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The Evanstonian

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Sullivan Sisters bring bluegrass to Evanston
Sullivan Sisters bring bluegrass to Evanston
Marin Ubersox, In-Depth Editor • February 22, 2024
Actors Gymnasium has served as a core part of Evanstons arts scene since it began 29 years ago.
Evanston's Actors Gymnasium: 29 years of risk-taking, mentorship
Nadira Bumi, Staff Writer • February 22, 2024
On the cutting edge
On the cutting edge
Long before she was cracking up crowds on improv’s premier stage at Second City, Claire McFadden spent her days in Evanston getting her first taste of improv and sketch comedy. (Photo courtesy of Claire McFadden)
Second City's resident 'wild card' puts jokes first
Sam Froum, Arts & Entertainment Editor • December 21, 2023

Post-writers strike, SNL brings hilarious highs and laughless lows

SNL is back! After a writers’ strike lasting 148 days, SNL came back on the air on October 18 with former cast member Pete Davidson returning for his hosting debut along with musical guest Ice Spice. SNL seemed to recover from the writers strike relatively well. Admittedly, there were more misses than hits in this episode, but it was much better than it could have been. There ended up seeing some really creative and original sketches out of this episode, sketches that I genuinely believe will be considered SNL classics in the next ten years. The episode also saw Please Don’t Destroy’s best sketch yet, some great parodies, and a really solid edition of Weekend Update. I ordered the sketches from worst to best excluding the cold open, which saw Pete Davidson addressing the Israel-Palestine conflict really genuinely and vulnerably. I also excluded both performances from musical guest Ice Spice as I am no expert on the subject of music. Here is your guide for what to check out from the episode, and what you might want to skip. Enjoy!

Secretary

Secretary Follows a secretary as she tries to seduce her boss. The character of the secretary feels inconsistent and the sketch just amounts to her being weird. Not much to say about this one. 1/10

Roadhouse Bar

This sketch is set in a roadhouse bar as two guys try to convince a stranger to sell pictures of his feet online. Repetitive and mostly creepy, not a very strong sketch overall. 2/10

WIRED Autocomplete Interview

A parody of the WIRED Autocomplete Interviews you’ve probably seen on YouTube. This sketch follows the cast of the fictional Disney+ show, Stark Labs. Over the course of multiple questions, it’s revealed that one of the cast members (played by Davidson) was responsible for the diarrhea on a Delta flight from over a month ago. This sketch is pretty cringe-worthy and tends to rely on the same joke over and over. 2/10

Beach Day

It’s beach day! At least for SNL anyway, as most of America has already long since pushed past the sunny weather. This sketch follows a man (played by Andrew Dismukes, my current favorite cast member and one who is criminally underrated) who is buried in sand at the beach and learns that his friend’s (played by Pete Davidson) grandma’s bean farm tragically burned down. Davidson’s character insists on everyone packing up and leaving for the farm right away. Dismukes’ character, however, needs to have a photo taken of him first. Not a particularly captivating premise and the sketch ends up feeling tedious. 3/10

Glamgina

A fake commercial for a specific feminine product involving makeup. You’ll have to figure the rest out on your own… 4/10

Spaceship

A Star Trek-esque spaceship is under attack when a former crew member returns to visit and catches up with the janitor (played by Pete Davidson) that used to work on his crew. In a triumphant conclusion, the returning crew member sacrifices himself to save the life of the janitor. It didn’t particularly hit home,  and felt like a filler sketch. 4/10

Fox NFL Sunday

This sketch parodied the ongoing and seemingly inescapable Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce romance rumors. It followed an NFL talk show as they tried to discuss anything football-related. They make it clear from the start that they will tolerate no Taylor Swift fans tuning in just to see her. “Sorry Swifties, this is a show about football,” says one of the commentators. Soon enough, however, it becomes a battle to prove who on the show is the biggest Taylor Swift fan. Even the sideline reporter (played by Pete Davidson) is in on the Taylor Swift action, vocalizing his disappointment that she wasn’t at the game. “So far no blondie, starting to wonder why I’m even here,” says Davidson. The sketch finishes off with a brief cameo from Travis Kelce himself. I thought that this sketch was really creative! While I can’t speak to the accuracy of the impressions of the real-life NFL panelists, I can say that this sketch was fun and simple! 6/10

Weekend Update

Weekend Update is SNL’s satirical news segment that includes real news stories and made-up punchlines. Co-hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, Weekend Update is consistently funny. Pretty much any Weekend Update you watch, you’ll get a laugh out of it. This particular edition featured news stories about everything from the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict to a new coffee blend invented by Alaska Airlines. The segment also features appearances from Christopher Columbus (played by Bowen Yang) and University of Colorado Boulder football coach Deion Sanders (played by Kenan Thompson). Usually, the guests are my least favorite part of the segment and this is no exception. The Columbus bit is the same joke over and over, and the Sanders bit felt repetitive as well, with it feeling like he was just listing things the whole time. Overall however, the guests did not hinder my enjoyment of the segment. Weekend Update even made up for the lackluster guests by adding an early joke swap from Michael Che. The Weekend Update joke swap is something Jost and Che do every Christmas, where they write jokes for each other to read for the first time live on-air. Seeing it on this week’s edition was a delightful surprise! You can never go wrong with Weekend Update. 7/10

Please Don’t Destroy – The Original Princes of Comedy

Comedy trio Please Don’t Destroy make video shorts for SNL that serve as the replacement for the Lonely Island’s  SNL Digital Shorts. This week’s sketch may be their best. If you’re looking for where to start with Please Don’t Destroy, start here. It sees the three guys comparing their early stand-up comedy careers to Pete Davidson’s. We see that even as eight-year-olds, they were performing on Def Comedy Jam and tackling hot topics such as bedtime, recess, Caprisuns, and substitute teachers. The sketch also includes a cameo from John Mulaney, who’s easily my favorite comedian (Though, in the sketch, Mulaney bombs at the comedy club. “It wasn’t really his scene,” as one of the guys pointed out). At the end of the sketch, it’s revealed that Michael Che’s own mom is a huge fan of the Please Don’t Destroy members. “Oh my god, is that Smoke-Dog?!” shouts Mrs. Che. The Please Don’t Destroy videos have quickly become my favorite part of SNL. This is a must-watch. 10/10

I’m Just Pete

Arguably the most memorable sketch in the episode comes in the form of a parody of Barbie’s “I’m Just Ken” with “I’m Just Pete”. The sketch sees Pete Davidson reminiscing about many of his real-life events in song. He sings about how he and co-star Colin Jost purchased a Staten Island Ferry in early 2022, then mentions how people still call him “Skete” because of a “guy whose name I can’t say legally” before a photo of Kanye West very briefly flashes on screen. There are a ton of other pokes at his personal life including his very public dating life, and his car crash in Beverly Hills. He ends up being very vulnerable, and self-deprecating while surrounded by a high-production recreation of the Barbie set that’s full of little details which nail the parody even more. Remarkably well done and efficient, this sketch was a highlight of the show. 10/10

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About the Contributor
Tyler Press, Staff Writer
Hey! My name’s Tyler Press and I’m a Staff Writer for Arts and Entertainment! I’m a Freshman and am overjoyed to be spending it with The Evanstonian. Outside of The Evanstonian, you might catch me acting in a play or two, watching a movie, or learning something new. A proud theater kid and movie buff, ask me about anything Marvel, Wes Anderson, or Agatha Christie. Hope to see you around!
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