People who enjoy saying â€śstay in your laneâ€ť must hate Donald Glover. Glover is a multifarious talent, one who doesnâ€™t rest on his laurels or stay comfortable for long. After making his name on Community, Glover bailed on it a bit early, tried his hand at stand-up and wrote raps as Childish Gambino; in recent years, heâ€™s catapulted to the ranks of the creative elite as a musician, actor, and the creator-star of one of televisionâ€™s most fascinating, funny, and unpredictable series, Atlanta. Tonight, SNL plays with the fact that Glover is young Lando Calrissian in the new Star Wars film Solo, but as Glover is a writer and sketch comedian, too, he brings his own ideas to the table.
A frightened Michael Cohen (Ben Stiller) calls his boss Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) after Giulianiâ€™s surprise announcement about the Stormy Daniels hush money. From there, the sketch is a flurry of activity as Cohen calls (or accidentally dials) everyone in the Trump camp, one by one. Itâ€™s a star-studded lollapalooza of names and faces that would require two paragraphs just to list them all. Among the surprises: Ivanka Trump (Scarlett Johansson), Jared Kushner (Jimmy Fallon), Harold Bornstein (Martin Short), and the actual Stormy Daniels. Once Stormy gets on the line, Trump kicks Cohen off the call and gets to business. â€śIâ€™ve never been so scared and horny at the same time,â€ť he says after she demands his resignation. Not sure thereâ€™s a big point here, and the sketch panders to Stormy, but the bits featuring Short, Fallon, and Kate McKinnon as Rudy Giuliani are giggle-inducing.
Glover auditioned for SNL twice and didnâ€™t get cast. Though he tells the crowd heâ€™s not bitter about his SNL rejection, he then wanders through the studio to show up the other cast members. Kyle Mooney did some kind of skateboard trick during his audition, so Glover grabs Mooneyâ€™s board and falls flat on his back. He drinks some weird punch Kenan Thompson is brewing up, and then he throws up while trying to play clarinet. There are two competing ideas here â€” that Glover wants to top the current SNL crop to salve his old wounds, and that he â€śreally can do anything.â€ť If the monologue focused on one, it could really be great. As it is, itâ€™s a muddle.
A plaintiff who visited Jurassic World with his friends (Mikey Day) takes the stand to talk about the dinosaurs that killed his friends and family. Seems like a clear-cut case, certain to go against the defendants, but itâ€™s time for the Jurassic World lawyer (Glover) to cross-examine. The park is not responsible for lost or damaged items, as it clearly states on the back of a bloody name badge one of his family members wore. Also, the first few seconds of poor Mr. Millerâ€™s Instagram story looks like everyone is having a good time. (The last few seconds unfortunately reveals a deadly dinosaur attack.) When the lawyer finally feels the tide is turning against him, he tries to adjourn the court on his own. The sketch isnâ€™t sure whether to focus on the park or the lawyer, exactly, but Gloverâ€™s strutting, wide-eyed shyste is a treat to watch.
This parody of a Migos video finds Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff (Glover, Chris Redd, and Thompson) deep in the club before announcing that theyâ€™re in therapy with a woman called Angela (Cecily Strong). Soon, theyâ€™re not just implying it, and the three of them are side-by-side on a couch making â€śI feelâ€ť statements while talking about how Quavoâ€™s purchase of an ice cream Lambo (Lambo!) made Offset feel invisible. Soon, the trio reaffirms their friendship and makes a breakthrough (Breakthrough!), strolling out of the office like champs. In the lobby, they run into ASAP Rocky (the actual Rocky) and affirm their newfound connection. Itâ€™s all a fun what-if that shows Gloverâ€™s love for the band he helped find fame.
In the music video for a song called â€śI Watched You,â€ť R&B crooner Raz B. Berry (Glover) sings about his cheating lady (Cecily Strong) and then follows her to a bar to confront her. Once there, he stops singing and starts confessing: He cancelled all their credit cards, put all of her pricey jewelry up his ass, tried to cut off his penis, and so on. Once he get to the part about pouring pee in his hair, his lady stops him to tell him something important: She isnâ€™t his lady, literally. Raz is wearing dark glasses, and itâ€™s night outside, so he didnâ€™t notice he was following the wife of mild-mannered Dr. Reginald Saunders (Thompson). Whoops. Itâ€™s an amusingly weird backstory for an â€™80s video, and funnier if you know the classic Oran â€śJuiceâ€ť Jones hit â€śThe Rain.â€ť
In this take on A Quiet Place, the humans try to remain quiet in order to keep the monsters away, but Kanye seems to be losing his mind in real time online. With bated breath, the crew turns to the guy with the phone (Glover) as Kanye tweets about Trump, wears a MAGA hat, attends Chrissy Tiegenâ€™s baby shower, and drops a new track that just might say â€śpoopity scoop.â€ť One by one, the friends get picked off because they canâ€™t take all of the insanity in and around Ye. The final holdout just canâ€™t contain himself after witnessing Kanyeâ€™s TMZ appearance and his claim that â€śslavery was a choice.â€ť Itâ€™s a solid parody, even if talking about Kanye has become exhausting.
