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Good news, boo boo kitties: Taraji P. Henson hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend, where she played Nicki Minaj, a baseball player and, of course, her breakthrough character Cookie from Fox’s Empire.
The cold open referenced Hillary Clinton‘s (Kate McKinnon) impending announcement that she is running for president in the 2016 election. She films videos of herself for the campaign, and when one doesn’t turn out, her adviser tells her to delete it from her phone. “I know a thing or two about that, right?” Clinton quips. She also gets an unsolicited visit from Bill Clinton (Darrell Hammond), who is psyched to become “First Dude.”
In her monologue, Henson celebrated her role as host, as it “proves after 20 years in show business, white people finally know who I am.” She sang a song about making it, with Pete Davidson saying that, if he hadn’t gotten his break on SNL, he’d be a “well-adjusted college sophomore.”
A fake ad encouraged incontinent adults to wear diapers with Depends Legends, featuring illustrations of celebrities, including Mickey Mantle, along with historic events.
A courtroom sketch featured Henson as an attorney grilling a high school student who slept with his comely teacher. “I would describe it as the end of the movie Rudy, and I was Rudy,” the student said of his fellow classmates’ reactions. He also admitted to earning nicknames, ranging from “Goodyear Pimp” to “Fred Pimpstone.”
In a promo for Home 2, a number of hip-hop stars were impersonated for the supposed follow-up to the DreamWorks Animation film. Henson portrayed pink-haired Minaj for the bit.
Henson played a QVC host in a sketch about a saleswoman who is convinced that her clothing and jewelry can be worn in multiple ways.
The show parodied Game of Thrones with “South Centros,” imagining the show as directed by Boyz n the Hood helmer John Singleton. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) stopped by for a menacing cameo.
On Weekend Update, young Jacob (Vanessa Bayer) introduced his punchline-loving father, played by Billy Crystal in a surprise cameo.
A Celebrity Game Night sketch featured Henson as Wanda Sykes, with a highlight involving Marion Cotillard (Cecily Strong) demonstrating how she cries in French, complete with black-and-white footage and a rose.
Sesame Street didn’t know what hit it when Empire‘s Cookie dropped by. “He’s trying to play you,” she warned as Bert and Ernie attempted to trade snacks. She also snatched a treat away from the similarly named Cookie Monster.
Henson’s baseball-playing character learned that not all women get a fair shot in a parody of A League of Their Own. “While our husbands are away, we are the racists,” she is told by a white female player.
Three Best Sketches of the Night:
1. Cookie on Sesame Street
2. Hillary Clinton’s cold open
3. Hot for Teacher
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