Archive for January, 2012

Kind of a quieter venue, but still fun.

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 12)

The Show:

1. Romney: Believe in America (4:01)

Mitt Romney (Sudeikis) tries to save face about some recent comments he made regarding not being able to fire people and says those words were taken completely out of context. He then orders his food at Jim Bob’s Diner while the waitress (Elliott) has to suffer through his interminable dullness.

– This wasn’t as good as the “Raw and Unleashed” opening from Jason Segel/Florence + The Machine and it was actually really, really dull aside from a couple of funny lines like Romney’s “five human sons” and his quick comment that they have people to do their chores for them.
– Okay, how long are they going to relegate Abby to these nothing roles? Seriously, I can probably name all the memorable things she’s done since 2008 on one hand and I think I would even have fingers left over. It’s not her fault. I’d just really like to see her push a lot more and get better and bigger roles on the show.
Rating: * 1/2

2. Monologue (2:59)

Daniel talks about how he begged Lorne for no Harry Potter parodies tonight all the while various castmembers portray things like Harry Pothead (Brittain) and Jersey Shore: Hogwarts (Hader & Moynihan) before being dismissed as ridiculous and stupid ideas.

– Funny stuff and it showed Daniel was pretty calm, cool, and collected to start off the night on a good foot after that lousy cold opening. I especially liked Daniel mentioning some other film being the one that he will be most remembered for.
– My favourite background appearances were from Hader and Moynihan as The Situation and Snooki, respectively, but Paul was also pretty amusing as Harry Pothead for a quick visual joke.
Rating: *** 1/2

3. Ricky Gervais Promos (1:51)

A commercial for the Golden Globes and various other awards shows featuring host Ricky Gervais (Sudeikis) being his most biting and “edgy” self while insulting various celebrities.

– It’s good to see them utilizing Sudeikis’ Ricky Gervais impression a lot more these days after his one appearance three seasons ago. That being said, this was quite funny.
– My favourite part was the Kids Choice Awards and the “I Shihtzu not” line.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. Target (4:55)

The Target Lady (Wiig) is back and this time she deals with a ponytailed stockboy (Radcliffe) and her creepy manager (Hader), who keeps making strange advances on the young man.

– Wow, I never in a million years expected to see this sketch back again. I did quite enjoy this edition though because it was quite different from some of the past editions.
– Daniel was pretty good here but Bill Hader took the cake as the super-creepy manager who kept taking huge bites of his hot dog and slowly walking away.
– Loved the “brown racing stripe” line.
– What was up with Kenan’s facial expression joke? It didn’t really make much sense.
Rating: *** 1/2

5. You Can Do Anything! (4:26)

An independant filmmaker (Hader) and a photo-blogger (Bayer) host a show in which several Youtube celebrities are interviewed about their determination in life despite being horribly untalented at everything they do.

– This was my favourite sketch of the night despite a lot of other reviews calling this too “on-the-nose” but I loved this.
– Taran as the “juggler” was my favourite part, especially how he talked about his website and Bayer commenting that he was so self-promotional “and I love that.”
– Sudeikis was great here too with saying that he is “Twitter famous” (meaning not famous) and his song/poem was hilariously pathetic.
– I almost shit my pants laughing at Daniel Radcliffe dancing around while doing Chinese caligraphy. That was an awesome visual combined with the fact that Dan can actually dance.
Rating: **** 1/2

6. Film: Spin the Bottle (2:16)

A young man (Radcliffe) really wants to kiss a girl (Elliott) during a game of Spin the Bottle, but the bottle keeps landing on strange homeless men (Armisen, Hader, Moynihan, Thompson, & Pharoah), who he has to kiss instead.

– This was absurd but still funny and I’m really surprised this wasn’t a digital short unless they forgot to include the title card at the beginning.
– Bobby Moynihan was definitely the funniest hobo but I loved the bit with Fred applying deodorant to his tongue to “freshen up.”
Rating: ***

7. Delaware Fellas (3:04)

Since “Jersey Boys” is usually sold out, why not check out Delaware Fellas (Radcliffe, Thompson, Wiig, & Killam) with their vaguely Italian accents and all the excitement of Delaware will be explored!

