Saturday Night Live with Regina King: What to watch for

Regina King (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Regina King (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) /

Actress-director Regina King will host the third episode of the second half of Saturday Night Live‘s season 46 alongside musical guest, Nathaniel Rateliff. The show has been able to positively push through the pandemic these past two weekends with high-quality episodes hosted by The Office star John Krasinski and Schitt’s Creek‘s Dan Levy who both had favorable performances.

Now, it’s King’s turn to kick the weekend off on a positive note.

Speaking of kicking things off on a positive note, last week’s host, Dan Levy, was kind enough to leave one of encouragement for King on her dressing room mirror. This episode will be marked as her SNL debut as well as her being recognized as the 14th black woman to host the sketch comedy show, joining the ranks of the late Cecily Tyson, actress Halle Berry, comedian Tiffany Haddish, and filmmaker Issa Rae. Rae hosted more recently in an Oct. 2020 episode during the first half of the season.

King is no stranger to the screen. She’s voiced a main role in the Adult Swim animated sitcom, The Boondocks, and most recently can be seen in the HBO series, Watchmen, which won her an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Prior to the announcement of King’s hosting gig, she had been busy promoting her directorial debut, One Night In Miami, a film detailing a fictionalized meeting of Jim Brown, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Sam Cooke after Ali’s winning fight against Sonny Liston in February 1964. The film was released back in Dec. 2020 and earned her a Best Director nomination for the upcoming Golden Globes Awards.

Will host Regina King be able to keep up on Saturday Night Live?

With Regina King usually being found in more dramatic roles, I’m interested to see how she performs against an ensemble of comedians. There’s hope that she can maybe pull from her time as Brenda Jenkins on the 1980s NBC sitcom 227. In her adult career, she has appeared in a variety of comedy movies such as FridayDaddy Day Care, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde, and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous.

Fans of the multi-hyphenate will enjoy seeing her jump from the heavy, politically-driven work she does on Watchmen to the satirical, slap-stick comedic takes on politics that SNL is notorious forAs we know, SNL has no problem addressing current events and King has not shied away from talking about hot-topic issues, as seen here during an appearance as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this past January. Judging from her various late night talk show appearances, her sense of humor definitely shines through and I believe she’ll be able to keep up with whatever the show’s writers have in store.

Saturday Night Live’s political impressions have been few and far between 

During the end of the first half of the season, audiences saw the end of a national administration transition to the beginning of a new one. Saturday Night Live took this on by having cast member Alex Moffat take over the Joe Biden impression spot from comedian Jim Carrey. It would be nice to know that the show plans on utilizing Moffat’s Biden in some way so he can keep it fresh just in case a major political event occurs and Biden’s “presence” at Studio 8H will be necessary.

I’m also interested to see how SNL plans to tackle the trials of Trump’s impeachment or if there’s even a plan to address it fully. I’d love to see even more references to current events in politics, primarily through more original characters at the “Weekend Update” desk and in the cold open.

Nathaniel Rateliff makes his debut on Saturday Night Live as the musical guest 

The Regina King-hosted episode will be musical guest Nathaniel Rateliff’s Saturday Night Live debut as well.

The Denver-based folk artist obviously doesn’t have a record of comedic performance but has been a frequent musical guest on almost all of the late night talk shows, making stops at The Late Late with James Corden, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and most recently Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Rateliff’s recent musical endeavors include the release of his single “Redemption,” a song written for the Apple+ Original film Palmer.

His upcoming performances on the show will definitely be a switch from last week’s indie rock singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, who stirred up some controversy after smashing her guitar at the end of her final performance on the show.

Though most musicals guests tend to just be seen once or twice on stage, from seeing him go through the late night talk show circuit in the past five years, he seems to be a respected personality and I wouldn’t count him out from being possibly spotted in the monologue or a pre-recorded sketch.

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What are your predictions for this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to check back with Last Night On for a full recap of the best sketches.