Saturday Night Live: Dave Chappelle & Foo Fighters

November 7, 2020

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Nov 8, 2020

A lot of jubilation in the air during this "election day" episode of Saturday Night Live, with Dave Chappelle, Foo Fighters and the cast clearly riding high after the morning declaration of Joe Biden's presidential victory. Delayed around 45 minutes by an NBC broadcast of an NCAA football game, the show's reaction to Donald Trump's loss didn't always lead to the greatest sketches, but there were some choice ones (though only two featuring the host for some reason). Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.

The cold open

CNN's Election Night in America coverage picked up with Beck Bennett's Wolf Blitzer and Alex Moffat's nub-fingered John King celebrating the election of Joe Biden, as played by Jim Carrey. After some brief remarks, Biden introduced Maya Rudolph's Kamala Harris, who took to the podium to make a speech. Rudolph was dressed in the exact outfit that her real-life counterpart wore at her 8:30 speech this same night.

The pair celebrated, but then Blitzer cut over to Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump making a concession speech (which, it should be noted, did not actually occur in real life).

Then, in a nod to the infamous Kate McKinnon 2016 bit after Trump won, where, in her Hillary Clinton guise, she sang the recently departed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," Baldwin took to the piano to sing a forlorn "Macho Man" by the Village People, a band he often showcases at his rallies. The sketch ended with Carrey sending a special Ace Ventura la-hoo-sa-her shout-out to Trump and then, this very freshly written and well-executed open faded out.

The monologue

Dave Chappelle, visibly on edge, reflected upon the historic day that was in a hilarious, uncompromising, extended (near-18-minute) monologue. Chappelle pushed so many buttons here, at one point the crowd reacted harshly and he said, "I'm sorry Lorne, I thought we were doing a comedy show." In particular, Chappelle pressed us on American racism and white despair and wove down a fascinating path to get to place of pointed empathy. It was all engaging, entertaining and instructive and, after a mic drop and a "good night," it was done, without a proper introduction to the show or its musical guests. Kind of an intense, unusual ending that foreshadowed the show to come.

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In an odd nod to Chappelle's Show, after the first commercial break, SNL cut back to Chappelle on centre stage, and he introduced the first proper sketch of the show by suggesting it was about two Black people who lost their jobs. Also weird, Alec Baldwin, who generally vanishes after playing Trump in the open, returned for another sketch, playing ad agency rep, firing the likes of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, the All State Insurance guy and Count Chocula. Man oh man, as the All State guy, Chappelle was glorious in this, losing it a few times, breaking the fourth wall with Pete Davidson, and making this challenging piece all the more electric.

Mario Memories

A gaggle of people reflect upon their first encounters with the Mario Bros. game, including characters played by Mikey Day and Kyle Mooney, who derail the thing when Day recalls how Mooney destroyed his testicles in a horrific bicycle accident, which took place as they were travelling to first obtain the game. The one-note aspect of this was amusing enough, mostly thanks to Kenan Thompson and Mooney's physical reactions to the gruesome story.

Take Me Back

In this remote, Ego Nwodim plays a woman who goes to her front door to greet her former lover, Keith, played by Beck Bennett. A simple reconciliation plea by Keith goes awry when he reveals a litany of terrible things he's done and traits he has, which grow ever more absurd. Well-written and well performed too, this was a funny, frantic blast.

Foo Fighters

Huh, kind of a weird song, this "Shame Shame," from the new Foo Fighters album. It started out as a vaguely dub-punk thing but it didn't leave this groove much, as Dave Grohl, supported by female back-up singers, vaguely crooned this less-than-dynamic song, which also featured a pretty nothing guitar solo that Grohl oversold.

When they returned, the stage was darkened with just Grohl illuminated, as an organ relayed church tones. Grohl sang verses from 2002's "Times Like These" accompanied by just keys before the band all joined in with him, nailed a Police-like breakdown, and then burned the song away. The performances was meant to meaningfully reflect the election, and maybe it did, but there was also an underlying corniness to all of this earnestness that made it difficult to connect with.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost announced that Biden won the presidency, but more importantly that Trump didn't, and that the whole world literally celebrated his tremendous loss. Michael Che, sipping some booze, went in on a riff about how relieved he is that Trump lost, which was amusing. Che had a few other loose, who-gives-a-shit moments, and Jost got an applause break by celebrating that we all may never have to hear much from Donald Trump again.

Kate McKinnon reprised her role as disgraced NYC mayor/Trump toadie Rudy Giuliani, and she and Jost made great fun of the bizarre press conference Giuliani held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping earlier in the day. Clearly written today, McKinnon and Jost broke quite a bit during this silly thing, which ended the second consecutive noticeably short "Update" this season.

Centre 5 News Albany

A massive hailstorm hits a small town called Pebble Falls and local news covers it by speaking with some locals. It seems the storm drew together two neighbour friends, as played by Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson, who wind up getting rather close. This quaint little romantic thing seemed more like a high school play than a SNL bit, though it did have some dark undertones.

DC Morning

A news show in Washington D.C. hosted by anchors played by Ego Nwodim and Dave Chappelle, receives a breaking news alert. It seems that President Trump has fled the White House and is leading police on a car chase, which looks suspiciously like the Ford Bronco chase O.J. Simpson led police on some 25 years ago. Not much to this really, but it was good to see Chappelle again, in only his second sketch of the night, which wound up closing out the whole show.

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