- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 4, 2018

Retired NBA star and “Inside the NBA” commentator Charles Barkley hosted “Saturday Night Live” this week in an awkward and politically charged episode.

“I’m hosting SNL for the fourth time, for no reason,” Barkley joked in his monologue, though it came from the kernel of truth that he was not on the show to promote anything as actors usually do.

The episode met with mixed reviews from TV critics. The A.V. Club graded it as a “C” for the writers’ ineffective use of Barkley’s limited comedic range, while Fansided argued that Barkley is “so painfully stiff at comedy that it comes across as brilliant.”

Alex Rodriguez made a surprise appearance in one sketch, where he and Barkley played themselves on a sports talk show debating which sport was the toughest to play. The joke was on Kenan Thompson’s character, suffering from early-onset dementia from playing football and saying things like, “The football field is 100 yards long. That’s 100 feet.”

The episode also took aim at the Academy Awards’ place in the #MeToo era with a red-carpet show parody. Barkley’s character, like other harassers in the sketch, was there as a nominee for a fictional award for “Best Non-Apology.”

The material also ranged from a commercial meant to mock the National Rifle Association to a painful dating show parody in which Barkley’s character threatens suicide if he doesn’t win the girl.

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