The 41st season of NBC’s Saturday Night Live is underway, and the women of the cast are going to dominate it. This is one of the strongest female casts SNL has ever seen (giving all glory and honor to the years of Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig, of course). And conditions are extra-favorable for a lady takeover this year.
1. Hillary Clinton appears in the first episode
— People (@people) October 1, 2015
HRC on the first episode of SNL? It’s like Christmas decorations in Walgreens before Halloween — a joyful treat much earlier in the season than expected. Fingers crossed HRC got the message from Black Twitter not to ever whip or nae nae again and will just be doing the classic “sneak up on the cast member dressed like you” bit. Is Clinton getting her appearance in early because she senses that this season of SNL is going to be particularly good? Or is she just trying to escape speaking at a Human Rights Campaign dinner after some embarrassing emails about LGBT policies in her office surfaced? #ConspiracyTheory
2. Vets are the best
There were only two cast changes this season. Jon Rudnitsky, a stand-up comedian, is joining the cast and Kyle Mooney is being promoted to repertory player. SNL is a job that you get better at with time. Playing multiple characters, live, on television, in dozens of different wigs is a rare skill that takes practice. The ladies were the strongest players last season and are all returning as veterans. They’ve had time to get even stronger as individual performers and as a unit.
3. It’s (almost) an election year
This year, the ladies of SNL will be the only women who benefit from the Republican party’s platform. With attacks on Planned Parenthood, immigrant mothers and paid maternity leave (with a side of black voter suppression for Leslie Jones and Sasheer Zamata to tackle), the GOP is laying the groundwork for an amazing season of parody and satire. Not that it’s easy to parody people who already act like mustache-twirling cartoon villains who want to tie America’s uteruses to the proverbial train tracks
4. Best hosts ever
The first three hosts of the season are amazing: Miley Cyrus, Amy Schumer and Tracy Morgan. Say what you want about Cyrus, she’s a great performer and an amazing SNL host. The satire of her musical video “We Can’t Stop” is one of the smartest sketches on SNL this decade. And using her anthem to spoiled, entitled partying to satirize the irresponsibility of the government shutdown proves that Cyrus is in on the joke. Schumer has made feminist comedy into a brand, and her sketch comedy experience should serve her well on the live show. And Morgan is comedy perfection personified; his return to his home turf after his accident should be both emotional and hilarious. All three provide ample opportunities for the cast to shine.
5. Everyone is leveling up
The ladies of SNL didn’t just relax over their hiatus — they took their careers (and their skills) to the next level. Vanessa Bayer appeared in Trainwreck, and Aidy Bryant was in Girls, Documentary Now! and Broad City. Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones both appeared in Ghostbusters and Masterminds, and McKinnon is even making that sweet, sweet, credit card commercial money now. Cecily Strong also appeared in Ghostbusters, as well as Staten Island Summer. And Sasheer Zamata is in the upcoming movie Yoga Hosers. In years past, not a lot of Saturday Night Live players have found success outside of Lorne Michael’s Broadway Video universe. But these ladies are all bona fide stars in their own rights.
6. Ladies are taking over comedy in general
For years, it was nearly impossible to get a female-centered movie or television show made. With the success of movies like Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect and Trainwreck, and TV shows like Broad City, Girls, Inside Amy Schumer, Veep… oops, ran out of space to list them. Let’s just say that anyone who still doubts that women can carry comedy probably isn’t paying attention. Even the man who won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Jeffrey Tambor) won for playing a woman.
7. This. We need more of this