Now with $1 billion in the bank worldwide, you knew that there was no way Saturday Night Live wasn't going to do a Black Panther themed sketch last night. The blockbuster is the talk of the town and the chances were only increased with Sterling K. Brown as host. Brown has a role in Black Panther, the specifics of which I won't spoil here, but rest assured that Brown is predictably very good. The This Is Us star suited up as a different character in a "deleted scene" from Black Panther, in which T'Challa meets some...unique family members in the spirit realm.
In Saturday Night Live's Black Panther sketch, T'Challa (Chris Redd) journeys to Djalia, the purple-skied spirit realm that hosts the souls of all the previous Black Panthers. However, as T'Challa' great-great-grandfather (Sterling K. Brown) and great aunt (Leslie Jones) explain, the souls of all members of their family rest in the spirit realm -- even the ones who married into it. Enter Uncle M'Butu (Kenan Thompson), grilling up some lion cheeseburgers and warning of the dangers of swamp mouth. M'Butu married into the family, which is why he gets to live out eternity in the spirit realm. He was married to a member of the Dora Milaje but ended up in Djalia after asking her if she could grow some hair because he was "sick of making love to Michael Jordan."
It's a very funny concept that never really manages to take off, but it is always amusing to watch Kenan Thompson play a well-meaning but annoying A-hole. His Uncle M'Butu is just trying to score a little weed in heaven or even just some vibranium. He needs it! Everyone else gets to ride a war rhino but he's stuck on an ostrich. Plus, his spirit animal is a warthog while everyone else in a panther. They are all going to hunt him as soon as T'Challa leaves!
Also, kudos to Sterling K. Brown and co. for keeping it together as much as they did in the sketch. They came this close to breaking after Thompson started shouting the opening to "The Circle of Life" from Lion King to his lion burger ("it's the good stuff"), but they held themselves together. That's a good way of summing up Brown as a host. He's a great actor and it showed throughout the rest of the night as he brought an extra dimension to each sketch.