It seems that bad things happen to Megan Thee Stallion right before the big things happen. This week, someone allegedly stole her days at home in Los Angeles prior to her appearance Live Saturday night, where she became the second female rapper to perform the dual duties of host and musical guest. Last night, she put that incident aside and went out striding SNL on stage with a transparent dress and a black corset, ready to be herself. She has continued to infuse stale sketches with irresistible energy, stretching what a guest can add to a show he’s still trying to understand himself following considerable cast changes.
Megan was lovely to watch. She reinvigorated the flat lines with her Houston cadences and tongue snaps in place, she gasped during an otherwise bland squirt on a deer, and got remarkably emotional performing her first song of the night, ” Anxiety “. Known for her provocative and sexual positive lyricism and her outfits, Megan invited a more vulnerable moment by staging the song as a colorful beauty pageant. Her text “Even bad whores have bad days” seemed to overwhelm her, and for a second of her her veil fell. She seemed to reveal that all the fun she’d had thus far belied a deeper strength – that she could jump into the episode with so much excitement despite the personal drama swirling in the background.
For SNL, hosts are a kind of framing device, which adds a new perspective while maintaining the weekly rotation of the camera. The good ones fit in perfectly, as if they’re an outstanding cast member, and the weaker ones step up the gear. Megan, in turn, granted the show a license to venture in expired directions. Despite SNLThe cast has become more diverse in recent years, his sketches haven’t always followed one another. Last night, Megan’s presence encouraged the show to feature more specifically black premises and characters. In the “Girl Talk” advice show, hosted by Mo’nique Money Mo’nique Problems (Ego Nwodim), Megan played a guest seeking advice about her cheating boyfriend. The resulting conversation saw them exchange words girl, infusing it with different emotional intonations to indicate different meanings. That simple piece deepened when cast member Punkie Johnson came up with a more complex problem. To help viewers keep up, Mo’nique turned on subtitles “for all whites or men who tune in” and the group discussed the situation in Ukraine using just one word.
The latest and arguably best sketch of the episode overturned an outdated stereotype. When an alternate teacher (Nwodim) encountered a rowdy class of black high school students, she immediately started making assumptions about their level of education. But it turned out that they were in a physics lesson with honors. “We all had to take a college level test to get in here,” Megan’s character told the sub. Her increasingly disconcerted reactions to the teacher’s racism prompted the sketch.
While last night’s sketches were fun, they failed to capture the keenest racial commentary behind some of the show’s strongest bits in recent years, including the excellent critique of last season’s “Amazon Go”. The writing at times fell short of Megan’s abilities and the episode was further marred by technical difficulties that would have turned a minor guest upside down.
Megan’s spirited appearance also only highlighted that the cold opening, which summed up the committee’s last hearing on Jan.6, was pitiful without her. The sketch pestered the committee for being bland and boring, Democratic Party leaders Nancy Pelosi (Chloe Fineman) and Chuck Schumer (in a delightful Sarah Sherman impression) for being inept and Donald Trump (James Austin Johnson) for being crude. It brought both sides-isms to a serious event, spreading guilt rather than concentrating it, and once again suggested it SNL it is not equipped to mock the current political moment.
But those missteps didn’t detract from what Megan was able to accomplish. She seemed to be encouraging SNL to find its power through different paths. The foolishness of some sketches underscored just how imperative the right host can be, saving the situation instead of succumbing to it.