Carmichael delivered a stellar monologue discussing how America had become exhausted by The Slap discourse. "But SNL proceeded to talk about it anyway, only underscoring how delayed the show’s reaction felt," says Amanda Wicks, adding: "The disjointed episode made Carmichael feel more like a new cast member than a celebrity host. In the night’s most relatable sketch, he played a forgettable contestant on a game show that tested people’s pandemic-era brain power, and in the most outrageous bit, he played a doll maker who sold an unintentionally lewd creation on a wholesome shopping TV channel. When not talking about the Slap, this episode’s sketches largely felt random and unconcerned with giving Carmichael an opportunity to insert his personality. SNL, in other words, played it safe. By putting all its energy into an incident that felt edgy and shocking nearly a week ago, the show just felt stale."
SNL writers left Jerrod Carmichael stranded by some half-baked premises and so-so writing: "Honestly, Carmichael was very good in sketches," says Dennis Perkins. "He was effusive during the goodnights, calling this one of the best weeks of his life, and that really came through, despite some sputtering sketches. Some hosts are just engaged. They listen when they’re not delivering their lines, and that’s awfully endearing. Shame, then, that when it came time for SNL to wheel out its own take on the Oscars kerfuffle, he was reduced to playing straight man to a big heap of nothing."
The thing about Carmichael as a host ended up actually being the thing with Carmichael as the lead on NBC's The Carmichael Show: "While he has stage presence and can perform live in front of an audience effortlessly as a stand-up comedian, when it comes to acting in that same live setting, he is no longer the most dynamic person in the room," says LaToya Ferguson. "The only sketches where Carmichael really got to play up a character were in 'Shop TV' and 'Scattering Remains,' and even then, both were low-key and low-energy — in a way that was necessary to the comedy of the sketch. But in general, Carmichael could’ve been replaced with anyone else in any of the sketches he was in and they would have been exactly the same."