Ranking All Of Donald Glover’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ Sketches
Donald Glover served as the host and musical guest for the May 5th episode of Saturday Night Live. Here’s how we think he did in his performances.
Donald Glover proved to the world that he is a true creative force to be reckoned with. As the host and musical guest for the May 5 episode of Saturday Night Live, anticipation for his arrival was high and well worth the wait. In his opening monologue, Glover showcased his storytelling ability by saying that he was “still pissed” at Lorne Michaels and his iconic sketch comedy show after auditioning twice to join the program.
As a threat all-around and not just the traditional “triple-threat,” Glover appeared in eight sketches that made use of his weird sensibilities, Atlanta roots, his cool “Young Lando” persona and, of course, his musical abilities. From playing an Oran “Juice” Jones-inspired, ‘80s boogie singer to almost making Kenan Thompson break character as an eccentric lawyer defending Jurassic World — Glover made the most out of his time at Studio 8H.
Yes, there have been other artist who have pulled double duty on Saturday Night Live and excelled before, but none have had the cultural impact like Donald Glover. With two new songs shared with the world during the musical performance part of the show (“This Is America” quickly became a trending topic online) — Glover as Gambino made this episode of Saturday Night Live one for the history books. There’s no doubt that the kid from Nawf Atlanta will be asked back to do the job once more.
So, with that in mind, we decided to rank Donald Glover’s Saturday Night Live sketch performances from “meh” to “ROFL”.
8. Barbie Instagram
We’re no stranger to left-of-center comedy, but “Barbie Instagram” was just plain odd. There was a bit of a disconnect with the writing as Donald Glover played an intern alongside Pete Davidson and Heidi Gardner who pitch absurd ideas for Barbie’s Instagram page to two Barbie execs. Glover and his cohorts don’t really hit the mark with this sketch.
7. Prison Job
In this sketch, Glover is joined by the always-funny duo Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd as three inmates who trade stories while working as customer service agents in prison. While the premise was interesting, the execution left us a bit wanting. Usually Redd and Thompson are really good at portraying characters such as this, but they, as well as Glover just seem a bit awkward in all of the wrong ways.
6. Lando’s Summit
Points for continuing to use comedy as a message to spotlight the lack of diversity in Hollywood (specifically in sci-fi movies) — this truly was a good sketch. With Leslie Jones, Chris Redd, and Kenan Thompson—as Saw Gerrera—rounding out the only “black people in space,” this sketch poked fun at the limited amount of people of color in the Star Wars films. Glover reprises his role of young Lando Calrissian with the comedic aplomb he’s been known for since his Community days. The only two marks that can be given for this is that there was no mention of John Boyega’s character and a holographic Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) would’ve been epic.
5. Dirty Talk
Donald Glover and Melissa Villaseñor play a couple who try to spice up their relationship with some feisty dirty talk. Now, this would’ve ranked lower because Melissa, in our opinion, carries the sketch with her off-brand “sexy” talk, but points have to be given to Donald for not breaking character and playing the straight man with such resolve. The tipping point comes when Melissa drops some not-so-subtle jabs at embattled comedian Bill Cosby which made everyone wince and laugh at the same time.
4. 80’s Music Video
We really appreciated the callback to those early ‘80s music video days where everything seemed to be filmed in front of a green screen. Points also go to Donald and the SNL writing team for remixing Oran “Juice” Jones “The Rain”. For anyone unfamiliar with that song, please click here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dZW1C3neao). However, in this sketch, Donald really shines as the jilted lover Raz P. Berry who catches his girl (played by Cecily Strong) cheating on him with another man (Kenan Thompson). The sketch really ramps up when Donald takes the “revenge” to an absurd and weird level. When the twist hits, it really makes everything else really awkward. This one is worth the watch.
A really strong premise—what happens when Jurassic World is sued for wrongful death—and a lot of room for Donald to improv makes this sketch a highlight of the night. Glover plays an eccentric attorney who must defend the live dinosaur park in a court of law from Mikey Day’s accusations of wrongful death. Donald wins the night with this one due to his outlandish arguments, comedic timing, and physical antics. He was so good that he even almost made Kenan Thompson break character.
Another winner for the night, “Friendos” found Donald Glover, Chris Redd, and Kenan Thompson partnering up again for a sketch about rappers who enter into a therapy session to work on their friendship. Redd and Glover show great chemistry as the two lead rappers who fail to communicate their feelings, while Thompson helps to keep the laughs on track with the Migos-esque adlibs. Adding in the song was another smart touch as it helped to develop the themes touched upon in the therapy session with Cecily Strong. SNL has really made an effort to make these rap sketches stick and with Donald leading the charge this is one that everyone will be talking about for a while.
1. A Kanye Place
Sketch of the night goes to “A Kanye Place,” as Donald Glover, Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson, and Cecily Strong play a group of friends who have a hard time staying quiet (a la A Quiet Place) because of Kanye West’s tweet-storm—much like in real life. The “poopidy scoop” line, the usage of Yeezy’s real life tweets, and the social commentary in an environment where being quiet was the most important thing added to laughs. Easily one that people will be talking about around the water cooler come Monday morning, “A Kanye Place” might actually turn into someone’s real life film project if the G.O.O.D. Music rapper decides to serious run for public office in 2024.
Which sketches were your favorite? Tell us what you thought about Donald Glover’s Saturday Night Live performance by hitting us up on Twitter @Okayplayer.