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SNL falls flat on its season premiere

By Genoa Gibson

Sept. 29 was the 44th season premiere of the sketch variety show Saturday Night Live (SNL). With Adam Driver as the host and Kanye West as the musical guest, we were in for a wild night, good and bad. The show started off with a political cold open as usual, with surprise appearances from old time cast member Rachel Dratch as Senator Amy Klobuchar and movie actor Matt Damon as attorney Brett Kavanaugh. Matt Damon’s impression was spot on perfectly reenacting almost every antic that was done by Kavanaugh during the Senate trials.

The theme song announced and introduced the three new faces of Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwondim and Chris Redd who will be featured cast members. The opening monologue from Adam Driver was a bit lackluster in my opinion, only garnering a few chuckles from the audience, then again most opening monologues have been dry for a while now. SNL’s choice to have Adam Driver came as a surprise to me since most of the hosts are usually there promote a movie or show that they are currently starring in, while Driver is in the drama BlacKkKlansman, that was released months ago and is on its way out of the theatres. He instead briefly mentioned Star Wars which was released last December and no longer plays at movie theatres at all. This makes me think that they couldn’t find anyone else noteworthy to host and shopped around until they could find someone, because let’s be real Driver hasn’t exactly reached household name status just yet.

The Weekend Update segment of SNL received some backlash for basically being a parade of Brett Kavanaugh one liners, but that’s what SNL does, it takes current events and spins them around to make them funny. The talented Kate McKinnon did a sold Ruth Bader Ginsburg giving her take on the whole Brett Kavanaugh situation, which was hilarious. The segment also received online backlash due to some poor-taste jokes delivered by Pete Davidson about fiancé pop singer Ariana Grande. Davidson joked around saying, “Last night I switched her birth control with Tic Tacs, I believe in us and all, but I just want to make sure that she can’t go anywhere.” This joke was followed by him revealing that Grande pays thousands in rent while he lives at her apartment and his only responsibility is to stock the fridge. This sent Twitter users into a frenzy with several fans tweeting that these were signs that she should leave him and telling her to get away while she can. It’s clear that SNL is using all of the attention surrounding Davidson and Grande’s relationship to leverage the show in an attempt to connect with audiences and heighten its popularity and ratings. As an Ariana Grande fan, I can’t deny that their tactics did work, I was intrigued whenever Davidson spoke, hoping that he would mention the her and spill some information regarding what was a rather hectic filled summer.

Of course, Kanye wouldn’t be Kanye if he didn’t do something outrageous as usual. After having three performances, which deviated from SNL’s standard two, during his last performance the rapper wore a MAGA hat despite supposedly being told by producers not to wear it, according to Enews. He then proceeded to deliver a pro-Trump speech which was off-air since it ran overtime, clips of the rant were uploaded and made available to view online.  West also shared a photo of himself on social media after the show aired, wearing the hat and prompting a response from several celebrities who took to Twitter criticizing his political choices.

Actor Chris Evans has been very vocal about his feelings towards Trump and tweeted, “There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue. The level of unapologetic conjecture I’ve encountered lately isn’t just frustrating, it’s retrogressive, unprecedented and absolutely terrifying.” Actor Josh Gad tweeted in response to Evans “yes to everything.” Trump gave his opinion on Twitter, supporting Kanye for his decisions and stating his distaste for the show.

All in all, Driver did a decent job in his four sketches, nothing to write home about. SNL needs to work harder if they want to get back to the level that they once were. Next week comedian Awkwafina hosts and musical guest Travis Scott perform.

Genoa Gibson can be reached at genoa.gibson@spartans.ut.edu

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