Chris Rock hosted the Season 46 premiere of “Saturday Night Live” last night after a summer of uncertainty over whether the NBC sketch comedy could realistically continue to film in Studio 8H. While there are still a few kinks to work out in the weeks to come, the premiere had its fair share of fun moments that resonated in these fraught times we’re living in. Here are the five best sketches from the “SNL” premiere.
The Drew Barrymore Show
“SNL” hired comedian Chloe Fineman last season, bringing with her an arsenal of expert impressions of actresses like Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. She gets to display all three in this wacky lampooning of Barrymore’s new talk show, not only playing the eponymous host but the “Big Little Lies” costars as well. Fineman nails Barrymore’s distinct lisp while proclaiming, “I’m just like you, a boho free spirit mommy mother movie star since I was six.” Watch it above.
Chen Biao on TikTok
Speaking of excellent cast additions from the previous season, Bowen Yang returned to his most beloved recurring character on Weekend Update, Chinese trade representative Chen Biao. Hip to the lingo of today, “trade daddy” Biao gives his take on the U.S. TikTok ban, referencing Megan Thee Stallion‘s “Savage” and pointing out how America steals from China all the time. As Biao shadily points out, “It’s the hypocrisy for me.” Bonus points for observing that TikTok took lipsyncs and “made them straight.”
Dirty pun-based humor won’t work for everyone, but after a political cold open and monologue, there was something stupidly fun about this Superspreader Event sketch. Taking place outside a federal building that has been identified as a COVID superspreader event, Mikey Day‘s field reporter interviews a group of people who were at the building looking to change their names. The result is a series of body puns, with name revelations like Edith Puthie, Mike Rodick and Mike Litt. Rock accidentally getting his character’s name wrong makes the sketch even sillier.
It wasn’t entirely clear where the Future Ghost sketch was going but once in a while, “SNL” has the perfect punchline at the end that makes it all worth watching. A teenage gamer played by Kyle Mooney is visited by Rock as a white-haired ghost, telling him what his future entails, and it’s not good. But the teen becomes almost single-handedly focused on the improvement of video game graphics, only for the sketch’s real gag to be revealed: his mom has married Kenan Thompson, naturally played by the Emmy-winning cast member himself.
First Debate Cold Open
This one has been divisive but we’ll let you make up your own mind. Tuesday’s first presidential debate was inevitably going to be the cold open for this premiere, with Alec Baldwin returning as President Donald Trump and Jim Carrey debuting as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. While a little unwieldy at over 13 minutes, this opener’s more entertaining moments include Baldwin’s Trump referring to Amy Coney Barrett as “Amy Cristina Barcelona” and Carrey’s Biden literally pressing a pause button on his opponent’s yammering. Stealing the show as always is Maya Rudolph reprising her Emmy-winning role as vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, who proclaims that America needs a “WAP,” or, “woman as president.”