by Brendan Wahl
(Season 37, Episode 8 )
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)
– 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.
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)
– 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.
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.
– 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
– 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.
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
– 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)
– 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.
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.
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