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.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Night Live September 26th, 2010

Saturday Night Live
September 22nd, 2010
Host: Amy Poehler
Musical Guest: Katy Perry.

Cold Open.
Kristen Wiig as Christine O’Donnell. I was worried this sketch wouldn’t have an ending beyond the Live From NY callout, but luckily there were cables attached for a cheesy but satisfying visual gag of her flying off on a broom.

I’m surprised Nasim Pedrad didn’t get bumped up to a full cast member with Bobby Moynihan and Abby Elliott. I guess you have to be on for longer than a year before you get a promotion?

I’ve always been a fan of these types of openings, ever since Tom Hanks passed out and dreamt of Abe Lincoln. Justin Timberlake is totally SNL’s new Steve Martin. Yay, Dratch Bear! Yay, ex-SNL cast that still works in the building!

Boo! No commercial parody. There should always be a commercial parody after the monologue. I’m stubborn.

Bronx Beat.
I enjoy these characters more now then when Amy and Maya Rudolf were on the show. I wonder how much the four new cast members appreciate all the cameos from old cast members.

COMMERCIAL PARODY: Bosley Hair Restoration.
Disturbing but brilliant.

Maternity Matters.
This was basically the same sketch as “Woman to Woman” from November 2009. Only now it features photos of Vanessa Bayer in the intro. It’s actually not a bad premise so I don’t them bringing back once more. Not sure it’s worth doing a third time though.

Gay Wedding/Mosque at Ground Zero.
Silly but enjoyable.

Half an hour in and Vanessa Bayer has been seen twice but hasn’t spoken. I assume there was a photo of Jay Pharaoh. No sign of the other two new featured players.

Katy Perry.
Everything about the performance felt like it should have been a drag queen act. I’m kinda hoping her fiancée Russell Brand makes a cameo (assuming he’s no longer in jail).

Weekend Update.
Not a bad Will Smith impersonation from Jay Pharaoh, but I hope we get to see some original stuff soon. Gov. Paterson’s cameo should have been a bit funnier, but I still give anyone credit for coming on the show and dueling their impersonator.

Showtime: Women with secrets.
Enjoyed this for the Amy Poehler interview segments. What? How? Her? Yes! “I always thought the best titles mean two things.”

Another new cast member got to play the straight man/doctor….but not memorable enough for me to go and check which guy he was.

Digital Short: Boogerman.
At first I assumed this was some homage to Howard Stern’s Fartman. But it was just lame completely on its own merits.

Little hats at Chez Henri.
I liked it. Kristen Wiig eating out of defeated frustration was great. Hope Vanessa Bayer doesn’t end up the new Casey Wilson playing the “other friend” in these types of sketches.

Actor II Actor.
I appreciate how short this was. Except having to sit through more commercials immediately after.

The Expendables Spinoffs.
Best gag: “From Fast Car Tracy Chapman.”You could tell the audience was really happy to see Hooch. I was too.

No real stand out sketches, but far from a bad episode. Fingers crossed this will be a decent season! Hopefully more chances for the new performers next week when the cameos shouldn’t be so frequent.

SNL 36th season pre-show analysis

Even though the premier of a new SNL season historically underwhelms (or occasionally frightens) me, I’m excited about tonight’s new episode. There is enough cast turnover to make things interesting! This is where SNL becomes the only sport I watch. Which of the new performers will rise or fall? What characters are gone for good? How many opportunities and talented people will be wasted?


Will Forte. I’m glad he’s gone. Anyone who reads this blog, knows he’s the cast member who consistently irks me most. I certainly didn’t dislike him as much as Jim Bruer (sorry Goat Boy fans), and I’m honest enough to admit he had good moments…even a few brilliant scenes. But 8 seasons is a long time and his misses were physically painful and increasingly frequent. Even though Kristen Wiig is still on the show I can hope this means no more Gilly sketches (since his mustache talked more than the main character).

Jenny Slate. One season wasn’t enough for me to have strong opinions about her. I’ll admit I had to double-check if it was Jenny Slate or Nasim Pedrad in many cases. She’s probably best known for using the F-word in her first sketch (which I liked) and the Tina-Tina Chaneuse informercials which were brought back too many times. But overall, I thought Jenny Slate had potential. Especially if her web video Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is any indication. That was better than anything she did on the show! Maybe they should have let her do some digital shorts.

THE NEW PERFORMERS ARE: Vanessa Bayer, Paul Brittain, Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah.

I’m not familiar with any of them, which is good. That means they have a clean slate. Sometimes with Upright Citizens Brigade performers, like Rob Riggle, I want them to be as funny on SNL as they were doing improv and it doesn’t translate. Then again, Amy Poehler is one of the best people ever on the show, so you never know.

