Archive for December, 2011


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 10)

The Show:

1. Winter Formal (5:07)

The Boston Teens are back! Sully (Fallon) and Denise (Rachel Dratch!) wait to get into a formal and also interact with their friend, Patrice Donovan (Amy Poehler!) and then a man (Killam) that turns out to be a huge fan of their antics.

– It’s weird that I totally forgot about these recurring characters being brought back when it comes to Jimmy Fallon characters that he did while on the show. Absence makes the heart grow fonder though I guess because I really enjoyed seeing them back again.
– Amy Poehler was a huge surprise here, actually. She had a pretty funny small part though.
– I loved all the “retawded” moments the best and the moment where Fallon grabbed Amy’s boob was pretty damn funny.
– It looks like the picture quality was off. I’ve noticed before that whenever SNL does a fuzzy screen and cuts to someone, the picture looks a bit blurry but they usually seem to fix it quickly. This just seemed to linger. It wasn’t a huge mistake and it wasn’t super annoying or anything, but I did notice it.
– Awesome, super-energetic LFNY delivery from Fallon.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (3:04)

Jimmy talks about how thankful he is to be back on the show, talks about all the sketches that he ruined by laughing the whole way through them, and then goes backstage and sings a Christmas song while the entire cast dances around him.

– Excellent stuff. Jimmy going around the whole studio and talking about the sketches he ruined by laughing was great, but I also loved him saying that Buble was doing cocaine and the final big dance number with him and all the castmembers on the stage except for Seth Meyers of course.
– Wow, Jimmy looks really, really happy to be there. He had a really infectious energy.
– Lorne’s first appearance of the season.
Rating: *****

3. Today (4:51)

Hoda Kotb (Pedrad) must deal with Kathie Lee’s (Wiig) antics and drunken behaviour on another episode of the morning gab-fest. Before things get too crazy though, Regis Philbin (Fallon) interrupts the show and joins Kathie Lee in bashing Hoda before ultimately taking her spot at the desk.

– It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen this sketch and I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Kristen seemed to tone down the mugging and obnoxious behaviour that she usually uses during these sketches. I personally never really found it annoying but I guess some people do.
– I think Nasim is definitely the best Hoda Kotb we’ve seen in this sketch so far.
– I never knew Jimmy Fallon could pull off a Regis Philbin impression but he did a pretty damn good job and reminded me of what a great impressionist he was while he was on the show.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. Michael Buble Christmas Duets (2:52)

After the success of Buble’s Christmas album, he releases another one featuring duets with other celebrities/singers including the girl from MIA (Pedrad), Sting (Fallon), Thom Yorke (Armisen), Ke$ha (Elliott), Russell Brand (Fallon again), Taylor Swift (Wiig), Scott McCreery (Killam), and Justin Bieber (Fallon yet again!).

– They’ve been doing a lot of these ensemble sketches lately and this was another terrific one. Buble played a great straight man to all the insanity going on around him.
– My favourite impressions were the three from Jimmy Fallon (he’s a house of fire tonight!), Fred’s insane Thom Yorke impression, Taran as Scott McCreery, and Pharoah as Kanye West.
– Although Kristen didn’t do an actual impression of Taylor Swift, her facial expressions were pretty damn accurate.
Rating: ****

5. Mirror Chat (3:26)

Jimmy waits for the next sketch in his dressing room and begins to talk to his reflection (Samberg) about what he should do throughout the night to keep the show moving along at a great pace. His reflection suggests old tried-and-true methods and some of which are not really of interest to Jimmy.

– This was hilarious and very reminiscent of the Mick Jagger/Jimmy Fallon mirror sketch from Year 27. This seems like it’ll probably be a future classic with a good impression of Fallon by Andy and great performances with twice.
– My favourite parts were Jimmy and Andy talking about how sad a certain song was, Andy telling Jimmy to do another impression other than Seinfeld because he couldn’t do one, and the part where they were both pressed up against the mirror.
Rating: **** 1/2

6. 1920’s Holiday Party (4:55)

Lilia (Wiig) begs fellow partygoers not to force her to have to sing even though all they’re concerned with is getting Maxwell (Samberg) to play them a piano song. Meanwhile, another man (Fallon) begs them not to force him to dance as well.

