Saturday Night Live was hosted by national treasure Dave Chapelle last night with musical group A Tribe Called Quest, and both absolutely knocked it out of the park after a long week of rumors flying that Chappelle might not even show up to host and, of course, that little election thing on Tuesday. SNL put comedy on the back burner for the cold open to pay tribute to the passing of musician Leonard Cohen and candidate Hillary Clinton's presidential dream with Kate McKinnonplaying "Hallelujah" on piano as Hillary.
Aside from the eerie appropriateness of the lyrics to Hillary's campaign, did anyone know Kate McKinnon had such great pipes? For those of you who are already missing McKinnon's impression, she did a fantastic Ginsberg later in the evening that could well become a regular bit.
The opening monologue was one of the best and most electric in years, with the iconic comedian absolutely possessing the stage coaxing some real laughs from the audience, and ending with a heartening message of unity... with a caveat: "I'm wishing Donald Trump luck, and I'm going to give him a chance, and we the historically disenfranchised demand that he give us one too."
The night was Chappelle's highest-profile appearance since he famously walked away from his Comedy Central series. But he had plenty of support from a warm audience and SNL alum and comedy genius Chris Rock, who came onstage during the opening sketch which captured the harrowing downward spiral from confidence to disbelief to shock that so many Americans took on Tuesday night.
We got a break from politics with an absolute treat for Chappelle fans: a pre-taped parody of The Walking Dead with cameos from just about every beloved character from the Chappelle show. (Though if you haven't caught up on this season of the Walking Dead be advised there is a MAJOR spoiler.)
A Tribe Called Quest paid homage to founding member Phife Dawg onstage, who passed away at the age of 45 earlier this year, keeping an expressionistic portrait of him front and center onstage throughout their performance. They were also joined onstage during their second segment of the evening by hip hop legend Busta Rhymes.
After checking in with the baffled anchors of Weekend Update, the show down-shifted out of political humor into some old-fashioned sketches, such as a behind-the-scenes look at a secret romance between Kyle Mooney and Leslie Jones, a very meta post-sketch press conference and a series of seriously sloppy kisses between McKinnon and Chappelle.
Despite or perhaps because of all the national tension this was the series' strongest showing in a long time and no doubt many fans are waking up this morning quietly craving a Chappelle's Show reboot.
SNL returns next week with Kristen Wiig hosting and the xx as musical guest.