Naperville’s own Chris Redd scored some respectable screen time on his first episode of “Saturday Night Live,” which wasn’t the case for the show’s other, greener new Chicagoan.
While lacking any showcase moments, Redd turned up in several supporting roles, the kind of work typically afforded to an “SNL” newbie.
His first sketch was a pretaped commercial parody for a billowy new line of Levi’s designed to be universal, with no concessions to gender, age or size. “Defining somebody by their style? That’s offensive,” said Redd, playing one of several highly principled hipsters modeling the hideous jeans.
Later, Redd and Heidi Gardner, another newcomer, played diners gushing about the fancy Italian cuisine they just enjoyed, only to learn they were served Pizza Hut fare for a commercial. But the focus was on Cecily Strong and host Ryan Gosling, as a couple supremely offended by the ruse.
And in an esoteric short film starring Gosling as a guy obsessed with the “Avatar” logo font, Redd played the friend trying to talk sense into him.
Redd, a stand-up comic and rapper, arrived on the job with some solid movie and TV credits behind him, unlike Luke Null, whose resume up until Saturday was heavy on stage and online work.
Though he didn’t turn up in any sketches, Null gave a nod in the opening credits to his comedic specialty, musical humor, by miming hitting a high note as a pianist plays. And in the goodnights at show’s end, the show’s resident superstar herself, recent Emmy winner Kate McKinnon, could be seen dragging Null onto the stage for a moment in the spotlight.
Meanwhile, North Shore native Alex Moffat commenced his sophomore season on the show by reprising his Weekend Update character known as the Guy Who Just Bought a Boat, an insufferable preppy joined this week by Gosling as his equally insufferable cousin.
It was a fairly unremarkable launch for the show’s 43rd season, distinguished mainly by Gosling’s inability to keep a straight face. In his opening monologue, playing off a common criticism of his star turn last year on “La La Land,” Gosling gloated that he singlehandedly saved jazz, despite evidence to the contrary from Kenan Thompson, “La La” co-star Emma Stone (in a cameo) and his own inability to play the piano.
The episode began as so many did last season, with Alec Baldwin trotting out his Donald Trump impression. McKinnon was especially eerie as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Moffat debuted his take on Trump frenemy Chuck Schumer.
Live episodes continue next week with the hosting debut of “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, joined by musical guest Sam Smith.