– I was going to dismiss this as an unnecessary sequel to this sketch from two years ago, but they did shake this up a bit with the addition of Jimmy Fallon’s character.
– I really liked the part with Jimmy dancing on top of the piano and a few of the times when Kristen missed her cue to sing along with Andy playing the piano. Andy’s deadpan delivery when saying that the song is over was pretty funny too.
– The ending with the raccoons was kinda dumb.
Rating: ***

7. Tommy Palmese (2:42)

An ad is shown for a new one-man show featuring Tommy Palmese (Armisen) telling his life story with a whole lot of neuroses much to the chagrin of anyone watching it.

– I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. Fred always does well playing these quirky types of roles.
– Bill Hader’s discomfort during the scene with Fred in his face was hilarious and probably my favourite part. I also liked Vanessa Bayer running out of the theatre.
Rating: *** 1/2

8. Season’s Greetings (2:15)

Jimmy, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan perform their old classic “Christmastime is Here”  for the very enthusiastic SNL audience that just eats it right up.

– I can’t really rate this but it was awesome to see these four doing their Christmas song again. A lot of people said Tracy seemed pissed off here but based on his smiles during the goodnights, I think this was just part of his character.
– Kattan sticking his head into the frame was hilarious.

9. Michael Buble sings “Holly Jolly Christmas” (2:02)

– Buble did a pretty good job here and it was nice to hear a nice traditional Christmas song with the audience clapping along as well for a while.

10. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (9:23)
Guests: Nicolas Cage with Jude Law (and a director) and Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, & Amy Poehler

Best Jokes: the two Trump debate jokes; Romney attack; radioactive monkeys; Wolf Dad; toy drive

– The ‘Get in the Cage’ segment with Andy was pretty much the same as the other two that he did but I still love his Nic Cage impression. I really like his reasons why it was silly that he wasn’t included in the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Paul Brittain as the director was a good little addition. Not bad overall.
– The appearance of Jimmy Fallon was somewhat expected but certainly not Tina Fey! Amy also joins in and the two co-anchor teams go at it with a Joke-Off. My favourites were Jimmy’s joke about the crumpled-up $20 bill and “unlike the strippers, the toys must NOT be damaged.” Great segment that the crowd really dug.
Rating: ****

11. Beethoven’s Orchestra (5:52)

After a performance of Symphony No. 9, Beethoven (Fallon) takes the time to introduce each individual member of his orchestra much like an energetic bandleader might do between sets at a modern-day concert.

– This was a piece controlled by a nice steady performance by Jimmy as the charismatic Beethoven not even attempting to do a German accent, which made me laugh quite a bit.
– The Hitler joke was hilarious and Paul Brittain had a great moment with it.
– Wow, Andy has been dominating a lot tonight. He’s probably having one of his best nights performance-wise as well.
– Nice to see Horatio Sanz and Chris Kattan making another appearance, this time in a proper sketch. Kattan blowing on a jug was funny as was Horatio playing a Mozart song and then laughing about it.
– Random appearance by Wiig as Triangle Sally! That was awesome. Kenan as B.B. King was out of nowhere too.
Rating: *** 1/2

12. War Horse (4:39)

Two patrons (Hader & Wiig) get ready to watch a play with rave reviews called “War Horse,” but then quickly learn that the usual horse puppet has been replaced by a man (Fallon) doing a very unconvincing job. Halfway through the play, the boy (Samberg) is also replaced by a hand puppet.

– Wow, talk about a strange sketch but still highly enjoyable.
– There were many great parts here including Jimmy inexplicably dancing as the horse, Jason Sudeikis appearing at random points singing strange little musical interludes, the intermission starting after about a minute and ending almost as quickly, Kenan using a hand puppet in Andy’s role after the intermission, and the random “USA” chants to end the play.
– The bits with Hader & Wiig could’ve been trimmed down a bit as it seemed that they were just there to explain the joke for us as if we didn’t already get it ourselves.
Rating: ****

13. Michael Buble sings “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (3:45)

– Another traditional Christmas song makes for another happy viewer, indeed. Buble did another great job here too.

