Megan Thee Stallion’s meteoric rise has been a blast to watch. Just a few years ago, the Houstonian was an aspiring Soundcloud rapper auditioning for reality TV gigs in between taking classes at Texas Southern University. Now she’s an above-the-fold headliner at music festivals around the world—and famous enough to join the limited ranks of performers who’ve pulled double duty as both musical guests and hosts of Saturday Night Live.
It’s been clear for some time that music stardom was only the start of Megan’s ambitions. Since blowing up, she’s signed a first-look deal with Netflix, completed her degree, and launched a mental health–resource website. She’s starred in a movie for the ultrahip independent film studio A24 (F—ing Identical Twins, in postproduction) and made guest appearances on Starz’s P-Valley and Marvel’s She-Hulk. In both, her performances were little more than cameos, making her SNL debut the most substantive opportunity we’ve had to get an answer to a key question about anyone who is so determined to be a major player in entertainment: Is Megan Thee Stallion funny?
Her opening monologue was an inauspicious start. She was charming and likable, as she usually is, with a little more humility and some clear nerves that made her relatable, but there weren’t really any jokes in it, so she wasn’t particularly funny. It was more like an Instagram Live spot than a comedy monologue. This isn’t unusual for celebrity hosts whose comedic talents are uncertain (say, athletes, musicians, or politicians)—often, the show seems to consider getting them on and off the stage without embarrassing themselves to be a win unto itself. Megan certainly did that, but there were no real clues to be found regarding whether or not she’s actually funny.
Her first sketch, “Hot Girl Hospital,” was clearly tailored to the persona of the author of “Hot Girl Summer,” which is a time-honored tradition for the show when the host’s comedic chops have yet to be determined. Whether or not Megan herself is funny, you’ll at least get the chance to laugh with her as she splits the difference between H-Town Hottie and health-care administrator (which is the subject of her recently completed degree). And she mostly acquits herself well in this one—she gets to deliver the best line in the sketch (“Good luck to that baby”) and displays a knack for deadpan delivery. The sketch is long and doesn’t totally track, but Megan’s definitely not the weakest part of it, which is a win. Maybe she is funny!
That sketch was followed by a musical bit, in which Megan and cast members Ego Nwodim and Bowen Yang rapped a narrative about being plus-ones who were stuck hanging out together. It’s kind of a belabored setup? But it’s also a layup for the rapper, and Nwodim and Yang—two of the funniest cast members the show has—provide strong support, so the sketch mostly hangs together. Again, the show gives Megan the best line here, when she awkwardly asks “So, uh, what’s y’all’s . . . trauma?” It’s still unclear how funny she is in a vacuum, but she can deliver a line.
In other sketches, she mostly played support. She backed up Kenan Thompson in a random one about a deer; she accompanied Nwodim in a parody of nineties inner-city school dramas for some reason; and she was one of the faces floating by in a fake PSA about women without boyfriends. Those weren’t particularly good sketches, and Megan was—again—neither the worst thing about them nor in a position to elevate them beyond the material she had to work with. In other places, the material outright failed her, as in a bizarre sketch in which she played a workout instructor, mostly to set up a contrast between her body and those of two of the cast members. She wasn’t funny in it, but neither was anybody else.
Perhaps the most useful sketch for determining how funny Megan Thee Stallion is was “Girl Talk,” an Ego Nwodim showcase (she was the real star of the episode), which was mostly a filmed improv-class exercise in which everyone has to carry a narrative by delivering one word (“Girl . . .”) and letting inflection and eyebrows do the rest of the work. Good news! She’s funny in this one, delivering the line with good timing and some nods to physical comedy, like the way she pauses to adjust her wig. This isn’t A-plus SNL material, but Megan is as funny as the cast members in the sketch, which is a win for a guest host who hasn’t really acted before.
It’s hard to know from this episode whether Megan Thee Stallion is actually funny or not. Throughout most of the episode, she brings her natural charisma (which no one should have doubted) and lets that play off the cast, while she is rarely given the opportunity to carry a sketch herself. It’s possible that the SNL team, during the week of rehearsals, scaled back their ambitions for Megan’s sketches to match her talent—but it’s also possible that the sketches they brought to this episode were just mostly B-level material (no one could have salvaged the deer sketch), and Megan might be funnier than this episode lets her be.
Regardless, it seems likely that we’ll see Megan try her hand at comedy again. She’s dabbled with it in her music videos (watch her torment a poor senator in “Thot S—”!), and she taught She-Hulk how to twerk. She seemed to enjoy herself during SNL, and she was invested in the episode, never breaking character or mugging for the camera. Is she actually funny? It’s inconclusive, but given how successful she is at everything else she tries, we will assume that if she decides to take comedy seriously, she’ll probably end up being pretty great at it.