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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s SNL remix of Hamilton’s “My Shot,” annotated

Swapping the room where it happens for Studio 8H works surprisingly well.

Lin-Manuel Miranda hosts Saturday Night Live
Lin-Manuel Miranda hosts Saturday Night Live

Lin-Manuel Miranda — writer, composer, and, until recently, star of the musical Hamilton — hosted Saturday Night Live this week and rocked more than a few theater nerds’ worlds. Lin! We are here for that.

Miranda’s record-breaking (and fairly accurate) Broadway show about the American Founding Father has netted him all sorts of awards and accolades, including a Grammy, a Pulitzer, various Tonys, a MacArthur Genius Grant, and a raving band of admirers, including maybe one or two of us here at Vox.

After a cold open featuring Alec Baldwin as a relentlessly hot-mic’d Donald Trump, Miranda hit the ground running with a monologue calculated to please his fans: an updated take on Hamilton’s big early number My Shot,” with a distinctly SNL (and 2016 election) twist.

And because every good historical document deserves footnotes — and in the spirit of the heavily footnoted Hamilton book, a.k.a. the Hamiltome — here is an annotated transcript of Miranda’s full opening monologue, which started as a standard SNL greeting but escalated quickly into Hamil-head fantasy world.


Lin-Manuel Miranda

I’m Lin-Manuel Miranda, it is so great to be here in New York City! I’m fresh off a long run performing in my musical Hamilton, which fortunately is one of the biggest hits ever on Broadway, so that means most of you watching at home have no idea who I am. But if you get to New York, please come and see Hamilton. It's such a nice escape from all the craziness in our world right now. It's about two famous New York politicians locked in a dirty, ugly, mud-slinging political campaign. Escapism!

Anyway, I can't believe I'm up here right now. When I was just a kid, growing up in Washington Heights, Upper Manhattan, I dreamed about standing right here on this stage. And when I told people I was hosting SNL, they were all, like, "Well, are you going to do a song from Hamilton?"

I was like, "No! It's Saturday Night Live! I want to do all the SNL stuff. I want to do all the stuff an SNL host gets to do!"

You know, it takes seven years (1) to write a show. So I don't know when I'm gonna be back here. So ...

I am not throwin' away my shot (2)
I am not throwin' away my shot
My name is Lin-Manuel
I am hosting SNL
And I am not throwin' away my shot, yeah

I’mma go for broke and do it all tonight
Take a swing, pass a baton, gimme the ball tonight
I got a Tony (3), and an Emmy (4), and a Grammy (5), yo
But what I really want's a famous person cameo (6)

Damn, yo

Imma do a buncha sketches
Sometimes I play the lead (7)
Give you what you need
Got the cue cards for me to read
Yes indeed, tonight, you'll see me at my naughtiest and bawdiest (8)
And now I'm gonna walk into the audience

[He does]

‘Cause I am not throwin' away my shot
I am not throwin' away my shot
It’s my one big chance
To bring on the dance
‘Cause I'm not throwin' away my shot

[The camera follows Miranda backstage]

It's time to take a shot
And, yes, I'm right in my element
Who knew that Hamilton would be so topically relevant (9)
The way these grandstanding candidates be talkin'
They're just a tweet away from facing off in Weehawken (10)

They keep brawlin'
D and RNC keep fallin’
I liked it better when it's Kate McKinnon v. Baldwin (11)

Yeah, and so we thick in the plot
Stirrin' the pot
Tonight I'm finally earning my spot
On this wall, in this hall, and I'm gettin' a piece of it
Like Miley, Schumer, Tracy Morgan, and this piece of... (12)

[Manuel points at the photo of Trump hosting SNL in 2015, crowd erupts]

(Never gonna be president now
Never gonna be president now
Never gonna be president now
Never gonna be) (13)

And I am not throwin' away my shot
I am not throwin' away my shot
And yo, election news cycles
And time with Lorne Michaels (14)
I am not throwin' away my shot

[Michaels walks in, and Miranda nervously bites his fist]

Lorne Michaels

Lin, you having a good time?

Lin-Manuel Miranda

I'm having the time of my life, Lorne.

Lorne Michaels

Great. Any word on those Hamilton tickets? (15)

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Oh, yeah. I'll, I'll see what I can do. No promises, though.

[Miranda starts to walk away nervously]

Lorne Michaels

[Calling after Miranda]

I can do a matinee!

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Yeah.
But seriously, guys, since I was 5,
I decided,
to keep my eyes pried open wide,
Waiting for Saturday Night Live,
Gilda Radner (16), Chevy Chase, insane, inhuman,
the way Don Pardo would say, "Laraine Newman,"
Dana Carvey, Tina Fey, Vanessa Bayer, David Spade (17)
I prayed and stayed up late,
hoping one day they'd say I'd made the grade
Breathe, savor it, oh, man, I swear to God if I'm host I'd make the most of this moment

And I am not throwin’ away my shot
I am not throwin’ away my shot
And as long as I remember to vote this November, (18)
I am not throwin’ away my shot!

