Saturday Night Live, Sunday Night or Later: Episode 16


General Overview:
“I have to be the least-famous host in SNL history. I was so excited to come here—” (loud cheering from the audience) “Thank you, I appreciate that. Just know that those claps did nothing for my self-esteem. I don’t know what you thought you were doing, were you making it better? I was really happy to come here and talk to you guys, and introduce myself (I’m Jerrod Carmichael by the way)…”
—Jerrod Carmichael, 4/2/22

I am not going to pretend that I had ever heard the name “Jerrod Carmichael” before I looked up who was hosting SNL this week, and I was glad to learn that most of the internet didn’t either. But that relative anonymity of the episode actually made it better in a strange way: it seems the SNL writers understood that this was going to be a very underviewed episode and wrote the sketches with that in mind.

Unusually for SNL, very few of the sketches seemed like they were designed to be shared around all over the place, which made them feel less like cheap jokes manufactured to be clipped on YouTube. That may have just been because none of the sketches were all that funny, but even so, I think there’s something to be said about their ability to hold my attention without needing to make very many jokes. Even if a sketch wasn’t particularly funny, I was still invested in it enough to want to see where it was going.

Carmichael immediately sold me with how he delivered his monologue, but apart from that, there really weren’t too many “highlights” since the episode had a pretty uniform quality throughout the night that was just good enough to make me want to keep watching.

There were a few creative sketch ideas, like the reveal I won’t spoil in “Shop TV” and two other sketches that I will talk about later, but vague examples aside the lack of highlights wasn’t as big of a deal as I would have thought.

On the second night of April the writers gave to me:

Four segments referencing “the slap:”

  • A relatively minor reference in the cold open.
  • Pretty much all of Carimichael’s monologue with the exception of the quote I pulled (ironically, the monologue talked about how people were talking about “it” too much, but the episode did exactly that).
  • Exactly half of the main part of “Weekend Update,” plus some extra time with OJ Simpson (No, seriously, I calculated: Colin Jost and Michael Che’s news roundup segment was 6 minutes and 28 seconds long, and 3 minutes and 14 seconds of that was devoted to Will Smith and Chris Rock).
  • An entire designated sketch (“Seat Fillers”) that was actually decently funny and creative, focusing on how Smith’s emotions changed so qui—okay, I’m becoming part of the problem now; I’m sorry, I won’t mention it again.
  • Three segments referencing “Pushin’ P:”

  • Another relatively minor reference in the cold open.
  • Musical guest Gunna sneaking it into his cameo in the song-sketch “Short-Ass movies.”
  • Musical guest Gunna’s performing the song “pushin’ P,” the origin of the months-old meme.
  • Two segments referencing former president Barack Obama

      (It wasn’t particularly noteworthy, but I needed a “two” for this number thing to work…)

    One segment that made me want to curl up into a ball and hide under the couch blanket until it was over

      Don’t watch “Story.” It’s not worth it.

    Best Sketch:
    “Post-COVID Game Show.” “And now it’s time for your favorite post-COVID game show: Is My Brain Okay?” This is the quintessential “This isn’t that funny but I want to see where they take this idea” from the episode, hitting way too close to home with every mocking of our collective stupidification these past few years.

    Best Joke:
    “Alexander Hamilton was a TERF.”—Bowen Yang

    Overall Score: 6/10

    This was a throw-away episode, but they didn’t try to pretend it was anything special. Even if there weren’t too many good jokes and they talked about “it” too much, I must give the episode credit for knowing its place and making the most of it regardless.