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“I’m also surprised to see myself here,” Kim Kardashian West said during her “Saturday Night Live” monologue this weekend.

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In fact, many were. Who would have known that she would be one of the best presenters in the recent history of the show?

After last week’s tepid season 47 premiere, which was the lowest rated episode in the show’s history, “SNL” was stalling before it got off to a serious start. Part of the problem was that the show seemed to have lost its identity. Unofficially he had branded himself a kind of resistance movement during Donald Trump’s presidency. Despite, or perhaps because of, his weekly celebrity cameo conveyor belt, led by the grueling Trump impersonation of Alec Baldwin, reached a record number of viewers in 2017.

Without Trump, the show has felt aimless, especially given the care with which it avoids mocking the current administration.

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Before the last episode, some critics made it clear that they did not believe that Kardashian West had what it takes to turn things around.

“Why Kim Kardashian? I mean, I know she’s a cultural icon, but ‘SNL’ has hosts, generally speaking, who are artists who are there to promote a movie, TV show, or album release. Am I missing something? “Said actress Debra Messing in a viral tweet. (Let’s overlook the fact that past hosts have included Silicon Valley athletes, politicians, executives and models).

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It turns out that Kardashian West was the defibrillator the show needed.

The key to being a great host, especially for those who are not prone to stage performance, is being up for anything. (See Peyton Manning cursing children and throwing soccer balls at them as an example.) From the moment his monologue began, which was essentially a four-minute car-roast, it was clear that he had come to play.

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Nothing, it seemed, was off limits.

At all times, he points to his sex tape (“I haven’t had a movie premiere in a long time”); her family (“I am much more than that reference photo my sisters showed their plastic surgeons”); his father’s participation in the OJ Simpson trial (“It is because of him that I met my first black person. Do you want to prove who he was?”); his father’s involvement in the OJ Simpson trial again (“I know it’s a bit strange to remember the first black person you met, but OJ leaves a mark. Or several. Or none. I don’t know yet”). ; and his troubled relationship with Kanye West (“When I divorced him, you should know that it came down to just one thing: his personality”).

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The episode followed that wide shot for most of the sketches Kardashian West appeared in. One used the Disney movie “Aladdin” to poke fun at her love life. Like Jasmine, he tells a self-conscious Aladdin, “I guess I dated some athletes and some rappers, and I dated the king of Uganda for a while, and that was crazy.” Another joked about her modeling company Skims, envisioning a new product called Skims for Thick Dogs. It’s “the only product on the market that will comfortably accentuate your dog’s curves, no matter how thick that butt is,” he says. (The sketch also includes a series of real puppies, which is always welcome on “SNL.”)

The best sketch of the night, however, was one filled with celebrity cameos. The show has long been criticized, including by this writer, for its over-reliance on such appearances, but Kardashian West’s sketch for “The Dream Guy” turned the gimmick upside down by barely recognizing them, treating them as props and finials while focus is maintained. about her and (to hilarious effect) Kyle Mooney.

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The riff to “The Bachelorette” finds Kardashian West choosing which guys to follow on the show and which ones to send home. Contestants include Chris Rock, NBA player Blake Griffin, John Cena, actors Chace Crawford and Jesse Williams, actual “Bachelorette” contestant Tyler Cameron, the aforementioned Mooney, and, in a surprise twist, Amy Schumer.

One by one, he goes over the contestants and explains his decision. “Your behavior at the barbecue luau was unforgivable. But you’re also a six-time NBA All-Star, and that intrigues me, “he tells Griffin, before giving him a token to stay.

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“Thanks for letting me watch your nine HBO specials and the new one on Netflix, while you sat next to me and mouthed all the words,” she tells Rock, before inviting him to stay as well.

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What makes the sketch work is how little the men say. Usually “SNL” tries to milk their celebrity guests to the point where the joke that they’re there gets boring. This time, however, his mere presence is the joke. Although it may seem counterintuitive, having Chris Rock and giving him 10 words of dialogue is a pretty brave comedic choice. Having the focus on Kardashian West’s relationship with Mooney and his issues with Cena (“I don’t love that you have a wife”) is downright brave.

The episode proved, once again, that a truly committed and energetic host can put together a good show and can clearly inspire writers to put out their best material.

Messing was right about one thing: Kardashian West wasn’t there to “promote a movie, TV show, or album release.”

She was there to host “SNL” and that’s why it worked.

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