American socialite, model, and businesswoman Kim Kardashian West opened her hosting stint on “Saturday Night Live” with a rapid-fire string of edgy jokes about herself, family, including a nod to her father’s history of defending accused double-murderer O.J. Simpson.
Wearing a bright pink bodysuit, Kardashian West made a reference to her late father, attorney Robert Kardashian, who was a close friend of Simpson.
She noted that her father introduced her to the first Black person that she ever met. “Want to take a stab in the dark at who it was?” she said with a grin. She addressed Simpson’s sordid history of being accused of the brutal stabbing deaths of his ex-wife and her friend, Yahoo news reports.
Having known Simpson “does leave a mark,” she said. “Or several. Or none at all. I still don’t know.”
Simpson, the former NFL great, was acquitted of murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1995.
During the episode, Chris Rock, WWE star John Cena and Kardashian West’s mother, Kris Jenner, were among the surprise guest appearances.
Kardashian West, who has filed for divorce from hip hop superstar Kanye West after seven years of marriage, recently wrapped her 15-year run on E!’s reality series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” She took aim head-on at the question of why she would host the NBC late-night institution at a time when she is between big TV projects.
She even gave a nod to the initial source of her notoriety of being featured in a sex tape that made the rounds in the mid-2000s. She took a shot at her mother’s reputation as a relentless manager and marketer of her family.
“I haven’t had a movie premiere in a really long time,” she said with a knowing wink to the sex tape: “No one even told me it was premiering. It must’ve slipped my mom’s mind.”
Kardashian West joked about trying to be taken seriously as a person rather than a sex symbol. Hosting “SNL” is an opportunity for her to show that she’s “so much more than just a pretty face. And good hair, and great makeup, and great boobs and a perfect butt,” she said. “I’m so much more than the reference photos that my sisters showed their plastic surgeons.”
The social media maven joked about her mother’s fondness for giving her daughter’s names that start with the letter K: Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie and Kendall. She conceded that she was lucky not to have been a “Karen” given the negative connotation that the name has these days.
“I don’t know how she saw that one coming and not Caitlyn,” she said, a sly reference to her former stepmother, Caitlyn Jenner. Kardashian West pretended that she was announcing a run for president like her estranged husband did last year, and like Caitlyn Jenner, who mounted a failed bid for California governor earlier this year during the state’s failed gubernatorial recall election.
“We can’t have three failed politicians in one family,” Kardashian West said.
She closed her brief monologue by addressing the elephant on stage, her impending split from West.
“I married the best rapper of all time,” she said, to big applause. “The richest Black man in America, a talented legit genius who gave me four incredible kids. When I divorce him you have to know it came down to one thing: his personality.”
Kardashian West was not part of the show’s cold open, which skewered the spectacle of elderly Senators in Congress grilling the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen (played by Heidi Gardner) who made headlines this past week with allegations of malfeasance within the operations of social media giant. “SNL” veteran Aidy Bryant played Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Cecily Strong played an out-of-touch Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.
After the monologue, Kardashian West appeared in an “Aladdin”-themed flying carpet sketch with Pete Davidson. That was followed by a bit with Kardashian West as the star of a “Bachelorette”-type dating show (“The Dream Guy”) where she potential mates included Rock, Cena, Chace Crawford of HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl” revival, comedian Amy Schumer, “Grey’s Anatomy” alum Jesse Williams and NBA star Blake Griffin.
Kardashian West and Bryant faced off again in a sketch that featured the two trading lives for 24 hours, which included the cameo from Kris Jenner to shake her real daughter out of her daydream. “Thanks mom, I can’t believe I slept with Aidy’s husband,” she said.
The episode’s musical guest, Halsey, echoed the host’s sartorial style with a form-fitting leather bodysuit. She performed her new release “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power.”
In the show’s final half-hour, Kardashian West took aim at her younger sister Kourtney’s image for hosting reality TV shows. “The People’s Kourt” featured Kardashian West as a TV judge and it included a cameo from another sister, Khloe, as a defendant. And Kris Jenner was also back to press charges against her younger daughter, Kendall Jenner, for having “no drama.”
The court show sketch including another eyebrow-raising reference to Simpson. “SNL” veteran Kenan Thompson appeared as Simpson as a defendant wearing a pink polo shirt and telling the judge, “I was a friend of your father’s.”
Halsey appeared for a second time in the final 10 minutes to perform “Darling,” this time she was accompanied by Lindsey Buckingham on acoustic guitar.
In the closing shot, Kris Jenner and Khloe Kardashian stood with Kardashian West along with the cast (some wearing masks) on the “SNL” stage as the host bid farewell (after changing into another hot pink bodysuit). She offered her thanks to her mother and sister for their support.
“And thank you to Kanye and the rest of my family for being such good sports,” Kardashian West added.