Saturday Night Live is a nearly 50-year -old institution, a right of passage for stars and musicians, all with projects to push. The series started 2020 with big energy, booking J.J. Watt and RuPaul as back to back hosts. The former brought big football energy to the show, the latter brought big drag energy. It went so far, RuPaul gave Pete Davidson a makeover on SNL in what might have been Mama Ru's biggest challenge to date.
RuPaul's appearance didn't quite have the one-to-one energy of bringing on a star football player the night before the Super Bowl. (The star is many things, but an Oscar nominee isn't one of them.) This may have been Ru's first time on the show, but 30 years in the spotlight makes RuPaul a consummate professional when it comes to hosting. Even if the opening monologue was a bit of obvious cue card reading, by the time the sketches kicked in, it was clear Ru was about to own the entire hour.
At times it felt like the show's material simply couldn't keep up with the guest star. There was no siloing the star either. Ru moved effortlessly from male to female and back again without missing a beat, putting truth to the opening monologue line, "You’re born naked, and the rest is drag."
But one of the funniest bit, hands down, was when Mama Ru meets "Chad," a recurring Pete Davison character, who the glamazon is instantly taken with.
"That face. Those cheekbones. These eyes. There’s something dynamic about you boy." Pete Davison's blank apathetic space that is Chad responds in a slightly bewildered tone: "OK."
Part of the reason this sketch also felt more natural than some is that it was one of the pre taped segments, allowing Ru not to have to worry about the cue cards. it also is a thankfully new spin on the character. Instead of the host being lustfully drawn to Chad for no particular reason, Ru is more fascinated by his potential as "the new face of Drag." Davidson, who has now done this character close to a dozen times, continues to make him work by being so utterly compliant, while also an insufferable cipher.
Cipher is the new Drag? SNL reports, you decide.