Donald Glover covered every base during his hosting turn on last night’s Saturday Night Live, slipping in and out of characters new and familiar and serving as the night’s musical guest via his alter-ego, Childish Gambino.
The standout sketch was a riff on A Quiet Place, in which characters are whisper-reacting with dread and fascination to the latest tweets from Kanye West. As they struggle to keep quiet and avoid being eaten by monsters, West’s latest outrage has them speaking up … and getting picked off one by one.
Glover, who plays a young Lando Calrissian in this month’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, inhabited the role for a sketch about a summit meeting Lando has called for “all black humans” in space. The joke, of course, is how few attendees there are at the summit. “I held out hope that there was a black planet somewhere, but I guess it’s just us,” Lando says dejectedly. “Lots of lizard men wearing vests, but just four black people, though.”
The debonair style of Lando, a part originated in between Colt 45 commercials by Billy Dee Williams in The Empire Strikes Back, is another running joke in the sketch. When he summons Leslie Jones to the podium and greets her by kissing her hand, she snaps at him, “I don’t know you like that. That ain’t cool.” Glover caps the sketch by singing a bouncy little number that Bill Murray’s Nick the Lounge Singer would fully approve of, titled “Makin’ Love in Space.”
Glover is hardly the first host to do double duty as musical guest, but he brought his distinctive game to his two numbers as Childish Gambino. The first was introduced by Zoe Kravitz. In a novel touch, instead of bowing out of the frame, she stayed on stage to join the throng of musicians and revelers gathered around Glover. The good vibes seemed to spill right off the screen.