Saturday Night Live: Jerrod Carmichael & Gunna

April 2, 2022

BY Vish KhannaPublished Apr 3, 2022

Jerrod Carmichael was a funny and engaged host, while Gunna was somewhat monotonous in his presence during two musical performances that never really popped. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.

The cold open

In a Fox & Friends segment, Alex Moffat, Heidi Gardner and Mikey Day played the show's hosts, Steve Doocey, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade, and welcomed Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni Thomas. Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon played the latter embattled couple respectively, and dodged questions lobbed at them by the Friends before Cecily Strong's Judge Jeanine Pirro briefly previewed her own show and had a drink. James Austin Johnson then FaceTimed in as Donald Trump to nonsensically both deny and admit he'd organized a coup on January 6, which was so realistically absurd it worked.

The monologue

Comedian Jerrod Carmichael appeared in a suit but bare-chested, vibing like a laidback Eddie Murphy, and immediately declared he was "not gonna talk about it." He then outlined what his week had been like since The Slap and also acknowledged that he may well have been, "the least famous host in the show's history." He made some amazing jokes about coming out in his latest HBO special and bristled at the burden Lorne Michaels apparently placed on him to heal the nation after the Oscars, though he himself had an alternate and hilarious plan. A great monologue from one of the best stand-ups going.

Is My Brain Ok?

Kate McKinnon played Lisa Something, the host of a post-COVID game show. The contestants — as played by Carmichael, a hopped-up Sarah Sherman and a stunned Bowen Yang — all struggled with some measure of brain fog and couldn't identify very simple things that they likely would've had no issues with in 2019. Some iteration of this joke played out for about three minutes and it was fine, if perhaps a little too realistic for comfort.

A Short-Ass Movie

Pete Davidson appeared for the first time in forever, leading a remote rap video that paid tribute to movies that have short run times. Joined by Gunna, Chris Redd, and actor/Ernest look-alike, Simon Rex, this was good.

Squeal Deals

In a ShopTV infomercial, Cecily Strong and Mikey Day played hosts joined by Carmichael's Kevin Lickitt, who designed a doll called Rhylee Rainbowlocks, whose hair grows with the twist of a knob. During a costume change for the doll, it appeared as though Rhylee possessed a "rainbow bush," which, coupled with the awkward placement of another operational button that Lickitt strenuously struggled to push, was a pretty great sight gag.

Unwell Will Smith

Carmichael played a seat-filler who approached Will Smith at the Oscars, mere moments before the latter slapped Chris Rock on stage. Chris Redd played Smith amusingly, leaving his seat mid-conversation to do the slapping but then returning like it was NBD, while Kyle Mooney joined the awkwardness as another seat-filler, and he and Carmichael tried to negotiate the mental breakdown that Smith was clearly having, all of which was a rather clumsy way of dealing with a zeitgeist-defining event and comedy goldmine.


Shrouded in multi-coloured smoke and joined by at least a bassist and drummer (oh, and someone on keyboards too; sorry, it was really smoky), Gunna delivered raps that were somehow both frenetic and low energy on the tepid, "Banking on Me."

For the holographic, laser-imbued "pushin P," Gunna was joined by Future and the two kinda sleepwalked during a depressing, 100-second performance that was unintentionally funnier and more of a parody of music than SNL could've mustered.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost began Update tying Vladimir Putin's behaviour to Will Smith's, and Michael Che joined in on the questionable Will Smith-has-mental-health-issues fun. Then it was back to Jost, who went in on how wild the moment was and how maybe that's all there was to it.

After a smattering of US and international political news bits, Cecily Strong appeared as Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn to defend her behaviour in the confirmation hearing for prospective Supreme Court justice nominee, Kentanji Brown Jackson, including her insistence that Jackson defined what a woman is.

This sputtered out and then the boys delivered some hit and miss stuff, with some animal joke highlights that really went well. Kenan Thompson took to the desk as O.J. Simpson to comment on the Will Smith-Chris Rock fiasco, and maybe take sides in the matter, and agreed, "love will make you do crazy things, allegedly." This comedy bit was pretty distracting because every time Simpson put hands on Che in anger, it served as a reminder that he was once on trial for murdering two people, which made for an awkward ending to a spotty Update.

Goodbye to Pop-Pop

At a memorial service for a family patriarch, a beautiful moment on a cliff overlooking an ocean is disrupted in a brutal manner. James Austin Johnson mourned his late, elderly father with his son and his son's wife, as played by Kyle Mooney and Heidi Gardner. The mortuary was represented by two staff (played by Carmichael and Andrew Dismukes) who don't exactly come through on the cremation before disposing of the corpse, and all manner of strangeness ensued. Something about this solid premise wasn't executed well despite some good performances.

Cousin Bradford Visits NYC

Kyle Mooney played Bradford, a visitor to New York who was terrible at listening to other people's stories. He joined a table of friends, including his cousin played by Heidi Gardner and Ego Nwodim, and eventually Carmichael, who told a story based on an inside joke that rattled Bradford to such an extent that he lost his mind. Loosely written and really relying on Mooney's trademark social tension, this was more frustrating than funny.

Born This Way

In a remote commercial parody of the commodification of parental wokeness, Carmichael and various cast members celebrated a Born This Way line of infant clothing that suggested that gender and orientation expectations could be upended with dogmatic slogans, and some of this was kinda funny.

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