'Saturday Night Live' recap: Tiffany Haddish breaks it down

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Comedy fans already had good reason to rejoice when Saturday Night Live announced Tiffany Haddish’s emcee gig on Oct. 30. But after the week we’ve endured with multiple reports of men — including past SNL hosts like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. — behaving very badly, Haddish’s history-making debut as the first black female comedian to host the show in 43 (!) seasons feels even more significant. And the Girls Trip scene-stealer used her rambunctious monologue to comment on the headlines, echoing opinions that come straight from her preferred news source, the beauty shop. So listen up on this Tiffany Tip: “If your got your thing-thing out and she got all her clothes on, you’re wrong! You’re in the wrong! Wait ’til she take her own clothes off, then pull your thing-thing out.” Got that, gentlemen? Good.

As Haddish tells it, her journey to cracking jokes (and dispensing advice) in Studio 8H started in the ’90s, when she spent weekend nights telling the other kids in the series of group foster homes where she grew up why they should watch SNL over In Living Color. “Trying to convince them that Dana Carvey is just as funny as Damon Wayans was a problem. I got stabbed twice, y’all!”

Best Sketch: “The Dolphin Who Learned to Speak”

The dynamite duo of Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant were explosively funny once again in a mock-documentary that would have made much-missed humorist — and noted dolphin enthusiast — Douglas Adams proud.

Worst Sketch: “Tournament Fighter”

This sketch would have been more at home in the ’90s, when even the weakest Mortal Kombat spoofs at least felt relevant.

Trump Check: 

With POTUS out of the country on his Asia trip, Alec Baldwin took a vacation from SNL as well. In his place, Beck Bennett’s Mike Pence met with beleaguered Alabama politician Roy Moore (Mikey Day) and strongly urged him to consider going to “conversion therapy” for ex-candidates. Kate McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions chimed in as well, taking a break from “cooking up nightmares for children” to tell Moore he was out-creeping Trump’s creepiest Cabinet member. “You sir, are too Alabama,” Sessions concluded. And considering that Jeff’s papa is a stuffed possum, that’s saying something.

Best Ongoing Storyline: Kyle and Leslie

The red-hot romance between Kyle Mooney and Leslie Jones can survive anything … even the dastardly machinations of a jealous Colin Jost. The “Weekend Update” host tried to use a lonely Beck Bennett as an accomplice in his quest to get closer to Jones, but only went home with multiple punches in the face for his trouble. But the best news? Kyle and Leslie’s kid is off to college! Can’t wait until he enters the family business.

Best ‘Weekend Update’ Gag: Claire From HR

With sexual harassment very much on the minds of Update‘s anchors — Jost even called out Louis C.K. in one joke — Cecily Strong’s stressed-out HR employee stopped by to make sure they were aware of NBC’s current harassment policies. For the record, those policies include not having sex with 14-year-olds and keeping your penis in your pants. Those may seem like these are things guys should just know, but as Claire astutely pointed out, “It’s actual reality for half of the population.”

Best Celebrity Impression: Heidi Gardner as Kristen Schaal

Think there’s only one Kristen Schaal? Think again. Gardner’s impression of the Last Man on Earth star hilariously captured her subject’s comic rhythms. It made an otherwise uninspired collection of Lion King-related impressions seem less like filler.

Best Use of Tiffany Haddish: “The Last Black Unicorn”

As a soothsaying unicorn, Haddish expertly delivered harsh truth bombs to a group of kids who had little idea about the dark futures awaiting them. It’s real talk … straight from the horse’s mouth.

Episode MVP: Cats!

It’s been a minute since we’ve paid a visit to “Whiskers R We,” but the not-so-subtle lesbian jokes and the copious cat cameos made us feel right at home. That hairless feline, Toby, seemed particularly eager to make an impression, taking a swipe at his co-stars, McKinnon and Haddish. Point those claws elsewhere, buddy.

Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.

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