Chance The Rapper hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend and if you saw it, you know what I mean in the title of this post. There’s no way he won’t be invited back. They’ll invite him back as many times as he wants to come back. Chance The Rapper has all kinds of Five Timers Club potential. And he showed it right from the very beginning in that Thanksgiving number, during which he tried to become the Mariah Carey of Thanksgiving. It was weird and goofy and uncomfortable, all trademarks of SNL and still, while being able to deliver on the show’s signature tone, Chance’s own brand was well-represented too.
That Come Back Barack video? Obviously they’re working from a perfect premise. But also, the precision on the details – those suits, those scarves, those dance moves, and even the camera shots. Did you notice how much of the video was shot from an elevated camera angle – it’s so specifically 90s R&B, the way they sang looking up, while all the choreography pushed down: the arms pump down, the legs bend down…by the time Keenan Thompson started low-talking over the music, it was over for me. I was done. If you’re in Canada, you can watch the video here.
Come Back Barack is probably the most talked-about sketch of the night and obviously the most popular. The smartest? To me, probably the Batman/Bruce Wayne sketch. It was early in the night, and you could see that Chance was a little nervous. But this sketch had some teeth, the kind of sketch that makes a larger social and cultural point, without being too pedantic. Chance revealed last week that he wrote a number of sketches for the show to be presented to Lorne Michaels and that on one of them he was helped by Donald Glover. I wonder if the Batman/Bruce Wayne sketch was it. Given Donald’s own connection to the MCU, he would certainly know that world.
For me, Chance’s best performance was in the hockey sketch. By that point, midway through the show, he’d already gotten a lot more comfortable. And the way he played that reporter at the hockey game, with his eyes shifting side to side all the time, and his deliberate pauses, that’s when you saw him really showing what he can do. That’s how quickly he became confident enough to look away from the cue cards and just go with the moment. If you’re in Canada, you can watch the sketch here.
Conclusion: why does Justin Timberlake ever have to host SNL again?
Here's Chance at the SNL after party in New York.