The cold open
The recent vice presidential debate was sent up with Maya Rudolph's Kamala Harris squaring off against Beck Bennett's Mike Pence, as moderated by Kate McKinnon's Susan Page. Pence's constant evasion of every question and Harris' open faced scorn was easy fodder, though this made it seem difficult. Rudolph's Harris is pretty spot-on, but she didn't have strong stuff to work with in this middle-of-the-road sketch. A cutaway to Jim Carrey's Joe Biden watching from home tried to save this, as the show conjured Jeff Goldblum's The Fly, but despite Carrey's strong impression of Goldblum, this limped, unfunnily, to its conclusion.
The story behind 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘭𝘺. pic.twitter.com/IpawB5Y86U— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) October 11, 2020
Somehow only now making his first hosting turn despite being one of the world's most popular comedians, Bill Burr went super dark and was very funny. He went in on how great it is that we may lose so many idiots who choose not to wear masks and that New York has found its edge again after it attacked Rick Moranis. He had a good run about cancelling dead people and how white women somehow highjacked being woke. A tightrope emerged when he argued that NYC's celebration of "gay pride month" in sunny June was unfair because Black History Month has been relegated to drab February but he came out the other side with the crowd aligned.
Bill Burr's Monologue! ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/oyK72fNxrO— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) October 11, 2020
A socially distant gathering in a backyard among friends takes an odd turn when a couple outside of their bubble for the first time in six months, played by Burr and Kate McKinnon, mispronounce the word "unprecedented." After raging at everyone, things again go badly when they describe this moment as the "noon normal." This was silly and one-note, but some nice performances by Burr and McKinnon here made it work.
This is just our noon normal. pic.twitter.com/5HETn96vqq— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) October 11, 2020
A sports talk show gets going with some Chicago Bears recap stuff, with correspondents played by Burr, Ego Nwodim and Kenan Thompson having some friendly banter about an on-air wager about the game. Though Burr wants to rub it in Thompson's face, he's soon undermined when his colleagues say they were too heartbroken about another Black man being murdered to pay attention to sports instead of the news. Some nice tension in this sketch and Burr played a conflicted, dishonest white dude well.
Enough Is Enough
In this remote, Beck Bennett is a low-level actor who posts an anti-Trump song and tags a few celebrities to join in the messaging. Bennett soon hears from colleagues and friends (and one of the bigger celebrities he'd mentioned), all of whom tell him the video sucks and should be taken down. It's always good to see Bennett get to show off his performance chops and that alone, made this worthwhile.
Hey guys. It's Benji.— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) October 11, 2020
Here to say
🗣 Enough is ENOUGH pic.twitter.com/lx7eq1RYXQ
Filling in as musical guest at the last minute and in a power trio format, Jack White ripped through a modified White Stripes classic. Featuring one of the most inconvenient-looking drum kit set-ups in the history of the drums, this version of "Ball and Biscuit" featured bits of his Beyoncé collaboration, "Don't Hurt Yourself" and, more topically, Blind Willie Johnson's "Jesus is Coming Soon," which was written some years after 1918 flu pandemic.
This performance was remarkable and only to be rivaled by the version of "Ball and Biscuit" that Bob Dylan once sang with Jack White backing him up, at the State Theatre in Detroit on March 17, 2004.
White returned later, armed with an Eddie Van Halen signature guitar (and dressed a bit like "Diamond" David Lee Roth) and finger-tapped and soloed on a blazing "Lazeretto," like a true disciple of the man. This was all last minute! Imagine if White had had a few more days to prepare for this!
Colin Jost got in some good jokes about Trump being stuck in the past and Michael Che got a strong reaction by suggesting the President, seemingly overcoming COVID-19, is like a car accident where the only survivor is the drunk driver who caused it.
Your weekend update ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/1ReNqCGFJK— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) October 11, 2020
After a flurry of solid Trump jokes, WU hit a crater when Kate McKinnon appeared as a character named Dr. Wayne Weknowdis, which was a completely silly invention, which broke her and Jost so much that the fifth wall came down in a contrived manner. Jost got in a good jab about the death of Whitey Ford and delivered a funny bit about a gay great white shark.
Pete Davidson took to the desk to discuss J.K. Rowling's transphobia controversy, as a disappointed fan with Harry Potter tattoos, which was amusing.
Burr played a mob boss, meeting with his captains after getting out of a 20-year bid. Turns out his insensitive, racist, homophobic comments no longer jive with contemporary norms, and his captains let him hear about it, including one who feels compelled to take a work-from-home mental health day. A knock-off of a great Jay & Eytan sketch called "Millenial Bros," the SNL version was good but not as good as Jay & Eytan's.
Following similar Boston-related bits in the past (notably an angry Dunkin' Donuts thing, featuring at least one Affleck brother), this remote ad worked well because of Burr going all-in on a Boston stereotype. A new pumpkin-infused Samuel Adams beer is highlighted and mostly complimented by a slew of "real Bostonians," except for a roughneck played by Burr who hates it and ends up in a fistfight with his son, played by Mikey Day. This was angry and funny.
Real Bostonians agree. Sam Adams Pumpkin Ale is a winnah. pic.twitter.com/11xPsqq94b— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) October 11, 2020