It is not really easy for Saturday Night Live casts to step into impersonations which have been made popular by someone else. We have a Darryl Hammond Bill Clinton who equals the late Phil Hartman, but we get Will Forte‘s passive-aggressive take on George W. Bush followed by Will Ferrell. When the show busts out a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-ish sketch, it is rather scary because Will Smith was Jay Pharoah‘s regular go-to impersonation.
While Pharoah had focused on the contemporary-day, talk-show version of Smith, Chris Redd is very good as a younger model. He is blessed with good writing in last night’s sketch, which takes the premise of the sitcom to its conclusion and beyond.
Uncle Phil and Carlton would be toast if Will’s enemies do show up in L.A., and having the Method Man play the leader of the gang is a really nice touch, recalling the tension which was there between the real-life rapper, Will Smith and the hardcore gangster who had followed him into the limelight. Things get crazy with Jessica Chastain (host) as an agent, the involvement of Yakuza, and a twist to the ending which is a heartbreaker.
And all along, Redd simply nails the Fresh Prince’s rapping and the period detail is really spot on that parents will understand.