and told us more about certain kinds of dog owners than anything else.

The Upright Bass

More awkward camera miscues for this closing sketch, which featured a social gathering for a brother's 69th birthday that gets upended by an artsy couple, as played by Kaluuya and Cecily Strong. They take to an upright bass and begin performing a rudimentary beat poetry/jazz speech that is feline-themed. Kudos to Kaluuya and Strong for soldiering through this random but amusing silliness.

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