Saturday Night Live got its hands on Hollywood’s biggest night – with a sketch about the Grabbies, filmdom’s highest honor for sexual harassers and gropers.
“First,” said one nominee played by Pete Davidson, “I’d like to thank guns for pivoting the conversation away from harassment.” Interviewed on the red carpet, he went on to thank drugs and puking for keeping him trim at 57.
No, not exactly subtle, nor particularly promising for the just-average episode that was back after a several-week Olympics hiatus, but SNL wasn’t the first and won’t be the last topical comedy show struggling to address the subject that can’t be ignored. And by going after the harassers’ loathsome behavior as well as the industry’s first-impulse vanity, SNL scored a bit of a two for one.
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Oscars came up again during Weekend Update, with cast member Kyle Mooney visiting the anchor desk as the show’s resident film critic. Steering well clear of nostalgia for Bill Murray or Taran Killam, both of whom carved pretty indelible niches in the role, Mooney went another route, playing the now familiar – and amusingly convincing – loser version of himself begging to be invited to watch the Academy Awards with Jost and Che.
The episode, with now four-time SNL host Barkley aboard, took on another hot topic – athlete protests – as soon as the former NBA star hit the stage. In the opening monologue that followed Alec Baldwin’s Trump cold open, Barkley blasted the (unnamed) Laura Ingraham who recently told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble.”
“The media does this stuff all the time,” Barkley said. “I went to President Obama’s 50th birthday party. They got video of me and Jay Z, Steve Harvey and Grant Hill at the party, and Fox News called it the hip hop barbecue.”
“That’s like calling any tournament Tiger plays in def golf jam,” said Barkley, who then debated with SNL‘s Michael Che about the take-a-knee protests. “I’m proud to stand for the anthem,” Barkley said, “unless Fergie’s singing it and I just fall over laughing because it’s hilarious.”
Here’s the monologue:
SNL built another sketch around sports, with “The Champions,” a faux-sports talk show with Barkley repping basketball, Alex Rodriguez (the real one) baseball and D.C. Timmons (played by SNL‘s Kenan Thompson) football, with each explaining to host Mikey Day why their sport is the toughest.
Said the footballer, “Half these teeth are fake, this eye made of sugar, and this arm was made by the wizards at Industrial Light and Magic.”
“Let me tell you something,” said Thompson’s Timmons, his many concussions taking their toll on his train of thought. “Football is about…yeah, I’ll have a number 3 with a Diet Coke.”
SNL‘s writers skipped the sports talk for the Barkley-starring “Homework Hotline,” one of the show’s go-for-the-silly sketches, with Barkley as a radio call-in educator who, along with his puppet buddy Bobo, takes questions from students – all of whom not-so-oddly-enough have names like Harry Paratestes and come from places with names like Ballsdeep.
Mixing the absurd with the pointed was “Roach Product,” a digital short/faux commercial plugging the latest technique in pest extermination: Ned’s Roach Away (NRA for short) provides the bugs with tiny little AR-15s, because the only way to stop a bad roach is a good roach with a gun. And with NRA, “Only the best, god-fearing roaches can carry guns,” Ned says, sounding like you know who, “and none of my roaches are gay.”
Keeping up with other current events, Weekend Update welcomed former White House insider Hope Hicks (Cecily Strong) to explain her recent departure from Team Trump. “See everyone at the reunion in 10 years,” she mawkishly told her old office mates, “or 7 years with good behavior.”
And Leslie Jones also stopped by the Update desk to recap her recent trip to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Best bit: After Jost condescendingly offers to teach her about hockey, Jones introduces Gold-winner Hilary Knight. Sort of a Marshall McLuhan-Annie Hall moment.
Finally, here’s a couple toss-aways, those weekly entries that seem designed mostly to fill airtime. In one, “Con Ed Repair Site,” construction workers daydream about what they’d wear to the Oscars – the sole joke being he-men expressing their daintier sides, which seems about two decades past the expiration date.
The other is “Last Call With Charles Barkley,” the closing bar premise that SNL seems to think is forever worth revisiting. In this one, Barkley and Kate McKinnon are the desperadoes, with Thompson as the grossed-out bartender.
“Of all the men in here,” McKinnon tells Barkley, “you’re the only man in here.”
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