Nate Bargatze and Foo Fighters Shone on a 'Saturday Night Live' Mired in Flubs

October 28, 2023

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Oct 29, 2023

Ingenious, unassuming stand-up Nate Bargatze had his hands full acting in decent sketches, Foo Fighters conjured their younger, poppy alt-rock selves with an assist from H.E.R., and everyone was pleased to see 80-year-old Christopher Walken bringing the weird. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.

The Cold Open

Mikey Day's President Joe Biden welcomed us into the White House as he hung Halloween decorations. Feeble and doddering, Biden almost replicated Chevy Chase's bumbling Gerald Ford by falling off of a ladder, but then stopped himself. Michael Longfellow appeared as new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson for a bit of foolishness before the actual Christopher Walken turned up as the spirit of Halloween, Papa Pumpkin, to offer the president some guidance. The crowed went bonkers for the beloved actor, whose stilted delivery was a bit more laboured than usual, as he appeared older and slow to decipher his cue cards. Still, it was a treat to see him back on the show.

The Monologue

Hilarious comedian Nate Bargatze mentioned his Tennessee roots and suggested that, based on his understanding of modern technology, he might be from the early 1900s. He discussed strange, half-glass hotel showers where the floor gets all wet and recalled his dad's magic act and donkeys jumping into pools from diving boards. He also mentioned PETA's rightful call to stop all humans from fighting orangutans in pre-internet research times. He told an amazing story about his deaf great aunt, how he inadvertently started a grandmother duel, and his father's penchant for surgeries, including one he required after prolonged and debilitating use of a nasal spray. Bargatze also revealed that he never reads books, even though he believes that "books are the key to smart," before closing out a great monologue with an excellent self-effacing joke.

Chef Showdown

Bargatze and Ego Nwodim each played chefs tasked with creating soul food dishes for Black judges, played by Kenan Thompson and Punkie Johnson. In a strange twist, Bargatze's Dougie won the competition despite repeatedly apologizing for his white heritage. The judges were further confused when the sous chefs didn't fit racial characteristics. Former Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi appeared to awkwardly shower Dougie with prizes and honours perhaps better suited for Black contestants, all of which was pretty amusing (though there were some odd canned music cues, the music mix was too high, and several line readings seemed hampered by people struggling to see their cue card lines—a sign of some tech difficulties to come).

A Stab at Love

In a classic Hallmark movie commercial, this remote parody combined Christmas-oriented fare with Halloween themes, with Bargatze and Chloe Fineman playing the star-crossed high school sweethearts who seem doomed as a couple. Despite a promising premise, his wasn't quite up to snuff, as lines failed to land.

Make America Make Sense

Bargatze's General George Washington approached some soldiers in 1777 to motivate them to fight for their rights, and he also advocated for a confusing system of weights and measures, which made fun of all manner of strange conventions that Americans still use instead of the metric system — and also, why is it called football, if it's primarily played with hands and not feet? This was pretty good, though it seemed like the cue cards weren't prepared well for the uncertain Bargatze, who spent time visibly hunting for his dialogue.

Lake Beach

In this remote music video, rural people and their rec activities were mocked for their trashiness and impoverished lot in life. Dave Grohl appeared as a rough uncle and sang with Bargatze, Andrew Dismukes and James Austin Johnson. This was okay, if a tad cheap.

Fran Drescher, SAG President

During a trick or treat scene, a couple were about to hand out some candy when Sarah Sherman's Fran Drescher appeared to remind everyone that showing solidarity with striking actors meant no kids should dress up as movie characters. This went on a tad long, though Sherman and Bargatze had some nice repartee.

Foo Fighters

Introduced by Christopher Walken, Foo Fighters exhibited a classic version of their prog-oriented post-punk, with Grohl singing "Rescued" ferociously, as his six-piece band dug in for the mighty song.

For "The Glass," Foo Fighters were joined by H.E.R., who enhanced the song's power ballad character and energized Grohl, who, generously, always loves to share the stage with special guests.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost kicked off Update with jokes about new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, whom Jost swore was an A.I. creation, while Michael Che tied Johnson's past homophobic comments to gay club names. Jost suggested that Donald Trump and Michael Cohen were rats, and later ridiculed Mike Pence for dropping out of the presidential race. Che got a groan laugh for a good Prince Charles jab. So far, so just fine.

Sarah Sherman appeared as Jost's agent, J.J. Gordon, pitching terrible projects for him to consider, including a Jared Fogle biopic and a pornographic version of Jurassic Park. After mentioning booking him a commercial campaign for kill shelters, this silly segment just turned into Sherman insulting and ridiculing Jost incessantly, with a number of pedophile references, which was somehow less shocking and impactful as it went.

Che and Jost each had trouble reading their cue cards tonight, which caused some flubs, though Jost delivered a couple great back-to-back bits about Hitler on a kiss cam and Southwest Airlines asking passengers to track their own luggage. Che told a joke about "post-nut clarity" that was okay, and then made fun of New Jersey residents with an olive oil bit, and then, just like that, a passable Update was suddenly done.

Lawyer on a Plane

On a flight, a couple about to give birth sought a doctor, when a character played by Bargatze replied but only to indicate that he was a lawyer and mention that it was a pretty good job. This led to a discussion among the passengers about their jobs and which job was the second-best job in the world, after doctor. Though Bargatze again had brief trouble with line reading (at one point, Heidi Gardner was briefly left in limbo as he missed his cue), this was actually pretty amusing and featured Grohl providing a nice punchline.

please don't destroy: dawg food

John Higgins revealed that his new meal prep service just consisted of eating dog food, which startled Ben Marshall, but not as much as discovering that Martin Herlihy was also eating dog food. Short and starless, this was a classic pdd bit of manic absurdity that was among the funniest parts of the show.

Latest Coverage