Casey Affleck is A-Okay on SNL

Sarah Posted by Sarah at December 19, 2016 17:15:05 December 19, 2016 17:15:05

Did you watch SNL over the weekend? If so, you saw some awesome performances by Chance the Rapper. It was the last episode of 2016, and Chance came to shut that sh*t down, crushing his live performances and featuring in one of the night’s best sketches, “Jingle Barack”, celebrating President Obama’s last Christmas in the White House, and maybe our last Christmas, period. This sketch is pretty great, easily the best of the night, timely and topical but still a little weird and super specific, done in the style of “Christmas in Hollis”—DMC makes a cameo—and it has Leslie Jones’ only good bit for the night. It also has break-dancing Jesus and oh yeah, there’s the host: Casey Affleck.

Or click here to watch in Canada.

Someday Chance the Rapper will be a host/performer, but this week it was Casey Affleck’s first time hosting Saturday Night Live, and while it wasn’t a disaster it wasn’t a great episode, either. Ideally, the host is treated like a fun accessory, added to sketches that would work regardless of who features in them. Affleck certainly fits into that mold, though he seems bemused to be there. (We’re confused, too, Casey.) His monologue was not especially good, and missed a trick in not making the whole thing about how f*cking weird it is for someone to host SNL while promoting a super sad movie. The one joke they make about this is the best part of the monologue. Click here to view in the US and here to watch in Canada.

The second-best sketch of the night was the Dunkin’ Donuts video short—increasingly SNL’s most consistent material is pre-taped, slowly turning “Live” into irony—which seems to be divisive. I have a Dunkin’ in the lobby of my office building, and it’s a total horror show every morning, right down to the white collar and blue collar customers sniping at one another, so it works for me. This sketch also gets points for acknowledging that sometimes Casey Affleck can (allegedly) be a dick to the people around him.

Kate McKinnon had a strong night, with a Ms. Rafferty sketch about seeing Santa Claus in which Affleck is almost superfluous. Ms. Rafferty requires a straight man, though, so Casey and his “Duck Dynasty” beard come in useful. These three also did a much less funny sketch that not even Chance can save, which makes me wonder if Strong and McKinnon pulled the short straws. (McKinnon and Cecily Strong teamed up for a funny-ish Hillary Clinton bit, too.)

Watch the terrible “bar fight” sketch at your own risk. Instead, here is Chance the Rapper crushing “Finish Line/Drown”:

Then there were the weird sketches, like this “pervy elves” bit that fails to work, and the oddly hostile “Microsoft Robot Presentation” sketch. It’s always nice to see Fred Armisen, but I’m still not sure what the punchline is supposed to be. Is it that the robots are gay? That they’re so stereotypically gay? Or that some tech bro is weirded out by their sexuality? Which one are we supposed to be laughing at? I don’t understand this sketch on any level, beginning with how it got on air in the first place. I do, however, appreciate the subtext that maybe Casey Affleck is an asshole.

So the littlest Affleck didn’t embarrass himself, and SNL is just the latest stop on the “Casey Affleck is A-Okay” Tour. At least this episode will best be remembered for Chance the Rapper and his sublime performances. I’ll leave you with a short clip of Chance performing “Same Drugs”. Maybe next year, he can come back and host, too.

Will Heath/ NBC/ Getty Images

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