SNL returned last night with first-time host Simu Liu accompanied by musical guest Saweetie. The juggernaut rapper, fresh off her own McDonald’s Meal and a newly inked deal for a Netflix series, performed favorite hits and a brand new single for the crowd.
The episode opened with Cecily Strong parodying Judge Jeanine Pirro of Fox News discussing the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. Chloe Fineman played a white female analyst discussing the shocking nature of the exoneration, while Chris Redd’s Howard University professor notes the American justice system has behaved this way before. When Fineman mourned “This is not who we are!” a sarcastic Redd responded, “I kind of feel like it is though…” James Austin Johnson returned with his pitch-perfect Trump impression. Above all, the sketch was a strong, hilarious opening.
Simu Liu, star of Marvel’s Shang Chi And The Legend of the Ten Rings, brought energy and ease to his monologue. He joked at his status as the first “openly Chinese superhero,” and a strong later sketch between Liu and Bowen Yang expanded the joke. In his opener, he mainly skewered his Canadian heritage and the uniquely polite way he obtained his breakout role. Spoiler alert: he tagged them on Twitter, and got about ten likes.
Firstly, Saweetie hit the stage with a montage of “Tap In” and “Best Friend.” Dressed in old Hollywood glam and flanked by dancers in tutu’s, she introduce a jazzy rendition of “Tap In.” In a floor-length gown, she performed a gracefully choreographed routine. As the whistle-heavy beat faded in, her backup dancers removed the train on her dress.
With her blood-red curls serving Jessica Rabbit, Saweetie cemented her status as a classic R&B girl with a diverse catalog. Dance, fashion, rapping, singing; all of it is in a day’s work for Saweetie. Above all, the montage was a celebration of Saweetie at her peak, highlighting her greatest hits.
Throughout the night, standout skits included a “karaoke recap” from a dive bar, aptly parodying many types of karaoke singer. From “Guy Who Was Doing Great Until The High Notes Came In” to “Girl Who Claimed Her Friend Signed Her Up But We All Know The Truth,” each was spot on. Later on, Simu Liu perfectly embodied a crotchety professor in a skit of a 420-friendly Friendsgiving celebration.
Later, Saweetie returned to the stage to perform a brand new single, “Icy Chain.” On the track, she bodies an opportunity to flex her harder flows. She impressed with her breathless flows, never missing a beat even in the midst of a high kick or twerk. Clearly, Saweetie takes her craft seriously. However, the rapper wasn’t afraid to have fun during “Icy Chain,” laughing and smiling through the number.
Pete Davidson recruited fellow Staten Islander Method Man and rapper Big Wet for “Walkin in Staten,” a parody of Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis.” Cohn was at first reluctant to join the video, but then appeared with the trio, adding to the hilarious take on the outer borough. Davidson and company sang about the unique attractions found in Staten Island – pizza places on every corner, bagel shops, and pizza places within bagel shops, among others.
SNL will return on December 11th with Billie Eilish serving double duty as host and musical guest. Later next month, Charli XCX will perform alongside host Paul Rudd on December 18th.