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.