Before we get to the pleasures of first-time Saturday Night Live host Quinta Brunson, let’s acknowledge a truly great April Fool’s Day joke. Weekend Update was rolling along, and Colin Jost couldn’t seem to crack the crowd. He questioned if even Donald Trump’s past supporters gave a fig about the former president’s impending indictment. “I went down to the courthouse today and I was the only protester there,” Jost said, as the screen flashed a photo of him in a red hat holding a sign that read “Let our boy go!” There were a Couple titters in the audience, an indecipherable heckler.
Jost looked to Michael Che in disbelief. Che practically started giggling as he leaned in and confessed, “I told them not to laugh at you for April Fool’s.” Jost then burst out laughing, to the point it took him three days to get out a Ron DeSantis joke. He blushed. He broke a sweat. He said he couldn’t stop shaking. It was a rare chance to see the desperation that lives beneath any comedian, no matter their status.
Brunson, meanwhile, marched down to her monologue mark looking like a boss in her black bell-bottomed suit. She described her magnificent Abbott Elementary as akin to Friends, “but with Black people.” It was fun to see Brunson out of the classroom, where she could shed some of Janine Teagues’ do-gooder sunniness. “I’m not a filthy whore, but I like to have fun,” she said. (Coming soon to t-shirts and coffee mugs everywhere.)
Brunson said that simply because she plays a teacher on TV, people now look to her to address and solve the ills of our education system. “Last week when the bank collapsed, no one wanted to go up to the cast of Succession like ‘How do we fix this, Cousin Greg?’” The multiple Emmy winner admitted she now hangs in Oprah Winfrey’s garden and dines with the like of Barack Obama, who shared a video from her phone in which he thanked Brunson’s public school teacher mother for her lifetime of service. She ended her monologue on a serious note, speaking with the gravitas not of Janine but Ms. Barbara: “Acknowledge the work [teachers] do every day, and for the love of God, pay them what they deserve.”
The Club Velvet sketch was aces, in which Andrew Dismukes and Devon Walker plotted in a club bathroom on how to score some fentanyl-free coke. Brunson popped out a bathroom stall looking like a longer-haired Easy E, promising “My stuff is so white it’s like Gwyneth Paltrow skiing in Utah.” Marcello Hernandez’s dealer countered, “My cocaine’s so pure white it’s like the guy suing Gwyneth Paltrow because he can’t enjoy wine tastings anymore.” Soon the boys were surrounded by promises of whiteness—the best going to Kenan Thompson’s dealer, who boasted “This cocaine I got says stuff like ‘Oops, let me scoot right by you.’” Finally, first year cast member Michael Longfellow, painted up to match the bathroom wallpaper slunk into the scene, pushing black tar heroin that’s uh, so black, it’s “strong and equal and we should give it a chance.”