Dave Chapelle hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time this weekend, and had his work cut out for him following the hotly-contested presidential election on Tuesday, which saw Republican nominee Donald Trump defeating Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, despite Clinton winning the popular vote.
After an opening sketch which simply featured Kate McKinnon in character as Clinton singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” Chappelle wasted no time addressing the election in his opening monologue, announcing that he “didn’t know” Trump was going to win the election, but admitting that he “did suspect it.”
“Seemed like Hillary was doing well in the polls and yet — I know the whites,” Chappelle quipped. “You guys aren’t as full of surprises as you used to be…. America’s done it. We’ve actually elected an internet troll as our president.”
The legendary stand-up comedian also opened up about watching protests unfold in cities across the country following the election and the prospects of a Trump presidency, but ended his monologue with a hopeful message, recalling attending a BET-sponsored party at the White House recently, where “everybody in there was black. Except for Bradley Cooper, for some reason.”
“I saw how happy everybody was, these people who had been historically disenfranchised,” Chappelle remembered. “It made me feel hopeful and it made me feel proud to be an American and it made me very happy about the prospects of our country. So, in that spirit, I’m wishing Donald Trump luck. And I’m going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one too.”
The political themes continued in the next sketch of the evening, an election party in which a group of optimistic white Clinton supporters continue to talk themselves out of increasingly dire returns — which includes prematurely toasting to Ohio and the “Latino” voters of Florida — as Chappelle’s character cautions against their bravado warning, “Don’t forget, it’s a big country.”
“Of course he won Kentucky, that’s where the racists are,” Beck Bennett’s character observes, as the night winds on.
“All of them are in Kentucky?” Chappelle shoots back.
The sketch also included a cameo from SNL alum Chris Rock, who dropped in to laugh at the group’s continued shock as the electoral map filled with red.
“Black people vote late!” Cecily Strong announces hopefully, out of nowhere.
“Yeah, let’s hope there’s 100,000 of us in Green Bay. Yo, brothers love the Packers!” Rock quips, feigning shock as the group finally comes to a realization: “I think America is racist.”
“You know, I remember my great-grandfather told me something like that,” Chappelle recalls, bursting out in laughter at Bennett’s declaration that the election results are “the most shameful thing America’s ever done.”
For SNL’s first pre-taped sketch of the night, Chappelle threw it back to his Comedy Central roots, coming onstage with a mic in hand to introduce the sketch, which featured the funnyman dressed as Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Walking Dead villain, Negan, killing off old Chappelle Show characters with his signature barbed wire-wrapped bat.
Despite claiming in his introduction that he initially hadn’t planned to do any of his old characters, Chappelle fell easily back into his hilarious portrayals of crack addict Tyrone Biggums, Player Hater of the Year 2002 Silky Johnson, white newscaster Chuck Taylor, rapper Lil’ Jon and blind black white supremacist Clayton Bigsby, who now dons a red “Make America Great Again” cap. “It’s Trump’s America now, boy,” Bigsby threatens.
Chappelle’s Negan takes a swing at Biggums, but only succeeds in removing his head, which continues to roll around, just out of bat’s reach, and mock him.
“And that is how we as a nation begin to heal, through laughing together,” Biggums’ disembodied head announced to camera following the sketch, over a bizarre montage of political footage with his face photoshopped onto the bodies of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and more. “Now let’s break out, y’all. I only have two months until they take away my healthcare!”
To see more celeb reactions to the 2016 presidential election, watch the video below.