BY CAMERON CAPELLO '21
“Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
Arguably television’s most recognizable catch-phrase, Saturday Night Live has been making people laugh for decades, and this weekend was no exception. During their Season 43 premiere, hosted by Ryan Gosling, SNL touched on current events, including the NFL, alien invasions and Donald Trump.
After the show’s nine Emmy wins this year, due in part to performances by Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin, Season 42 of SNL arrived with the highest ratings the show has had in over 20 years, according to the AV Club website. While accepting the Emmy for Best Variety Sketch Series, creator and producer Lorne Michaels said, “The first time we won this award, it was after our first season in 1976 and I remember thinking, as I was standing there alone, that this was it. This was the high point. There would never be another season as crazy, as unpredictable, as frightening or exhilarating. I was wrong.”
Much like Season 42, the premiere opened with a scathing sketch of theTrump Administration. Due to the success of Baldwin’s Trump impersonation last season, SNL’s imitation of Trump was unsurprising. The sketch portrays Trump, wearing a monogrammed golf polo in the Oval Office, on a phone call with the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín, played by Melissa Villaseñor. While Yulín pleads for Trump to help, he says “We want to help you, but we have to take care of America first.” This response leaves Yulín dumbfounded and she responds, “You do know we’re a U.S. territory, don’t you?”
Lanie Richards ’21 said, “I could not believe SNL went there... I was both shocked and proud.”
The political commentary continued with musical guest Jay-Z, in a Colin Kaepernick jersey, performing his new song, “Bam” with Damian Marley. Jay-Z’sjersey was a response to the recent controversy between Trump and the NFL, concerning athletes being criticized for kneeling during the national anthem. During the Weekend Update segment, co-host Michael Che delivered a cutting monologue about recent actions taken by Trump, saying, “In one month you have mishandled Puerto Rico, DACA, the NFL… It’s like when anybody darker than your golf pants has a problem, you are thinking, ‘How can I make this worse?’”
The show was not entirely dedicated to ridiculing the Trump administration. Returning to host the show, Gosling reprised his role as a survivor of an alien abduction in the sketch, “Another Close Encounter.” While Gosling and a fellow abductee, played by Cecily Strong, have extremely pleasant experiences with the aliens, outcast Kate McKinnon wasn’t as lucky. While Gosling and Strong were coddled by the aliens, McKinnon was poked and probed. Just as he did his first time hosting, Gosling broke character, giggling as McKinnon reenacted her extraterrestrial experience. “I was hysterical the whole time,” Molly Yarrows ’21 said “Seeing Ryan Gosling laugh was the best part of the episode.”
In the digital short “Papyrus,” Gosling mocks his own portrayal of a volatile psychopath in the 2011 movie, “Drive,” when his character becomes obsessed with the inexplicable use of the Papyrus font in James Cameron’s box office hit “Avatar.”
The season premiere of SNL gave viewers a taste of what’s to come. The season will be peppered with political satire and a slew of famous guests. The current lineup includes Sam Smith, Kumail Nanjiani, Pink and Gal Gadot, who will host the show next week.