Saturday Night Live: Daniel Kaluuya fits right in

Daniel Kaluuya (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
Daniel Kaluuya (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images) /

Daniel Kaluuya is one of the biggest young movie stars of the moment. He’s done comedies, dramas, action flicks, and horror films. In a few weeks, Kaluuya will find out if he’s going to add an Academy Award to his resume. Now he can add Saturday Night Live host to his list of accomplishments.

Before all that, however, he was a television actor. Some of his first roles were on comedy shows, like That Mitchell and Webb Look, Comedy Lab, and Harry and Paul.

This past weekend, Kaluuya returned to his roots with a terrific hosting performance on SNL. He fit in so well that I had to keep reminding myself he wasn’t just a regular cast member. Thanks to Kaluuya’s excellent performance, this was a really terrific episode. There were so many great sketches that it’s hard to pick which ones to write about.

Saturday Night Live with Daniel Kaluuya review: Vaccine Game

SNL does so many game show sketches that the format can feel pretty stale after a while. Luckily, this sketch had a clever premise that used the game show format really well, and Daniel Kaluuya was an excellent host.

Saturday Night Live with Daniel Kaluuya review: Dog Park

This sketch started with a simple but funny premise and then proceeded to get very, very weird. It was so great because both the beginning, where it felt like a relatively traditional sketch, and the end, when it devolved into utter chaos, were absolutely hysterical.

Saturday Night Live with Daniel Kaluuya review: Salt Bae

Most of the laughs in the sketch come from how stupid the dialogue is and how ridiculous Beck Bennett’s character acts, but Daniel Kaluuya also deserves credit for playing a really excellent straight man as so much absurdity unfolds around him.

The sketch was cut for time so if you watched Saturday Night Live as it aired, you didn’t get a chance to see it. But it’s definitely worth checking out online.

Saturday Night Live with Daniel Kaluuya review: Scattegories

It’s sketches like this that remind you why Kate McKinnon is a star. The premise is simple: a mother is upset that her family doesn’t want to play Rummikub with her. McKinnon’s performance is so layered and nuanced, however, that this very simple premise made for a genius sketch.

Saturday Night Live with Daniel Kaluuya review: Half-Brother

Cecily Strong and Daniel Kaluuya make for a delightful comedic pairing in this weird and wonderful sketch. Their bizarre spoken word poetry and Kaluuya’s bass playing had me cackling.

Other thoughts from Saturday Night Live with Daniel Kaluuya

  • This was a really terrific episode, in large part because Kaluuya was such a natural as the host.
  • “Frat Trip” had an excellent premise (a frat guy wants to invite everyone’s moms on a fraternity trip) but the pacing of the sketch was awkward, and it wasn’t as good as it could’ve been.
  • “Proud Parents” was really fun, and it‘s cool to see SNL writing sketches from new and diverse perspectives.
  • “Beanie Babies,” another cut for time sketch, was really funny, but it was essentially a remake of the popular “Sara Lee” sketch starring Harry Styles. Kaluuya had a fresh new take on the role that Styles played in the original sketch, but “Beanie Babies” still wasn’t as funny or original as its predecessor.

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What did you think of Daniel Kaluuya’s performance on Saturday Night Live? Where does this episode rank among season 46’s episodes? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.