SNL: Season 38 Premiere – Seth MacFarlane / Frank Ocean

I can’t say that I missed the comedy of Saturday Night Live over the summer, but I did spend some time thinking how the show was going to survive with the loss of Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg. Oh, and also Abby Elliot.  Last season seemed to rest on the mighty shoulders of Wiig and sometimes the only well thought out segment would be the “Digital Short.” Who…whom…which comedians could possibly fill the void left in my heart?

It will be these three people, who I am not going to describe right now because they were practically non-existent in the premiere show. Instead, read about them here, at the Daily Beast. I will only state that I am looking forward to seeing some new characters, and the clips provided in this article do a lot to whet my appetite.

Okay, enough of that, let’s talk about the first show of the season.

Seth MacFarlane — best known as the creator of Family Guy and American Dad and this summer’s turd Ted — is hosting. Seems like a good choice: MacFarlane does voices, he sings, and he obviously has no shame. During his monologue, we get some Jew jokes and gay jokes and impressions of his more famous characters. It set me up to believe that this would be a truly entertaining episode.

And it was.

No lie, I was thoroughly impressed by the whole thing. As usual, I will focus on the best and worst of the episode, but if you have the time, I would actually suggest watching it in its entirety.

The Best

Puppetry Class: What happens when a Veteran dishonorably discharged from the army in 1983 turns up at your puppetry class? You would think it would be sad, but NOPE, hilarious. As with other sketches tonight, it gives the host and some cast members that chance to showcase their voice talents.

Army Training Camp: Did I stutter? Awkward and brilliant, this sketch smacks of Family Guy absurdity.

The Political Cold Open: I mention this only because it showcases Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama, a part formerly played by Fred Armisen. Pharoah has the cadence of speech and mannerisms down perfectly and does an exceptional job of playing the part. It was more telling that Armisen introduced Pharoah as Obama, ushering in the new generation of cast members. Oh, and it was really funny.

Wooden Spoon: I cannot explain. You just need to watch.

The Worst

As always, Weekend Update: I was praying that this season, Seth Meyers would be joined by a co-host, but sadly, the producers of SNL have not read this website. As usual, Meyers sarcastically covers obscure news across the world. The best part of the show continues to be the interviews, this week with Honey Boo-Boo (sad funny), Ryan Lochte (hilarious) and some Mexican (meh).

Lids: Whenever you are in a bad mood, cheer yourself up with the musical/dance-fight styling of a Korean rap sensation singing “Gangnam Style“…Apparently, it (or he–Psy) has been all over the internets and TV, but I have never heard of him. This is one of those random, juvenile segments that is truly enjoyable. It may not be for everyone, so I include it in the “worst” section.

Steve Harvey Show is on this list because I forget who Steve Harvey is. I know he is a black comedian, but I thought he was famous in 1997. Seth MacFarlane was funny, but this segment just made me question why Keenan Thompson is still on this show.

The Musical Guest

Who in the fuck is Frank Ocean?  Since I cannot speak to the music (other than to say I did not care for it), I am forced to focus on the presentation. The stage was full of arcade games and pinball machines…and John Mayer showed up to play the guitar. Ocean himself sang 90% of his songs in a screechy, inelegant falsetto. If one put the sound on mute, you might assume the painful grimaces on Ocean’s face are because he is passing a kidney stone out his penis hole, but he is just feeling the music super hard. It sucked. Pass on it.

Overall, this episode has made me look forward to the rest of the season. Because SNL lost a female comedic powerhouse (and also Abby Elliot), there was a noticeable lack of estrogen — let’s work on this!

Some Random Shout-Outs

  • Aidy is noted as the first plus-sized female cast member. Work it, girl!
  • Congrats to Taran Killam, Nasim Pedrad And Jay Pharoah for moving up from “featured” to being full-fledged cast members.
  • Vanessa Bayer is a talent-less, horse-mouthed mess. Kill yourself.

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