Saturday Night Live Recap: Rae of Light

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First-time host Issa Rae seems at home on the SNL stage, in an episode that blends relatable material with some sharper-than-usual satire.
Saturday Night Live Issa Rae Season 46 Episode 3 Editor's Rating 3 stars * * * « Previous Next Photo: NBC/Will Heath/NBC

It's gratifying to see Issa Rae, a multi-hyphenate who made her own opportunities and insisted there was a place for her in Hollywood, steadily garnering more recognition and roles from the institutional powers that be. While her HBO series Insecure aired its fourth season and was confirmed for its fifth, Rae starred in both a high-profile romance (The Photograph) and romantic comedy (The Lovebirds). And this was just 2020.

Before this debut hosting gig, Rae was no stranger to sketch comedy, having also executive-produced and dropped into A Black Lady Sketch Show. While "slightly awkward Black girl" may be Rae's comedic baseline, as she showed on ABLSS and on this episode of SNL, she's got range. Despite feeling "scared as hell" during her monologue, Rae seemed at home on the SNL stage: she does accents, she's happy to look silly on camera, and it's easy to see SNL asking her back in the future — and hopefully giving her a bit more screen time than she got this time around.

As per tradition, this week's sketches are ranked here from best to worst

Weekend Update

Much of the first half of Update homes in on Trump's continued rallies and the election as a whole. Michael Che makes a fine point about the choices in this year's contest, in that a handful of voters actually consider Kanye West a viable alternative. Che's punchline, about a possible third candidate during the battle between JFK and Richard Nixon, is as sweet as tutti frutti. Donald Trump Jr. (Mikey Day) and Eric Trump (Alex Moffat) are joined by their little sister Tiffany (Chloe Fineman), whom Eric is meeting in person for the first time. Day and Moffat have refined their schtick at this point, so it's nice they're still eking out new, little moments. (At one point, after drinking hand sanitizer, Eric presents it to the audience like a newly corked bottle of Bordeaux.) Fineman,…
Matthew Love
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