This weekend, Saturday Night Live (hosted by Gal Gadot) chose not to open the show with the usual Trump sketch, instead inviting country musician Jason Aldean to perform a tribute both to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, as well as to Tom Petty. Aldean was playing onstage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the shooting occurred, and his cover of Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”–hearing him sing “And I won’t back down/There ain’t no easy way out/I will stand my ground/And I won’t back down”–makes for a powerful opening. It’s not exactly “tackling” any issues around gun control or gun culture, but it’s, well, it’s not backing down from it either.
— Jason Aldean (@Jason_Aldean) October 3, 2017
Later in the show, Weekend Update had one of their best segments of recent years. To be totally honest, I’m not a big fan of the current anchors. Colin Jost and Michael Che are not two people whose opinions I want on most political or social issues. The smarming and smirking and often toothless takes just aren’t my style. But their segment on Las Vegas and the need for sensible gun laws was fierce and surprisingly on-point, starting from Jost’s opening line discussing the debate “between people who want common-sense gun control and people who are wrong.”
Anyone who’s ever been called a “snowflake” by someone on the internet who thinks criticizing their words is a violation of their First Amendment rights will probably appreciate Che’s bafflement at why it’s so hard to enact gun laws. “Who are these delicate snowflakes that we can’t just tell ‘No, you’re not allowed to have 40 guns?”
They went on to discuss Trump’s awful, embarrassing visit to Puerto Rico, and got a visit from Kate McKinnon’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Pete Davidson also came by to talk about mental health. He was recently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and he’s joking (but also probably not entirely joking) about how depression has affected his work. Talking about mental illness isn’t easy, but it’s important, so thank you, Pete.
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