Larry David’s Cringe and Cameo-Heavy Return to ‘SNL’

larry-davidSo Larry David’s Holocaust joke didn’t go over well. Let’s get that out of the way. “I’ve always been obsessed with women,” said David right after making a joke about Harvey Weinstein, “and I’ve often wondered if I’d grown up in Poland when Hitler came to power and was sent to a concentration camp, would I be checking women out in the camp? I think I would.” He then went on to complain that there are no pick-up lines that would work in a concentration camp. I think horniness in the face of death is kind of life-affirming. But David’s monologue was just one moment in an episode that was out of whack, overall.  

Cold Open

Oh good, Alec’s back. Chevy Chase’s Ford didn’t get this much screen time, and he was in the main cast. How useful is this impressionboth comedically and rhetorically? Is it funny anymore, or edgy, or just obligatory? I can’t help but think about the last season of 30 Rock when TGS fell into a moral quandary about whether political sketches were actually helping the target, because they made a villain look like a harmless buffoon. Does Alec remember that plotline? He should; he was there.

That being said, Mike Pence being a nevernude because he’s “not married to the water” is the most true fact ever televised. Also I wish there had been more rugs in Paul Manafort’s apartment set. He spent so much money on rugs!

Monologue

As is the custom with comedians, Larry David did standup for his monologue. It was nice to see genuine ‘80s standup comedy. The pacing is so different than the confessional/discursive style of today. The content of the set also felt like it came from a different time, making fun of the blind and hunchbacks. I feared the worst when David started his sexual harassment scandal material, but it was fine he was just using it to segue into a Holocaust joke.  

The Price Is Right Celebrity Edition

More like celebrity addition, because there were so many cameos right guys??? Seriously, everybody wanted a hand on this ball. We have Beck Bennett as Drew Carey, Chris Redd as a spot-on Lil Wayne, Kate McKinnon as Tilda Swinton, Alex Moffat as Chris Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus as a nobody, Alec Baldwin as Tony Bennett, Melissa Villasenor as Ariana Grande, Cecily Strong as Sofia Vergara, and of course Larry David as Bernie Sanders. I was wondering how they were going to get Bernie into the show, seeing as it had worked so well for SNL during the election season. A socialist on The Price Is Right is a fun concept, and one that could have carried the sketch without all the other celebrity and #spon going on. (I didn’t even know Samsung made washing machines.) However, I did enjoy Tony Bennett the unrepentant shill saying Dulcolax makes your butt pay out like “the loosest slots in Carson City.”

Press Conference

Aidy Bryant brings a scrappiness to her Sarah Huckabee Sanders that I really appreciate. The press conference bits of this sketch were way more fun than the parody of a Demi Lovato song that came out two years ago. I had never heard “Confident” before googling “Demi Lovato snl parody” today. Bryant looks great in a bodysuit though.

Ad Council Awards

A veteran in his industry is seen as a backwards and insensitive prick in today’s political climate. I am describing this sketch but also how the internet reacted to Baldwin and David in this episode of SNL. Larry David plays an ad man whose early PSAs (calling smoking gay and bullying retarded) haven’t aged well. As someone who has seen literally any movie made before 2005, I can relate. The real MVP of this sketch is David’s wig, a receding hairline-ponytail combo that tells you everything you need to know about the character.

The Baby Step

Miley Cyrus joins Pete Davidson, Chris Redd, and Kenan Thompson in a baby-themed rap video. Larry David refuses to debase himself. The baby stuff is fun, if a slight retread of Miley’s excellent “BB Talk” video. David asks Thompson how long he has to be on SNL before he can turn down doing stuff like this. “I wish I knew,” Kenan mournfully replies.

Weekend Update



We get three desk pieces on this week’s Update: Mikey Day and Alex Moffat as Don Jr. and Eric Trump, Heidi Gardner as Every Boxer’s Girlfriend from Every Movie about Boxing Ever, and Leslie Jones as her horny self. Jones got a cute baseball man to sit on her lap, and I applaud her for living her best life. Gardner really holds a mirror up to one of the bro-iest genres of film, the boxing movie. Her character is intentionally shrill and one-note, which points out all the unintentional shrill one-note girlfriends in cinema history. Is there a single boxing movie that passes the Bechdel Test? Maybe Million Dollar Baby but I doubt it. But the crown jewel of Update was Eric Trump. Alex Moffat continues to blossom before us like a rare orchid. I could watch him as Eric eating Fun Dip all day.

Fresh Takes

Mikey Day hosts a Fox & Friends-style morning panel show on a high school closed-circuit station. David plays Mr. B, the “fun” AP US History teacher who has all the juicy gossip. Like The Price Is Right sketch, this sketch suffers from too many things going on. We only got one piece of inappropriate gossip from Mr. B. Larry David has so much fun saying “Daniel Purdon famously hates condoms.” I would have loved to see more goss, or to unpack more about how creepy this teacher is.

New Wife

In “The Baby Step,” the joke was that Larry David had too much dignity to be a trendy baby. But then in this sketch the joke is that he has no dignity and loves to be a trendy baby. Hypocrisy. Cecily Strong plays the titular new wife, a gay-famous club promoter who has changed Larry David’s life for the fabber. Again, a great wig for David. The sideburns are very compelling. It is fun making an alter kocker like David say words like “hunty” and “power bottoms,” and almost as fun to make Kate McKinnon hear those words. David breaks about halfway through the seemingly unending list of gay jargon. You have to admire Chris Redd for keeping a straight face throughout the proceedings. He has two lines and he is going to deliver them goddammit.

Beers

Another in Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney’s stilted ‘90s sitcom episodes. This time it’s a very special episode where we learn the dangers of being addicted to beer. Larry David already doesn’t move his face a lot, so this was a good fit. I’m not a huge fan of these sketches, but this one was elevated by David’s performance and chair-throwing ability.

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