Melissa McCarthy hosts 'SNL' with assists from Kanye West, faux Hillary Clinton

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Melissa McCarthy! Kanye West! Could there be an episode of "Saturday Night Live" with more expectations? The answer? Nope! The show almost delivered upon this potential, but a lot of the laughs felt lighter than they were supposed to.

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The cold open was a perfect read on what all of your liberal friends have been saying about the democratic candidates. It began with a pair of couples at brunch explaining why they were voting for Bernie Sanders, saying things like, "Hillary is the most qualified candidate in history, but at the same time, meh!" Meanwhile, Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton lowered down on a swing, singing Adele's "I Can't Make You Love Me," something that only existed in the characters' subconscious thoughts. As they discussed why they should vote for Hillary, but why they are voting for Bernie, the song became more dramatic. It really was an accurate read on what people are saying as we head into more and more primaries, but it could have been delivered in a funnier way. Count this one as the show just getting rid of the obligatory political sketch at the top.

Melissa McCarthy began her monologue by asking audience members to look under their chairs in an Oprah-style reveal, but then explained that she was missing one of her gloves. She discussed how she was excited to be a part of the five-timers club, hosting "SNL" for her fifth time, and did a sendup of the disco classic, "Born to Be Alive," changing it to "Born to Host Five Times." Then Kenan Thompson, wearing a huge foam No. 5, broke the news to her that it was actually only her fourth time hosting. The bit was funny in a G-rated "aw shucks" way, but still no real LOLs here at the top of the show.

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And now it's time for the sketch you'll be seeing in your feed for the next week. We should probably come up with a name for this, eh? Let's call it the FeedFiller! That'll catch on, right? #SNLFeedFiller! Let's get it started, people! Anyway, sorry to distract from what was basically the best-produced moment of this episode. Let's get into this week's #SNLFeedFiller! It was a pre-filmed movie preview parody of a film called, "The Day Beyonce Turned Black." Pegged to the release of Beyonce's latest video, the film detailed white people not understanding "Formation" and realizing that the superstar they heralded as one of their own didn't belong to them at all. The announcer delivered his lines in a trepidatious tenor, saying things like "It was the day white people lost their Beyonce." Every dramatic read "SNL" has ever done on Beyonce has been genius (see the Beygency sketch) and this was no different.

Next up was the first sketch that brought the real LOLs. It was a focus group discussing the horror movie they had just seen. Cecily Strong, ever capable of playing the straight woman and the ridiculous comic lead, announced that the people who had viewed the movie were being filmed watching, and their reactions might be used in the ad campaign to promote the film. From the very first time we saw Melissa McCarthy, we knew she would be shown doing some over-the-top stuff when she didn't know she was being filmed. And did she ever deliver! McCarthy kills at physical comedy, and the heightening in this sketch was intense, and should make any viewer of horror movies re-think how they should react during the scary scenes.

