Stand-up comedian and actor Dave Chappelle returned to host this week’s post-election “Saturday Night Live” episode. He also hosted the post-election episodes in 2016 and 2020.
Chappelle’s decades-long comedy career has seen highs like six Emmy Awards and three Grammys, and in 2017, he was ranked ninth on “Rolling Stone’s” list of “Best Standup Comics of All Time.”
He’s also come under criticism in the past year after anti-transgender remarks on his recent Netflix special “The Closer.” But Chappelle was back as SNL host for a third time, further solidifying his place as the go-to host when the country is at its most divided.
The show opened with a “Fox & Friends” parody that highlighted this week’s election and lack of a “red wave.” The hosts (Heidi Gardner, Mikey Day, and Bowen Yang) discussed the supposed end of the Trump era with real headlines from this week like the New York Post’s “Trumpty Dumpty” cover.
Cecily Strong reprised her impression of Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, whose race is still too close to call. Strong’s Lake says the “system is rigged” when she’s not leading the election results, but that democracy works when she is. James Austin Johnson’s Trump calls into the show during his daughter Tiffany’s wedding (which was last night), where he finds out he’s no longer welcome.
Chappelle’s 15-minute monologue focused on the state of American culture and politics. He opened with a brief statement read from a piece of paper: “I denounce antisemitism in all its forms and I stand with my friends in the Jewish community. And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.”
He joked about Kanye’s cancellation, like how quickly Adidas dropped him, before continuing on, touching on Trump’s scandal with classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and calling Herschel Walker “observably stupid.” A few of his comments were met with a mixed reaction from the crowd. “It’s a big deal, [Kayne] had broken the show business rules,” Chappelle said. “You know, the rules of perception. If they’re Black, then it’s a gang. If they’re Italian, it’s a mob. If they’re Jewish, it’s a coincidence and you should never speak about it.”
Chappelle plays “legendary blues musician” Willy T. Hawkins, appearing on a news segment to discuss his new album “My Potato Hole.” Hawkins would “rather not say” what a potato hole is, so the news anchors, weather forecaster, and sports correspondent proceed to make jokes about the interesting album title—until Hawkins reveals that a potato hole is a “hole that slaves would dig to hide their food and possessions from plantation owners,” to stunned and embarrassed reactions from the news anchors.
House of the Dragon
In a “sneak peek” of season two of “House of the Dragon,” a prequel to HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Dave Chappelle brings back old “Chappelle’s Show” characters—Donnell Rawlings and Ice-T join the prerecorded sketch, too.
Barber Shop Talk
At the barbershop, folks (Chappelle, Keenan Thompson, Devon Walker, Ego Nwodim, Punkie Johnson) gather to discuss current events and politics like Kanye West, Kyrie Irving, COVID-19, and Stacey Abrams. The one visiting white barber (Michael Longfellow) tries and fails to fit into the conversation and not offend anyone. Each joke’s punchline was the buzz of Keenan Thompson and Dave Chappelle turning their hair clippers on.
Brooklyn-based hip hop duo Black Star performed “So be it” and “The main is to keep the main thing the main is to keep the main thing.”
Colin Jost and Michael Che performed their sixth Weekend Update of the season, touching on the timely news about Democrats retaining control of the Senate. “I don’t know if that’s really official but we’re not a real news program so I’m just gonna call it,” said Jost. Their other midterm-related jabs included Joe Biden, poll workers, Herschel Walker, and Arizona senate candidate Blake Masters.
Latino voters turned out in record numbers this week, so Marcello Hernandez stopped by the Weekend Update desk as Jose Suarez to talk about his future run for the presidency, discussing his slogan, “Everything is basically fine,” and growing up in Cuba. “What do people complain about anyway? ‘My gas is too expensive!’ Ever heard of legs? My mother walked almost a hundred miles to work every day, and her left leg didn’t work—she had to pull it!”
Devon Walker has died and gone to “Black heaven,” where he’s welcomed by Ego Nwodim and Keenan Thompson—and Mikey Day, playing the role that Chappelle said he was too tired to play. Culturally specific lines that Day doesn’t feel comfortable saying ensue. Chappelle and his friends are in stitches off-stage.
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