14. Jesus Visits the Denver Broncos (4:00)

Tim Tebow (Killam), Matt Prater (Samberg), and co. (Thompson, Pharoah, & extras) receive a visit from Jesus (Sudeikis) who tells them that he helped them win the last six games but that they have to at least make an effort in the first half of the game so as to not make it look like a random miracle.

– Funny premise for a sketch and Jason turns in another fun performance here, this time as Jesus. Very funny execution.
– Special mention to Killam, who does a great job as Tebow and his constant overbearing love for Sudeikis was really funny and probably one of his best performances on the show so far. I’ve been so impressed with Taran for the little time that he’s been on the show.
– Surprised Jimmy wasn’t in this sketch but it wasn’t a damper or anything because it was a well-written and very well-acted sketch.
– Loved the mormon line at the end.
Rating: ****

15. Goodnights

– Rockefeller ice rink goodnights?! AWESOME! When’s the last time they did those? Like 2005 with Jack Black, I believe.

OVERALL: Another super-awesome show with a lot of great sketches and a fantastic host in Jimmy Fallon. I noticed that he didn’t break character at all during the entire show (he’s come a long way since 2003/2004) and his performances throughout the episode were more than stellar. Add to that two impressive performances by Michael Buble and a great Christmasy feel to the whole thing made this one a true winner. What an absolutely fantastic season we’ve had so far… and it’s only half-over.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: JIMMY FALLON – 10 segments (Winter Formal; Monologue; Today; Michael Buble Christmas Duets [3 roles]; Mirror Chat; 1920’s Holiday Party; Season’s Greetings; Weekend Update; Beethoven’s Orchestra; War Horse)
MUSICAL GUEST: MICHAEL BUBLE – 2 segments (Monologue; Michael Buble Christmas Duets)

CAMEOS: RACHEL DRATCH – 1 segment (Winter Formal)
TINA FEY – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
CHRIS KATTAN – 2 segments (Season’s Greetings; Beethoven’s Orchestra)
JUDE LAW – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
TRACY MORGAN – 1 segment (Season’s Greetings)
AMY POEHLER – 2 segments (Winter Formal; Weekend Update)
HORATIO SANZ – 2 segments (Season’s Greetings; Beethoven’s Orchestra)

FRED ARMISEN – 5 segments (Monologue; Michael Buble Christmas Duets; 1920’s Holiday Party; Tommy Palmese; Beethoven’s Orchestra)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 5 segments (Winter Formal; Monologue; Michael Buble Christmas Duets; 1920’s Holiday Party; Beethoven’s Orchestra)
BILL HADER – 5 segments (Monologue; 1920’s Holiday Party; Tommy Palmese; Beethoven’s Orchestra; War Horse)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 5 segments (Winter Formal; Monologue; Today; Tommy Palmese; Beethoven’s Orchestra)
NASIM PEDRAD – 4 segments (Monologue; Today; Michael Buble Christmas Duets; Beethoven’s Orchestra)
ANDY SAMBERG – 7 segments (Monologue; Mirror Chat; 1920’s Holiday Party; Weekend Update; Beethoven’s Orchestra; War Horse; Jesus Visits the Denver Broncos)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 4 segments (Monologue; Beethoven’s Orchestra; War Horse; Jesus Visits the Denver Broncos)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (Monologue; Beethoven’s Orchestra; War Horse; Jesus Visits the Denver Broncos)
KRISTEN WIIG – 6 segments (Monologue; Today; Michael Buble Christmas Duets; 1920’s Holiday Party; Beethoven’s Orchestra; War Horse)

VANESSA BAYER – 3 segments (Monologue; Tommy Palmese; Beethoven’s Orchestra)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 3 segments (Monologue; Weekend Update; Beethoven’s Orchestra)
TARAN KILLAM – 6 segments (Winter Formal; Monologue; Michael Buble Christmas Duets; Beethoven’s Orchestra; War Horse; Jesus Visits the Denver Broncos)
JAY PHAROAH – 3 segments (Monologue; Michael Buble Christmas Duets; Jesus Visits the Denver Broncos)

EPISODE MVPs: Jimmy Fallon/Andy Samberg


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 9)

The Show:

1. On the Record (5:24)

Greta Van Susteren (Wiig) welcomes Donald Trump (Darrell Hammond!) onto the show to talk about him being the moderator for the next GOP debate in Iowa. At either side of him, Newt Gingrich (Moynihan) and Rick Santorum (Samberg) sit idly by and are on the receiving end of some harsh insults.