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Melissa McCarthy hosts 'SNL' with assists from Kanye West, faux Hillary Clinton
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Christopher Durang, Dana Carvey as Church Lady during the 'Church Chat' skit on October 11, 1986 -- Photo by: Reggie Lewis/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 18 -- Pictured: Steve Martin during 'KingTut' skit on April 22, 1978 -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 5 -- Pictured: (l-r) Will Ferrell as Craig Buchanan, Cheri Oteri as Aranna during the 'Football Game' skit on November 11, 1995 -- (Photo by: Al Levine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 6 -- Pictured: (l-r) Buck Henry as Mr. Dantley, John Belushi as Samurai Futaba during 'Samurai Stockbroker' skit on 10/30/1976 (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 4 -- Aired 10/27/1990 -- Pictured: (l-r) Patrick Swayze as Adrian, Chris Farley as Barney during 'Chippendales Audition' skit (Photo by Al Levine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE - Episode 14 - Pictured: (l-r) Will Ferrell as emcee, Molly Shannon as Mary Katherine Gallagher, Elle MacPherson as Melanie Harvey, Cheri Oteri as Shelly Peterbuilt during the 'Fresh Face Modeling Contest' skit on February 24, 1996 - Photo by: (Al Levine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 9 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gail Matthius, Eddie Murphy during the 'Weekend Update' on February 7, 1981 -- Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 2 -- Air Date 10/11/2003 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Timberlake as Robin Gibb, Jimmy Fallon as Barry Gibb during 'The Barry Gibb Talk Show' skit on October 11, 2003 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 2 -- Aired 02/08/2001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek, Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery during 'Jeopardy' skit (Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- 'Josh Brolin' Episode 1536 -- Pictured: (l-r) Andy Samberg, Mark Wahlberg during the 'Wahlberg's Confrontation' skit on October 18, 2008 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1 -- Aired 10/02/2004 -- Pictured: Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer during 'Debbie Downer' skit (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 20 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mike Myers as Linda Richman, Heather Locklear as Lila Klein during the 'Coffee Talk' skit on May 14, 1994 -- (Photo by: Gerry Goodstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 3 -- Air Date 10/13/2001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jimmy Fallon as Dave, Rachel Dratch as Virginia Klarvin, Will Ferrell as Roger Klarvin during the 'Hot Tub Lovers' skit on October 13, 2001 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 2 -- Pictured: Eddie Murphy as Mr. Robinson during the 'Mister Robinson's Neighborhood' skit on October 15, 1983 -- (Photo by: Raymond Bonar/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 7 -- Air Date 12/03/1994 -- Pictured: (l-r) Norm MacDonald, Adam Sandler during 'Weekend Update' on December 3, 1994 (Photo by Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 3: (VIDEO CAPTURE) Singer Sinead O'Connor rips up a picture of Pope John Paul II October 3, 1992 on the TV show 'Saturday Night Live'. (Photo by Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 8 -- Pictured: Dan Aykroyd as Julie Child during 'The French Chef' skit on December 9, 1978 -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 19 -- Aired 05/14/2005 -- Pictured: (center) Will Ferrell as Gene Frenkle onstage with musical guests Queens of the Stone Age (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 8 -- Air Date 12/08/2001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mick Jagger as himself, Jimmy Fallon as Mick Jaggers reflection during the 'Mick & Mick' skit on December 8, 2001 (Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 9 -- Aired 12/16/2006 -- Pictured: (l-r) Andy Samberg as guy, Justin timberlake as guy during 'Dick in a Box' skit on December 16, 2006 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 11 -- Air Date 01/24/1976 -- Pictured: Chevy Chase during Weekend Update on January 24, 1976 -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 2 -- Pictured: (l-r) Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin during the 'Weekend Update' on October 14, 1978 -- Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 3 -- Pictured: Bill Murray during the 'Weekend Update' on October 21, 1978 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 2 -- Pictured: Kevin Nealon during the 'Weekend Update' skit on October 5, 1991 (Photo by Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1 -- Air Date 09/24/1994 -- Pictured: (l-r) Norm MacDonald, Laura Kightlinger during 'Weekend Update' on September 24, 1994 (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 2 -- Aired 02/08/2001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon during 'Weekend Update' (Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 5 -- Aired 11/12/2005 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tina Fey, Amy Poehler during 'Weekend Update' on November 12, 2005 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 6 -- Aired 11/18/2006 -- Pictured: (l-r) Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers during 'Weekend Update' on November 18, 2006 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1585 'Paul Rudd' -- Pictured: (l-r) Bill Hader as Stefon, Seth Meyers during 'Weekend Update' -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- 'Chris Pratt' Episode 1663 -- Pictured: (l-r) Colin Jost and Michael Che during the 'Weekend Update' skit on September 27, 2014 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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Next up was another winner: a sketch that began with a family of three watching the first "Terminator" together. Pete Davidson played a teen who was uncomfortable watching a sex scene with his parents. He tried to ease the tension but couldn't come up with the right words. The sketch expanded to include the interior monologues of the parents, brilliantly juxtaposed with the cringe-inducing awkward things they say to diffuse the situation, which led to some ace one-liners like Bobby Moynihan saying, "She has very dark nipples for a white girl." The interior monologue is always a good comic device (see Joe Montana as the sincere roommate, circa 1987) especially when said monologue is set against what people really say. This was possibly one of Davidson's finest moments on the show to date.

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Kanye West's performance was as intense as you might expect from an artist with a constantly shifting album release date, because he's still working on it. The album title has changed several times and was supposed to come out yesterday. Kanye West is an artist who is still realizing his vision, and that's exciting to behold as the album that is currently called "The Life of Pablo" takes shape. Standing on a reflective stage, against a pixelated backdrop of what looked like explosions, he sang "High Lights," in thickly autotuned vocals, against a simple beat. The posse he had onstage provided valuable vocal support. Whereas some hip-hop performances seem to just have the rappers' friends onstage, every person there with him had a purpose, and it was revolutionary in its simplicity.

"Weekend Update" began with the typical political fodder, but Colin Jost and Michael Che brought their A-game more than they have in the past few weeks. The jokes connected with each other seamlessly and there were multimedia elements such as a photoshopped image of Hillary Clinton wearing Beyonce's militant Super Bowl getup and a scrolling list of disclaimers of everything Hillary should have to explain about her political past. Speaking of Beyonce's Super Bowl performance, Che had a great quotable line about people who were supposedly outraged by it. "When did outrage go from pitchforks and torches to strongly worded tweets?" Bam! The cameos of the "Update" segment made for some light comedy, but it was nothing hilarious: Vanessa Bayer did a serviceable impersonation of Rachel from "Friends" and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller compared black holes to the way he shut down Cam Newton. Leslie Jones flirted with Jost and talked about the man of her dreams, but it was the same sort of thing she always does when she crashes "Update."

In the next sketch, Strong played a pickup artist, coaching women on how to get with guys at a bar. From the get-go, we could see that McCarthy's character would be the wild card here. Her character, a misanthrope who comes on too strong, was worth a few good laughs. The formula was simple, but once again, McCarthy's shined through with a ridiculous mixture of physical comedy and absurd lines.

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Oh shoot, maybe this next sketch was the #SNLFeedFiller! In a pre-filmed bit, Kyle Mooney played himself, chronicling how he wants to be the greatest rapper alive, and how he could achieve this dream by defeating Kanye West in a freestyle rap battle. The set-up was such a great exercise in self-awareness, and known personalities parodying themselves, culminating in Kanye rapping back at Mooney, and ending with the line, "I love you like Kanye loves Kanye."

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Melissa McCarthy hosts 'SNL' with assists from Kanye West, faux Hillary Clinton
They say practice makes perfect and actor Alec Baldwin has hosted 'SNL' 16 times and counting. Here he is shown during rehearsals at "NBC's Saturday Night Live," with musical guests the B-52s, Keith Strickland, Kate Pierson, and Fred Schneider,  in New York, April 19, 1990. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Justin Timberlake made history by  being the first 'SNL' guest host to win an Emmy in the Guest Actor in a Comedy Series category. Here he is in' episode 1636 with Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin. (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
It's hard to choose our favorite Steve Martin skit. King Tut? Christmas wishes? But no matter what sketch he performs he  brings his signature humor and energetic personality. Here he is shown with Chevy Chase on the set of NBC's 'Saturday Night Live,' Dec. 1986, in New York. (AP Photo)
Actor Tom Hanks has appeared on 'SNL' eight times and has often spoofed himself and own his movies, proving that he can do comedy and drama. His celebrity jeopardy sketch and yoga class sketch are some of our favorites.  (photos by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
Drew Barrymore remains the youngest actor ever to host 'SNL,' making her debut at age seven and to top it off she has hosted more than any other woman. Here she is shown with the 'Saturday Night Live' cast members Tim Kazurinsky, Gary Kroeger, Brad Hall and Joe Piscopo on Thursday, November 18, 1982 in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew )
Actress Kerry Washington was able to slyly address 'SNL's' diversity issues while still delivering quality jokes.  (AP Photo/NBC, Dana Edelson)
Drake definitely made an impression on his 'Saturday Night Live' debut, keeping up the energy and providing solid sketches like his Bar Mitzvah sketch. (AP Photo/NBC, Dana Edelson)
Actor Christopher Walken is a divisive host, with viewers either loving or hating his humor. But no matter where you fall on the spectrum, Walken's sketches are memorable.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld proves that he's just as funny on 'SNL' as he was on his own show. (AP Photo/Susan Ragan)
John Goodman has officially hosted 'SNL' twelve times but has made numerous cameos, most memorably as Linda Tripp. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon )
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McCarthy and Leslie Jones played well off one another in the next sketch. They sat next to each other on a bus, and McCarthy ignorantly talked Jones' ear off about black movies. Choice line: "I did enjoy 'Roots' as much as any white movie." The social commentary was precise, but the jokes were somewhat predictable, and the arc of the sketch was somewhat careless.

Kanye's second song, "Ultra Light Beams," was similar in execution and tone to "High Lights," but with a more effective beat and a breathtaking gospel choir, to say nothing of the career-making cameo from Chance the Rapper! Kanye himself doesn't do much in this song, and during the performance he writhed around on the ground. It was almost an act of humility for the rapper to give the spotlight to other artists on the eve of his next huge moment.

To close the show, McCarthy and McKinnon played crazy cat ladies. It was very much end-of-the-show humor, but there were some good lines — McKinnon's best: "We call this cat O.J. because he's orange like the juice, and a murderer like the athlete" — and it was a joy to watch these two hilarious ladies interact together. Also, there must have been some weird sort of inside joke about O.J. Simpson, because there were a surprising number of references to him during the episode. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the father-in-law that Kanye never met — Robert Kardashian — defended the guy? Speaking of Robert Kardashian, Kanye sported a weird-ass memorial T-shirt to him in the show's closing credits.

All in all, this was a stellar episode, but the most groundbreaking stuff was probably from the musical guest, which shouldn't be the case for a comedy show.

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