Aziz Ansari hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the first time with musical guest Big Sean following a tumultuous week that included the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The episode featured a pretty even mix of political content and regular old character sketches, but ended with a straight up tribute to Obama.
Warning: Spoilers for the complete episode below:
VLADIMIR PUTTING COLD OPEN
Alec Baldwin got a break from playing the newly elected President Trump this week, so Beck Bennett stepped in and gave a post-inaugural address as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin offered “comfort” to Americans who are upset by Trump’s election, letting them know he isn’t really in charge anyway–Putin is. He also offered Trump some advice on his exaggerated claims about the unprecedented number of attendees at his inauguration and suggested he make his proclamations sound slightly more realistic. “Say you’re friends with LeBron James, but don’t say you ARE Lebron James, Donald.”
Props to Kate McKinnon for playing a Russian woman who was “oh so very happy” with her life and then popped up behind Putin later in his speech with one of those very special pink hats from the Women’s March.
AZIZ ANSARI MONOLOGUE
We always love when a solid stand-up comedian takes on the “SNL” monologue. Ansari’s eight-minute set was all about Trump and the current volatile state of affairs in the U.S. following this hotly contested election. He referred to Trump as “the Chris Brown of politics.” He also addressed all those extremists who say now is the time for minorities to leave the U.S. by announcing: “Beyonce ain’t moving. I ain’t moving.” He ended by suggesting that Islamophobia could be completely cured if Muslims changed the music they’re praying to because for people unfamiliar with it, it just sounds like scary background music from “Homeland.”
BEAT THE BOOKWORM
Ansari played “The Bookworm” in this parody of one of our favorite old game shows “Win Ben Stein’s Money.” Ansari’s character was well versed in pretty much every topic you can read a book about, but got completely thrown off his game when the category “90s Pop Culture” came up.
LA LA LAND INTERROGATION
In this interrogation sketch, cops Cecily Strong and Beck Bennett interrogate Ansari for saying he thought “La La Land” wasn’t quite as brilliant as the critics said it was. They grilled Ansari on being the kind of sicko who couldn’t appreciate the beauty of this simple and moving story.
Kate McKinnon reprised her role as Trump’s campaign manager and newly appointed White House advisor in this one. During an interview with Jake Tapper, she then spaces out into a fantasy sequence where she performs her own version of “Roxie” from the musical “Chicago”—except this time it’s “Conway.” In a sexy sparkling dress, surrounded by throngs of handsome men, she danced around and celebrated leaving her humdrum life behind and diving into the world of fame.
Lisa Broderick and Jeremy Ganz will fight for their clients’ rights. Except that Lisa seems to get her clients significantly more money than Jeremy does. It turns out Lisa is indebted to Jeremy because he gave her dad a kidney, and that’s how they fell into this unlikely partnership. That doesn’t help clients like Ansari much who actually had to pay more than he got from his settlement to just get Ganz to leave him alone.
BIG SEAN PERFORMS “BOUNCE BACK”
Big Sean performed his hit surrounded by what looked like the monoliths from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and fog. This was a brilliant performance that made us significantly less creeped out by the opening scene from the Kubrick movie.
This week, it was all jokes about Trump’s new administration, the inauguration, and the women’s march. The two best jokes of the segment came from Jost, who called the inauguration concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial “the second worst performance Lincoln has ever attended.”
Jost also pointed to Obama’s last press conference as President during which he said “I think it’s going to be OK” but then pointed out “It’s going to be OK” is what George told Lenny at the end of “Of Mice and Men.” If you’re unfamiliar with the Steinbeck classic, let’s just say things do NOT work out so well for Lenny. It makes us wish we had a comforting bunny to pet right now.
UPDATE: LESLIE JONES DISCUSSES “HIDDEN FIGURES”
Jones returned to the update desk to talk about the breakout film hit “Hidden Figures” which tells the story of a group of black women who helped astronauts get back home from an Apollo mission. She said she almost didn’t watch it because she thought it was going to be “The Help in Space” but was glad she did because it highlighted unknown achievements by African Americans. She then hilariously went on to point out other under-celebrated achievements by black Americans, and, of course, referred to Jost as her “creamy slice of Provolone” cheese just to round out the piece.
UPDATE: JAKE ROCHECK
Mikey Day played Jake Rocheck in this segment, a heartbreaking figure who’s been relegated to “The Friend Zone” by his pretty friend Shannon. Rocheck talks about moving her into a new apartment, comforting her when she gets dumped by her loser boyfriends, and desperately trying to keep himself from sending her the letter he’s been composing for years professing his undying love for her. This bit spoke to anyone who can relate to being the shoulder to cry on when you’d rather be a whole lot more.
In this sketch, Aziz Ansari tries to spice things up in the bedroom with his girlfriend played by Melissa Villasenor, but things get a little awkward when she brings up some issues Ansari is uncomfortable with—like his alcoholism and low pay. The role playing just got sadder and sadder as they tried to delve into some very unsexy “Daddy” talk and really awkward student-teacher situations.
In this digital short, an Uber driver and his passenger try to impress each other because they both have low star reviews. Their desperate attempts get increasingly awkward until they finally connect on a real level when they realize they both love “Black Mirror.” Of course, the driver then runs over his passenger with his car as he drives away. At least he got that five-star rating first.
Beck Bennett and Kenan Thompson play two cops busting a thug who’s hiding out at a Pizza Town restaurant after hours, but their bust keeps getting interrupted by the animatronic pizza-themed band on stage. We’ve seen this premise on “SNL” a few times before, but it was still pretty funny and that “I like that pizza, pizza” song is definitely going to be in our head all week.
BIG SEAN PERFORMS “SUNDAY MORNING JETPACK”
Big Sean slowed things down a little and performed his hit in which he “thanks God for all his setbacks” because of the person they made him now. The whole thing was so moving it made us want to run right out and make a gratitude list.
TO SIR WITH LOVE
“SNL” ended the night with Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata singing “To Sir With Love” to a photo of President Obama. It wasn’t funny, and was maybe even a little awkward because singing is not their strongest talent, but Obama fans will definitely appreciate the sentiment.
“SNL” is on break next week but will return live February 4th.