– It was fantastic to see Darrell back and it’s good to see that he’s healthy enough these days to make an appearance on the show. His Trump impression never fails to entertain.
– The sketch mostly belonged to Darrell’s mimicry of The Donald and some of Kristen’s lines as Greta.
– My favourite parts were Donald talking about Obama’s birth certificate, his insults towards both Gingrich and Santorum, and Donald’s whole rant about people not being reliable because their wives are not a whole lot younger than them unlike Trump’s wife, Melania.
– The boom mic made a few appearances here.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (3:30)

Katy mentions how her outfits are inspired by people she knew while growing up in California. Subsequently, she is visited by three of them (Hader, Samberg, & Wiig) who each inspired a different song.

– Amusing monologue. I liked Wiig as the California Girls inspiration and Bill’s Fireworks-inspired guy, but Andy as the big nerd, Kathy Beth Kerry, was the highlight of this whole segment. I loved him saying how he was doing ‘Before’ modeling for dog food commercials.
– It reminded me of Halle Berry’s monologue when they hinted at the Katy Perry/Kristen Wiig kiss but didn’t deliver. Kind of a cop-out but still funny.
Rating: ***

3. J-Pop America Fun Time Now! (5:09)

Jonathan Cavenaughson (Killam) and Rebecca Stelmachowiczison (Bayer) welcome their guest, Hello Kitty club founder Kirstie Davenport (Perry), all the while their teacher Mark Kaufman (Sudeikis) claims no responsibility and keeps trying to apologize to the audience.

– I never expected to see this come back so soon after debuting back on the Anna Faris show but I guess that WAS like five episodes ago. Although this was funny again, it wasn’t quite as good as the first one they did mainly because they didn’t really change a whole lot with the format or the jokes.
– Katy’s first sketch appearance is a positive one and she was a good choice because of her propensity to wear all these out-there outfits.
– Sudeikis was again the highlight here though with several great lines, especially his remark about the kids finding a “loving version of racism.”
– Fred Armisen as the girlfriend is a funny quick visual gag.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. The Apocalypse (2:33)

In a take-off of New Year’s Eve, the new ensemble film The Apocalypse features tons of stars and also ridiculous ones like SIR Judi Dench (with a moustache), Al Roker (Thompson), and Osama Bin Laden (Brittain).

– This was absolutely hilarious. I love multi-impression sketches so to shove them all into a trailer AND make fun of those stupid New Year’s Eve/Valentine’s Day/etc.-type movies was the icing on the cake.
– My favourite new impressions were Abby as Kirsten Dunst and Jay Pharoah as Cuba Gooding Jr. We also got some great reliable impressions like Bill doing Alan Alda, Sudeikis as Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Fred as Penny Marshall (I missed it!).
– Kristen’s Kim Cattrall part was probably the funniest part.
– Did anyone else notice Seth in one of the boxes at the very end? Nice reference to him actually being IN the New Year’s Eve movie.
Rating: ****

5. Kalle (4:00)

Katy Perry is the guest on a very strange Finnish talk show in which the host (Wiig) seems to have a clip ready for just about anything that is said or mentioned.

– Very strange but certainly hilarious sketch. Kristen was perfectly suited for this role and it was definitely a very different character for her to take on.
– All the random clips were pretty funny but I think my favourite ones were the clips of earlier on in the interview, the one of Wiig drinking tea with her cats, and the one of Kristen and Katy being friends in the future (“it’s from ze future”).
– Kristen’s strange dance at the end was great.
Rating: ****

6. Digital Short: Best Friends (2:19)

Andy and Katy sing a song about being best friends and then start to become disgusted and scared when a drug addict (Matt Damon!) and a brilliant lunatic (Val Kilmer!) join their ranks and continue to sing with them while doing all sorts of strange things.

