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T'Challa tries to conquer the cultural divide on SNL's Black Jeopardy

Leslie Jones, Chris Redd, Chadwick Boseman
Screenshot: Saturday Night Live

On last night’s Saturday Night Live, it was inevitable that host Chadwick Boseman would have a lot of Black Panther stuff thrown at him. His monologue even teased SNL’s, let’s call it inconsistent, history of host-centric hot-button sketch work. (Thankfully, morning show Wake Up, Wakanda remains unproduced.) As it turned out, there were a couple of genuinely clever Black Panther-centric sketches on the show, with the biggest hit being the unlikely appearance of the film’s fictional monarch/superhero on the recurring sketch Black Jeopardy.

With Boseman reprising his kingly role opposite American contestants Chris Redd and Leslie Jones, T’Challa at first found himself at sea. After all, coming from a nation where college is free, technological wonders abound, and the all-black inhabitants live unencumbered by colonizing racism, the monarch was unequipped to chime in on questions about dodging student loan collectors, airline baggage fees, and working around bad credit. He gave it a shot, being the intrepid soul he is, but even though Kenan Thompson’s game show host conceded that T’Challa’s utopian responses about equally applied justice, respect for the elderly, and mutual societal respect were preferable, he also noted they were, in the America of Black Jeopardy, not applicable. Still, in addition to his bravery, T’Challa is a wise man, so he finally twigged to the vibe of the game, winning big with an answer about a white friend’s watery potato salad that managed to, in Boseman’s purring Black Panther accent, hilariously bridge both worlds with old school Wakandan wisdom.


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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.