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Kenan Thompson Takes on the College Protests on ‘Saturday Night Live’


A fake commercial from this weekend’s broadcast of “Saturday Night Live” offered these tepid endorsements for “a bigass aluminum tray of penne alla vodka”: “Loved by none, but tolerated by all. Because it’s not that good. But it’s not that bad either.”

So, think of this episode as the penne alla vodka of the season. It was hosted by Dua Lipa, who was also the musical guest. The first sketch of the night had something to do with parents of college students who have protested the Israeli offensive in Gaza. But if you stuck around until Weekend Update, you did get a surprise appearance by Jerry Seinfeld.

That opening sketch, a satire of cable TV public affairs shows, was hosted by Michael Longfellow and featured Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner and Kenan Thompson as parents of college students who were weighing in on the protests at their children’s campuses.

“I want to let my son make his own choices, but to be honest, it’s a little scary,” Day said.

“My daughter is an adult and has to live her own life,” Gardner said.

“Nothing makes me prouder than young people using their voices to fight what they believe in,” Thompson said — until it was explained to him that his daughter was one of these protesters.

“No, no, no,” Thompson said, shifting his tone. “You buggin’. Alexis Vanessa Roberts better have her butt in class. Let me find out she in one of them damn tents instead of the dorm room that I paid for.”

“I thought you were in favor of the student protests,” Day said to him.

Thompson replied, “Brother man, I am supportive of y’all’s kids protesting. Not my kids. My kids know better. Alexis Vanessa ain’t crazy.”

No, this isn’t where Jerry Seinfeld made his surprise appearance. But it is an astonishingly faithful sendup of the director David Lynch’s 1980 black-and-white film “The Elephant Man,” which starred John Hurt as a man with physical deformities living in 19th-century London.

The “S.N.L.” takeoff, 44 years after the fact, features Dua Lipa as a woman who unexpectedly finds herself in love with “The Anomalous Man” — a character who we’re 99 percent sure is Sarah Sherman in a lot of prosthetic makeup. Until it reaches its comic twist late in the game, the segment plays more like an homage than a parody. Stay tuned for next week’s spoof of “Eraserhead”?

Over at the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che riffed on Governor Kristi Noem’s admission in a new book that she killed a family dog, and the New York hush-money trial of former President Trump.

Jost began:

Well, it’s the first show of spring, so we’ll start tonight with puppy murder. In a new book, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem revealed that she once shot a dog that was untrainable. That’s insane. If a dog is untrainable, you don’t shoot it — you give it to President Biden. MAGA insiders are saying that Noem, seen here wearing the hair of that dog, now has zero chance of being Trump’s running mate. But I don’t know, something tells me Trump would fully support killing disobedient pets. [The screen shows a picture of Mike Pence.]

Che continued:

Insiders said that during his hush money trial, Donald Trump complained that none of his supporters were in court with him. But that’s not true — what about all those cops?

Jost also commented on the trial:

[Reacting to a picture of Trump with his eyes closed:] Former president Donald Trump, seen here definitely not sleeping — he’s probably just praying — former President Trump for the first time in his trial wrote a message on a yellow Post-it note and handed it to his lawyer while he was making an argument. The Post-it read, simply, “Can’t pay you.”

You’re just one more segment away from Jerry Seinfeld’s surprise appearance on Weekend Update. In the meantime, Marcello Hernández showed up first at the Update desk, playing another of Kristi Noem’s dogs who, like the animal she recounted shooting in her memoir, is named Cricket.

While using an electronic doggy device to speak short sentences (such as, “She is going to kill me”), Hernández pledged his devotion to his owner. “She is the best,” he said. “You know what they say: I don’t know if she rescued me … or if I’m going to get shot in the face.”

“Oftentimes, when an actor is promoting a new movie — let’s say a Netflix movie — they have to do a lot of press,” Jost said, setting up the next Update segment. “Sometimes too much press. Here to comment is a man who did too much press.”

Enter — surprise! — a frazzled-looking Jerry Seinfeld, the NBC alumnus and erstwhile “S.N.L.” guest, who has lately been making the rounds for his new film, “Unfrosted.”

“Where am I, exactly?” Seinfeld asked Jost. Told he was on Weekend Update, Seinfeld responded, “Is this a podcast?”

“I know I can’t undo all the press I’ve done but I want to help other people,” Seinfeld said as he turned to the camera. “If you’re struggling with press, you’re not alone. I’m talking to you, Ryan Gosling. When I started doing press for ‘Unfrosted,’ I was like you: funny, good-looking. Now look at me. You think this is how I wanted to spend my 26th birthday? But you can get clean.”

Seinfeld might have said more, but he stopped to take a call from Univision.



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