So, I’m hoping for the best…yet not expecting too much!

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Night Live May 15th, 2010

Saturday Night Live
May 15th, 2010
Host: Alec Baldwin
Musical Guest: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Opening: BP Gas Spill Conference.
Only two minutes. Shortest cold opening ever?

Kind of a week intro, but he’s right, “It’s an incredible voice.”

Digital Short.
Another bit that felt straight out of The Lonely Island’s “Awesometown” pilot. Great cinematography, choreography, and songwriting made this simple idea of a down and out coke addict singing fairly entertaining.

Starfish the Script Girl.
One my least favorite sketch formats is the “Okay, let’s do ANOTHER take” because someone keeps messing up their lines, walking into the shot, etc. Occasionally it can be kinda funny like the Brian Williams teen drama or Fred Armisen’s “I’m your MOTHER,” but this one didn’t really cut it. Yet another weak new character from the growingly inconsistent Kristen Wiig. Is the character supposed to be funny because she makes mistakes and has bad teeth?

Hudson Valley Swim Team.
Are there that many kids on a school swim team? This felt like the type of half thought out piece of a sketch they would have at 12:55. Felt pointless.

Holy crap. Nasim Pedrad debuting another actually funny character! I enjoyed her “Talk Show with Ravish” from a few months ago and this was even better. Not only was it a well-defined character, but the entire sketch had lots of great writing with quotable lines. I wouldn’t mind seeing more, but hope they don’t run it into the ground!

EDIT: My friend Andre informed me that Bedelia actually debuted during the Tina Fey episode! I saw MOST of that episode but sadly missed the sketch, so I'll be tracking it down ASAP.

Commercial Parody: Sally Field.
Brilliant. A clever parody of all medicine commercials. “Fanning out your magazines” was my favorite bit.

Grady Wilson’s Intimate and International.
I’ve enjoyed these in the past, but I guess they can’t all be winners.

Tom Petty.
It's been a lot time since I've even thought about Tom Petty.

Weekend Update.
“My freakin’ brains is in there!”

At first I thought it was too soon for a return from Stefon, but then it kinda cracked me up. I just wish Bill Hader would vary up the intro rather than the repetitive default “NY’s hottest club is…” On the flipside I DO like when he says “It’s like that thing where…”
“Puppets in Disguise” was the best thing I’ve EVER heard.

I really wish Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig would stop with Garth and Cath. It might be funny when they do this bit at parties but not on TV.

I really liked the idea and generally enjoyed the sketch. Not as funny as I would have hoped but still decent. I’m glad they found another use for the Planet of the Apes mask from the Charlton Heston episode!

That’s a whole lotta set up!

Army Dudes Take the Shot.
It was no Canteen Boy.


Sorry, I haven't been updating this site! I've been busy traveling and often catching SNL on DVR a week or two after the fact. But I promise to write some a summary of thoughts AFTER this week's finale. In the meantime, here are some pics I took from my first visit to the Second City theater in Chicago! It was a blast to FINALLY see what I've read and heard so much about. The show I saw was a compilation of sketches from over the years starring the touring group. Kind of the perfect thing for someone playing catch up. Definitely hope to go back again and maybe also check out Improv Olympic.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Night Live 13th, 2009

Saturday Night Live
March 13th, 2009
Host: Jude Law
Musical Guest: Pearl Jam

Opening: Tickle Party
“NO!” Yes!

I love Hamlet, but this recap seemed pointless.

Commercial Parody: Ford Hybrid.
Well filmed!

Game Show Parody.
I hate to admit it, but the concept behind this Kristen Wiig character (albeit stupid) kinda makes me laugh.

Commercial Parody: Another Security System commercial.
Not hilarious, but it worked well enough.

Parody of Vicky Christina Barcelona?
One joke, mildly executed. Second sketch about potential abuse against women.

Digital Short: Another Andy Samberg music video.
Had no idea who the other singer was. A notch below the “Threw it on the Ground” song.

Weekend Update.
Jerry Seinfield is a perfect fit for the “Really?!” segments.

Twilight Zone Parody.
Is this the first time SNL has riffed on the episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"? Seems like everyone else already has. I do always like when the bands show up in sketches.

Hamlet Audition.
Just an excuse for celebrity impressions, but Andy Samberg’s Nick Cage STILL makes me smile.

Kicksplit Underground Music Festival.
This was the same exact sketch as last time, right? Seems a bit long for a total commercial repeat. Did they really not have any other ideas for new sketches?

