Saturday Night Live returned last night with Maroon 5 and Sarah Silverman, who recently scooped up an Emmy for the writing work on her HBO special We Are Miracles. Below, we’ve got the night’s biggest sketches, all nice and ready for you.
If you love Sarah Silverman, you might know she spent a year on SNL in the early ’90s. Her “return,” as a first-time host, was a total triumph, with the monologue serving as a preemptive victory lap. Silverman was on-point enough that we’re guessing even the haters were queueing up her HBO special before bedtime.
The best part of Silverman’s super-confident, all-self-love intro? Easily the three minutes she spent doing philosophical crowd work while sitting on a female audience member’s lap. For a second it seemed like maybe Silverman took a hit off her beloved vape pen — and maybe she did! — but man, was she on fire, even before the episode had really gotten going.
As a little bonus toward the end, Silverman conversed with multiple versions of her 1993/’94 self. The unspoken subtext seemed to say, “I’m a successful comedian; I totally could’ve stuck around as an SNLer for years. But who really cares, right? I’m doing great.”
When a Saturday Night Live sketch is lame on principle, you can’t wait for it to end. But when it’s working, when it’s hitting that sweet spot in the center of live TV and sketch comedy and that unhealthy obsession with impressions? You could watch that skit forever. A full headliner set from Sarah Silverman as the dearly departed Joan Rivers might be too much, but three minutes definitely wasn’t enough.
With that bottle-blonde ‘do and that fur and that scratchy, venom-tipped voice, Silverman killed at the Heavenly All-Stars. Her targets included Richard Pryor (Jay Pharoah), Freddie Mercury (a surprise appearance from Adam Levine, whose band was in the house), and a hysterical Ben Franklin (Bobby Moynihan). Joan razzes everyone at the table without breaking a sweat. “Steve,” she says to Kyle Mooney’s turtlenecked Jobs, “I hope ya forced to buy a newer, better casket every six months so you can see how we feel, amirite?? Oh! Oh!”
This is one of those fake ads that’s a little spoiled by seeing the title online beforehand. Flying in blind, you’ve got no idea what all these happy folks are promoting to the tune of Train’s undying single “Hey, Soul Sister.”
And then you get it: this is an ad about white people, as a race, a product, a melanin-based political entity. “We’re whites, and for now, we’re on top,” chirps SNL‘s Mike O’Brien. “But we know it won’t last forever,” Aidy Bryant simpers, calling to mind both a classic Louis C.K. joke and a recent stand-up album by Hari Kondabolu, one of comedy’s strongest social commentators. “So for these final years of white dominance, we’re gonna soak it all in,” the ad beams. How? With hugs, with camping trips, and with at least four more caucasian presidents, if everything goes according to plan. Too much brilliance packed into 73 seconds.