– This was DEFINITELY my favourite digital short of the season. Everything worked so well here. The beginning with Andy and Katy singing was so joyful that you just knew something incredibly dark was going to happen and they delivered that in spades.
– The cameos were awesome too. Matt Damon’s was surprising but Val Kilmer’s was out of NOWHERE. I guess Andy is starting to get some pretty sick connections these days.
– The puppet looked a bit like Scred from the Muppets’ first year on SNL.
– Just when I thought it was going to run out of steam at the end, the puppet walking away to have sex with a white girl and the time machine gags only added to the classic short.
Rating: *****

7. Doggie Duty (2:49)

Fresh off the non-success of Bunny Business and Horse Play comes an animated film…’s soundtrack about dogs having to serve jury duty featuring artists such as Randy Newman (Armisen), Gwen Stefani (Wiig), Clint Eastwood (Hader), the guy from the Spin Doctors (Samberg), Meat Loaf (Sudeikis), and Florence Welch (Perry).

– This was another re-write of that Bunny Business sketch from way back but like I said, I’m a sucker for these types of sketches. The Randy Newman impression has got to go though because they ALWAYS include it at the beginning.
– Katy Perry impressed the hell out of me with her Florence Welch impression. Sounded EXACTLY like her.
– Sudeikis did a pretty good job as Meat Loaf even if he couldn’t do it as well as Chris Farley or Horatio Sanz.
– God, I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Bill’s Eastwood impression again.
Rating: *** 1/2

8. Robyn sings “Call Your Girlfriend” (3:38)

– I know nothing about this performer but she definitely impressed with her energetic performance here.
– My roommate’s name is Robyn. She was also suspiciously gone during the show. Hmm.

9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (13:46)
Guests: Rebecca Larue, Captain Steve Rogers, and Stefon

Best Jokes: Rick Perry/Trump; Queen Elizabeth pay freeze; Spain/toilet paper; Toygaroo; human’s mental evolution

– Kristen’s flirting expert character was something much different from her usual stuff that she does on Update. It was a pretty funny piece and it was funny to see Kristen spread her legs for Seth and get closer to him. The revelation at the end with Kristen crying was the cherry on the cake.
– Alec Baldwin! It was awesome to see him make a cameo and do a commentary as the captain of the flight he was booted from. His constant side comments to Seth back and forth was pretty damn funny and he did a great job overall of course.
– Stefon makes his tenth Update appearance (and his eleventh appearance overall) and still never fails to entertain. Also, he ALMOST made it through this one without losing it. He almost got to the very end but A Fish Called Kwanzaa did him in. My favourite part of the whole thing though was Stefon mentioning the flaccid outreach group, Doctors Without Boners. I also liked him thinking that Seth didn’t have a family and that he was made by gay scientists.
Rating: ****

10. Royal Pregnancy (4:5o)

A visit with Queen Elizabeth (Armisen) and Prince Philip (Hader) proves loathsome for the newlywed Kate Middleton (Elliott) as they intimidate her with their cockney accents and threats to have a baby already. Soon enough though, Pippa Middleton (Perry) also visits and reveals her true accent as well to combat the royal family.

– The third instance of this sketch involving the Queen and Prince but at least they do something different with it every time. I liked Katy’s part in this sketch and her cockney accent was funny despite not being terribly accurate. She actually looks quite a bit like Abby.
– I liked the Dr. Who slam and Fred making the comparison between his ass and the IRA. Fred throwing the money out was also great.
Rating: ***

11. Politics Nation (3:51)

Al Sharpton (Thompson) gets his own political talk show but can’t quite seem to grasp the notion of doing a live show as his several blunders and miscues demonstrate, leaving Kelly O’Donnell (Perry) and Jim VandeHei (Killam) frustrated.

– This sketch was a lot of fun and it was great to see Kenan bring his Al Sharpton impression back after 3+ years.
– Katy was really good here. Not a role I expected her to take on. Taran was a good straight man too.
– The ending was fantastic with Kenan mumbling and fumbling through his closing lines much like Sharpton does on a regular basis with this show.
Rating: ****

12. Robyn sings “Dancing On My Own” (3:54)

– Another very enjoyable performance and this one acted as more of a female empowerment song. It worked. I am now Gloria Allred.
– Her dancing is insane. In a good way.
– Why was she making out with herself at the end?

