Kerry Washington stole the show on her first ever hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live.” The “Scandal” star’s clear enthusiasm for the opportunity bubbled into her performances, as she appeared in just about every sketch the NBC show had to offer.
But “Scandal” wasn’t the only scandal Washington had to deal with on “SNL.” The episode’s cold open featured Jay Pharaoh reprising his role as President Barack Obama, while Washington had to play both Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey because, as so frequently been noted, the current cast has some serious diversity problems.
“The producers at ‘Saturday Night Live’ would like to apologize to Kerry Washington for the number of black women she will be asked to play,” a voiceover announcement said during the cold open. “We make these requests because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent — and also because ‘SNL’ does not currently have a black woman on the cast. Mostly the latter. We agree this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the near future, unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first.”
The show followed through on the promise of taking advantage of Washington’s “considerable range.” She got to show off everything from her sassy side to her best New Jersey accent to her take on Miss Universe 2013’s Miss Uganda to her best ditz, all with flawless delivery. In fact, Washington only had one slight stumble (she tripped up her words in the “Cartoon Catchphrase” sketch) and managed to sell all of her jokes without a laugh or an accidental smile, including one where she had to say, “I’ve read all the books and I was born out of an egg.” Seriously, bravo.
She also did her best Kerry Washington-as-Olivia Pope during her monologue, which featured a bit where she helped Keenan Thompson, Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer resolve some of their personal issues. Her best line in the monologue came when she poked fun at her ABC hit series, saying, “I am so proud to be on a show that in 2013 has the courage to cast a white man as president.”
The best sketch Washington got to take part in was a digital short where she and Pharaoh sang their version of Ylvis‘ “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” called “What Does My Girl Say?” The basic premise is that Washington plays Pharaoh’s girlfriend who catches him cheating, but the video is so much more amazing than that makes it sound. Tune in to Zap2it on Nov. 3 to see the sketch when it is released by NBC.
What did you think of Washington’s debut “SNL” performance?