Pearl Jam.
It’s been a while since I’ve listened to Pearl Jam and was mostly disappointed by these newer songs. I remember liking the song they played on Conan last year, though.

Court Stenographer, Round Two.
Sorry, Fred Armisen. I still hate this character.

I’ll never understand why they choose to break out a new character/sketch in the last ten minutes of the show. Not hilarious, but more interesting than a lot of the other things they’ve tried out this year. I enjoyed the “Jay Leno Walking” segment and the violin-playing sister.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Night Live March 7th, 2010

Saturday Night Live
March 6th, 2009
Host: Zach Galifianakis
Musical Guest: Vampire Weekend

Intentionally giving fodder to Conservatives?

I haven’t seen his stand up routine in a while so I’m not sure if it was new material or not.

Vogelcheck Family Funeral.
You think they spend a lot of time practicing these sketches? I hope they washed that dog’s mouth! I loved how the audience had such a strong reaction to Fred Armisen the minute he started walking over toward the casket. And the corpse kissing back definitely cracked me up. But I was disappointed James Franco didn’t do a cameo since he was in the last one.

Bidet Crazy.
Not really enough material to warrant an entire sketch. I fear that means it will become a reoccurring sketch.

Zack on the set.
Kinda fun. Kid with beard was a good climax.

Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb.
One of the meaner parodies on SNL. Makes me worry that the real Hoda is equally abused by the real Kathie Lee (considering most of what I’ve seen in the previous sketches has turned out to be too close for comfort).

Vampire Weekend.
I always think this band sounds interesting when I first hear them. But I find I tire of them fairly quickly. But this song was short enough to go down easy.

Weekend Update.
Kenan’s hairstyle and impression didn’t really come across as Mo’nique.
A lot of set up for another annoying Will Forte nonsense song. I’m fair enough to admit that this was actually one of his more tolerable ones. Points for the Miss Piggy reference.

What Up With That?
I really wish they could find a way to change these up a bit more beyond just loading up random guests and background dancers. They can never get back the initial surprise factor and energy of the original. But this one seemed better than last time, mostly because grown-up Baby Jessica in the well was brilliant.

The Situation Room.
Kind of an obvious commentary on the overuse of social media on CNN…but well played. Well played.

Vampire Weekend.
Another okay song.

Pageant Song.
Did the makeup artists cover Zach’s beard? Did he shave between sketches?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Night Live February 28th, 2010

Saturday Night Live
February 27th, 2009
Host: Jennifer Lopez
Musical Guest: Jennifer Lopez

I was caught off guard, not expecting a new episode till after the Olympics. But here’s what I did catch. I’ll watch the rest on DVR later.

Romance Commentary 2
Second time out, I was ready to write off this reoccurring sketch as semi-stupid, semi-guilty pleasure. But Kenan found new ways to really sell it, and kept it from being a total repeat of last time. I found myself laughing several times, so I guess I’m a fan. I even liked Jennifer Lopez as the weird ventriloquist.

Smashmouth in the Closet.
Totally ridiculous in the best possible way. Surprisingly pitch perfect. I’ll never hear those songs the same way again.

Custom Car Horns.
I’m still not sure what nationality this racial stereotype is supposed to be. I guess Puerto Rican, because of the Jennifer Lopez connection? The car horns are a bit funnier than the doorbells but still not as genius as Scarlett Johanson in the chandelier sketch.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Night Live February 6th, 2010

Saturday Night Live
February 6th, 2009
Host: Ashton Kutcher
Musical Guest: Them Crooked Vultures

Cold Open.
Moderately funny! I like the idea of random "attractive blonde lady," and there were some decent lines including Karl Rove only having a problem with gay men, not gay women.

I can't believe he's hosted 3 other times. Not sure I remember any of those episodes. I didn't catch who was dressed as the old lady break dancing. I liked the set up of Ashton trying not to react to the "awesome" stuff in the audience. And most of the examples were good up till Mark Twain getting punched in the nuts. What's he have against Mark Twain?

Pool boy at reading of the will.
The only thing the sketch had going for it was "gross out" humor, and yet it felt surprisingly tame. Even the STD names weren’t very imaginative. “Foreigner’s Cough”?

The View.
Second sketch to address "Don't Ask Don't Tell." I guess Elisabeth Hasselback likes to repeat things for emphasis? I don't remember that from previous View sketches, but I’ll roll with it. I did like Kenan/Whoopie's complaint about not liking to go to the movies because they play at different times. Overall, this was another decent View sketch, one of he more reliable repeating bits.

Commercial Parody: Cialis for threeways. Almost made me smile, but mostly made me roll my eyes.

