Fox’s Empire put up record-setting ratings for an eighth consecutive week with Nielsen reporting 14.2 million viewers during last week’s episode. Such a dominant position within the pop culture zeitgeist usually means a parody is in full play, and Saturday Night Live was happy to oblige.
Thor star Chris Hemsworth manned the role of Chip, a white office manager at Empire Records. The skit featured Kenan Thompson as Lucious Lyon, and immediately addressed two of the key criticisms levied at Empire.
“This is my kingdom, and as long as I’m alive it will stand. Also, I’m dying,” quipped Mitchell, in an obvious reference to Lucious Lyon’s battle with ALS. SNL also poked fun at Hakeem’s awful rap career with an interpolation of “Drip Drop” by Jay Pharoah, and Hemsworth was used to re-create the scene where Cookie savagely beats her youngest with a broom for being disrespectful.
It appears the actual cast of Empire took it all in stride, with Taraji P. Henson responding with a string of emojis after Sasheer Zamata turned a phrase in true Cookie Lyon fashion.