Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Dave Chappelle on SNL looks to make what’s left of America laugh

Dave Chappelle (Screenshot: Comedy Central)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12. All times are Eastern.

Top picks

Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m., Saturday): Even before the result of the presidential election became known on Tuesday, the announcement that esteemed standup and sketch legend Dave Chappelle was going to host SNL this week was a big deal. (And that’s not including the fact that the remaining members of A Tribe Called Quest are the musical guest.) For one thing, Chappelle hasn’t done this high-profile of a gig since abruptly quitting Chappelle’s Show a decade ago. And, for another, the ever-unpredictable Chappelle has joked about there being a betting pool about whether he’ll actually show up on Saturday. (From the teaser trailer below, it appears he’s been in Studio 8H at least.) Then there was his recent, typically controversial standup appearance (partly defending Donald Trump), and the fact that, for all the fun we’ve had watching Alec Baldwin and company mock Trump, the stain of the show’s decision to let Trump host last year still haunts it. If there were ever a time for Saturday Night Live to prove itself a viable vehicle for political satire again, this is it. No comic in recent memory has tackled the racial divide in this country more insightfully and outrageously than Chappelle, making what was already a much-anticipated TV event closer to something unmissable.

True Memoirs Of An International Assassin (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Kevin James follows fellow grown-up and pal Adam Sandler to Netflix, which will premiere this action comedy today. In the film—which in no way resembles the Paul Blart movies, so save it—James plays a mild-mannered novelist who finds himself a-bumbling in the jungle when his spy novel is published as non-fiction and he’s forced to fight terrorists and Andy Garcia and so forth. See? People think writing is a no-risk gig.


Below The Belt With Kevin Heffernan & Steve Lemme (Comedy Central, 11:59 p.m., Friday): Former and future Super Troopers Heffernan and Lemme (that’s Farva and Mac to those in the know) premiere their standup special of comedy and audience interaction, bringing up audience members to ask them questions about the entire Broken Lizard cinematic oeuvre. First up: “So, did you guys just kick back and think ‘mission accomplished’ after Super Troopers? Followup: Will you start trying again sometime soon?”

Premieres and finales

Red Oaks (Amazon, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Executive producers David Gordon Green and Steven Soderbergh’s 1980s-set coming-of-age series returns for a second season of heartfelt dramedy. Craig Roberts’ undergrad would-be filmmaker returns to work at the ritzy Red Oaks country club, questioning his career plan, his romantic life, and how to cope with his parents’ separation. The great cast (Paul Reiser, Richard Kind, Jennifer Grey, Gage Golightly, Alexandra Socha) all return, as does Molly Eichel, who’ll drop in with her pre-air review.

The Warfighters (History, 8 p.m., Friday): For Veterans Day, solemnly binge the first four episodes of this perhaps redundantly named military documentary series from executive producer Peter Berg about the anti-terrorism missions of The United States Special Operations Forces.

Payday (Viceland, 9 p.m., Friday): Viceland’s new documentary series follows a different city’s worth of overeducated, underemployed twentysomethings as they navigate the job market and pursue their dreams. Sadly, there does not appear to be a lazy, overused nickname for such people.

The Killing Season (A&E, 9 p.m., Saturday): This new miniseries from the makers of the creepy real-crime documentary Cropsey takes on the Long Island Serial Killer, a serial murderer of sex workers who may or may not be active, or exist, or be right outside your window. In his pre-air review, Noel Murray said this might just be your newest true-crime obsession after Making A Murderer and The Jinx, even if the series is often torn between the creators’ warring altruistic and sensationalistic impulses.


Regular coverage

The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m., Friday)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW, 9 p.m., Friday)

The Exorcist (Fox, 9 p.m., Friday)

Z Nation (Syfy, 9 p.m., Friday)

Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 & 11:30 p.m., Friday)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday)

Streaming pick

Chappelle’s Show (Hulu, Amazon): There is not a bad time to revisit Dave Chappelle’s classic sketch show. But this week’s SNL makes it the perfect time to revisit Dave Chappelle’s classic sketch show.


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