“How black is that?” was the refrain during Jamie Foxx’s “SNL” monologue Saturday night, as he marveled at turns of events like President Obama’s being elected to a second term and the fact that the comedian was hosting the show with musical guest Ne-Yo. And while race was never again explicitly mentioned throughout the rest of the show, it remained a constant theme, yet one handled in a lighthearted, often absurd manner. One of the criticisms most frequently lobbed at the late-night institution is that it lacks any real diversity in its cast and writing, but last night “SNL” resembled programs that do address race while enjoying diverse audiences, like “Key and Peele” or “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.”
Foxx, more present in the episode than most hosts, was willing to be extremely silly in many of his sketches, relying upon his sketch show experience from “In Living Color” as he played characters like a Christmas tree pimp or a Hostess Ding Dong disgruntled by the amount of attention Twinkies have been receiving lately. One game show, called “... What’s the Answer?” was an enjoyable clump of nonsense cloaked in an angry catchphrase.
One sketch that received a lot of attention in the Twitterverse was a trailer for Tyler Perry’s next film, in which Foxx was half made up as Perry’s character Madea (including half of one pair of glasses.) The story for the trailer was half-baked, but Foxx’s commitment to the bit and half-impersonation was admirable.