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Kanye West Underwhelms on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Delivers Political Rant After Show Ends

"The entire studio fell dead silent," one audience member told Variety.

UPDATED: Kanye West remained onstage after his performance on “Saturday Night Live” tonight and gave a politically themed speech to the audience after the broadcast ended. In reports to Variety and clips captured on social media, he was at times confrontational as he discussed his support for President Trump, his pledge to run for president in 2020, the need for a “dialogue not a diatribe” and other familiar themes similar to his recent statements.

Wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, West said at one point, “So many times I talk to a white person and [they] say, ‘How could you like Trump, he’s racist?’ Well, if I was concerned about racism I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago.” At another, he moves rapidly from topic to topic. “You wanna see the sunken place? Okay, Im’a listen to y’all now. I’ma put my superman cape on, because this means you can’t tell me what to do… You want the world to move forward? Try love.”

The castmembers appeared embarrassed and two performers gently shook their heads in unison as he spoke. The audience was quiet and booed him at least twice. “The entire studio fell dead silent,” one eyewitness told Variety.

West thanked the show for the platform “even though some of y’all don’t agree,” and then began singing, “Try love,” leading the band back into the song as he walked offstage.

Earlier in the rant, he’d said: “They’re laughing at me. You heard them? They screamed at me. They bully me. They bullied me backstage. They said ‘Don’t go out there with that hat on.’ They bullied me backstage. They bullied me.” However, it was unclear who he was referring to.

West was cheerfully tweeting by 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, first retweeting an online photo mashup combining him in the bottle suit with his wife Kim Kardashian’s famous champagne photo session from 2016 and then claiming that Michaels had invited him to host the show later this year.

“Had so much fun at SNL,” he wrote. “Lorne agreed that I would host before the year is out. Need to set a date. Gonna be sooooooooo lit.”

Reps for West, NBC and “Saturday Night Live” declined Variety‘s requests for comment.

It had already been a bumpy evening: West and his accompanists veered between mediocre and bad on the three songs the show generously gave him. In the opening spot, West performed his latest single “I Love It” with Lil Pump. The pair were comically dressed as bottles of Perrier and Fiji water (respectively) that recalled Justin Timberlake’s “Liquorville” skits on the show. While the song’s chorus was self-censored to “You’re such a freaky girl,” it sounded like a few profanities slipped out during the track’s brief two minutes. The costumes were funny, but even many fans of the song agreed that the performance was not strong.

On Sunday, the President tweeted his approval of West’s actions while slamming “SNL.”

“I don’t watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it),” he wrote. “No longer funny, no talent or charm. It is just a political ad for the Dems.”

“Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told ‘no’), was great. He’s leading the charge!” Trump finished.

Most other reactions on social media were merciless.

For the second performance, he was joined by Teyana Taylor for an unreleased song that leaked over the summer (her “K.T.S.E.” was one of the string of five West-produced albums in five weeks that dropped in May and June). The two bounced through the track competently, standing still while the voiceover that ends the song ran for nearly a full minute.

Finally, instead of the show’s usual sendoff — during which the cast and guests wave and chat while the credits roll and house band plays — the cast quickly left the stage to clear room for West, Kid Cudi and 070 Shake for “Ghost Town.” West took the stage wearing his “Make America Great Again” hat, which he hadn’t worn during the earlier performances, and delivered his lines competently, but Cudi was painfully off-key and 070 Shake — who is strong on the album — was uneven. As the credit-roll ended, West was inviting the cast back onstage, and then launched into his speech shortly afterward.

West promised earlier this week that another album, “Yandhi”  — his third of the year, including “Ye” and his “Kids See Ghosts” collaboration with Kid Cudi — would arrive on Saturday night, although it had not appeared on streaming services by noon ET on Sunday.

 

 

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