– I liked the concept and I probably liked the sketch a bit more than some but it definitely did drag on a little bit too long.
– Kenan’s Italian accent was the funniest part but I also really liked Jason Sudeikis coming back as Joe Biden.
Rating: ***

8. Hogwarts Academy: 2020 (4:00)

Ten years after graduation, Harry Potter (Radcliffe of course!) continues to hang around Hogwarts and brag about his accomplishments in front of a new group of students.

– This was a very funny sketch but I will be the first to admit that I have not seen the Harry Potter films at all. Not a single one. That being said, some of the references were lost on me but there was enough material here to entertain and it still made for a great sketch.
– Radcliffe was great here obviously but I also really loved Bill Hader showing up as Severus Snape in the portrait. His Alan Rickman impression was really spot-on. Paul Brittain also had a very funny part here as Malfoy.
– Thought it was pretty creepy that Moynihan and Bayer’s characters were a couple but still funny nonetheless.
Rating: ****

9. Lana Del Rey sings “Video Games” (4:08)

– I didn’t know why people were so adamant about how bad this performance was until I rewatched it just now. It starts out okay but after a couple of minutes into the song, it gets really, really bad. Her voice was all over the place and she couldn’t really find her note.

10. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (9:24)
Guests: Kim Jong Un’s two best friends from growing up and Casey Anthony’s dog

Best Jokes: The two Mitt Romney jokes; Ron Paul theme; drug-dealing son; Five-Second Raul; death of a loved one; Wal-Mart Dell bin; Miller Lite/dog beer

– Fred and Vanessa reprise their “two best friends” characters but this time, they do them in regards to Kim Jong Un. This was old hat but I do still find both of them funny in these roles and some of the whispering parts do still make me laugh. I particularly liked Seth’s bit about Lorne at the end.
– Daniel Radcliffe was great as Casey Anthony’s dog and it’s awesome to see the host on Update, which rarely happens. I really get the feeling that Samberg was going to do this piece, fell sick, and Radcliffe took over for him. Either way, this was hilarious (I loved “Dogs can be sarcastic too. It’s not just for cats”) and I even liked the cheesy “rough/ruff” joke. Another thing I really liked about this segment is that it pushed the boundary of good taste to the max.
Rating: ****

11. X27B Theater (3:47)

In the future, a number of patrons watch a play in which the actors (Radcliffe, Armisen, Hader, Pedrad, & Wiig) do a scenario set in 2012 with lots of obnoxious pop culture references that the future audience finds hilarious.

– This was the second-best piece of the night, in my opinion. It did a great job at satirizing the way movies set in the past are represented in a somewhat over-the-top manner at times.
– I’m pretty sure that in some of the laughing scenes, some of the audience members not laughing was definitely intentional. It just gave the sketch a weirder twist that only added to the absurd nature of the whole thing.
– My favourite bits were the edible Mt. Everest, the use of “Hey Ya!” by Outkast, Kristen’s line about Daniel looking at a certain naughty picture, and the bit about turning into a different race after midnight.
Rating: ****

12. Glenda Okones for Mayor 2012 (:55)

Mayoral candidate Glenda Okones (Wiig) launches an attack ad on herself.

– Wiig is on fire tonight. I liked the idea of her doing a self-attack ad and this was pretty damn amusing.
Rating: ***

13. Glenda Okones for Mayor 2012 (1:06)

Glenda (Wiig) continues the onslaught by mentioning her children and how she definitely has a favourite of the two.

– Another funny piece but I would’ve placed this after the Jay Pharoah Show so that it separated them out a bit more. It felt weird to have them come back from commercial with one of these again.
– This one was even better than the first.
Rating: *** 1/2

14. The Jay Pharoah Show (2:43)

In his debut episode of the Jay Pharoah Show, Jay welcomes his guest Daniel Radcliffe but it turns out he doesn’t know anything about him and just finds excuses to utilize his many bang-on impressions much to Radcliffe’s confusion.

– This was okay but it felt a bit awkward at times with the periods of dead silence feeling a little uncomfortable at times.
– Much like everyone else has been saying, this is definitely a slam at Jay’s knack to do impressions but not really doing a lot of sketch work other than that.
–  The concept was a good idea though with Jay not knowing what to do other than work his impressions into the interview and Radcliffe was fair game.
Rating: ** 1/2

15. Glenda Okones for Mayor 2012 (:35)

In the final installment, Glenda (Wiig) talks about roughing up her own elderly mother.

