Saturday Night Live Season 42 review: Was Aziz Ansari funny?

Credit: NBC/SNL
Credit: NBC/SNL /

Comedian Aziz Ansari stopped by Saturday Night Live this weekend, but did he treat himself to a fine performance?

When Donald Trump was elected back in November, Saturday Night Live followed it up with an episode hosted by Dave Chappelle. It was perhaps the best episode we’ve seen in a while, both because Chappelle is a generational talent in comedy and the context of his show played into things so much.

That’s a lot to be up against when you’re Aziz Ansari, who hosted the first official episode of SNL in the Donald Trump era. With Trump being sworn in on Friday, the SNL fired up a show that missed on occasion but was overall a nice escape from reality. Ansari’s monologue was one of the best moments of the night and we were once again reminded why the Weekend Update is the best thing about the show at the moment.

Here are all the things from tonight’s SNL episode you need to know about for the water cooler this week:

SNL Rundown…

1. Rather than go an easy route with a cold open that outright trolled Donald Trump’s inauguration, SNL pivoted and featured Beck Bennett’s Vladimir Putin. It was about as dynamite a cold open we’ve seen, and once again proved that Bennett is a star in this incarnation of the show.

2. Keeping things strong, Aziz Ansari turned in a perfect opening monologue. It was smart, witty and devastatingly poignant in all the right ways. He trolled Trump supporters while also offering an olive branch — something that “lamestream Hollywood” is starting to learn how to do better and better.

3. Things proceeded to go slightly downhill from there. The first sketch of the night fell flat, which was a bad start to the night but not indicative of how the rest of the night ended up going.

4. The first good sketch of the night was a police interrogation skit that trolled Oscar bait films like La La Land and people who are afraid to admit they don’t like it or get why it’s great.

5. The Weekend Update was as punk rock as it’s ever been. You could tell that Colin Jost and Michael Che were geared up for this one for a while.

6. Jost came flying off the top rope with a joke about how the inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial was only the second worst live performance ever.

7. Michael Che gave his assessment of feminism — which was well put and thoughtfully explained. It’s also a ringing of the bell to rally anger on Twitter, something the Update desk seems to welcome.

8. Leslie Jones returned to the Weekend Update to go hard in the paint about the importance of year-round Black History. The premise was set up by Jones pointing out that the events of Hidden Figures were never taught to her in school, replaced by the history of “peanut stuff”.

9. We were gifted with one of the best digital shorts in a while, focusing on Aziz trying to get a five star Uber passenger rating and Bobby Moynihan’s character trying to get a five star driver rating.

10. The show closed with one of the most touching moments of the season. Cecily Strong led a tribute to Barack Obama’s presidency. It wasn’t a gag, it wasn’t a schtick — it was an honest moment of pure admiration for an amazing American figure.


Here’s where this episode stacks up against the others that we’ve seen this season:

1. Dave Chappelle/A Tribe Called Quest — A+
2. Tom Hanks/Lady Gaga — A-
3. Benedict Cumberbatch/Solange — B-
4. Kristen Wiig/The xx — B-
5. Aziz Ansari/Big Sean — C+
6. Felicity Jones/Stergil Simpson — C+
7. Margot Robbie/The Weeknd — C+
8. Casey Affleck/Chance the Rapper — C
9. Emma Stone/Shawn Mendes — C
10. Lin-Manuel Miranda/TwentyOne Pilots — C-
11. Emily Blunt/Bruno Mars — D+
12. John Cena/Maren Morris — D-

must read: 30 Best Late Night Jokes about Donald Trump

 Next Week on SNL…

Unlike the other three-week bursts the show traditionally has, SNL will be taking a week off next Saturday. Rather than compete with the Pro Bowl on NBC, the show will return on Feb. 4th with it’s annual pre-Super Bowl show. This year will feature host Kristen Stewart and musical guest

Date: Feb. 4th
Host: Kristen Stewart
Musical Guest:
TV Channel: NBC
Live Stream: Stream 1 | Stream 2

Be sure to check out Last Night On for all your SNL highlights.