Saturday Night Live: RuPaul & Justin Bieber

February 8, 2020

BY Vish KhannaPublished Feb 9, 2020

RuPaul was charismatic and funny in virtually everything he was in, and Justin Bieber put some effort into making his performances work on a generally rote Saturday Night Live. Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.
The cold open
Full of cameos, the show kicked off with a bit on the Democratic debate that was televised this past Friday night. SNL alums Jason Sudeikis and Rachel Dratch were back to reprise their takes on a dim Joe Biden and a taciturn Amy Klobuchar, not to mention Fred Armisen's fleeting appearance as Mike Bloomberg. Larry David stole this with his Bernie Sanders, which is just a grumpy old man but David is David, so he was funny. The rest of this? To quote his Bernie, "Meh."

The monologue
RuPaul performed a reflective monologue about his life in New York in the 1980s and the city's "glory days," which were heady and dank for an aspiring drag queen. Full of short, sharp jokes and an earnest send-off, this was very entertaining.

Two families engage in a round of charades but one side doesn't understand that you're not supposed to say the clues out loud. One family is white and one side is Black and the white side is very uptight about the rules and the Black side doesn't care about them at all, so this became a predictable racial bit, which one could see coming as soon as the camera cast its lens on the stage.
The Queen

Pete Davidson's Chad was back to cluelessly beguile yet another guest host. RuPaul is in a photo shoot when he notices Chad and becomes determined to "My Fair Drag Queen" him into stardom. This intricate and stylized remote was well done, even if Chad's charmless charm has been waning for a while now.

Not going Dutch
A the end of a friendly dinner, a cheque-splitting goes haywire after one diner, played by Heidi Gardner, questions why it would be divided evenly when she didn't have any wine. Cecily Strong and RuPaul played social contract vigilantes and co-workers who lose it on Aidy Bryant's Candace, the head rooster at the table, and their dramatic tirades were rather incredible.
An ad for a kid's game goes south when an alcoholic, divorced dad, played by Beck Bennett, can't figure it out and then plays it obsessively to "win," all at the expense of taking care of his kids. It seems he's in a rather dark place and that darkness was the so-so, Kids in the Hall-ish joke here.
RuPaul Reads
The San Diego Library welcomed RuPaul to be a guest reader to recite storybooks to small children. Unfortunately "reading" is drag terminology for throwing shade on people and so he insults some classic books, not to mention some of the parents in the room. RuPaul certainly gave this some gusto but it wasn't all that great.

Justin Bieber

"Yummy" is a very terrible and banal pop song with a nothing chorus, however, Justin Bieber, celebrating Movember in February, presented it about as well he could've. He initially appeared flanked by three musicians on acoustic instruments, all inside of a green screen box. With a quick camera cut, backup dancers replaced the musicians and Bieber led them through a choreographed routine, as they cast shadows inside the box, which was a neat visual spectacle for a song that still chomps.

Joined by Migos's Quavo, Bieber returned to perform another new single from his forthcoming album, Changes, and, this time, he seemed more like a maturing pop star than he has in a while. The song was catchy, but gritty enough not to be a radio-pandering thing, and he actually seemed rather jubilant to be performing the moody tune.
Weekend Update

Colin Jost lead off with three jokes about the impeachment results and Michael Che joined him in a joke assault against Donald Trump and all the Trump-related news of the week, including his increasing difficulty speaking due to what many are now speculating are clear neurological issues.
Talented newbie Chloe Fineman stopped by for an Oscar assessment and to mock prop over-acting by many of the nominees. It was an impression exhibition, which was solid but maybe better appreciated by those who still watch any Oscar-nominated movies.

Cecily Strong's Cathy Anne, a homeless person who has severe mental health issues, was called in to discuss her take on the impeachment proceedings, which was manic and a fiery way to end Update this week.
Thirsty Cops
Ego Nwodim must be behind this recurring bit about police officers that sexually harass citizens they pull over for transgressions on the road. In this instance, Pete Davidson played the hunky scofflaw, while Nwodim and RuPaul played the horny cops. Eventually Kate McKinnon showed up to also be a thirsty cop. Gah, this was just a dumb, sexual innuendo thing that felt lazy in its titillation and has worn out its welcome.
The Old New York Show with Madge and Dickie
Ah, the-end-of-the-show-Aidy-Bryant+Kate-McKinnon-who-gives-a-fuck sketch. The last 15 minutes of the show are earmarked for the good friends to experiment and do wild, somewhat conceptual character studies, which are usually as amusing as they are indulgent. Here, they're old-timey talk show hosts who interview a catty colleague, played by RuPaul. In a sense, these were the female counterparts to John Mulaney and Nick Kroll's Oh, Hello characters but were more eccentric than amusing.

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