After shying away from the topic of gun control for the past few seasons, the sophomore episode of Saturday Night Live's 41st season found the edgy voice it was once renowned for and made the controversial topic the focal point of the entire show.
Hosted by comedian Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), the show addressed the ongoing debate surrounding gun control in the majority of aired sketches, using a series of odder, off-the-cuff skits to fill out the rest of the episode when the contentious issue wasn't being raised.
From a hilarious commercial promoting gun ownership as the number one connector of family and friends to a poignant debate between cast members Colin Jost and Michael Che on Weekend Update, the gun control argument was addressed in a multitude of ways and handled well, being respectful to the issue at hand, but never losing site of the satirical basis, by the writers.
It wasn't the only theme that managed to secure tons of laughs, either. Schumer proved that having a host known for their biting take on current events and being one of the top comedians working in the industry right now only leads to a string of constantly funny sketches.
Unlike the show's premiere, which contained some of the weakest skits the season's had in quite some time, there wasn't one sketch that completely failed during Schumer's 90-minute run. Schumer's grown as a comedian in the past few years and, since coming into her own, has developed a keen eye when reading the audience. She knows what inherently works and what doesn't. Having her in the writer's room this past week worked marvels for the show, and was arguably key in the overall success of the episode.
Collected below are the best and worst sketches from the show:
Best sketch: Delta Flight
From the minute the sketch started until the moment it ended, I was cracking up, tears in my eyes. The skit sees Vanessa Bayer and Amy Schumer reunite (the two recently played friends and co-workers in Trainwreck) as Delta employees tasked with entertaining passengers on a flight. Naturally, things go awry and head in a completely different direction than what's promised.
Bayer, one of the most underused cast members on the variety show, and Schumer absolutely nail every comedic mark, feeding off each other the entire four minutes. Taran Killam, the show's go-to guy for every sketch, also makes an appearance, and while fine in his role, pales in comparison to the two female leads. The skit borders on being one of the show's weirder concepts, but manages to work at every angle.
Best Weekend Update moment: Gun control debate
It's taken Weekend Update co-hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost a long time to get comfortable with one another on camera, and although they're still not quite there yet, last night proved they may have found a formula that finally works for them. Continuing the show's theme of addressing gun control, Jost and Che used their co-hosting positions to argue the pros and cons of the complex question.
Unlike their usual act of trying to best one another with jokes, their new delivery was fluid, and worked perfectly when directly bounced off the other. It not only managed to deliver their point as cohesively as they wanted, but also proved Weekend Update could work with the both of them anchoring if they're willing to mess around with the format a tiny bit.
Best digital short: Guns
The short that most people are going to be talking about — and for good reason — is simply called Guns. In the sketch, various groups of people, from a couple on their way to the hospital to have a baby to a grandson visiting his grandfather, are presented with an assortment of guns.
They cling to them in the most ludicrous of places, including the delivery room and in bed, while grinning from ear to ear. Reminiscent of the show's original run in 1974, Guns is proof that the counter-culture ideology the show became famous for is still kicking around in the writing room at 30 Rockefeller now.
Best surprise: Nicki Minaj joins The Weeknd for a brand new remix
Before Saturday Night Live even started, Toronto singer The Weeknd took to Instagram to announce he was dropping a remix of his song The Hills that featured Nicki Minaj at midnight. Just five minutes after the clock struck 12, he took the stage for the first of his two performances, and surprising the audience by bringing Minaj out and having her perform the new remix alongside him.
Weirdest sketch: Porn Teacher
Weird doesn't always mean bad, and in Saturday Night Live's case, it usually means the most memorable. Although Porn Teacher was the sketch that connected with the audience the least, there were a few moments that absolutely slay. Schumer plays an adult film actress instructed to portray the cliched hot high school teacher alongside "bad boy" student Kyle Mooney.
The two are funny, but it's Aidy Bryant who brings the sketch to a whole other level. Bryant's earnestly gullible approach to the role as a dedicated student that keeps interrupting Mooney and Schumer is the backbone to the sketch and works wonders on delivering the laughs in what could have been an otherwise disastrous idea.
Next week's episode is one of the most anticipated and will see former cast member Tracy Morgan (who's still recovering from an accident that put him in a coma for eight days and left him with a permanent brain injury) return to the stage as host.
Saturday Night Live airs on NBC at 11:30 p.m. EST.
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