Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Night Live, September 24th 2011

Saturday Night Live, September 24th 2011
Host: Alec Baldwin. Musical Guest: Radiohead.

Sorta happy Kristen Wiig isn’t as funny as Michele Bachmann, as Tina Fey was with Sara Palin. Because I’d rather never see anyone ever mention Michele Bachmann ever again.

Glad that Nasim Pedrad is finally an official cast member.

Red Flag:
Always glad to see a new commercial parody after the monologue!

All My Children Finale.
For a one-joke idea, this worked better than expected thanks to the power of funny faces.

News Delay:
Loved the snake poking Kristen Wiig in the chest and silly visual ending.

In general, I’m a fan, even if I’m not in love with the recent “King of Limbs” album.

Weekend Update.
Rather enjoyed Alec Baldwin’s Tony Bennett, even if it did start veering toward Will Ferrell’s Harry Cary impression.

The 2nd song Radiohead performed worked better live than it does on the album. It’s cooler too see 2 human drummers recreate the sound of electronic rhythms.

Not sure why they need to have the TCM bumper. Couldn’t they just have an army sketch?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Night Live, April 2nd, 2011

Saturday Night Live, April 2nd, 2011
Host and Musical Guest: Elton John.

The only time I’ve ever seen Elton John act is in The Country Bears movie!

ESPN Classic.
I love that that audience did not cheer or clap for the return of Will Forte. No one even noticed he left the show! Doesn’t help when the same sketches keep coming back with little to no changes.

BBC Special Report: Knights of the Realm.
Fairly entertaining because I like fantasy plotlines. And I enjoyed Elton John’s shameless plug for The Lion King.

Digital Short: Lazer Cats the Musical.
That was…too long! I've never been that into the lazer cats. I remember the last one being okay, but this one just dragged.

I guess Tom Hanks is the secret co-host?

Royal Wedding.
Kind of liked the punk song at the end. But way too much build up.

The Silver Screen.
Elton John was actually really funny in this! I also enjoyed the setup/contrast of classic films to Suckerpunch.

Gay Cowboy.
This could have just been really obvious, but it was surprisingly funny. Partially just because of Elton John’s strange voice and delivery. He kinda reminds me of Paul Williams. Also the twist actually made for a good ending.

Closing thought: Not a lot for the female actresses to do in this episode.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Night Live, February 13th, 2011

Saturday Night Live, February 13th, 2011
Host: Zack Galifianakis
Music: Jessie J.

‘A’ for effort!

The Talk.
At first I thought they’d just start doing The Talk instead of The View sketches, but I liked how there was a bit of commentary to it. And it was actually pretty funny. Not sure why they didn’t have Jay Pharaoh play Holly Robinson.

Kings of Catchphrase Comedy.
I was ready to write this off, but the gags picked up in the last round.

Scared Straight.
Really? I guess it’s been a while. But really? Just for the decent “Colon First” gag?

Digital Short.
Those kids could have been funnier.

Jessie J.
Decent enough. Not much more to say.

Weekend Update.
Julie Taymor was the funniest thing Kristen Wiig has done in a while.
Loved Liam, the teenager who just woke up.

Dead Dog.
This one also came together in the end.

Celebrity Scoop.
Not the best Canadian accents, but charming, none the less. Not sure about Zack Galifianakis’ extended “ohhhhs.”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Night Live, February 12th, 2011

Saturday Night Live, February 12th, 2011
Host: Russell Brand
Music: Chris Brown

Cold Open.
Decent Bill O’Reilly impression by Jason Sudeikis.

I know it’s an SNL tradition for stand up comedians to do their “material” for the opening monologue, but it’s always made me a bit squeamish.

Gublin & Green.
Since they’ve already made plenty of jokes about the injuries related to Spider-man: Turn of the Dark, it was refreshing to see a joke about how the show “insulted the Legacy of Spider-man.”

Publishers Clearance House.
It must save a lot of time not having to write new sketches for every episode. Swapping out 2-5 words from the previous Kristen Wiig Publishers Clearance House sketch and replacing the people she interacts with, is really not worth sitting through, though. I tune out once I see the start of the sketch.

Digital Short: Don' You Go Rounin' Roun To Re Ro
A lot of time spent on a single joke.

Royal Taster.
The most dialog Taran Gillam has ever had in a sketch?

Chris Brown.
Considering Rihanna has been on SNL twice, I’m surprised the producers would invite the guy who beat her up on the show.
Weekend Update.

Taran Gillam’s Eminem impression was the best thing he’s done on the show so far. Hope he doesn’t get knifed! And of all the overly repetitious SNL characters, Bill Hader’s Stefon manages to make me laugh. And these last two appearances have at least changed it up in small ways. Mostly in the little moments between Hader and Myers.

