I have either run out of things to think and say about the things Kanye West is (presumably) thinking and (definitely) saying or I have exhausted the will to make that effort. I’m not sure which. Either way, the result is the same. MAGA Kanye possesses the intersecting veneers of “fascinating” and “disturbing,” but the one thing he is right now more than anything else is boring.
This realization hit me yesterday when watching a clip of SNL’s cold open for their latest show. I discovered, a few seconds in, that I am more interested in what Chris Redd’s Kanye says and does than what Kanye says and does. And perhaps this is at least partially due to the fact that Chris Redd did the best Kanye impression I’ve ever seen.
Now, for someone like Kanye, who’s been a public figure for almost two decades now—and possesses a voice and mannerisms as distinct as his—I assumed I’d be able to jump on YouTube and find dozens of decent to uncanny impersonations of him. Yet the best I could find was from Jay Pharoah and Jamie Foxx, and they’re both kinda meh. Granted, I didn’t look very hard. But that’s the point. I shouldn’t have to.
Redd, however, nails it. He has Kanye’s mannerisms down. He has Kanye’s conveniently disappearing Chicago accent down. He has the distinct way Kanye’s voice vacillates from a growl to this unnamed thing that always cracks a bit more than you expect it to. (It sometimes reminds me of firewood kindling.) He even gets Kanye’s unique volume right, which is set to “guy who just gave a speech but doesn’t realize his mic is still on.”
The skit itself isn’t one of SNL’s best. The internal monologue device feels lazy, and having serial domestic abuser Jim Brown as the sane voice of reason is, if not quite egregious, irresponsible. Also, they invited Kanye to perform two weeks ago, and they either missed an opportunity to self-critique or just didn’t believe it was necessary. Just watch for Chris Redd. Also, watch so that I can declare you done with all things Kanye for the week. Click and fill your quota!