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Review: Kim Kardashian-West’s SNL Episode Wasn’t the Worst Thing We’ve Ever Seen

SNL's latest episode felt more tailored to Kim Faithful than something for comedy fans

Kim Kardashian SNL
Kim Kardashian on SNL (NBC)
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    The second episode of Saturday Night Live’s 47th season featured arguably their most famous host of the initial four episodes: Kim Kardashian-West, who really feels like she should have been a novelty host circa 2009, rather than a first-timer in 2021. Hopefully she’s just this season’s token billionaire—and hopefully that slot is retired from the host lineup hereafter. Wearing a lot of gloves for October, Kardashian-West didn’t project the same disdain for the world as fellow socialite Paris Hilton did in her infamous hosting gig, or the same discomfiting cutesiness as Elon Musk. At the same time, her version of being a good sport mostly involved getting off some shots at her family (and ex-husband Kanye West), and jokingly promoting her SKIMS shapewear line (the commercial for shapewear for dogs wasn’t real, but the brand itself is). On the other hand, giving the show over to a vapid but popular guest and trying to make them look good is practically an SNL institution—and odds are, there will be a worse episode than this one sometime later in the season. It wasn’t an awful outing so much as a tedious one that slowed some of last week’s momentum. But there were still some high points!

    Highlights

    Like last week’s View-spoofing talk show sketch, this sketch about a local news broadcast going haywire takes a familiar format—SNL makes its cast members play local news anchors so often, it should be a formal part of the audition process—and packs it with weird jokes. It’s centered on a series of lottery numbers coming up with unworkable winners like “blank” and “cell phone,” but there’s plenty of funny stuff circling around the central game, especially involving Chris Redd’s hapless sportscaster.

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    SNL music videos are such a reliable highlight of the show that even one featuring Kim Kardashian-West gingerly performing the rap equivalent of speak-singing (did she somehow just invent speak-rapping?) turned out to be a winner. This ode to feeling old in the club is anchored by Cecily Strong and Ego Nwodim, with Kardashian-West given her most inspired gag of the night: Before she can finish a verse, she takes repeated cat naps. I don’t want to be all “girl, same,” but, well, yeah.

    Lowlights

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    What is it with awkward hosts crammed into courtroom sketches? Last season saw an already-notorious bit with Elon Musk playing Wario; here, The People’s Court is reconfigured as The People’s Kourt for a squabbling Kardashian family. Maybe this is very funny to ardent viewers of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and admittedly if this was a dumb, cameo-filled sketch about some show I love, I probably wouldn’t fret much about the moment where sketch comedy becomes a combination of advertorial and fan service. But that’s what it felt like, even if having Kim playing her sister instead of herself is kind of a fun gag. As the usually-excellent Chloe Fineman proves with her nondescript Megan Fox, there are only so many ways to do low-affect, soft-voiced California accents and call it an impression. If we must indulge Kim’s family cameos, go with this filmed piece, guided more by Aidy Bryant’s delightful floundering:

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    It’s an SNL tradition to stick a host who may be less, ah, accustomed to live performing (or just acting in general) in an off-brand spoof of The Bachelor, with the athlete/singer/really, it’s usually an athlete in question non-reacting to a parade of ridiculous single gals, played by nearly every lady in the cast. This sketch offered a Bachelorette variation on that, but instead of showing faith in the show’s guys, it brought in ringer after ringer to receive token after token from Kim, given more to do than the usual anonymous-hunk role as she recites a series of mildly amusing but overlong jokes about whatever guy has lined up to play himself. It’s all in service of a showdown between John Cena and Kyle Mooney (surprisingly not playing either himself or failed stand-up comic Bruce Chandling)—not absolutely dire, but it takes an awful long time (and plenty of tedious applause breaks for all the famous faces) to get there. Again: 21 people are in the cast! Why fill a sketch up with Amy Schumer or Chris Rock walk-ons, let alone guys who aren’t even professional comedians?

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