Livin’ Single.
It’s probably the wrong attitude to view every new sketch through the lens of “I hope this doesn’t become a recurring thing because I already see how it would play out.” Points for Kristen Wiig not being the main character. Random thought: Russell Brand looked like magician David Copperfield.

A Spot of Tea.
Not exactly Monty Python.
Chris Brown.
I feel bad for any girl who gets that song sent to her on a mixtape.

George Washington travels through time.
That was kinda good! Good thing they hid it at the end so no one will see it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Night Live, February 5th, 2011

Saturday Night Live, February 5th, 2011
Host: Dana Carvey
Musical Guest: Linkin Park

Cold Opening: Wayne’s World. Considering their ages, Dana Carvey and Mike Myers managed to pull this off pretty seamlessly. The material even managed to feel very of the time, despite the current references. Very satisfying for this SNL nerd.

It’s a bit weird how Dana Carvey’s mannerisms are starting to resemble his impression of Johnny Carson. Considering I first started watching SNL in the late 80s, I totally agree that Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz’s cast WAS the best. But I’m sure if Bill Murray came out at the end it would have been equally true. Also, I was expecting to see G.E. Smith!

VH1: Celebrity Teen Crisis Center
Yet another lame excuse for cast members to dole out their most overdone impressions. Abby Elliot still hanging on to that semi-obscure Anna Farris impression.

Digital Short.
Roommate horror film parody. Surprisingly straightforward with no real twist. Since Justin Bieber was around I guess it makes sense to film another thing with him in the hopes it could get linked to on Facebook. I wonder of Linkin Park fell left out.

Linkin Park.
I really liked the effect of projecting all those stars and lines on the band members. I’ve never really seen anyone do that before without wearing any kind of special outfit. The song sounded like 80s synth music, but with less keyboard.

Weekend Update.
Paul Brittain’s James Franco impression was just okay. This is a really off year for Kristen Wiig. She’s becoming the new Will Forte.

Live! With Regis and Kelly.
I wish Nasim Pedrad’s voice didn’t grate on me with 40% of her impressions. Otherwise she's risen to the top of the cast this year.

Kids Beauty Pageant.
This felt like it could have been funnier, but it at least seemed to be trying.

Abby Elliot thing.
I’m starting to wonder if she can play someone who isn’t kinda ditzy or Angelina Jolie. But at least this was sort of a character and pretty much worked as a sketch.

Linkin Park Intro.
It makes me happy to see Jon Lovitz, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey together. And it’s been a long time since Mike Myers has done anything to make me happy.

Sports Bar.
Speaking of synth-pop… I actually really liked the song. Dana Carvey’s mustache seemed out of place My wife said Paul Brittain looked like Matt Smith’s Doctor Who. Maybe SNL they should do a Doctor Who parody?

Final thoughts:
Dana Carvey hasn’t been on SNL for years and he’s way better at not looking like he’s reading the teleprompter compared to all the current cast members. He’s also better at fully inhabiting his celebrity impressions so they feel like fleshed out characters. In so many current SNL sketches, the cast members do celebrity impressions that can only be sustained for a minute before they have to cut to ANOTHER cast member doing another limited impression.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Night Live December 19th, 2010

December 19th, 2010
Host: Jeff Bridges.
Musical Guest: Eminem and Lil’ Wayne.

Cold Open.
One of the best political ones they’ve done in a while.

Not sure it was the best use of Cookie Monster, but I’m a sucker for Christmas songs.

Miley Cyrus Show.
Not as tightly written as the last installment, but still a decent sketch. The clips from Miley’s acting are always the best. It still makes me laugh to think about the clip of her and Batman. Also. I know it’s weird to say as a longtime SNL watcher, but I always find it weird when one celebrity plays another celebrity within their peer group.

Digital Short.
The rap and R&B songs still seem to be their strength.

Larry King. Great make-up job on Kenan as Jermaine Jackson.

I don’t really want to like these sketches, but usually there are 2 random things that make me laugh. Like a 2-D screening of Owls of Ga’Hoole.

Weekend Update.
Kenan’s impression of Michael Steel almost makes me feel sorry for him. Tarran Killam’s Brad Pitt impression just confused me. I guess I haven’t seen Brad Pitt in a long time. Patterson, Stefon and Snookie are the new Tarzan, Tonto, Frankenstein.

It’s a Wonderful Life.
The movie parody was so-so, but I’m a nerd for TCM host impressions.

I liked how calm and relaxing this was. I could watch 10 more minutes of the narration segments.

Old Western Gift Wrapping.
Not sure what they were going for, but aI’ll give them credit for trying something different.

Holiday Message from Kardashians.
I almost like their impression of these people I don’t know, except the voices get a bit grating.

