The premiere of ‘Saturday Night Live’ promises fantastic season

Although Kanye West’s performances were not up to par, the season premiere’s writing was phenomenal.

The best of political and pop culture comedy is back. NBC’s sketch comedy show, “Saturday Night Live,” returned for its 44th season on Saturday. The episode was hosted by Star Wars’ Adam Driver, with musical guest Kanye West.

Unsurprisingly, the show’s cold open was a take on the Kavanaugh hearings, poking fun at the behavior exhibited by the Supreme Court nominee on Thursday. Actor Matt Damon made a surprise appearance as Brett Kavanaugh, as well as SNL veteran Rachel Dratch as Sen. Amy Klobuchar. I found the writing of this particular sketch fantastic, as well as the acting. Damon did a phenomenal job replicating the comical nature of Kavanaugh’s tirade, and the jokes made had me chuckling throughout the duration of the skit. At one particular moment, after Dratch asks Damon if he was a frequent drinker in high school, he responds, “Look. I like beer, ok? I like beer. Boys like beer, girls like beer, I like beer, I like beer,” mocking Kavanaugh’s repeated references to how much he likes beer.

My favorite skit of the night was most likely the “Career Day” sketch, in which Driver acts as a father coming in on his son’s school career day. Driver launches into a description of his life as an oil baron. While his son, Mordecai (Pete Davidson), insists that what his father is describing is not cool, his classmates seem to think differently. The sketch’s humor comes from Driver’s intensity as he describes his job, going on about how the most important part is “crushing your enemies.” This is, in my opinion, what made the sketch so good. Driver’s acting was funny enough to cause most of the cast members in the scene to break from character, including Davidson and season regulars Melissa Villaseñor and Aidy Bryant.

The only part of the show I did not like were Kanye’s performances. Recently self-named “Ye,” West’s three appearances featured songs “I Love It,” “We Got Love” and “Ghost Town.” West first performed “I Love It” with Lil Pump, resulting in what might have been the worst performance in the history of SNL. The two hopped around stage in water bottle costumes, mumbling the lyrics to the song. Not only was the performance of the song terrible, but the song is so explicit that most of the lyrics were not even sung or changed completely. This ruined any chance the performance had of redeeming itself.

West’s performance of “Ghost Town” was the only act that lived up to the studio version of the song. However, West went on a pro-Trump rant at the end of the performance, which was not seen as it was cut for time. In videos posted by comedian Chris Rock on Instagram, the cast of SNL can be seen, visibly uncomfortable.

Despite its setbacks with musical sets, the season premiere of SNL was worth the watch and wait. With noticeable changes to the show such as a new introduction sequence, season 44 promises to be one of the best yet. With today’s political climate and current happenings, the writers will have no shortage of content, either. One of the most promising aspects is the promotion of Villaseñor, Mikey Day and Alex Moffat to season regulars, allowing their talents to expand to match those of veterans such as Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson.

The second episode of season 44 of SNL airs next Saturday, with host Awkwafina and musical guest Travis Scott.

Edited by Siena DeBolt | sdebolt@themaneater.com

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