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Saturday Night Live recap: Adele makes hosting debut with musical guest H.E.R.

Entertainment Weekly logo Entertainment Weekly 1 hr ago Andy Hoglund
a woman holding a wine glass: NBC © Provided by Entertainment Weekly NBC

With our powers combined: earth, wind, fire, water, heart! Week 4 of SNL46, commence! It’s Saturday night, so as always welcome, my dearest Coneheads, to SNL in Review. We’re back with tonight’s host, Adele, who previously appeared as the musical guest in 2008 and 2015. This is her first hosting gig but — curiously — H.E.R. will feature as tonight’s musical act. (This in itself is fun, as H.E.R. appeared on All That last fall opposite Kel Mitchell. Time is a flat circle.) Adele has previously been impersonated twice on SNL, by Aidy Bryant.

Given the ongoing focus on the presidential election, tonight’s SNL alum is Denny Dillon, who has a lot of firsthand experience doing live TV comedy in an election cycle, given her stint on the show in the fall of 1980. And in particular, she memorably played a Carter family member — when the show still allowed cast members to play such roles! (Kidding.) “Personally, I was happy when the writers told me they had a new character for me: Amy Carter. I had no idea what she sounded like so I gave it a wild Tennessee Williams spin. She ended up being in three episodes,” says Dillon.

a woman holding a wine glass: Adele hosts 'Saturday Night Live' for the first time with musical guest H.E.R. © NBC Adele hosts 'Saturday Night Live' for the first time with musical guest H.E.R.

On the subject of playing a presidential offspring today, versus during the early '80s, she adds: “Perhaps it’s less taboo. Generally, the press and president’s children used to be off-limits. I gave Amy an absurd comic spin as she was just a kid. Adult children of Showboat-aholics like Trumps’ sons are a comedy meal. Alex Moffat and Mikey Day are terrific… Love [the] Trump sons. Would like some more Ivanka.”

As much as I think the Jim Carrey-as-Biden stuff has fallen flat, it will be interesting to watch the cold open tackle what was a more muted, “normal” final debate between the former Vice President and Trump. Will they surprise us?! Let’s jump right in!


Adele shouts out her original appearance in 2008 when Tina Fey first played Sarah Palin. She credits that spot for starting her career, and thanks Palin. She also acknowledges questions about why she is not singing tonight — her album is not finished, and she was scared to do both.

“I could only bring half of me,” she jokes, discussing her recent weight loss — she blames it on the COVID-19 travel restrictions. This is blunt and self-deprecating. She seems enthusiastic and happy to be here, which is a good sign for a host!

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Kenan Thompson is on top of Adele’s curse jar — twice the size of him.

“I think Adele is a genius. One of the greatest soulful singers in memory. Truly a gift,” says Dillon.

Psychic — 2019

Bowen Yang, Heidi Gardner, Adele, and Ego Nwodim visit a psychic (Kate McKinnon). The year is 2019! So this leads to lots of winking jokes about her dark, absurd visions about the hellscape of 2020. Adele crying over her lost adult coloring book; Gardner losing it over her live-in boyfriend washing a bag of potato chips. Cryptic transmissions that only make sense to the audience. Pretty clever.

Other examples: Bowen Yang’s trip to Paris is canceled — he visits Kentucky instead and is afraid to use the gas station bathroom. “Do we cry for all of 2020?!” asks Nwodim. Yang’s friends are furious with him when he eats at a restaurant.

The final vision: Gardner’s father — Jeffrey Toobin — is on Zoom when he accidentally exposes himself. The sketch ends with a good slap at J.K. Rowling: “Stick to the books!”

The Haunted Manor

“Okay.” Chad (Pete Davidson) is driving and runs out of gas. Going inside a spooky country manor, a ghost (Adele) appears to him. As always he is apathetic — he accidentally lights the ghost’s letter on fire.

In the end, Chad dies — could this be a signal Davidson’s tenure on the show is coming to a close? Chad was the closest thing he had to a recurring character. This is Chad’s seventh appearance (his first since February with RuPaul), and his second Halloween-themed short.

Check back for more updates...

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