The best of Saturday Night Live with host Awkwafina

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Awkwafina attends the Longchamp Spring/Summer 2019 Runway Show at World Trade Center on September 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Getty Images for Longchamp)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Awkwafina attends the Longchamp Spring/Summer 2019 Runway Show at World Trade Center on September 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Getty Images for Longchamp) /

The second episode of Saturday Night Live’s 44th season featured host Awkawafina and musical guest Travis Scott. We recap the highlights here at Last Night On.

Last week’s season premiere made a splash with a cold opening that saw Matt Damon take on the role of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The viral sketch was typical of how Saturday Night Live kicks off a new season and was aided by taking aim at one of the biggest political stories in years. With 20 million views on YouTube alone, the clip suggested that SNL was on top of its game right off the bat.

The Oct. 6 episode had the difficult task of following the season premiere but host Awkwafina, star of the smash hit Crazy Rich Asians, did her best to keep the momentum going. She appeared genuinely excited at the opportunity to host and used her monologue to offer a personal annecdote from when Lucy Liu hosted SNL in 2008. Awkwafina is the first Asian American woman to host the show since Liu.

And while the rapper/actress’ episode failed to produce any exceptionally memorable sketches or characters, it was not for a lack of commitment on her part. There was plenty going on in the world for material, from the ongoing Kavanaugh saga to President Trump’s emergency alert system. With that being said, let’s look at the best SNL had to offer for Oct. 6

Brett Kavanaugh Post-Game

The cold open stayed focused on the Kavanaugh news, offering a glimpse inside the Republican “locker room” following the judge’s confirmation. Considering the news broke on Saturday, it seems like the writers at SNL were already preparing for the news that Kavanaugh was being pushed through. The post-game locker room celebration concept was a clever way to deliver the jokes especially as playoff baseball has started and these scenes will become more common.

And after basically taking the first episode off, Kenan Thompson gets the chance to play the straightman. Joined by Heidi Gardner’s Dana Bash, the two let their castmates shine as several key Republican senators. Particularly impressive is the prosthetics worn by Beck Bennett as Mitch McConnell. Kate McKinnon did another solid job as Lindsey Graham after playing the senator during last week’s cold open.

The sketch also allowed Cecily Strong to debut her version of Maine Senator Susan Collins. Collins became a focal point of the news cycle when she scheduled a news conference to announce her vote on Kavanaugh, a decision that Strong mines for jokes here.

Pete Davidson responds to Kanye West

The excellent job done last week by host Adam Driver was overshadowed by his musical guest Kanye West. The outspoken rapper took to the stage at the end of the show and went on an unscripted rant against bullies and those at SNL all while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. And while there is nothing wrong with voicing your opinion, West’s demonstration seemed a little out of place considering he was a guest in SNL‘s house.

It was reported that the Saturday Night Live writers and cast were eager to give their response to West. The chose Pete Davidson to deliver that answer during Weekend Update. It marked the second week in a row that Davidson joined Colin Jost. Last week it was to discuss his highly publicized summer and engagement to Ariana Grande. Davidson has been heavily featured through the first two episodes. It could be an effort to capitalize on the buzz around his name or his raised profile may mean he stands out more.

Davidson’s response was predictable but still was received well by the crowd. Davidson’s self-admitted ignorance towards politics kept the bit from being preachy or talking down to West. But the comedian hit on common knocks against West regarding his rants, the perspective of using mental health issues as an excuse, and calls for the “old” Kanye.

Pumpkin Patch

Following in the footsteps of Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island, the prerecorded shorts from Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney are typically hit or miss. Similar to last week’s “A New Kyle” this one ramps up the absurdity the longer it goes on. Whether or not you enjoy depends heavily on how you view Bennett and Mooney’s brand of humor. If you’re a fan, then you can appreciate the weirdness and how to the two admit to their misdeeds with pumpkins.

Awkwafina fits in right alongside them but didn’t seem to get the same chances for laughs. Mikey Day did well as the boss/father-in-law/unexpected mentor in just how to pick the right pumpkin to enjoy.

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Saturday Night Live returns with another all new episode on Oct. 13. It will be hosted by late night host Seth Meyers, returning to where he was a writer and performer from 2001-2014. The musical guest will be Paul Simon.