When Kate McKinnon leads a cry of "Live from New York, it's Saturday night" this weekend, it will not actually be true. SNL is taking the week off, and instead playing the second episode of the season as a re-run. This is the episode with host Awkwafina and musical guest Travis Scott.
This is is SNL's second break of the season, though it is only six episodes in so far. Awkwafina's episode originally aired on Oct. 6, following the season premiere in September. There was a two-week break after Seth Meyers hosted the following episode, and then three more first run episodes in a row this month.
While there is no new episode, NBC did treat long-time fans to some SNL highlights this week for a Thanksgiving special. On Wednesday night, the network took a break from its One Chicago universe to play an hour and a half-long reel of all the best Thanksgiving-theme sketches over the years.
With the pace at which today's news cycle moves, revisiting a six-week-old episode of SNL may feel somewhat jarring to fans. The Awkwfina episode playing tonight was made just after Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the senate — a move protested hotly by everyone from Democratic lawmakers to prominent celebrities.
The cold open featured the SNL cast dressed as Republicans Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham and Jeff Flake celebrating in a locker room. They jumped around ecstatically spraying beer everywhere, with snarky answers for the CNN interviewer joining them.
Meanwhile, Beck Bennett played Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who said plainly: "Well, look, the Dems lost another one. It's what we do now."
However, in the weeks since that skit, the Democrats gained a little bit of ground in the U.S. when they won the majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. This small win inspired some optimism among Democratic voters, but it has not slowed down SNL's political commentary. In fact, many now believe SNL wields immense influence over American political thinking, which is why it took some serious criticism for a recent edition of Weekend Update.
SNL and Pete Davidson were dragged for a skit earlier this month where Davidson mocked candidates' appearances. One of those candidates was Republican veteran Dan Crenshaw, who wears an eye patch. As a form of apology, the show invited Crenshaw on to mock to Davidson in return — a move that had many of SNL's usual supporters upset.
Dan Crenshaw was one of the Republican candidates caught being a member of a Nazi Facebook group, and now the media is talking about him as the face of the decent Republican Party.
Just stop.— Denizcan Grimes (@MrFilmkritik) November 11, 2018
"Dan Crenshaw was one of the Republican candidates caught being a member of a Nazi Facebook group, and now the media is talking about him as the face of the decent Republican Party," one critic pointed out on Twitter. "Just stop."
New or old, SNL will surely have people flared up this week, as always. The show airs weekly at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo Credit: NBC / Will Heath