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April 02, 2023

'Abbott Elementary' star Quinta Brunson makes 'Saturday Night Live' hosting debut

The Philadelphia native discussed her successful sitcom and praised real-life teachers during the April Fools' Day episode, which also poked fun at last weekend's Delaware River chemical spill

Entertainment Saturday Night Live
quinta brunson SNL Saturday Night Live/Youtube

Brunson made her "Saturday Night Live" hosting debut on April 1, alongside musical guest Lil Yachty, in an episode that included hilarious sketches, praise for teachers and even a joke about Philadelphia's water situation.

This weekend, Philadelphia native and "Abbott Elementary" creator Quinta Brunson proved she could command a live studio audience just as well as a fictional classroom full of students.

Brunson made her "Saturday Night Live" hosting debut on April 1, alongside musical guest Lil Yachty, in an episode that included hilarious sketches and even a joke about Philadelphia's water situation.

During her monologue, Brunson kicked off the evening with quips about her Emmy Award-winning ABC comedy, taking a jab at a fellow sitcom in the process.

“It’s a network sitcom like, say, 'Friends,'” Brunson said of "Abbott Elementary." “Except, instead of being about a group of friends, it’s about a group of teachers. Instead of New York, it’s in Philadelphia and instead of not having Black people, it does.”

Brunson also discussed her mother's work as a teacher, which inspired "Abbott Elementary," and the fact that viewers often place high expectations on Brunson to be able to solve issues in America's actual public school system.

Former President Barack Obama made a surprise cameo, when Brunson shared a video they recorded together for her mother.

"Hi, I'm with your daughter here and we're so proud of her," Obama said in a pre-recorded video. "But we're really proud of you, not only because you're obviously a great mom but because you are a teacher. Most important job there is."

To end the monologue, Brunson expressed praise, admiration and advocacy for teachers.

“Please, remember how important teachers are,” Brunson said. “Acknowledge the work they do every day and for the love of God, pay them the money they deserve.”

Later in the episode, during the "Weekend Update" segment — which included an April Fools' Day prank by Michael Che on his co-host Colin Jost — Che made a joke that surely hit close to home for Philly area residents.

"After a recent chemical spill in the Delaware River, Philadelphia officials say Philadelphia's drinking water is finally safe... Unless it's being handed to you by this Philadelphian," Che said, as a picture of defamed ex-comedian Bill Cosby popped up on the screen.

Other sketches starring Brunson centered on a road rage incident, drug dealers getting competitive in a club bathroom, bosses harassing a new employee, three friends attempting to vlog the finest eats of NYC and a "bridesmaid cult documentary" poking fun at the process of being involved in a wedding party.

The SNL hosting gig continues Brunson's meteoric rise launched by beloved Philadelphia-set sitcom "Abbott Elementary," which has earned or been nominated for nearly all of TV's most prestigious awards as well as achieving record-high viewership for ABC. "Abbott Elementary," already renewed for a third season, is currently airing its second season Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

Brunson's SNL episode can be streamed now on PeacockThe next new episode, hosted by Molly Shannon with the Jonas Brothers as musical guests, will air April 8 at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.

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