We've got a great show! (19)


(1) It took Miranda a long time to write Hamilton, which isn’t incredibly uncommon in the world of musical theater. That process involved a performance at the White House Poetry Jam in 2009 that’s worth watching, especially if you’re already a fan. (The Obamas are big fans, so much that POTUS himself appears in the upcoming PBS documentary Hamilton’s America.)

(2) “My Shot” is the third number in Hamilton, the number that sets precedent for the rest of the titular show, in which a youthful Alexander Hamilton (age 19) meets an also-young Aaron Burr, future vice president of the United States, as well as a few other characters, including the Marquis de Lafayette. It’s an inspiring number that I recommend listening to when you’re on your way to a big job interview.

(3) Miranda has personally won three Tonys in 2016 for his performance, book, and score for Hamilton; and Hamilton itself won 11 Tonys altogether in 2016. Back in 2008, Lin’s first musical In the Heights was nominated for 13 Tonys and won four.

(4) Miranda won an Emmy in 2014 for a number called “Bigger” he co-wrote with Tom Kitts, performed by Neil Patrick Harris during the Tonys in 2013.

(5) Miranda, along with the original cast of Hamilton, won a Grammy in 2016 for Best Musical Theater Album.

(6) Miranda’s wish for a “famous person cameo” was fulfilled: Both Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon showed up for Weekend Update, though they sparred with Colin Jost, not Miranda himself.

(7) Miranda only truly played the lead in the pretaped bit Diego Calls His Mom, a strange little short film about an immigrant who calls home to his family about his new life. He was an ensemble or supporting character in the night’s other sketches.

(8) “Naughtiest and bawdiest” is a bit of an exaggeration; Miranda mostly swore a bit (which happens in Hamilton, too). Unlike in Hamilton, on SNL you’ll get bleeped.

(9) Almost as soon as the #TrumpTapes emerged on Friday afternoon (an awfully late time for SNL writers to start working them into the weekend’s show, by the way), people began speculating about what would happen on SNL. Who can blame them? SNL has parodied American politics almost since the show debuted in 1975 — even if this election has been hard to parody.

(10) “They're just a tweet away from facing off in Weehawken” is a reference to the Burr/Hamilton face-off in Hamilton — which of course, with the show being historically accurate and all, is the end of Alexander Hamilton. The duel that killed him took place in Weehawken. Hamilton notes, ironically, that “everything is legal in Jersey.”

(11) McKinnon and Baldwin are SNL’s current go-to players for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Truly, how lucky we are to be alive right now.

(12) At the moment when any logical listener would’ve expected to hear Miranda call Trump a “piece of shit,” — in keeping with the rap’s rhyme scheme, of course — Miranda went silent to point to a picture of Trump, whose likeness, like that of all SNL hosts, is framed and hung in the hallway just off the stage. Miranda restrained himself, but we know what he meant.

(13) “Never gonna be president now” is a reference to the Hamilton number “The Reynolds Pamphlet,” the point in the musical at which Hamilton decidedly self-destructs in a pre-Twitter era by self-publishing a lengthy document to refute claims of wrongdoing made against him. Here’s a GIF of the stage version:

A GIF from Hamilton.
Never gonna be president now.

The Trump tapes are Donald Trump’s modern-day version of Alexander Hamilton’s Reynolds Pamphlet, so it was particularly apropos to see Miranda gesture at Trump’s photo as he uttered the “never gonna be president now” declaration.

(14) Michaels is the executive producer of Saturday Night Live and, as far as I can tell, the god all standup comedians worship.

(15) Hamilton tickets are relentlessly difficult to procure, as everyone who’s set a GCal reminder to enter the lottery, and then set it to repeat every day, knows. (I’ve seen it, but only because I ponied up for tickets right before the prices skyrocketed.)

(16) Gilda Radner, comedy goddess, deserves her own footnote.

(17) Other cast footnotes, also incredibly worthy: Chevy Chase, Don Pardo, Laraine Newman, Dana Carvey, Tina Fey, Vanessa Bayer, David Spade.

(18) With “as long as I remember to vote this November,” Miranda and I am both begging you: Please, for the love of the comedy gods, register to vote. (And in case you were wondering, Miranda is with her.)

(19) All SNL hosts promise a great show, but Miranda’s was only okay. Like most episodes, some of this one’s sketches fell flat. Others were great. The best was probably McKinnon as Kellyanne Conway attempting and failing to take a day off. But McKinnon has never not been great.