Posts Tagged ‘Michael Che’

Saturday Night Live Pt. 1

June 29, 2019

Lately during lunch hours when I am alone at work or as I clean up my desk, I like to watch videos on YouTube as a way to relieve stress. If I am doing something mostly clerical I might put videos on in the background as well. One of the best things that I have found to watch on YouTube is Saturday Night Live clips. SNL is an interesting show because it has been on the air for so long that people have so many opinions about it. When I was growing up, the prevailing thought was that Saturday Night Live was good in waves. Nobody can agree which eras were good and which were bad and a lot of people have strong opinions. In discussing it with my brother lately, I realized that SNL was always a mixed bag and the best sketches utilized the strengths of the cast and writers instead of forcing it. In my opinion, the current Donald Trump sketches are an example of ‘forcing it’ and I tend to skip them. However, there is plenty of other stuff in the current SNL that I think is really great. Let us take a look at the current cast in no particular order.

Cecily Strong

My favorite current cast member is probably Cecily Strong. She is often the straight woman in a lot of sketches, showing her great skills for reaction faces. However, when she gets to cut loose she really gets to cut loose. While her character Jemma is a supporting character, the squeaky British accent is comedy gold. Her very best is Cathy Ann. Cathy Ann is a very specific character who feels as real as any drug addict I have ever met. Her language patterns and composure are a master class in creating absurd comedy from life.

Leslie Jones

She is probably the most famous outside of Saturday Night Live right now as her twitter game is strong and she was very prominent in the Ghostbusters reboot. Leslie’s strength comes from being loud, proud, and brash as hell. The quote from former head writer Tina Fey was: “If Leslie Jones suddenly appears at the end of a sketch acting vaguely horny and angry at everybody, it means the writers couldn’t think of an ending.” That’s because Leslie is funny without needing a premise or context. Her enthusiasm is infectious.

Michael Che and Colin Jost

Weekend Update has had a long, long history and was probably an inspiration for things like The Daily Show and its successors. It is a simple premise with two anchors delivering rapid-fire jokes based on the news and presenting character bits from other cast members. The past few Weekend Update hosts have been head writers and that is now Che and Jost. Part of what makes them so good is that they have each other’s backs and often genuinely laugh at each other’s jokes. I believe that this stems from them being so close in real life and probably also from spending a lot of time together on the job. As head writers, I think they are also knocking out of the park lately.

Kenan Thompson

He is probably the cast member with the most experience doing sketch comedy. He was in the kid’s sketch comedy series All That as a young kid which grew into a short sitcom career. He has also been on SNL for quite a while now. His experience really shows as he is a really steady hand and a rock that other performers can depend on for support. He is an excellent straight man who rarely cracks (which is apparently hard to do). He is also really good at being slightly weird. His eerily weird or off-kilter characters are some of his best. However, his Steve Harvey impression is my favorite. He was able to take an impression and make it into a character instead of just being schtick.

Pete Davidson

When I first experienced Pete Davidson, I was not really a big fan. He has a different kind of low key sense of humor that was a bit out of place at first. Eventually, I realized that this is kind of a blessing. While others run around being zany and wacky, Pete makes an impact by not making an impact. His best role is often just playing himself and few cast members can say the same. I think I was also put off by his tattooed appearance but I got into it the more I adjusted. He has also raised awareness for mental health issues and has fought to erase the stigma of such problems.

Kate McKinnon

Everybody knows Kate McKinnon by now. (Well, not literally everyone). She rose to mainstream consciousness through playing Hillary Clinton on SNL and being in the Ghostbusters reboot (and being the best part of it). She is best at being completely and utterly crazy. Not shouty, dangerous crazy but off-kilter, existential crazy. The kind of person that would make your skin crawl if you met them in real life. All she has to do is deliver her trademark thousand-yard stare and I believe that she is crazy. My favorite of her appearances was actually this sketch where she plays a crazy apartment building tenant.

Melissa Villasenor

Melissa has very mischievous energy in my opinion. When I see her smirk, I know that she has something great up her sleeve and I can settle in for some laughs. She is also really cute which makes her dark or edgy roles have more impact. From what I have seen, she tends to be used as an excellent impressionist and vocal mimic. She is so good at impressions that she is often given celebrities to play against physical type. A good example of that is her playing Owen Wilson despite not remotely being a white male. It shows growth in SNL and in comedy in general, I think

Alex Moffat

I have not seen a lot of Alex Moffat but I have liked what I have seen so far. He is really good at playing arrogant pricks. One of his strengths is making a face that makes you absolutely want to punch him. (I am sure he is probably a fine individual in real life). He plays smarmy really well and has the ability to spit words out carefully and quickly. His “Guy Who Just Bought a Boat” is an absurdist character but much like a lot of the rich jerks I have met in my life, the kind society likes to hate. His Eric Trump is really adorable and creates a sympathetic character while still letting the audience despise him and his family.

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