In order to spice things up in the bedroom, a guy (Glover) wants to talk dirty with his girlfriend (Melissa VillaseĂ±or). Unfortunately for him, she doesnâ€™t quite get it. While he says things along the lines of, â€śYouâ€™re a little slut,â€ť she counters with â€śYour dadâ€™s dead.â€ť Itâ€™s not hot. As their session goes on, she wants to role-play: â€śYouâ€™re my little brother, bitch, now scram.â€ť It doesnâ€™t work, not when she pretends to be the Elephant Man, and definitely not when she does her Cosby impression. (Given that a version of this sketch was done while Aziz Ansari hosted early in 2017, the boldest and weirdest choice might have been an Aziz impression.) As it is, itâ€™s a funny return to a good premise, and another nice appearance by VillaseĂ±or.
â€śWell, the clock might be running out on Trumpâ€™s presidency, so you know what that means,â€ť says Colin Jost at the top of Update. â€śTheyâ€™re finally putting in Rudy.â€ť (Cue the image of Giulianiâ€™s head grafted onto Sean Astinâ€™s body from the movie Rudy.) The rest of the segment involves head-scratching about the Stormy Daniels payment, the Trump teamâ€™s release of Robert Muellerâ€™s questions for the president, and whether the FBI knows enough to take down Trump. â€śEven if you donâ€™t have enough evidence, just frame him,â€ť suggests Michael Che. â€śAre there different FBIs for white people and black people?â€ť Next, Pete Davidson rolls on to ask Jost and Che about hosting the Emmys. Itâ€™s a jealous ribbing about their cute partnership, but itâ€™s not one of Davidsonâ€™s better Update bits.
There are just a few bits at the beginning of the second half, and the best by far is one in which an image of Kanye with the caption â€śSlavery Was a Choiceâ€ť appears over Michael Cheâ€™s shoulder. He waits for a beat and then just says, â€śPass.â€ť Then Leslie Jones comes on to give a tribute to all the â€śraggedy-assâ€ť men she has dated while singing snippets of Sarah McLachlanâ€™s â€śAngel.â€ť Thereâ€™s Stacy, whose mother tells Jones, â€śI had that boy, I know you can do much better.â€ť Thereâ€™s Rodney, who has several kids in need of support but is just â€śa rapper that words at Panera Bread.â€ť Jones is charming and sells her material well, as always.
At the Naboo Beachfront Hotel, all of the black people in the Star Wars galaxy gather for a weekend of food, drink, and an answer to the question, â€śWhere the hell are all the black people in space?â€ť Including their host Lando Calrissian (Glover), they number four in total. While theyâ€™re trying to keep their spirits up, itâ€™s a little sad. When encouraged to roar by revolutionary Saw Gerrera (Thompson), itâ€™s just a few halfhearted cat growls. Pretty much everything other than meals have been cancelled due to low attendance. They take a moment to remember their dead colleagues; itâ€™s Mace Windu, and Mace Windu only. The sketch does revisit an incredibly valid question in a playful way, even if it doesnâ€™t stretch the premise very far.
Though thereâ€™s lots of brand synergy on tonightâ€™s show, the weekâ€™s advertorial is for Barbie. Two Mattel social media gurus (Thompson and Strong) gather three interns (Gardner, Davidson, and Glover) to come up with fun captions for various sorts of playful Barbie pics. One intern is dumb, one points out the obvious, and the other canâ€™t stop thinking about Barbieâ€™s imagined, tragic past; needless to say, none of them are good at it. Everything comes to a head when the morose intern (Glover) imagines Barbie overhearing someone say she is a toy and determining to commit suicide. These odd ruminations make up for an otherwise dull sketch.
In a bare office setting somewhere behind bars, a trio of prisoners (Thompson, Redd, and Glover) talk about their daily lives in between answering customer service calls. Their existence in prison is rough, involving shivs made of spoons, toilet Cognac, and smearing poo on the guys who assault you in the bathroom. In contrast, when they answer their phones, they are as sweet as punch. â€śItâ€™s a gorgeous Wednesday morning,â€ť one of them says, â€śThis is Norman.â€ť Their conversation cuts back and forth until one psychopath (Bennett) is wheeled in, Hannibal Lecter-style. Naturally, this man is the manager of the call center. The sketch has some funny moments, but is sadly probably not far off from the reality of things.
For his first SNL hosting gig, Donald Glover shows up prepared to bring his acting and writing chops, too. Though the sketches meander a bit here and there, all of Gloverâ€™s characters are incredibly well-defined and fun to watch â€” in particular his grandstanding lawyer in â€śCourtroom,â€ť Raz. B. Berry in â€śâ€™80s Music Video,â€ť and his straight-faced intern in an otherwise uninspired â€śBarbie Instagram.â€ť The cold open and Update also have enough going on that they feel solid. Itâ€™ll be interesting to see where the remaining two weeks of the season lead, with only Amy Schumer and Tiny Fey left to host.