Saturday Night Live review: It’s Deal or No Deal for Trump and the government shutdown


Saturday Night Live returned from its mid-season break with Rachel Brosnahan as its host and certainly had a great start to the new year.

Happy 2019! Yes, we may be already three weeks into the new year, so this one goes specifically out to the Saturday Night Live crew. We haven’t seen them since Matt Damon closed out the year with his episode in December, and we’ve been hungry for more ever since. 

To ring in the new year, the marvelous Miss Rachel Brosnahan took the stage as the host and did quite a darn good job doing it. Of course, SNL had a lot of ground to cover, form the Gillette ad to Trump’s love of “hamberders.” So it’s easy to see, the writers should have had no problem whipping up a hilarious episode for Saturday. And a hilarious one it was! While there were a lot of great sketches that night, here are the top sketches you’ll want to see, because everyone will be talking about them.

Cold Open

Hands down, I’d say this is my new favorite cold open of the season. If you’ve read my SNL reviews before, you’d know that Kenan Thompson is absolutely my favorite cast member. And, hands down, my favorite impression of his is Steve Harvey. So when you take that, combined with Donald Trump playing Deal or No Deal as a final way of bargaining to re-open the government, you’ve got something clever.

For this, I have a lot of props to hand out. Here’s to whoever came up with the Deal or No Deal idea for the sketchMelissa Villaseñor for her new impression of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and props to Kate McKinnon for being able to take on Nancy Pelosi after letting go of Jeff Sessions.


Since the Trump era landed and rocked SNL, I’ve noticed a shift in attention to cold opens versus the monologue. Before, the cold open was something you honestly could have done without, but you couldn’t wait to see the monologue. It was that time for the celebrity to get their hands dirty in the world of comedy if they haven’t before, or show off their skills if they’re a comedian already.

Now, it’s just the opposite, and it feels as if the monologue is an afterthought. Just rush the host on stage, give them 4 minutes to say what they like, and let’s move on. That being said, that’s exactly what this felt like. Though Brosnahan brought a lot of energy into her song routine with the cast, the jokes just… weren’t all there.

Weekend Update

Just before SNL went on its mid-season break, Pete Davidson had quite the scare. Still, Davidson briefly appeared in the show before hopefully getting some much-needed R&R during the break. Now, he’s fully back and even able to joke about his scare (make of that what you will). But this time, he’s brought the angel on his shoulder, John Mulaney, with him.

The two delve into a grandmother-style rant about the movie The Mule, which is quite amusing. And the two have a good back-and-forth as a yin-and-yang-type comedy duo. If Davidson can get his act together IRL (he’s said some things recently), it’d definitely be worth seeing more of him and Mulaney together.

Three must-see sketches

The Raunchiest Miss Rita

The last time SNL created a fake streaming service series featuring Leslie Jones (see: Claire Foy’s episode), I was all for it being a real show. Now, Jones is back in a completely new series as a spin off to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Instead of being a low-key, subtle comic like Midge in the series, Jones’ character, Miss Rita, lets it all out.

As someone who’s had the privilege of seeing Jones perform standup live, this character isn’t far from her actual self. Even if you’re not a fan of Mrs. Maisel and wouldn’t understand the references in the sketch, you’ll still enjoy it — if only for Jones. Once again, I must say: this show needs to happen. Right now.


With all the attention surrounding Gillette’s controversial ad this past week, we should have known SNL would parody it. And I’ll hand it to them. They struck a good balance between making fun of the commercial’s concept while not really undermining the original commercial’s message.

Honestly, there’s not much more I can say about this parody without diving too deep into a lecture about the importance of the Gillette commercial. So instead, I’ll end on this: give the sketch a watch, and you’ll likely enjoy it.

Millennial Millions

I’ve said it before, but SNL loves its game shows. Maybe it’s a crutch to getting a full show, and sometimes it feels that way. But never has an SNL game show hit so hilariously close to home before.

In this game show, two millennial contestants (Brosnahan and Davidson) compete to get basic necessities that baby boomers so easily got. For any millennial watching who relies on humor to make it through those tough times, this goes out to you.

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Saturday Night Live returns next week, Jan. 26, with James McAvoy as the host and Meek Mill as the musical guest.