By Joelle Lieb
I shed a few tears the night that my beloved Kristen Wiig “graduated” from Saturday Night Live last season, and I was equally devastated when Andy Samberg announced his departure from SNL last year. So going into season 38, I was apprehensive about the direction that the sketch comedy show would take. Which female comedian would be able to replace Wiig’s quirkiness? Would the digital short, popularized by Samberg, still be a part of the show? As I faithfully tuned in last Saturday night, all of my initial fears were quickly erased. The first episode’s cold opening featured Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama rather than the usual Fred Armisen, and Pharoah did a fantastic impersonation of the president in a mock press conference. Jason Sudeikis impersonated Mitt Romney, and did another hilarious job as characterizing him as an out-of-touch elite. In this first segment alone I realized that SNL was going to have a great season.
As to who would replace Wiig, that job was given to Vanessa Bayer. Bayer is in her third season now but has finally stepped into the lime light this season as SNL’s “it girl”. While she was already well-liked for her portrayal of Miley Cyrus in the “Miley Cyrus Show” sketch, this season she is in almost every sketch. Kate McKinnon has also helped Bayer fill the void left in the show from Wiig’s departure. McKinnon came to the show late last season, but has already proved that she is a very talented comedian. And while no one could ever replace Samberg, one newbie shows some potential to be the next star of the show. Although its only Ted Robinson’s first season, he has already stood out in my mind. The aloofness that he brings to all of his characters is new and refreshing. It’s an approach to comedy that I have never seen on the show before, and it works very well.
Even though Wiig and Samberg are now gone, Saturday Night Live still proves to be as funny as it was before.