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What a shear novelty to be watching new SNL in any capacity in mid-August. (For you history buffs, this now leaves June as the only month to have never had a live show.) The powers that be knew that the turmoil in the White House could not wait until late September to be thrown on the skewer, so Cojo and Che are treating us to four special late summer editions of Weekend Update. Between now and August 31st, here's hoping the well isn't tapped dry.

Even with the bounty of news, this first half-hour special was only a mild success. The first act was almost wall-to-wall Trump, and Cojo and Che's hot takes proving somewhat uneven. There wasn't really much that Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah et al. hasn't already covered on their respective nightly shows, so hats off to the WU writers and producers (including Katie Rich) for making the effort to find new angles that hadn't already been repeated. Still as AV Club noted, WU is a comedy cruise ship, a sturdy franchise that is only so malleable and flexible in these chaotic times. It feels uniform, but at least the Trump jokes were more funny than not.

We were treated to four commentaries tonight, and none of them felt like time filler. Considering that the Year 42 finale was nearly three months ago and the season premiere is seven weeks away, one must wonder who was available to appear during the summer hiatus, while also speculating who besides vBay, Bobby, and Sash that left or were let go after last year. Evidently, Mikey and Moffat are safe, as they reprised their impressions of Donald Trump Jr. and his dim baby brother Eric, respectively. Moffat-as-Eric is a gem, his childlike curiosity playing well against Don Junior's motormouth.

If the Don Junior/collusion commentary felt a little stale, than tonight's inevitable cameo was well past its expiration date. If there was any opportunity to poke fun of Anthony Scaramucci, it would have been tonight, but Bill Hader's dead-on impression felt like a day late and a dollar short. (Points for accurately depicting that two-second Facetime delay, though.) It was a competent take by one of SNL's all-time great celebrity mimics, but I'll give Mario Cantone a narrow edge on "The Mooch."

After a commentary by Kenan as overbearing stage dad/cheapskate/opportunist Lavar Ball, we move on the incomparable Leslie Jones. A surprise Emmy nominee, LJ's riff on beach bodies segued into gross things people do at the gym was a great stand-up bit. I don't know if Leslie was nominated strictly on the strength of her Weekend Update appearances alone, but she hasn't had a bad one yet.

All in all, WUT will do well enough in the ratings to justify its existence, and Cojo and Che at their best can be pointed and blistering. In an increasingly crowded satire scene, however they're still trying to find a way to stand out.

6/10
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Aug 26, 2017
Correction: three shows. The last one was on August 24th; I will post my review in the next day or two.
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