Tracy Morgan is back! In an episode that is nothing short of miraculous, one of SNL’s greatest performers comes home.
A quick history in case you live under a (30) rock: about a year ago, Tracy Morgan was in a horrible car accident that left him comatose. After extensive speech and motor therapy, he was able to return to performing standup — and host the show he once called home! It’s an amazing story, one so great I shouldn’t even bother mentioning his musical accompaniment, Miss Top 40 Cool-for-the-Summer-has-the-worst-chorus-ever-written Demi Lovato. Now that that’s over…
[This episode’s score has been updated to reflect the new scoring system.]
Air Date: 10/17/15
Host: Tracy Morgan
Musical Gust: Demi Lovato
Democratic Debate Cold Open
By now we all know that political openers are SNL’s crutch, but — and that’s a big “but” — the cameos this time around were comedy gold. Alec Baldwin as Jim Webb? Fantastic. Larry David as Bernie Sanders? Absolute perfection. The only thing missing was Bobby Moynihan as that wizard guy from the actual debate.
I can’t stress this enough: seeing Tracy back on that stage is a miracle. If that alone doesn’t make you happy, then maybe seeing him reunite with the 30 Rock cast will do the trick.
Family Feud: Extended Family
We’ve seen this game show before, but the setup this time was brilliant. One man’s ex-family versus his new family? The schadenfreude is on point! Plus, it’s nice to hear one of Keenan Thompson’s few true impressions.
Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet
Man, I forgot how catchy that theme song is. And what a treat to see one of Tracy’s greatest characters again! Sure, this is technically a recurring sketch, but it gets a pass since the last one aired over five years ago. Gotta love that camel.
Mitchell’s Fake Cocaine
Short and sweet, unlike the bowel movements Beck Bennett had during this sketch. Fake cocaine is already a great premise, but the punch lines ramped up with each new complication. Well done.
After throwing out a few duds, Colin Jost and Michael Che had some great zingers this week. Still, we need more moments of interplay between the pair, like during the alien bit. Flip side, it was great to see Tina Fey back at — and posing atop — the desk during her take on Playboy. Thompson’s Willie (heh) also returned. Nothing’s changed about this guy since last time, but pairing him with Morgan’s old Woodrow character was a smart choice.
Good Morning Song
Sing-songy sketches don’t usually go over well, but Tracy’s clock-maker character gave this one that twist it deserved. The hard left turn from Taran Killam’s confession then perfectly raised the stakes.
This sketch wouldn’t have been as good with any other host. Tracy’s natural aggression was a perfect foil to his character’s love of dance.
Yo! Where Jackie Chan at Right Now?
If we give an award for “Best Sketch Title” at the end of the season, I’m calling this the winner right now. But I really want to see this one developed for a second airing, because it really just repeated one joke for four minutes.
astronaut jones: the martian
Yay, another Tracy Morgan character! And Combining Astronaut Jones with The Martian was a great, timely choice. Lovato as the hot alien was also a smart move.
I’m beyond excited to see Tracy doing so well, and if this episode is any indication, he still has laughs to bring us. There’s a short break before SNL returns with — drum roll, please — Donald Trump in the host chair, but I’ll be here to tell you all about it.
Tony is Laser Time’s keeper of the Saturday Night Live scoreboard. Hit him up on Twitter to talk comedy any time!