We're nearing the end of 2022, and with just a couple more episodes to go before 2023, we're through roughly one-third of the 48th season of "Saturday Night Live." While many are undoubtedly anticipated the co-hosting duo of Steve Martin and Martin Short next weekend, "Nope" star Keke Palmer just set a new bar by hosting the best episode of the season so far. Much like cast member Kenan Thompson, the comedic chops of Keke Palmer were honed on Nickelodeon in her younger years, following her breakthrough performance in "Akeelah and the Bee." So it should come as no surprise that Palmer felt perfectly at home in host hosting debut on "SNL," and I feel like we could be looking at a potential new inductee into the Five-Timers Club as her career continues to blossom.
Alright, let's dig into Keke Palmer's episode of "Saturday Night Live."
What Was The Best Sketch Of The Night?
Parodying a reboot of "Kenan & Kel" could have been any easy nostalgia grab with a few light chuckles. But the presence of Keke Palmer takes it to a new level as she plays Kenan's new cohort, Kelly. Not only does this sketch take cues from the original Nickelodeon series, but it adds a new layer by incorporating a dramatic element, not unlike "Bel-Air" on Peacock. Of course, it gets even better when Kel Mitchell actually shows up for an appearance, and he's still got all of Kel's energy, mannerisms, and speech patterns down pat. Then he gets shot by a robber? Combine that with Kenan's talking heads in between scenes, a great recreation of the show's theme song, and this was a home run. It's crazy to think that references to '90s kid favorites like "Kenan & Kel" and "Good Burger" are now fodder for "SNL," but here we are!
How Was The Rest Of The Episode?
As noted in the intro, this was a spectacular episode of "SNL." Following close behind the "Kenan & Kel" revival was this sketch taking place in a flagship Hello Kitty store in New York City's Times Square. Sometimes "SNL" teaches you things, like the fact that the character of Hello Kitty isn't actually a cat but a human girl who just so happens to resemble a cat. What?! This results in a series of hilarious questions from Bowen Yang and Keke Palmer that just keep making Hello Kitty sound more and more absurd. Everybody is amazing in this sketch, and it had some impressive momentum that never really slowed down once the train started moving. The increasing incredulity and frustration from Palmer and Yang, especially with the latter looking like a creepy, made for some big laughs.
If "SNL" incorporates their musical guest into a sketch, it's usually to use them for their musical talents or make some kind of meta reference. Sometimes it's both. This is much more frequent when it comes to having hip-hop stars on the show, and SZA helped deliver a real banger that pays tribute to the big boys who come in handy for the ladies around the holidays. It's always nice when there's a sketch premise that uses a person's size in a way that's clever without being insulting. As a fellow big boy myself, this was even funnier than it might be to the fit boys out there. That sudden stop when Devon Walker stops breathing in bed, that's some real s*** there, and it had me laughing out loud.
But if we're being honest, most of the sketches that come after this were fantastic. Whether it was the unbelievable Arby's commercial or the PSA reaching out to all women who have been slandered by Drake on his albums. There was even a silly, slapstick bit featuring a choreographed soap opera fight that was hilarious. On top of all that, thanks to Kenan Thompson's dimwitted Herschel Walker, the political cold open wasn't awful either, even if it was rather simple, which was a nice change of pace.
In fact, even the sketches that ended up on the lower end of the spectrum weren't downright terrible. When "SNL" has a terrible sketch, it's usually pretty bad, but this episode's worst sketches still offered a lot of solid laughs, even if there was something off about their timing or they just didn't land as firmly as the best sketches of the night. The above sketch was probably as bad as it got. It simply felt a little too familiar and didn't deliver any big laughs. But when this is as bad as it gets during an episode of "SNL," then that's a good thing for everybody.
How Was Keke Palmer As An SNL Host?
Keke Palmer just made one of the best "SNL" hosting debuts we've seen in a long time. Sure, she can be a little over-the-top, but that kind of works in sketch comedy, especially at "SNL." They're not exactly in the business of frequently creating subtle comedy. Palmer never really felt like she was reading off cue cards, when she fumbled a line occasionally, she didn't let it interrupt her flow, and she kept up her enthusiastic energy throughout the entire show. That monologue featuring her official pregnancy reveal was stellar too, not to mention the fact that they were able to incorporate it into a sketch. Is that the first time a host has been significantly
There are hosts like Adam Driver who are great at sketch comedy because they commit to the bit as an actor, and though Keke Palmer is an established actor in her own right, she approaches comedy in a much different way, and it worked like gangbusters here. Palmer even showed off her musical skills, both by rapping in the "Big Boys" sketch, and by showing some serious pipes in the "Choir Practice" sketch. Hopefully Lorne Michaels will bring her back again in the future, because we could be looking at a host with Justin Timberlake-level potential here.
Sarah Sherman Just Keeps Getting Better (Along With All The Featured Players)
The featured players of "SNL" have absolutely been crushing it this season. Not only have all four new cast members gotten a chance to strut there stuff more than perhaps any other group of featured players before, but they're all bringing great stuff to the table. Though Marcello Hernandez and Devon Walker didn't get much screentime this week, featured players Sarah Sherman, Michael Longfellow, James Austin Johnson, and Molly Kearney all had standout moments. Longfellow and Sherman got an extra boost by having their own segments at the Weekend Update desk. While Longfellow's bit about being a child of divorce was particularly good, especially the way he said, "Why?" after Colin Jost tried to look on the bright side of seeing his stepfather nude on more than one occasion, it was Sherman who came out on top.
Sherman's never-ending frantic, panicked state was funny on its own, but the manner with which she described two polar bears "anally entering" each other over and over again put it over the top. The fact that this was about Peppa Pig only made it better. In a very short amount of time, Sherman has proven to be a refreshing dose of alternative and weird comedy, and she brings a confidence that is impressive for a new cast member. There were plenty of people who were skeptical of Sherman's skills, having cut her teeth on YouTube, and there may be some who aren't fans, but she's killing it on "SNL," and you can bet she'll be sticking around for at least a few years.
Come back next week to see if "SNL" can keep this momentum going after comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short co-host on December 10.
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The post Keke Palmer Just Hosted the Best Episode of Saturday Night Live Season 48 (So Far) appeared first on /Film.