The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Kumail Nanjiani


Kumail Nanjiani — who wrote and starred in The Big Sick, released this summer — technically made his second appearance on SNL last night. In 2008, the Pakistan-born actor had a part in the James Franco-hosted episode of the series as an “Indian reporter.” But last night was Nanjiani’s time to shine. His comedy style is warm and enthusiastic, but razor-sharp. SNL underused Nanjiani’s talents, but he was still a stand-out in every sketch and should have an open invite to return to the show in the future. See how it all went down last night, below.

The Best

“Kumail Nanjiani Standup Monologue”

One of SNL‘s best monologues in recent memory. This excerpt from an interview with The New Yorker in May sums up the evolution of Nanjiani’s cultural comedy style:

Then came 9/11. “Suddenly, Islam was the elephant in the room,” he continued. “I just thought, O.K., I’m brown, I speak with an accent—I have to at least bring it up.” He began opening his sets by saying, “Don’t worry, I’m one of the good ones,” which put some audiences at ease. Other times, he was interrupted by someone shouting “Go home!” or “Go back to the Taliban!” Recalling one heckler, at a club in Milwaukee, Nanjiani said, “The room got so quiet and awkward. I fumbled around with words and tried to ignore it. It made the audience pity me, which is not a good look for comedy. After that, I came up with something to say—I realized it doesn’t have to be a perfect line, just something to show the audience that you’re still in control.” The next time he was heckled, he responded, “That guy’s right. I am a terrorist. I just do standup comedy on the side, to keep a low profile.”

“Bank Breakers”

The stakes of winning this game show are too high and might cost you your soul, ya jerk.

“Customer Service”

A taste of Nanjiani’s occasionally bizarre sense of humor that doesn’t hit you over the head with SNL‘s usual gross-out humor.

“Nursing Home”

It’s a one-note joke, but Kate McKinnon mugs it for all it’s worth.

“Film Panel”

There’s always a lot of Will Ferrell’s Harry Caray impression in McKinnon’s senior characters like DeBette Goldry. The Harvey Weinstein scandal is at the center of the sketch.

“Office Halloween Party”

Another one-and-done, but the strangeness of it leaves me wanting to know more about this little cast of characters.


A silly recreation of the It remake’s opening scene, ferocious jaws and all.

“Weekend Update”

Michael Che on Weinstein: “I mean, he looks like chewed bubblegum rolled in cat hair.”

The Worst

“Donald Trump Trucker Rally Cold Open”

A necessary cold open, but a total drag.

“Hotel Check-In”

If they renamed the nine circles of hell the Star Gazer Lounge.

Musical Guest: Pink

“What About Us” and “Beautiful Trauma”