Reclusive comedian Dave Chappelle hosted Saturday Night Live last night (November 12) in the first episode of the show following the election of Donald Trump. Trump, who has been the main target of SNL's ire for nearly a year (following a widely panned episode where he hosted and danced to Drake's "Hotline Bling"), was at the forefront of many of the sketches and musical performances of the evening, though Alec Baldwin was not in attendance.
Chappelle, who hosted (and famously quit) the legendary sketch show Chappelle's Show, has largely been doing stand-up in small clubs over the last decade, eschewing the massive arena-style tours favored by Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, and Kevin Hart. When Chappelle was announced as host of this week's episode of SNL, many were excited about his return to sketch comedy; this was Chappelle's highest-profile return to national television since Chappelle's Show's cancellation.
Below are Chappelle's monologue and the top sketches of the night:
Chappelle Suspected Trump Would Get Elected, Wishes Him Luck
Chappelle is one of the best stand-up comedians of all time, leading people to look forward to his monologue to help make sense of the week's events. He did not disappoint, coming out to extended cheers from the audience, acknowledging "it's been a long time." Chappelle lamented America's election of an "internet troll" for president, saying that he didn't know America would elect Donald Trump, but he suspected it because "he knows the whites." He riffed on the reaction to Trump's elections, while also touching on hot-button issues like Black Lives Matter and the attack at Pulse nightclub.
Chappelle closed his monologue by telling a story about being a part of a group of black celebrities (and Bradley Cooper) invited to come to the White House, noting that in prior generations, it was considered taboo to even bring a black person into the White House. The scene gave Chappelle hope for America, and made him want to wish Donald Trump luck and give him a chance, but demanded that Trump give the historically disenfranchised a chance too.
Kate McKinnon Sings Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" In Anti-Political Monologue
Depending on which corner of Twitter you live in, this was either brilliant and tear-jerking or tone-deaf and off-key, with some people emotionally affected by McKinnon's musical, joke-free cold open, and others upset over the mismatched appropriation of the recently passed Leonard Cohen's most famous song. And of course, there are those that still haven't gotten over SNL inviting Trump to host while he was competing in the Republican primary last year.
I largely fell on the other side of this equation, because "Hallelujah" always has that effect on me; the song, plus McKinnon's tearful plea to not give up, were a beautiful, unexpected stomach punch at the end of a long and emotional week. People were mad online, but people are mad about SNL every week. Make your own decision.
Chappelle Resurrects His Famous Chappelle's Show Characters For A Walking Dead-Themed Sketch
This was a gift. All week, people had been speculating which beloved Chappelle's Show characters Chappelle should bring back for his hosting stint, whether it be Clayton Bigsby or Tyrone Biggums or Lil' Jon. Little did we know that he'd bring back all of them. Chappelle, a big Walking Dead fan who is apparently still mourning Glenn like the rest of us, portrayed big TWD big bad Negan; however, instead of Rick Grimes and crew about to meet Lucille, it's several of his most famous Chappelle's Show characters.