by Brendan Wahl
Well, the time has arrived. Many have anticipated the return of Jim Carrey to Saturday Night Live and though it took almost fourteen years for it to happen, it is a very pleasant surprise to have Mr. Rubberface himself make a return to sketch comedy. Jim has kinda been out of the limelight a little bit lately and hasn’t really shown his face since Yes Man and that was two years ago. Sure, you could count A Christmas Carol, but he was only doing a voice role rather than appearing in it in the flesh and thus, it has been a while since we’ve seen him do what he does best: comedy. Tonight marks another special occasion. It is the first episode of the new decade! So let’s see if we can get this decade started on a good note.
Joining Jim are the Black Keys, the Ohio-based bluesy rock band that have been dazzling listeners for about ten years but have only really been discovered as of a few years ago. After having made a successful appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (who happens to acquire a number of talented musicians), the Keys have garnered quite a fanbase and have really earned this appearance on SNL.
GO GO GO!
1. A Message From The Mayor (4:22)
-Armisen, Wiig (voice)
For the first time since 2001, we get a castmember doing an impression of New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg. The lucky individual? Why, that would be Fred Armisen. Out of all honesty, I’ve never heard the real mayor speak so I can’t judge how accurate his impression is but that’s not to take away from the content of the topical piece. Mayor Bloomberg takes time to warn New Yorkers of the large amounts of snowfall that they just experienced and, in the a very serious tone, tells everyone to not be a hero during this time of crisis. I love sketches that take a little problem and blow it out of proportion so this really worked for me. A-
2. Monologue (3:30)
After congratulating the Jets on their football win just before the show, Carrey promises to make lots of positive energy happen tonight. After complimenting a large man for his breasts, our host then approaches a female audience member (a real one) and proposes. A-
3. Bosley Hair Restoration (1:30)
Repeat from Poehler/Perry. B+
4. Black Swan (5:10)
-Carrey, Hader, Wiig, Killam, Pedrad
Just like the movie, Thomas (Hader), the only heterosexual French choreographer in the world, has another woman (Carrey) audition to be the Black Swan as opposed to Nina (Pedrad) playing the white one. This is here as an exhibit of Jim’s physical comedy and the fist-in-the-mouth gag was tremendously hilarious. Killam is aces as an accompanying dancer, particularly when he throws bread crumbs to the black swan. A
5. Finding Your Power (4:39)
-Carrey, Samberg, Sudeikis, Bayer
Licensed therapist Zack Twinefeld (Sudeikis) hosts a motivational talk show featuring several guests who talk about how they finally confronted their fears and the targets of their emotion. This is turned on its head though as Zack then shows footage of how their confrontations REALLY went. It seems like a simple concept, but Sudeikis sells it very well and the “footage” is hilarious, particularly the one of Carrey being filmed on a camera from inside his wife’s mouth. A-
6. Grady Wilson’s Tantric ‘n Tasty (3:29)
Yes, the sexmeister is back once again with more tips for one’s sex life. Unlike some of the other overheated segments of his though, this one works a bit better thanks to a perfect sparring partner in our host. This was not even close to the strongest segment of the night however, but I still loved the “Sneaky Baboon” technique. B-
7. The Worst of Soul Train (4:35)
-Carrey, Moynihan, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Wiig, Brittain, Killam, Pedrad, Pharoah
Smokey Robinson’s white half-brother, Coughy (Moynihan), introduces a brand new DVD compilation with the absolute worst performances in the history of the once long-running show. Highlights include the 26-member Maxwell Family, Shooting Star (Pharoah) and his song about Rheumatoid Arthritis, Triangle Sally (Wiig), D’Versity (Carrey) singing a hilarious song about how he only wants to see one thing, but the best was Ocean Billy (Sudeikis) singing a maniacal song about sticking some unfortunate soul into his trunk. B+
8. The Black Keys sing “Howlin’ For You” (3:14)
Just when I thought the Keys were outstanding on a studio recording that’s been polished and fixed up, they proceed to blow my mind with an amazing tear-the-house-down performance of one of their top hits. The guitar work in this song is tremendous and the vocals are pretty great too. A+
9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (13:29)
-Also: Bill Hader, Bobby Moynihan, Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, & Taran Killam
“Look out, Nancy! He’s got a hammer!” After a funny string of jokes involving John Boehner becoming the new Speaker of the House and John Edwards being a horrible human being, the new Speaker (Hader) and Pelosi (Wiig) show up to comment on the proceedings. What starts out as a humble discussion turns into a game by Pelosi to see what she can say to make Boehner cry. There’s a jab at Pelosi at the same time that is very funny too. Also joining Seth is second-hand news correspondent, Anthony Crispino (Moynihan), who once again bungles up the stories and doesn’t quite know what he’s talking about due to his shady sources. Moynihan is wonderful and this is one of my favourite Update correspondents. My favourite jokes this week are definitely the Mickey Rourke one and the one involving old people walking fast. Finally, Cameron the red-winged blackbird (Samberg) stops by to comment on all the blackbirds falling out of the sky in Arkansas and declares it the “AFLOCKALYPSE.” Soon joining him though is Everett the Fish (Killam) who declares it the “APOCAFISH.” It seems like a stupid bit and it kind of is, but I laughed nonetheless. A
10. Merryville Trolley Ride (2:39)
-Carrey, Hader, Moynihan, Thompson, Wiig, Killam
During a routine trip through one of those creepy amusement park rides with the robotic people, one couple (Thompson & Wiig) is faced with the possibility that these particular happy-go-lucky bots are probably real. Carrey and Killam’s antics and movements are perfect and very accurately represent those hideously creepy rides ala It’s a Small World. This was the best sketch of the night. A+
11. Psychic Medium (5:12)
-Carrey, Sudeikis, Bayer, Pedrad
During a hesitant visit to a psychic (Carrey), one surveyor’s (Sudeikis) mood is changed when it’s discovered that the psychic in question is a former comedian who merely uses this occupation as an excuse for him to do some of his best celebrity impressions. This sketch acts as an excuse for Carrey to do his great impressions, but it is a very funny setup and there are many hilarious moments (“NO one does a Thicke!”). A great premise and hilarious performances equal another great sketch. A-
12. The Black Keys sing “Tighten Up” (3:24)
After a superb first performance, the Keys deliver another great one with some more terrific vocals/guitar work. That’s not to discount the drum section either. Sorry Kanye. Looks like we have a new contender for best musical guest of the season. A+
13. A Taste of New York (4:33)
-Carrey, Armisen, Elliott, Hader, Samberg, Wiig, Bayer, Brittain
Giving an audience a true slice of New York life, an emcee (Hader) introduces a band known as “A Taste of New York” (comprised of Carrey, Armisen, & Wiig) that sing some downer songs and look like a trio of homeless people. The song is terrific and it is hilarious to see Wiig almost struggle through her part of the song without laughing. A very low-key performance from Jim here too, which contrasts from everything else he’s done tonight but is still most entertaining. Another candidate for best sketch of the night. A+
Jim thanks the Black Keys, the wonderful cast, Lorne, his friends in the audience, and tells everyone to never lose their BOING.
What a fantastic show. I don’t really have too much to comment on except that Jim was an amazing host (unsurprisingly), the Black Keys tore the house down, and Taran Killam came into his own this week. Best episode of the season thus far. I would try and type more but I am so very, very tired.
Bring on the criticism that I overrated this episode, but that’s okay. I loved just about everything and I’m a die-hard Jim Carrey fan as well…
SNL Retro Review this Thursday!
Host Rating: A+
Musical Guest Rating: A+
Show Rating: A+