13. One Magical Night (4:37)

While a piano player (Sudeikis) sings a little ditty, a lonely woman (Perry) finds her soulmate (Moynihan) at the bar who is unrealistically identical to her in every way they could both imagine.

– This was an excellent sketch and a really wonderful, sweet way to end the episode. It also gave Bobby Moynihan a rare lead role and he showed how capable of a performer he can truly be with his great performance. Katy was no slouch here either.
– Jason’s singing was a nice companion to the sketch and just added to the classic nature of the segment.
– My favourite part was probably them showing each other their tattoos.
– Bobby’s gonna have to start looking out for Russell Brand after that kiss.
– The ending was so dark but I loved Bobby’s insane screaming and then his casual walk back.
Rating: *****

14. Goodnights

 

OVERALL: What a fantastic show. I think I liked this episode even more because I was expecting absolutely nothing from Katy Perry and she delivered on every cylinder. She was a really good host; maybe she wasn’t a Timberlake but she was closer to what Taylor Swift pulled off a couple years ago. She looked happy to be there and she was never awkward or anything except for maybe a few brief moments during Kalle. Overall, the cast was great this week as well and there was some real sharp writing. Perhaps a new contender for best episode of the season. I’ve said that a lot this year but damn, it’s been pretty great so far.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: KATY PERRY – 9 segments (Monologue; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Kalle; Best Friends; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)

CAMEOS: ALEC BALDWIN – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
DARRELL HAMMOND – 1 segment (On The Record)

FILMED CAMEOS: MATT DAMON – 1 segment (Best Friends)
VAL KILMER – 1 segment (Best Friends)

FRED ARMISEN – 5 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse [2 roles]; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
BILL HADER – 6 segments (Monologue; The Apocalypse; Doggie Duty; Weekend Update; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
SETH MEYERS – 2 segments (The Apocalypse; Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (On The Record; The Apocalypse; One Magical Night)
NASIM PEDRAD – 1 segment (Best Friends)
ANDY SAMBERG – 5 segments (On The Record; Monologue; Best Friends; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 4 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Doggie Duty; One Magical Night)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)
KRISTEN WIIG – 6 segments (On The Record; Monologue; The Apocalypse [2 roles]; Kalle; Doggie Duty; Weekend Update)

VANESSA BAYER – 2 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Best Friends)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Kalle; One Magical Night)
TARAN KILLAM – 5 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)
JAY PHAROAH – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)

EPISODE MVPs: Katy Perry/Kristen Wiig


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 8 )

The Show:

1. Cold Opening: A Message from President Barack Obama (5:05)

Barack Obama (Armisen) is there to let people know that he isn’t even the most powerful person in the grand scheme of politics and proceeds to run down a lengthy list of people who have more power than him, including Oprah, Pixar, and Tyler Perry.

– Much better opening than expected with some good lines from Fredbama, but the highlight comes from his list of people and organizations that are more powerful than the president himself. My favourite parts were his bits about Tyler Perry, Mark Zuckerberg, and Verizon Customer Service being above him as well.
– Interesting that Fred’s Obama hair is gray now to more closely match the real deal.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (4:07)

Steve Buscemi explains the transition from going from character actor to lead actor and is constantly interrupted by people in the audience like the girl who is always the best friend in romantic comedies (Elliott), the soldier who everyone knows is going to die (Hader), and a sassy judge (Pharoah) among others.

– Funny monologue with a good job by Steve as expected and some interesting character work from various castmembers playing people in the audience.
– I liked pretty much everyone in the monologue but my favourites were Abby Elliott as the clumsy best friend, Kenan as the magical African-American character, Hader as Tex, and Jay Pharoah as the judge who “will allow it.”
– Steve’s Jersey Shore comment was funny.
– It’s great to see Jay get prominent roles lately.
Rating: *** 1/2

3. Frozen Mexican Dinner (1:39)

From now on, you’ll never have to worry about problems with constipation when you can just devour a frozen Mexican dinner that pretty much doubles as a laxative.

