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Saturday Night Live Recap: The best and worst of Chris Rock’s controversial performance

Chris Rock and the one and only Prince put on quite a show last night as hosts of one of the most talked about Saturday Night Live episodes in a while. It was Rock’s first time returning to SNL since 1996. Obviously people expected something worthwhile from the previous SNL cast member – ratings wise, numbers were higher than they have been since Melissa McCarthy hosted in February.

Last night’s show didn’t hold back on a single controversial topic. It may have been a little heavy to open with Ebola and go straight into Chris Rock’s monologue about the Boston Marathon and 9/11 (not exactly timely topics may I add). Throw in gun control and ISIS on Shark Tank and they’ve covered every base. There were some laughs, however, once the initial skepticism and awkward “should I be laughing?” hesitation wore off. I don’t think Rock meant to be offensive but instead channeled his inner Sarah Silverman and gave us the kind of comedy we cringe at, but still seem to need in our lives.

The controversial jokes weren’t what made it an ‘alright’ episode, it was the anti-climactic skits and not-so-great writing on top of it all. Here’s my definitive ranking of last night’s skits from relatively funny to deserving of crickets noises in the background.

Best of the night

How 2 Dance With Janelle (Vlog): Sasheer Zamata plays a sassy 15-year-old who makes videos of herself dancing and shares them with her 3 million YouTube followers. Kyle Mooney joins her, playing the friend-zoned admirer. “Shout out to whoever started the countdown to my 18th birthday, don’t know what that’s about,” she opens with. Chris Rock plays her father, who interrupts her live feed to lecture her on dancing seductively while reading the comments left on her videos. Out loud he questions what #WouldBang and #FAP mean, which had me laughing.

Swiftamine: “I heard this new song I loved. I looked to see who it was, and that’s when the vertigo hit. It was Taylor Swift.” According to a neurologist, in this commercial style skit, realizing you love Taylor Swift has become the leading cause of vertigo in adults. It’s what happens when one of her songs makes your brain fight your ears. Your brain says “Oof. Taylor Swift. She’s always wearing, a 1950’s bathing suit,” but your ears say “Shut up. This is a great song.” That’s where the drug Swiftamine comes in. Seeing Leslie Jones dance dazed in a tutu ultimately sold me on this one.

How’s He Doing?: This sketch has appeared twice before and this time didn’t stray much.“You’re watching this because it’s too early for football and too late for church,” Kenan Thompson says, leading a panel of “unbiased” (but actually very biased) people to talk about what it would take to not vote for Barack Obama. He explains the scenario that Obama’s two children talk back to him in public and he does nothing about it. Playing devil’s advocate one panelist replies, “Well I mean they’re nice young ladies so I’m sure whatever they said wasn’t that bad.” To which Thompson says, “Barack said ‘Ya’ll get up to bed now’ to which they said ‘Shut up bitch!’” This was one of the funnier parts of the entire show. The panelists are outraged but still say they’ll vote for him.

Prince: His performance was entertaining and included a classically good jam session. He played “Clouds,” “Marz,” and “Another Love.” 3rdeyegirl joined him and didn’t disappoint or shrink in the mist of the incredibly talented Prince.

Worst of the night

The Couple: Starring Chris Rock and Leslie Jones as a bickering couple who don’t want to be together on their anniversary. There’s a random Über shoutout and a daughter who uncomfortably yells for her parents to “just get a divorce!” I honestly couldn’t tell you any premise to the skit or a single time I came close to a chuckle. I’m sure it was an awkward pity-laugh kind of skit for the live audience to endure.

Weekend Update: Although usually one of my favorite parts of the show (especially with the old cast – shoutout to Tina Fey and Seth Meyers), this sketch was so disappointing. There was a lot to work with news wise and the potential for really funny jokes, but it fell flat with bad writing and more uncomfortably awkward jokes. The segment with Pete Davidson, the resident young person, turned a talk about STDs to him talking about sending pictures of his penis to his mom. Maybe it’s just not my sense of humor, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that. To end on a positive, I did think the McDonalds joke about their new motto beating their alternative option of “Eat what this clown killed,” was pretty hilarious.

Go-Probe: It’s a play on Go-Pro in this new colonoscopy camera for the adventurous type. Although there were some funny one-liners, like “rides the rails of your intestines with ease” and “not-your-grandpa’s colonoscopy” the sketch was simply dull.

Follow Sydney Zuelke on Twitter @SydCaroline

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Sydney Zuelke

Sydney Zuelke