Saturday Night Live: What to watch for with host Liev Schreiber

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Liev Schreiber attends day 1 of the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Liev Schreiber attends day 1 of the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) /

Following a strong episode hosted by Jonah Hill, Saturday Night Live returns with first-time host Liev Schreiber. Here are three things to look for ahead of tonight’s episode.

A short hiatus didn’t seem to have any negative effects on Saturday Night Live. The Nov. 3 episode hosted by Jonah Hill, who entered the Five Timers Club, was the strongest episode since the season 44 premiere. The show will hope to build some momentum when it welcomes Liev Schreiber and musical guest Lil Wayne.

Per usual there was no shortage of material for SNL writers to draw on for this week’s show. The midterm elections alone could fill an entire show. Add in Trump’s outburst against CNN’s Jim Acosta and another shake up in the president’s cabinet, and it has been a busy week.

The show has appeared to be striking a better balance between it’s political material and the rest. It’s been a nice break to see a little less of Alec Baldwin’s President Trump impression and more straightforward comedy like last week’s “Teacher Fell Down.” Here are three things to look for in tonight’s episode.

Liev Schreiber’s comedic turn

Appearing in comedies or being known for having a particular sense of humor isn’t a requirement to host Saturday Night Live. It certainly helps and when a host is expected to be out of his or her element, it can make or break the show. Liev Schreiber is a talented actor with limited chances to show off his comedic timing.

He has been able to do some comedy as a voice actor in Isle of Dogs, though Wes Anderson’s humor doesn’t always appeal to a broad audience, and in the Netflix series BoJack Horseman. Schreiber was also in the two Goon films and the HBO film Clear History. Those two films allowed him to play a pair of ridiculous but very different chacters. Schreiber also wrote and directed the excellent comedy-drama Everything is Illuminated.

As a fan of the show and someone obviously eager to get the comedic spotlight, Schreiber should be a star on Saturday night. Expect him to be game for anything the writer’s throw at him and audiences may be taken off guard by how funny he can be. His cameo in this 2016 Adam Driver sketch is a good indication of how well Schreiber should do:

Goodbye Jeff Sessions

The biggest news of the week other than the midterm elections was the resingation (read: firing) of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He had long been a bullying victim of the president so many saw this coming. Late night hosts like Stephen Colbert already had their chance to say goodbye and now it’s time for Saturday Night Live to do the same.

Sessions has been parodied on SNL a number of times since he joined Trump’s administration. He was one of a handful of odd characters in and around the White House portrayed by Kate McKinnon.

Sessions’ resignation will also likely mark the last chance for McKinnon to put on the ears and give that creepy, elf-like smile. This season has used the cold open for the heavy political lifting and this week probably will be no different. Alec Baldwin’s legal troubles may keep him away for another week so the Sessions news may take precedent over a “Trump reacts to the midterms” sketch.

It could be a busy week for McKinnon. Not only is Sessions likely to be featured in a sketch, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was also in the news after suffering an injury. We could see an RBG’ health update in the form of McKinnon at the Weekend Update desk.

More Pete Davidson drama

If you thought that this was the week that Pete Davidson didn’t play a factor in our episode previews, think again. First we wondered if he would address his relationship with singer Ariana Grande at all then we questioned how he would respond to the public breakup.

It was during his Weekend Update bit last week that Davidson found himself in the spotlight again. It wasn’t for anything he said about Grande but instead for veteran Dan Crenshaw, then a Republican candidate for Congress in Texas.

There was plenty of outrage against Davidson and the show for mocking Crenshaw’s injury. Crenshaw seemed to reference the controversy during his acceptance speech. 

Kenan Thompson then spoke out to say the show was looking at things internally. The prediction here is that Davidson will not appear in the episode. Keeping him off camera for a week could be Saturday Night Live‘s way of acknowledging the situation without issuing a public apology. Davidson is already limited in what he does on the show but expect things to be dialed back even more this week.

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Saturday Night Live airs tonight, Nov. 10, at 11:30 PM EST on NBC. Liev Schreiber is the host and can also be seen in Ray Donovan on Showtime Sundays at 9:00 PM. Lil Wayne is a returning musical guest and released his twelfth studio album Tha Carter V in September. Check back to Last Night On for all the week’s highlights!