HBO’s House of the Dragon took the note that its predecessor, Game of Thrones, had diversity issues. There are a lot more Black faces in the cast this time around. But for those who say that the show still isn’t Black enough, Dave Chappelle — who hosted Saturday Night Live this week — has you covered.
The sketch starts as a simple parody of HotD: Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen (Chloe Fineman and Michael Longfellow, respectively) point out the thing about everybody’s name sounding the same and the positively exhausting amount of incest in the show. Kenan Thompson enters as Corlys Velaryon and notes how comfortable all of the Black people on the show are with boats and the ocean — decidedly not a thing in American Black culture. (Y’know, on account of all the slavery and the Middle Passage?)
About halfway through the sketch, though, things start going sideways. Silky Johnson and Beautiful (Chappelle and Donnell Rawlings) — recurring characters from Chappelle’s Show faux documentary, The Player Haters’ Ball — enter to trash talk the entire court. That includes Light-Skin Larry Targaryen (a cameo by Ice-T who sadly, since it’s a filmed sketch, doesn’t show up to say goodbye at the end of the show). Two more of Chappelle’s Show‘s best — the crack addict Tyrone Biggums and the funk icon Rick James (both played by Chappelle) — also make an appearance before they all fly off on dragons. Tyrone using High Valyrian to light his pipe is great, but could they not afford CGI of James slapping a dragon? Probably not, but hopefully someone at least pitched it in the writers’ room.
It’s interesting to feel how SNL changes when Chappelle hosts. There are few people able to reshape the show around them when they host. Is there anyone else Lorne Michaels would let introduce sketches the way Chappelle does? There are certainly “white cringe” sketches when other people host, but three (Potato Hole, Heaven Scene and Barber Shop Talk) in a night? Possibly only Steve Martin and John Mulaney still have that creative weight to throw around.
Elsewhere in the episode, Chappelle targeted Kanye West and antisemitism in his monologue, and the show announced its upcoming host for Dec. 3.
So what did you think about Chappelle’s third stint as host? Grade the episode below, then drop some comments.