– It was nice to see another lead role in a commercial for Paul Brittain ever since that Hallmark piece from last season. His performance was really good here and reminds me of how they need to keep using this guy more.
– The best part was Paul playing the maracas at the end.
– That frozen dinner looked really disgusting.
Rating: ***

4. The Miley Cyrus Show (6:17)

This time, Miley (Bayer) talks about her recent Bob Marley cake that she received and how she is not a pothead. She then introduces her guest Jeff (Buscemi), a hippie, but Billy Ray (Sudeikis) becomes concerned and enlists the help of Whitney Houston (Maya Rudolph) to teach young Cyrus about the dangers of drugs.

– I was hoping we’d see this recurring talk show again. This is definitely my favourite thing that Bayer currently does on the show and Jason is equally as funny with his Billy Ray Cyrus impression. Another good edition of the sketch.
– My favourite parts were Miley trying to tell a joke while combating a nasty case of the munchies, Steve Buscemi saying he works at a Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, making it so that he has two jobs, and the music video of Miley’s drugged-out music video.
– Maya as Whitney Houston was not quite as bad as I was expecting and I did like some of her nonsensical ranting, especially the quick random Chaka Khan name drop.
– I like how Buscemi joined Sudeikis as part of the band later on.
Rating: *** 1/2

5. Digital Short: Batman (1:59)

Commissioner Gordon (Buscemi) is visited several times by Batman (Samberg) at the most inappropriate moments like when he is in the shower and having his prostate checked, for example.

– This was a very funny short and Buscemi looked really close to Gary Oldman in the new Batman films.
– The best part here was the random appearance of Paul Brittain as Aquaman and Steve telling them to put some pants on. I also really liked the random ending with Batman professing his love and the old-school retro Batman logo.
Rating: ****

6. Dateline (4:32)

Keith Morrison (Hader) presents a number of interviews related to the Mystery of the Chopped-Up Guy. Of course with each interview, Keith gets more and more excited depending on the level of brutality in the stories presented to him.

– I didn’t think we’d ever see this sketch come back but it was definitely entertaining, if a bit too long. Hader is always a hoot as Keith Morrison.
– I really liked the scene with Bill and Kristen because it was different than the usual and it was real funny to see Kristen doing a strange hillbilly-type character. It was also a great detail to have Kristen make a really disgusting remark and Hader not doing his usual reaction.
Rating: *** 1/2

7. Coach Bert (5:57)

At a conference to announce the latest news about the Central Cougars basketball team, one coach (Sudeikis) shares his findings on whether the somewhat creepy-looking mustachioed Coach Bert (Buscemi) is a pedophile or not.

– I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and agree that this was a definite classic and one of the best sketches of the season thus far. And for those of you who say this is “too soon”… I’ve got this to say. “fuck off, Colin Quinn.”
– Steve was also fantastic here as the beleaguered coach who kept protesting the ridiculous nature of the investigation.
– The best parts was Kenan getting upset over Buscemi’s failure to wash his hands, the whole scene with Bill Hader as the NAMBLA president, and the recorded tape of Buscemi’s demos (“I am the Bertman, Brett Favre is my friend…”).
– Seriously, Colin Quinn, get over yourself. It’s a COMEDY SKETCH.
Rating: *****

8. The Black Keys perform “Lonely Boy” (3:08)

– It was good to see the Keys back on SNL again and I enjoyed their performance just as I did the previous season on the episode hosted by Jim Carrey.
– The drummer looks like a frog.

9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (11:36)
Guests: Herman Cain and Drunk Uncle

Best Jokes: Herman Cain/Ginger White; political Secret Santa; Hanson beer; donkey crossing; K-Mart Christmas trees; urinal videogames; harassing phone calls

– Kenan’s commentary as Herman Cain was pretty funny and I did like his struggling with the word Libya. His little piece with giving Seth some money and then saying that it wasn’t truly “free” was funny as well. All that being said, I thought the last part with Kenan telling people to “bend for Herman Cain” and his graphic description of ladies kneeling over with their mouths wide open was the best part of the commentary.
– Bobby Moynihan was very funny as the Drunk Uncle and I loved his strange random comments like “immigrants!” Bobby did a good job playing a drunk as well and it’s nice to see him get another potential recurring character. I feel like he doesn’t get a whole lot to do anymore these days.
Rating: *** 1/2

10. Surprise Promotion (5:11)

At the Playskool corporate offices, a meeting is held to discuss a fun way to surprise a new employee (Bayer) whom the boss (Buscemi) is planning to give a promotion to. One employee, Sue (Wiig), can’t keep her mouth shut though and starts getting really excited.

