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Keke Palmer’s Baby Is Already a Star on ‘SNL’

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How charming was Keke Palmer’s pregnancy reveal last night during her Saturday Night Live monologue? Charming enough to wipe clean the memory of one of the more dismal cold opens in memory, in which James Austin Johnson’s Mitch McConnell accent went in and out as he wondered how to solve a problem like Kenan Thompson’s Herschel Walker. Let us follow the joy instead. The first thing anyone is going to notice about Palmer is the light that seems to radiate from her whole being. The cut of her ill-fitting jacket displayed a stunningly ample chest, and one couldn’t help but admire a belly that seemed full from Thanksgiving snacking. 

She began her monologue with a great story about Laurence Fishburne yelling at her for being silly on the set of Akeelah and the Bee and her mother’s objection. “I don’t care if you was in The Matrix, I’ll whoop Morpheus’ ass!” (Think of all the mug shots we might be spared if more parents of child actors were as protective of their babies.) But then Palmer cut to the chase. In a reveal as memorable as Beyonce’s unbuttoning her blazer at the end of “Love on Top” at the MTV VMAs, she addressed all the online rumors about whether she was pregnant. “I want to set the record straight… I am!” she said, whipping that horribly drab blazer open. Reveling in her gorgeous truth, gold belly button piercing glinting under the lights, she wiggled her hips and caressed the future.

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Tabloids take a creepy delight in posting paparazzi photos of pregnant celebrities. The verbiage around the picture captions always describes the expectant mother as “flaunting” or “showing off” her bump, as if leaving the house while pregnant is an act of peacocking. But honey, Palmer was flaunting and showing off that belly last night, taking huge joy in her physical glory. After long dodging the rumors—“Shh, can you all stop, I got a liquor sponsorship on the line!” as she quipped in the monologue—she was ready to set that big belly free. 

In one of the best sketches of the night, she sat in stirrups under a paper gown as her gynecologist tried to make sense of Bowen Yang and Sarah Sherman jumping around on the ultrasound. SNL’s best two weirdos were smoking cigarettes in her uterus, pogo-ing on Palmer’s lost IUDs and ordering McDonald’s fish filet sandwiches. This is the kind of nonsense that makes staying up late at my age worthwhile.

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Palmer’s charisma is legendary at this point, and that coupled with the great news of the evening, was about all that kept the show alive. There was an endless Arby’s sketch, a call-out to Drake’s tingz that didn’t land, a soap opera bit without any bite. I did love the ode to Big Boys now that it’s cuffing season. With a smooth verse from musical guest SZA, Palmer, Cecily StrongEgo Nwodim, and Punkie Johnson serenaded all the male whales out there. “Wind chill is biting but his jacket’s unzipped, he brings in my groceries in just one trip!” rapped Palmer. Tis the season not for a jacked Guardians of the Galaxy Chris Pratt, but Andy Dwyer girth. “If we gonna travel he gonna put me in first class,” crooned Strong. “Because he don’t fit in the back.”

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