Will Forte seemed to be playing a villain in a Hanna Barbera cartoon. I’ll give them credit for doing an old-fashioned style sketch.

Musical Guest: Them Crooked Vultures.
I usually like Dave Grohl’s various bands, but this song didn’t really do anything for me.
Didn’t sound so great and the lyrics were pretty unintelligible.

Weekend Update.
Fairly long segment this week.
Andy Samberg’s new character “Liam, the teenager who just woke up” was surprisingly funny (and real).

Game Show: What is Burn Notice?
Snarky! But accurate!

Access Hollywood/Oscar Nominations.
Also accurate?

Statement from Rahm Emanuel.
More of a rant than a sketch, but it felt fresh and different! Kind of amazing, actually.

Wedding Band.
Crisis of Conformity rocked it. Worked because the song “Fistfight in the parking lot” was actually pretty good and Fred Armisen is a good singer. And of course Dave Grohl on drums. Nice live moment where his mic didn’t work.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Night Live January 30th, 2010

Saturday Night Live
January 30th 2009
Host: Jon Hamm
Musical Guest: Michael Buble.

Cold Open: State of the Union.
Not too many actual jokes or insight. Just a lot of cuts to audience from the actual event with one random shot of Brendan Fraser thrown in for good measure.

The idea of putting the bleak character from Mad Men into other shows was probably a bit funnier in concept than execution.

Don’t Make Me Sing.
It feels like the SNL writers just sit around brainstorming catch phrases to run into the ground. If the sketch was 1 minutelong, it might have been JUST okay. But instead they just dragged it out, with the only redeeming element being the dancing cats on the balcony.

Digital Short: Sergio.
The final image was strangely satisfying.

(Is Ashton Kutcher hosting SNL to promote his Coolpix commercials?)

Democrats meet Scott Brown.
Mostly an eye-roller, but I give them credit for not having the Barney Frank fantasy be the final twist.

Musical Guest: Michael Bublé.

Weekend Update.
Bobby Moynihan returns as Snookie from the Jersey Shore with even more red face paint.

ESPN: Greg the Alien co-host.
Only Bill Hader can pull off the freaky alien stuff. The other guys just looked stiff.

Hamm & Bublé.
A silly idea pulled off purely on the conviction of the performers.

Commercial Parody: Zip-do Closet Organizer.
It’s no Bathroom Monkey. Kind of a weak commercial (usually I love them).

Courtroom Stenographer.
“I can’t find my crackers” is an even more annoying catch phrase than “Don’t make me sing.” Don’t go printing up any T-shirts, just yet.

Musical Guest: Michael Bublé.
Cute performance, boring song. I’d rather just see more Sharon Jones. She’s great!

Two Guys in a Bar.
Has SNL ever done a follow up to one of the commercials in one of the sketches before?
That was sort of interesting, for SNL…very much in the sprit of Mr. Show and the Upright Citizens Brigade TV show.

Barnes & Noble.
Actually pretty funny! Although maybe less so if you don’t live in NYC?
God bless Barnes and Noble’s free bathrooms!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Night Live January 16th, 2010

Saturday Night Live
January 16th 2009
Host: Sigourney Weaver
Musical Guest: The Ting Tings

Cold Open: Larry King Live.
Not much insight or commentary on the Late Night controversy, but several good impressions! I can’t remember if Daryl Hammond ever did Jay Leno when he was a cast member on the show, but he came back for this. The best part was Jason Sudeikis, who was brilliantly deranged as Dave Letterman. I wonder if he told him he’d be doing it when he was on his show earlier in the week. Bill Hader was surprisingly serious as Conan, but he got the look down perfect. Another good bit was Larry King explaining how to access his blog on the internet.

Confident, classy and surprisingly funny. The idea of Sigourney Weaver being scared of everything shouldn’t have worked, but something about her delivery sold it for me.
“Are you an alien? You have to tell me if you are.” I also had no idea about her parents.

ESPN Classic: Women’s Darts
The way Jason Sudeikis says “Summer’s Eve” just isn’t as funny as “Tampax” or “Vagisil.” I guess that’s why he had to add the qualifier “douche,” but still not funny enough to warrant a third incarnation of the sketch.

Digital Short: Laser Cats 5
A fun homage to a bunch of James Cameron movies, and obviously a nice SNL touch to have the real director do a cameo. I appreciated the callouts to Ash and Bishop from the Alien films, and the fact that there was a character named Admiral Spaceship. But the Unobtanium reference at the end almost killed it.