– Not bad, but not as good as the other two segments.
Rating: ** 1/2

16. Lana Del Rey sings “Blue Jeans” (3:28)

– Another dreary performance. This one may have been worse than the first. I expected her to be a real treat and I am tremendously disappointed with her overall performance thus far.

17. Exit Poll (4:25)

After voting for Mitt Romney in the New Hampshire primary, a young voter (Radcliffe) is interviewed by a woman (Wiig), whose questions eventually begin to veer off-topic a bit.

– This was classic Wiig. I don’t think anyone else in the female cast could’ve pulled this one off.
– I don’t even know what my favourite parts were because I was laughing pretty much throughout the whole thing.
– Radcliffe was a great straight man.
Rating: ****

18. Headz Up (1:07)

A new cellphone app that now warns you of upcoming traffic, doors, or corners so that you don’t end up in peril.

– Apparently this was filmed months ago and has been cut out of a number of dress rehearsals. This was also Andy’s only appearance of the whole night.
– Anyway, this was not that great. I did like Moynihan on the bull.
Rating: **

19. Goodnights

– Vanessa Bayer is wearing a shirt in tribute to Mike Enriquez. RIP.

OVERALL: A much better show than a lot of people are saying although it had more bad sketches than I’m usually accustomed to on the show this season. Daniel Radcliffe was a solid host who seemed a bit nervous but never let it get the better of him and he performed his ass off even during the sketches that failed to measure up. Lana Del Rey was a disastrous musical guest and her paired with the number of mediocre sketches will take the grade of this episode down a bit despite great pieces like You Can Do Anything!, Hogwarts Academy 2020, X27B Theater, and Exit Poll.


HOST: DANIEL RADCLIFFE – 10 segments (Monologue; Target; You Can Do Anything!; Spin the Bottle; Delaware Fellas; Hogwarts Academy: 2020; Weekend Update; X27B Theater; The Jay Pharoah Show; Exit Poll)

FRED ARMISEN – 3 segments (Spin the Bottle; Weekend Update; X27B Theater)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 4 segments (Romney: Believe in America; Spin the Bottle; Hogwarts Academy: 2020; X27B Theater)
BILL HADER – 6 segments (Monologue; Target; You Can Do Anything!; Spin the Bottle; Hogwarts Academy 2020; X27B Theater)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 6 segments (Monologue; Spin the Bottle; Delaware Fellas; Hogwarts Academy: 2020; X27B Theater; Headz Up)
NASIM PEDRAD – 4 segments (Spin the Bottle; Hogwarts Academy: 2020; X27B Theater; Headz Up)
ANDY SAMBERG – 1 segment (Headz Up)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 4 segments (Romney: Believe in America; Ricky Gervais Promos; You Can Do Anything!; Delaware Fellas)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (Target; Spin the Bottle; Delaware Fellas; X27B Theater)
KRISTEN WIIG – 8 segments (Target; Delaware Fellas; Hogwarts Academy: 2020; X27B Theater; Glenda Okones for Mayor 2012 [all three segments]; Exit Poll)

VANESSA BAYER – 7 segments (Target; You Can Do Anything!; Spin the Bottle; Hogwarts Academy: 2020; Weekend Update; X27B Theater; Headz Up)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 4 segments (Monologue; Spin the Bottle; Hogwarts Academy: 2020; X27B Theater)
TARAN KILLAM – 8 segments (Monologue; Target; You Can Do Anything!; Spin the Bottle; Delaware Fellas; Hogwarts Academy: 2020; X27B Theater; Headz Up)
JAY PHAROAH – 3 segments (Spin the Bottle; X27B Theater; The Jay Pharoah Show)

EPISODE MVPs: Daniel Radcliffe/Bill Hader/Kristen Wiig

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 11)

The Show:

1. A Message from Rick Santorum (5:11)

Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum (Samberg) pledges to continue to campaign in lesser-known areas of the United States even if it means he has to swipe pies off windowsills and live the rest of his life like an animal.

– This is the first time we really got to see Andy getting a full-fledged sketch all to himself with his Rick Santorum impression. He did a good job and combined with the great writing, it made for a very solid and topical cold open.
– My favourite parts were Andy talking about starting a war with Iran for the benefit of Israel and some of the various counties he mentions that he will do campaigning within. His “pillow biters and donut bumpers” comment was great too as it really showed Santorum to be the homophobic asshole that he truly is.
– Andy doesn’t get to say LFNY a whole lot.
Rating: ****

 2. Monologue (2:19)

Charles talks about his slimmed-down appearance thanks to Weightwatchers and that he’s willing to endorse any type of female products.

