Saturday Night Live premiere: The three best sketches

Musical guest Megan Thee Stallion and host Chris Rock (Photo by: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC)
Musical guest Megan Thee Stallion and host Chris Rock (Photo by: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC) /

Saturday Night Live kicked off season 46 and its return to 30 Rock with host Chris Rock

After an extended break between seasons due to the pandemic, Saturday Night Live finally returned to start its new season. The look and feel was noticeably different but SNL and host Chris Rock took on the challenge admirably.

Fans were given a behind-the-scenes look at how SNL was keeping its cast, crew, and staff safe during the week leading up to the season 46 premiere. Many of those protocols were visible on Saturday night with a smaller live audience as well as masks work by host Chris Rock, musical guest Megan The Stallion, and the cast when not performing in a sketch.

There was more hype surrounding this episode than typically comes with an SNL season premiere. Curiosity about how the show would look during the pandemic, how it would parody the presidential debate, and the debut of Jim Carrey as former Vice President Joe Biden all combined to raise expectations.

It would be hard to say that SNL lived up to those expectations. The show deserves credit for coming back and doing its best to entertain audiences even if not every sketch landed exactly as hoped.

The three best sketches from Saturday Night Live with host Chris Rock: First Debate Cold Open

Everyone knew that the debate parody would be the cold open and the most talked-about sketch of the night. But as we’ve seen time and time again during President Donald Trump’s time in office, things often go way beyond parody. The debate was a disaster from the start, forcing SNL to get creative in finding a way to mock it.

SNL was also taking on the debate more than a week after it happened, meaning just about every joke about the night had been said either on late-night television or social media. Still, Jim Carrey was front and center and gave fans an idea of what to expect from his version of Vice President Biden. And in what felt like a moment of fan service, SNL found a way to get Maya Rudolph as Senator Kamala Harris in on the act.

This sketch clearly went through some last-minute edits following the news that President Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19. SNL had to be careful not to come off as celebrating the news so it was up to Carrey’s Biden to suggest it was the coming together of science and karma.

Carrey was at his best when the sketch leaned in to the absurd. His entrance, the gag with the tape measure, and his reaction to the laser pointer were all more entertaining than when speaking as the voice to President Trump’s opposition. Going over the top is nothing new to Jim Carrey so let’s hope we see more of that as season 46 progresses.

The three best sketches from Saturday Night Live with host Chris Rock: Superspreader Event

We knew that the pandemic was going to be the premise for just about every sketch. The same thing was true for the Saturday Night Live at Home shows that closed out season 45.

With “Superspreader Event,” SNL found a way to make the pandemic simply a background element to what was a silly sketch. The pandemic wasn’t essential to the sketch but provided the setup for the writers to find creative ways to come up with crude-sounding names.

Frequent SNL viewers may recall that “Superspreader Event” is a sequel to “Earthquake News Report.” In that sketch a from season 44 episode hosted by Rachel Brosnahan, Pete Davidson also played a giggling first responder.

This sketch is also representative of what Chris Rock was asked to do as host all night. He was a facilitator, never playing anything other than the straight man. Still, his monologue delivered an important message that would have outshined anything he did in a sketch no matter what.

The three best sketches from Saturday Night Live with host Chris Rock: The Drew Barrymore Show

Even with things back in 30 Rock and Studio 8H, Saturday Night Live won’t be able to do everything the same way they’ve been doing it for 45 years. The fewer people they can get in a room, the safer it will be.

With that in mind, sketches like “The Drew Barrymore Show” will be more common. It means that cast members like Chloe Fineman will become even more important to SNL’s success. Fineman has the ability to pull off multiple impressions and play opposite herself. She proved this with her “Master Class” parody last season so fans should expect more of the same in season 46.

Fineman’s impression got the approval of Drew Barrymore herself and fans of both shows admitted the parody was spot on. Impressions of Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman demonstrated how talented Fineman is as a performer. It’s clear that she has a bright future ahead of her at SNL. The circumstances in season 46 likely mean that this will be a breakout season for her.

light. Related Story. When will Peacock stream every SNL season?

What was your favorite sketch of the night? How did Saturday Night Live perform compared to your expectations? Let us know in the comment section below.