Disco Booty Junction.
I love the way it opened with Kenan Thompson talking to someone off camera about his dressing room. But I didn’t care for the way it segued into a short song a la the Deep House Dish sketches before it devolved into an inane debate about the guests’ names: Amber and Cream. But the ending was pretty good as Kenan asked why he had to show up to work again if the show was cancelled.

Musical Guest: The Ting Tings.
I like the song (after first hearing it in a Puppetbenders web video), but the performance was underwhelming. And the outfit looked a little second-hand Lady Gaga.

Weekend Update.
Abby Elliot’s impression reminds me of someone else’s impression/commentary of Diane Keaton—but I can’t remember whose!
Seth’s Best line: “I can’t go back to being in a sketch every 3 weeks!”

Avatar Sex.
I guess they couldn’t resist playing into the growing nerd interest in Navi sex.
The fake legs were a nice touch. And it was interesting to see how they adapted the CGI characters into live action costumes and make up. A nice testament to the production values of the show’s crew.

This was the introduction to a horrible character that I hope they never bring back. It almost makes Gilly seem like a good idea.
I’m guessing Fred Armisen was supposed to be channeling Harvey Fierstein? Cartman from South Park? I’m sure someone thought it was funny every time he said “bitch” but I thought it was flat and totally forced. I expect more from Fred Armisen.

Sigourney Weaver reads her online comments.
This was ADORABLE and endearing. My favorite sketch of the night. I wonder if they modeled the set off her real apartment and she told them to put up the Lolita poster.

Musical Guest: The Ting Tings.
Overall, I like their sound but wish their songs weren’t AS repetitive as they are. Just a tad more variation would go a long way. Was the cowbell SNL pandering?

Fire and Rice.
Something about this performance evoked Jan Hooks—in a good way.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Night Live January 9th, 2010

Saturday Night Live
January 09th 2009
Host: Charles Barkley
Musical Guest: Alicia Keys

Cold Open.
Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.
Like so many politically-themed cold opens: Sad but probably true. But this one also had some actual laughs. Fred Armisen was great as the Yemeni President.

My wife commented that Charles Barkley was like an awkward middle school student on stage. I doubt that’s what he was going for, but it worked for us.

Commercial Parody: Thomas Peepers Insurance.
Bill Hader’s facial expressions made this a good sketch. His pervy reactions very similar to his raised eyebrow Chris Hansen impression.

Game Show: Reel Quotes.
Considering how many game shows they’ve done where the only joke that is the contestants are idiots, I was surprised how often this sketch cracked me up. There was a surprising logic to it, and both Charles Barkley and Kristen Wiig had tons of great material to work. They both sold the gags with conviction and perfect comic timing.
Great quotes: “Shark BAG!” “You shouldn’t be looking at kids, Rege.”

Sexy Woman.
This sketch was close to brilliance. Kristen Wiig as a Marilyn Monroe-style sexpot who turns out to be more awkward than seductive. Lots of great moments like the way she giggles when she gets over excited and the stilted pole dance moves. Jenny Slate was also good as the contrasting “straight woman.” As was Charles Barkley as the one person turned on by Kristen Wiig’s antics. It’s a shame that he tripped up some of his lines, because they were funny! “That was superior.”

I surprisingly enjoyed the first two installments. Maybe they’re growing on me just because they are so short.

NBA Booth.
Eh. I’m not a fan of sketches where someone keeps saying the same thing over and over. Except when it was Fred Armisen saying “I’m YOUR mother!” Seems like the fumbling likes were contagious.

Alicia Keys.
Obviously talented, but her songs do nothing for me.

Weekend Update.
Bill Hader still does a good James Carville, but this appearance wasn’t as funny as the first time.
Considering how in his first episode they made fun of Andy Samberg not being good with impressions, I’ve been surprised at how good he’s been at it lately. His Nicholas Cage is dead on.

The Haney Project.
A little too predictable. Just having Charles Barkley fumble at everyday things wasn’t funny enough.

Booty Call.
Alicia did a good job with her half, but the Andy Samberg bits just seemed too over the top to be funny.

Alicia Keys.
I didn’t realize there was a full song to go with the “New York” chorus from the Jay Z rap anthem. Does that make it a sample? Or did Alicia Keys flesh out the rest of the song AFTER the Jay Z bits were recorded? I guess that’s what Wikipedia is for…

Scared Straight.
I really wish they’d stop doing this. The first 5 times were sporadically amusing, but they’ve pretty much run it into the ground. The only redeeming quality is watching people try to keep a straight face.

Barkley’s Banks.
Did they cut to the title card screen too soon? The sketch ended abruptly but I thought I heard mumbling.