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‘S.N.L.’ Taps Into Anxiety About Biden, Kanye and Super Mario

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It was every week with way an excessive amount of news, so moderately than attempt to contend with it in a customary opening sketch leaning on celebrity impressions, “Saturday Night Live” — seeking to construct on the momentum of last week’s offbeat season premiere — began with a game show.

As he explained the premise of “So You Think You Won’t Snap,” Bowen Yang addressed the camera directly: “Hello, America,” he said. “Have you ever noticed everyone around you is indignant and crazy? Persons are flipping out at Goal. Stabbing is back. And the one thing that may cheer us up is watching a horny show about Jeffrey Dahmer. We reside on the sting, and tonight I’m here to push us over.”

The challenge he posed to the players was to easily take heed to him read news headlines and keep their cool. The primary contestant, a music professor and self-described “white yoga teacher” (Heidi Gardner) was given a glass of wine as Yang recounted recent events including the war in Ukraine, the bridge explosion within the Crimean Peninsula and President Biden’s sobering remarks on nuclear Armageddon. Those didn’t faze her, but when he played a video clip of Biden awkwardly evaluating his own mental deal with “60 Minutes,” — “Oh, it’s focused” — Gardner snapped and chugged the wine.

One other contestant played by Chloe Fineman was told she could strike a Frontier Airlines flight attendant (Sarah Sherman) standing nearby when the headlines got too real. Unmoved by news concerning the difficulties facing Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign or a survey of kids who dream of being influencers, Fineman lost it when she was played a trailer highlighting Chris Pratt’s voice within the “Super Mario Bros.” movie. “He’s presupposed to be Italian!” she shouted.

Kenan Thompson lasted so long as it took Yang to say “This week, Elon Musk—— ” before he trashed the table in front of him. And when Devon Walker was shown a photograph of Ye (formerly Kanye West) wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt, he put a hot iron to his ear.

Concluding the segment, Yang announced, “After we come back, we’ll show an 80-year-old man an episode of ‘Euphoria.’”

Just by giving the host’s role to Brendan Gleeson, the veteran character actor (“In Bruges,” “Paddington 2”), “S.N.L.” signaled that it was going to make unusual use of its principal celebrity guest.

“S.N.L.” continued to waste no time introducing its 4 recent featured performers, spotlighting all of them on this filmed segment that, initially, gave the impression to be concerning the advice they’re receiving and the teachings they’re learning of their first weeks on the job.

Walker, Michael Longfellow and Marcello Hernández relayed the information that Lorne Michaels and other “S.N.L.” veterans had shared with them: Mainly, don’t attempt to do an excessive amount of or put pressure on yourself to get a sketch on the air.

Molly Kearney, nevertheless, received a special sort of counsel: “On Day 1,” Kearney recalled, “Lorne pulled me into his office and said, ‘Molly, there’s just one reason you’re here. I want you to kill Vladimir Putin.’ He hands me this gun and says, ‘Don’t worry, the serial numbers have been scratched off. They’ll never trace it back to us.’ I’m like, us?”

Over on the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che riffed on some recent hindrances that Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate have encountered.

Jost began:

The midterms are only a month away, and is it just me or are some candidates attempting to lose? Let’s start in Pennsylvania with Dr. Oz, seen here telling the audience what number of minutes he’s lived in Pennsylvania. [The screen shows a photo of Dr. Oz holding up his hand with all five fingers extended.] A review of scientific studies published by Dr. Oz revealed that his experiments killed over 300 dogs. But eventually he got the recipe right. [The screen shows the package for a product called “Dr. Oz’s Organic Meatballs.”] Dr. Oz has refused to comment on the report that his research killed over 300 dogs, though it’s possible he couldn’t hear the query over the wood-chipper. [The screen shows an image of Oz about to insert a dog into said garden tool.] But don’t worry, Dr. Oz won everybody back last night when he gave a speech in front of Hitler’s automotive. Worse, he then got into the automotive and backed over a dog.

Che continued:

Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker denied reports that he paid for a girlfriend’s abortion, saying, “I send money to lots of people.” Before adding, “You recognize, for abortions.” After news broke that Walker paid for his ex-girlfriend’s abortion, he raised greater than $500,000. Because dollars are the one thing Walker is willing to boost.

A coming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, has been a source of inspiration for Black girls who wish to see someone like themselves in a lead role, in addition to a goal for online trolls. But when Ego Nwodim got here to the Weekend Update desk within the guise of this character, she explained she didn’t wish to be anyone’s hero, and gave evidence for why she probably shouldn’t be.

First, she explained to Jost that he didn’t must call her “Black Ariel”: “You may just call me Ariel,” she said. “I don’t call you ‘white Colin’ … to your face.” She went on to say she supported Sea World and the Iraq War, was answerable for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and wasn’t very smart: “I’ll deadass bite a worm on a hook,” she said. “Gets me every rattling time.”

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