Nate Bargatze’s ‘SNL’ Debut: A Comedic Triumph That Split the Nation
Nate Bargatze’s inaugural appearance as an “SNL” host was nothing short of a comedic spectacle that sent social media abuzz, leaving the nation divided on his superstar status. While some hailed him as one of today’s hottest, stadium-packing comedians, others remained baffled about the man from Tennessee. However, Bargatze’s first foray into the “SNL” realm upheld the longstanding truth that stand-up comedians and sketch-comedy veterans often make the best hosts, echoing the legacy of John Mulaney, Dave Chappelle, and Melissa McCarthy.
Bargatze navigated the “SNL” stage with aplomb, though not without a minor tussle with cue cards in a sketch or two. A standout moment was his insightful monologue, where he delved into subjects ranging from the legacy of slavery to America’s adoption of inconsistent measurement systems. Yet, it was his comedic brilliance that shone through.
The sketches he embraced ranged from a “Chef Showdown” to a Hallmark Channel parody titled “A Stab At Love” and a CMT music video spoof named “Lake Beach.” In one memorable skit, Bargatze portrayed a competing lawyer passionately arguing that it’s the second-best profession (just behind being a doctor) while aboard a flight with a passenger in labor. In another, he played one half of a couple receiving advice from SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher (a rising “SNL” star, Sarah Sherman) on kids’ Halloween costumes.
However, not every moment hit the mark, as exemplified by the “Please Don’t Destroy” video where the humor in the guys eating “Dawg Food” fell a bit flat. Dave Grohl, who made two appearances, graced “Lake Beach” and an airplane sketch, while his band Foo Fighters delivered an electrifying performance of “Rescued.” The performance was introduced by none other than Christopher Walken, who got the band’s name right this time. The musical magic continued with H.E.R. joining Foo Fighters for their second song, “The Glass.”
As is customary on “SNL,” a silent photo card paid tribute to Matthew Perry’s passing. The actor, known for hosting the show in 1997, was found unresponsive at his Los Angeles home at the age of 54.
The cold open of the night showcased a new portrayal of President Joe Biden, with Mikey Day taking over the role from James Austin Johnson. The opening was brimming with jokes about Biden’s age, painting him as a perpetually winded and somewhat bewildered leader. The skit amusingly illustrated his struggles with modern technology and the challenges of decorating for Halloween.
Additionally, a surprise appearance by Christopher Walken as the spirit of Halloween provided a delightful twist to the evening.
Bargatze’s monologue offered a self-deprecating take on his own persona, emphasizing his old-timey sensibilities and supposed lack of intelligence. However, beneath the facade of an “everyman” comedian lay the astute precision of his language, sharp observations, and layered wit. Bargatze masterfully tackled a range of topics, from grandmothers meeting for the first time to county fair antics involving orangutans. His comedy, though seemingly straightforward, carried a sophisticated touch, proving that he is far more intelligent than he lets on.
In summary, Nate Bargatze’s “SNL” debut was a comedic masterpiece that left the nation both puzzled and awed, solidifying his status as a force to be reckoned with in the world of stand-up and sketch comedy.
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