After the de rigueur (and slyly meta) Alec Baldwin-slams-Harvey Weinstein-as-Donald Trump joke of the cold open, last night’s Saturday Night Live needed an even water-cooler-talkier moment to follow-up, and got it with host Larry David’s opening monologue – about concentration camps
First he joked about dating in New York, then segued to the monologue’s second course, noting the large number of Jews in Hollywood’s latest sexual harassment scandal.
“I don’t like it when Jews are in the headlines for notorious reasons. I want, ‘Einstein Discovers the Theory of Relativity,’ ‘Salk Cures Polio.’ What I don’t want? ‘Weinstein Took It Out.’”
And finally on to the bit’s entree: “If I’d grown up in Poland when Hitler came to power and was sent to a concentration camp, would I still be checking out women in the camp?” The problem is, there are no good opening lines in a concentration camp. ‘How’s it goin’? They treatin’ you ok?'”
David also took part in another risky sketch that paid off by being one of the two or three funniest of the episode. Titled “Career Retrospective,” the bit had David as a pony-tailed ad man being honored with at a lifetime achievement award dinner, where the best of his early 1980s Public Service Announcements were screened.
To say the PSAs don’t stand the test of time is an understatement. The earnest, once-PC spots were choked with words and attitudes that have long since become unsayable. Could it be SNL was poking fun at its own ’80s & ’90s-era sins? One can hope. Take a look:
The host was well-used throughout the episode. In the recurring parody of earnest (and horrendously acted), kid-targeted sitcoms that might have anchored a ’90s era TGIF line-up, David plays a ludicrously miscast kid with a problem:
In a cast-packed The Price is Right parody, Larry did his Bernie Sanders, with newcomer Chris Redd as Lil Wayne, Alex Moffat did a surprisingly credible Chris Hemsworth (real brother Liam dropped by for a surprise visit, joining the Moffat team with finance and musical guest Miley Cyrus ) and, best, Kate McKinnon took on Tilda Swinton, given to eccentricities like offering to bid with David Bowie’s soul:
Rounding out the roster of David appearances were sketches about a blatantly lame digital short – one of those outdoor rap videos that SNL ran into the ground during the Andy Samberg era. Joke was that David hated it. He was right. Much better was “Fresh Takes,” a high school news show staffed by students (Mikey Day, Alex Moffat, Kate McKinnon) and a gossipy teacher (David) with boundary issues.
And finally there was “New Wife,” in which a middle-aged hipster (David) introduces his new gays-love-me wife (Cecily Strong) to friends (Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon, Chris Redd). The sketch has some campy fun with David stumbling his way through “hip” gay lingo, but is most notable for including what might be David’s hardest, longest laugh ever seen onscreen.
Take a look at the three sketches here: