Dave Chappelle and A Tribe Called Quest deliver on SNL (Videos)
Heading into last night’s SNL, it was being classified by some writers as perhaps the most important SNL in its illustrious history.
As big a statement as that is, the case is pretty strong. The first SNL post-2016 Election — one that goes without saying is at least one of the most polarizing elections in history — and it’s hosted by perhaps the perfect voice of not only a generation but for the grave mood of the country: Dave Chappelle. Chappelle was even bolstered by the night’s musical guest, A Tribe Called Quest, celebrating the release of their last album and even more: the great life of founding member Phife Dawg. (More on that below.)
But first, Chappelle’s most powerful moment: the end of his brilliant monologue.
The final two minutes of that Dave Chappelle routine. Wow. pic.twitter.com/gxuNn9Pirk
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) November 13, 2016
I’m going to give him a chance. And we — the historically disenfranchised — demand that he give us one, too.
What a great approach and mindset to instill throughout the nation who were all watching live or now today as this went viral. I couldn’t agree more. Then, to follow that up with the hilarious Election Night sketch below — with Chris Rock helping to showcase the naivety of some voters — was just perfect.
Now, as one of the millions of fans of Chappelle’s Show, I’m geeked anytime I hear Dave Chappelle’s name in a headline, let alone on TV. They’re few and far between, but Chappelle’s sitdown with Jimmy Fallon talking about his first encounter with Kanye West a couple years ago is as memorable as any since.
To see how Chappelle was going to reference, if at all, any of the famous characters of the show was an undercard worthy storyline that, in any other week, would be the main event. Welp, he knocked that one out of the park too with this Chappelle’s Show style sketch, referencing today’s hit show The Walking Dead along the way too.
Up next was the first performance from Tribe as Q-Tip, Jarobi, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad shared the stage for their anthemic “We The People…”. Tip sounds as flawless as ever, and even drops the ‘n’ word on live TV (Dave did too in his monologue. Ha!)
The chilling moment below is when Phife’s verse comes on, which ICYMI, I won’t spoil below.
It was right then and there that I knew I was witnessing history. I didn’t even mention Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton singing the late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as the cold open to set the tone of healing after the election and passing.
SNL was batting 1.000 at this point.
Wow. They batting 1.000 still. Tribe's tribute to Phife too. 💯
— Gowhere You Love (@gowherehiphop) November 13, 2016
The rest of the show missed here and there, but not to its overall detriment. The Weekend Update was filled with good zingers, a funny mishap by Michael Che, but it could have done with less Ruth Bader-Ginsburg. Before we knew it, Tribe was back on stage bringing out Busta Rhymes and Consequence for “The Space Program” and showing love to two of their most frequent collaborators. Their group hug at the end, and general joy as the show signed off the air, illustrated just how meaningfully personal it was for all of them. I couldn’t help but crack a big smile in rooting for them.
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) November 13, 2016
All in all, wow. I woke up today feeling in better spirits about our country and just the immense positivity and thought-provoking calls for awareness were on display last night. It was the perfect mix of using the platform to capture the mood, uplift, and add some belly laughter in between. There was even an intense makeout session between Dave Chappelle and Kate McKinnon that almost had Kenan breaking mid-sketch like we all were at home. And then, the breastfeeding sketch to close it out too (that one is not online, but yielded similar ‘how ridiculous is this?’ laughs.)
In brief, job well done, Dave, Tribe, and SNL. We’ll remember this show for a long time.