Look, it’s not easy being a child actor. But if you make it through the gauntlet of burnout, narcissist parents, parasitic agents and drugs, what you have is a finely-tuned machine built to entertain. Think Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, but for film and television. That’s what this week’s Saturday Night Live guest host is: a machine. Keke Palmer can act, she can sing and — most importantly for this 90 minutes of live television — she can do sketch comedy.
For “Big Boys,” not only does Palmer have to match comedy chops with cast members Ego Nwodim, Punkie Johnson and Cecily Strong (who, lest we forget, stars in the stellar musical comedy series Schmigadoon!); she’s also got to keep up with musical guest SZA, who provides the song’s hook. And that she does. From her Nikki Minaj-esque verse to her scenelet with Johnson defending her love of women while also wanting to occasionally be the little spoon, Palmer delivers as one of the strongest hosts of the season.
SNL has this kind of R&B music parody down to a science. These music videos are always winners because the music is solid even before they add the jokes in the lyrics. Layered on top of that are the visual references that send up the genre, as well as quick sight gags that are often missed the first time around. The poster of shredded Star Lord Chris Pratt covered over by a poster of doughy Parks and Recreation Pratt is easy to spot, but did you catch the flash of a cartoon Garfield over the refrigerated lasagna?
Obviously, this song is going to get shared by every plus-size gentleman you know. But not because they need the love. No, it’s because of the very spot-on jokes about shorts in the winter and sleep apnea. Everybody throw your CPAPs in the air and wave ’em like you just don’t care!
So how did Palmer fare on Saturday? Grade the episode below, then sound off in the comments.