Jack Harlow Led a Strong 'SNL' with Cameos from Tom Hanks, Jeff Probst

October 29, 2022

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Oct 30, 2022

Saturday Night Live's season of double duties continued with rapper Jack Harlow serving as both host and musical guest, and he turned up very prepared to handle his business, putting great effort into both tasks, with some well-written sketches waiting for him. Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.

The Cold Open

Heidi Gardner played Judy Woodruff helming a PBS NewsHour segment. The piece centred on Republican weirdo nominees like Kenan Thompson's Herschel Walker, Mikey Day's Dr. Oz, and Cecily Strong's Kari Lake. Thompson's Walker was more coherent in his absurdist speech than the real deal, Day's Oz was elite and out of touch, and Strong's Lake was as demented as the source material, peddling far-right nonsense, all of which made for an amusing — if a bit depressing — open.

The Monologue

Jack Harlow came down the bandstand steps and made a series of self-effacing jokes about what people think of him. He made a few more one-liners, did some staged crowd work, and then this sparse, breezy opening was done, working out well for the sure-footed performer.

Survivor: Joker

At a Halloween night wedding for a young, southern couple, the ceremony was interrupted when the bride-to-be, played by Heidi Gardner, erupted with objections to the best man being dressed as Heath Ledger's Joker. Harlow played the groom and Andrew Dismukes played Clint, the best man/Joker. After a vote among the witnesses, Survivor's Jeff Probst made a cameo, appearing to tally the votes, which gave this odd bit an equally strange climax.

Ye and Skechers

In this remote, people from Skechers figured out a way to leverage Ye's recent visit to their corporate HQ by initially boasting about rejecting him, but then suggesting his interest made them seem cool all of a sudden. This segued into James Austin Johnson nailing Mike Lindell and suggesting that Ye would be working with MyPillow, which was somewhat amusing.

Post-Halloween Special Red Carpet

Mikey Day and Cecily Strong played field reporters, covering the drunken aftermath of Halloween night, interviewing wired and tired passersby at 3 a.m. This parade of shame featured various cast members playing drunks, coke fiends, and other miscreants — or, in the case of Kenan Thompson, a deadbeat dad who forgot about Halloween. This was short and pretty good.

Luggage Story

At a 12-step meeting, Harlow played a self-interested participant named Jesse (as in Pinkman from Breaking Bad, who also crashed such sessions for his own gain?). When called upon to reveal something about himself, he made a point of mentioning that he had a pitch for a Pixar film. Before long, everyone was interested in contributing to his Toy Story-esque treatment and, when someone wondered who might play the lead character, Tom Hanks himself made a cameo to put a bow on this funny sketch.

2020 Part 2: 2024

In this remote, faux movie trailer, a group of friends are horrified at the prospect of Joe Biden running for a second term for president when he would be 81 years old. Contemplating the alternatives prove even more terrifying for the gathering, which was meant to skewer the Democratic Party for their thin field of viable candidates. I'm not sure what this was advocating for instead, and, reeking of Colin Jost's right-leaning centrism, this was more gory than funny.

Casita Cocts

In a vague satire of the old Tom Cruise film Cocktail, Harlow and Bowen Yang played waiters who force a table of customers to endure their terrible skills as cocktail-making exhibitionists. The recurring physical comedy by Harlow and Yang and their odd accents was sort of something, but this was otherwise a bit flat and one-note.

Jack Harlow

In a colourful, 1970s-ish set, Jack Harlow dug in for a compelling performance of "Lil Secret" and "First Class." Amped and confident, Harlow fed off the energy of his live band and a couple of subtle backup dancers, and he towered in this moment that clearly meant a lot to him.

When he returned, it was just Jack solo, and he swaggered his way through "State Fair" in defiance, again rising to an occasion that he knew was special.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost began by ridiculing Elon Musk's Twitter purchase before Michael Che went at Herschel Walker's abortion fiasco really hard. Jost made a few terrible comments about Senate candidate John Fetterman, who is recovering from a stroke, while Che took four solid shots at Ye before Jost ridiculed the rapper as well as the various companies that have severed ties with him. Che made a good joke about a Clarence Thomas stamp and later made a strange joke about semen-detecting dogs.

Former cast member Bobby Moynihan showed up as his Drunk Uncle Update character to decry the political correctness of Halloween and espouse his wild opinions about modern cultural phenomena like "quiet quitting" and Chris Pratt playing Mario and Ye's antisemitism. Not sure why Drunk Uncle was back, but he and his mangled non-sequiturs were the highlight of this short, half-baked Update.

Cellblock 666

Ah, this explains why we encountered Drunk Uncle again. In a terrifying tour of an iconic prison, Kenan Thompson played a guide, bringing (elevator?) riders played by Harlow, Ego Nwodim, and Andrew Dismukes to different jail cells (or floors; this wasn't as clear as the original sketch). With Tom Hanks and Bobby Moynihan appearing earlier, it was obvious that we would be visited by the curious David S. Pumpkins and his suggestively dancing skeleton sidekicks, as played by Day and Moynihan. Even with other horror icons like Michael Myers, Pennywise, and Freddy Krueger in the mix, none were as unsetting to the riders as Pumpkins and his cronies. Hanks, looking older and slower than he did when he first appeared as Pumpkins a few years ago, still stole the show. Any questions?

The View

The women of The View gathered together and welcomed special guest Jack Harlow, who began hitting on Ego Nwodim's Whoopi Goldberg who was flanked by Sarah Sherman's loud Joy Behar. As this advanced, Harlow's advances seemed to work on Whoopi, and he carried her off set in an embrace. This was brief but amusing.

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