– I was surprised to see this character again as well because I don’t think they’ve done it since Season 35.
– I didn’t hate this as much as some people did all over the internet but it certainly wasn’t the best sketch upon a second viewing. There were a couple of visual gags that worked like Sue being in the vending machine.
– Buscemi’s random comment about Wiig’s knockers was hilarious.
Rating: **

11. “Sex” Ed Vincent’s Couples Workshop Sex Intensive (2:56)

“Sex” Ed Vincent (Brittain) is back and this time, he shows a commercial for his workshop for couples and their sex lives. He is also assisted by Dustin Van Camp (Buscemi), an erotic chef who shows how to make food sexy as well.

– Unlike the previous sketch, I was elated to see this character back after his first appearance last season and am really glad that Paul finally has his own major recurring character. He had some great stuff in this bit like his whole segment with the credit card method for homosexual couple techniques.
– Steve was excellent as the erotic chef with all his little food dishes. I also liked how he was in the audience while Paul was talking about homosexual techniques.
Rating; *** 1/2

12. The Black Keys perform “Gold on the Ceiling” (3:25)

– Another good song. It did sound an awful lot like the first one but both were entertaining so no real complaints.

13. Christmas Ornaments (3:29)

A husband (Buscemi) and wife (Wiig) couple look through their Christmas ornaments and start decorating their tree. The ornaments progressively get weirder and weirder.

– This was an excellent ten-to-one sketch and made great use of Steve Buscemi’s overall weirdness and Kristen doing a good job as the spaced-out wife.
– I loved the whole thing but the absolute best parts were Steve pressing on his little laptop ornament with beeps and bops and then doing the exact same thing for a pine cone ornament. I also really liked the ornament from his “very first Christmas… in 2008” and the various things that Wiig would do like hang the ornaments in the same place or the tree disappearing altogether.
Rating: *****

14. Goodnights

OVERALL: A very solid show with two classic sketches in Coach Bert and Christmas Ornaments and a bunch of above-average material with only one truly bad sketch (and the Sue bit wasn’t really THAT bad). Steve was an excellent host as anyone might’ve guessed and he easily stole a lot of the sketches that he was involved in. He was also utilized quite well and got to star in a good number of the pieces tonight. Now please don’t make us wait another 13 years to come back, Steve.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: STEVE BUSCEMI – 8 segments (Monologue; The Miley Cyrus Show; Batman; Dateline; Coach Bert; Surprise Promotion; “Sex” Ed Vincent’s Couples Workshop Sex Intensive; Christmas Ornaments)

CAMEO: MAYA RUDOLPH – 1 segment (The Miley Cyrus Show)

FRED ARMISEN – 2 segments (A Message from President Barack Obama; Frozen Mexican Dinner)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 2 segments (Monologue; Surprise Promotion)
BILL HADER – 4 segments (Monologue; Dateline; Coach Bert; Surprise Promotion)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 4 segments (Monologue; The Miley Cyrus Show; Coach Bert; Weekend Update)
NASIM PEDRAD – 2 segments (Monologue; Coach Bert)
ANDY SAMBERG – 2 segments (Monologue; Batman)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 4 segments (The Miley Cyrus Show; Batman; Dateline; Coach Bert)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (Monologue; The Miley Cyrus Show; Coach Bert; Weekend Update)
KRISTEN WIIG – 5 segments (Monologue; Batman; Dateline; Surprise Promotion; Christmas Ornaments)

VANESSA BAYER – 2 segments (The Miley Cyrus Show; Surprise Promotion)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 4 segments (Frozen Mexican Dinner; Batman; Surprise Promotion; “Sex” Ed Vincent’s Couples Workshop Sex Intensive)
TARAN KILLAM – 2 segments (Dateline; Coach Bert)
JAY PHAROAH – 2 segments (Monologue; Coach Bert)

EPISODE MVPs: Steve Buscemi/Bill Hader/Kristen Wiig/Paul Brittain