Ack! They showed Cookie Monster's performer in the farewell!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Saturday Night Live October 2nd, 2010

Saturday Night Live, Season 36, Episode 2
October 2nd, 2010
Bryan Cranston
Musical Guest: Kanye West

Cold Open.
Andy Samberg and Bobby Moynihan show the contrast between the former and new White House Chief of Staff. Points to the SNL writers for pointing out what should have been obvious, but I hadn’t thought too much about before the sketch.

It’s sad whenever the monologue’s central joke is no one knowing whom the host is. Admittedly I didn’t recognize his name at first either, since it’s been a while since I watched Malcom in the Middle and don’t currently have cable! So I’m guilty of “Oh, yeah, that guy!”

Commercial Parody: Pepto Bismol Ice. I can imagine a world where this product is real. Enjoyable, if only moderately funny satire.

Miley Cyrus Show.
I was surprised that the first full sketch of the night starred two of the new featured players. Vanessa Bayer was great and the theme song was also great. The sketch is sort of a nice compliment to Amy Poehler’s Dakota Fanning Show….similar, but with enough of a different take to make it enjoyable. Paul Brittain’s Johnny Depp was serviceable enough but didn’t get too many great lines.

What Up With That? Back to School Edition.
If they are going to keep doing these, they need to push them a lot further. I wanna see Kenan Thompson working up a crazy sweat and singing his heart out. It’s starting to feel phoned in with its paint by numbers formula. The only part I never get tired of is Jason Sudeikis’ dancing. Minor thing: Is one of the new guys playing the same character Will Forte did? That seems unnecessary.

Sexy/Not So Much.
I was okay with them retreading this Kristen Wiig sketch from last year, but it’s weird that they followed the structure so closely. They didn’t need to have the same exact amount of characters/types/etc. If you are going to change the setting, go a bit further and change some more elements as well! Don’t fall into the SNL rut.

Digital Short.
I like how it started out as a parody of annoying pop up ads/cell phone services, but then had a silly/cute/violent twist that actually tied it all together rather than being completely random. I’m all about strategic randomness.

Kanye West.
Because of the white backdrop that blocked the entire stage and all the models on stage, this was the most an SNL musical performance has looked like a music video. It was interesting, but I prefer that musicians save the theatrics for the MTV Music Video Awards.
Weekend Update
I sorta liked the secondhand news guy by Bobby Moynihan. But it’s a mild like. Andy Samberg’s Cathy comic strip impersonation is still inspired. Part of me wishes they rigged something in the wig to automatically make the hair fly up rather than have him lift it with his hands. But that’s probably over-thinking it.

Game Show: Kidz Smart.
Another sketch where the main gag seems to be watching two male performers kissing each other (like the Vogelcheck family). The additional premise of the host being a pervert is funny mainly because Kenan Thompson’s kid character beats the crap out of him. The most distracting part was Vanessa Bayer being a bit too obvious in her cue card reading. Hopefully she’ll get over that.

The Bjelland Brothers.
Well, at least the performers seemed like they were having fun—even if I wasn’t. This lame sketch about lame performers didn’t go anywhere new or interesting. First time they sang the “sparkling apple juice” lyrics wasn’t so bad, but of course they have run it into the ground with forced repetition. These are the types of sketches that make you think they already burned through the good material and it’s time to flip the channel. In fact, I decided to go to sleep and watch the rest of the show later.

Henry Basement Karate.
This was my favorite sketch of the episode (and of course it was the second to last one! If it wasn’t for my DVR I would have completely missed it). Mostly because I like that Nasim Pedrad keeps trying out new non-celebrity characters. The voice is a tad annoying, but she really can pass for an elementary school boy. Henry is like a mashup of Amy Poehler’s Kaitlin, Mike Myers’ Wayne, Rachel Dratch’s Sheldon (from Wakeup Wakefield), Martin Short’s Ed Grimley (from SCTV), and Bruce McCullough’s Gavin (from Kids in The Hall). All characters I love! The thing I like best isn’t the character’s potential catch phrase “I’m Way Small,” but the way he overanalyzes his own life with complete objectivity. Sorta like a sports commentator explaining why he is the way he is. It’s a subtle trait for a comedy character, and it took a few exchanges to really gel. I re-watched it and noticed how the audience didn’t really laugh at first but started laugh more as it went. Luckily there was also the physical comedy of this little kid being repeatedly punched in the face by his own father for you to latch onto if you don’t like dialog-based humor as much as I do! I’m interested to see a reprise of this sketch—but hopefully placing the character in a completely new scenario. Luckily the dad was played by the host, so it’s unlikely they’d repeat that aspect.

Commercial Parody: I-Sleep Pro.
My second favorite sketch (and the last of the evening!). The conceit of Black Noise vs. White Noise is total genius. Even if the natural payoff is [arguably] racist humor—it’s undeniably funny!
Final thoughts. Nasim Pedrad is my new favorite performer on the show. Vanessa Bayer seems to have the most potential of this year’s new featured players. She’s already contributing the most, so I’m looking forward to seeing more.