– Much like his monologue two seasons ago, Charles seemed fairly easygoing and calm here, willing to poke fun at his own image and not appearing too stiff or awkward. He’s come a long way since his dreadful 1993 performance. Might help the fact that he’s actually on a show where he has to talk all the time now.
– They just had to make another gambling joke, didn’t they?
– I loved his general summary of what has happened with the NBA since he left and his comment about responding to the “Round Mound of Rebound” remarks 25 years later.
Rating: *** 1/2

3. Chantix (1:42)

A new product brings a couple (Hader & Wiig) closer together as it allows the wife to finally quit smoking. However, it has several adverse effects that are far worse that begin to turn her into a psychotic monster with severe personality disorders.

– Wow, this was probably my favourite commercial parody in quite a long time. It’s sure to be a future classic.
– Bill and Kristen’s expressions were quite hilarious and I loved Kristen’s Jazz Hands and Robert Deniro Face symptoms.
Rating: *****

4. Inside the NBA (4:58)

Ernie Hitchens Jr. (Hader) hosts the roundtable discussions while troublemakers Charles Barkley (Thompson) and Kenny Smith (Pharoah) poke and prod at Shaquille O’Neal (Barkley), who really doesn’t say anything wholly interesting or noteworthy.

– This was quite funny and Charles in particular was great with his performance as a very boring and monotonous Shaquille O’Neal. Does he really have that crazy beard now?
– I always love when the castmember does an impression of the host and the host does an impression of someone different. It’s much more clever than having the host play themselves and having Kenan play Shaq for example.
– It’s nice to see Jay in this sketch and he did very well here also.
– Bill’s comment at the end about how they’re all black friends was hilarious and caused Kenan and Jay to lose it. I didn’t notice this at first but when I eventually did, it’s quite a funny blooper. Charles smiled a bit as well.
Rating: ****

5. White People Problems (3:43)

During an episode of Investigation Discovery, Charles Barkley discusses many problems that predominantly affect caucasians like a couple (Armisen & Bayer) not being able to have airline seats together, a woman (Elliott) wanting to know where the chicken comes from at Arby’s, and a couple (Wiig & Killam) that don’t know what to do regarding some guests and their summer home.

– This was another sketch with a great premise and I enjoyed the performances throughout, especially from Charles, Kenan, and Jay as the host and two victims specifically.
– There were some great lines here like Charles asking Jay if the woman ever heard of slavery and the bit at the end with Charles leaving early to go on break.
– Taran rocked in this sketch. Even with a small role like this, he shines.
Rating: ****

6. ESPN Bowl Madness (1:15)

An ad is shown for the upcoming ESPN football games with increasingly insane sponsors and convoluted titles of the games.

– This was amusing enough and kept short so that it didn’t drag on too long. It made a good point in making fun of all the ridiculous sponsors that games will have attached to their names nowadays.
Rating: ***

7. Joanne’s Confession (3:43)

Joanne (Barkley) confesses to her friends (Armisen, Thompson, Wiig, & Bayer) that she is in fact a lesbian, a revelation that stuns them all, especially her husband (Brittain).

– This was REALLY bizarre. It started out weird anyway with Charles in drag but then when “her” husband popped out from behind the couch, my first reaction was “WHAT.”
– That being said, there were certainly parts I enjoyed here and this was one of those sketches that got more laughs based on how increasingly bizarre it kept getting. The bit with Charles saying that he would fantasize about Lynda Carter was hilarious.
– The casting of Paul Brittain as Charles’ husband was perfect casting because he’s the smallest, weakest-looking castmember.
Rating: *** 1/2

8. Charles Barkley Post Game Translator App (2:08)

The Round Mound of Rebound himself presents an app where he can translate those babbling incoherent post-game speeches from various players, coaches, managers, etc.

– Good premise but I felt like some of the jokes were too sports-related for me to fully appreciate. Still, it was okay.
Rating: ** 1/2

9. Kelly Clarkson sings “Stronger” (3:21)

– A powerhouse performance by an impressive young singer who is particularly good in a live setting thanks to her great voice. Yeah, I will admit that I am indeed a fan.

10. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (14:31)
Guests: Michele Bachmann, Nicholas Fehn, and Drunk Uncle

Best Jokes:  voting error; Wal-Mart counterfeit bill; Girl Scouts/porn star; mouse in Mountain Dew; Star Wars stunt double

– Kristen’s Michele Bachmann commentary was decent but it relied a bit too much on the blinking jokes and the gay husband quips (I did like the Barack Obama bit though). Her impression is one that I’ve always liked immensely though and so this wasn’t particularly bad or anything, just not up to par of the usual Bachmann material.
– Nicholas Fehn again? Really?! The last time Fred did this character was in Year 35 and then before that, it had been about a year. It was fine, I guess, but enough with this already.
– Drunk Uncle is back already and yet I think I liked this appearance even more than his first appearance during the Katy Perry episode. I can’t even begin to talk about what I loved but I’ll pick out as many things as possible like his 2007 glasses, his listing of what you used to be able to get for five bucks, the Smartphone bit, and his random “Reagan!” comment. Judging from the audience reaction, they seemed to love his appearance onto the scene as well.
Rating: *** 1/2

11. Lord Wyndemere (3:51)

Cecil (Brittain) is back for a visit again with the same admirer (Sudeikis), who also has an equally enamoured friend (Barkley). Again, Stephen (Samberg) is ordered to get Cecil some sweets.

– I never thought they’d bring this sketch back but I didn’t really have a problem with it because I love Paul’s energy that he puts into the character and Jason’s performance is good in these sketches as well. I particularly liked Bill’s strange expressions as well.
– Charles cracked up at several points throughout the sketch, particularly in the long shots.
Rating: ***

12. The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards (2:37)

Ron Jeremy (Moynihan) and Crystal Butt (Elliott) present the memoriam section of the awards show where several people associated with the pornography business that have since passed away are honoured for their work.

– This was a lot better than it sounds. They had the awards memoriam segment mocked to a tee. Everything was pitch-perfect and yes, I am going to give this a near-perfect rating.
– My favourite bits were Bobby’s line about “a 12 if you measure from the nuts” and the memoriam sections featuring Jay Pharoah, Fred as the writer, Andy and Jason as the two unwilling guys, the picture of the dude in jail, Nasim being in movies for years and years, and Kenan as the cleanup in that picture. Note not all of these people will be credited as being in this as some were just in pictures rather than acting in the piece.
– The only thing I didn’t care for was the lame ending.
Rating: **** 1/2

13. Digital Short: Convoluted Jerry (1:23)

An album featuring a man named Convoluted Jerry (Samberg) singing inane songs making little to no sense who is sometimes joined by Marvin “Gay” Jackson (Barkley).

– Lame. Lame. Lame. Did I mention this was lame? While it wasn’t worse than that “Wish It Would Rain” digital short, it was probably just as bad. The “Andy singing” shorts are really starting to get tiresome with a few exceptions here and there.
– The only thing I liked was Andy’s description of the plot of Inception and Barkley asking Samberg what he was talking about.
Rating: * 1/2

14. Kelly Clarkson sings “Mr. Know It All” (3:49)

– Another good performance, perhaps even better than the first one. I really like this song in particular.
– I don’t care what anyone says about Kelly’s changed appearance or whatever. She will always remain beautiful as far as I’m concerned.

15. The Mayan Calendar (4:19)

Back in ancient times, two Mayans (Armisen & Hader) devise a convoluted calendar system much to the bewilderment of several other townsfolk (Barkley, Moynihan, & Samberg).

– I wonder how many Mayan sketches we’re going to get until December 21, 2012. This one was pretty funny anyway, particularly for a ten-to-one sketch. Some of the jokes were kinda obvious but it was still worth it.
– I got a good laugh out of Fred putting on glasses out of nowhere.
– Kenan was great here too as the carver.
– The ending was really strange with the Mayan calendar’s little speech.
Rating: ***

16. Goodnights

OVERALL: A very fun show with a surprisingly adequate performance from host Charles Barkley (that makes two in a row for him!) and lots of support from a newly-energized cast thanks to the Christmas break. Barkley of course had his limitations but the staff did a great job at writing around that and accentuating some easy things for him to do like a Shaq impression and dress in drag. Plus, no cameos tonight for a change!


HOST: CHARLES BARKLEY – 9 segments (Monologue; Inside the NBA; White People Problems; Joanne’s Confession; Charles Barkley Post Game Translator App; Lord Wyndemere; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards; Convoluted Jerry; The Mayan Calendar)

FRED ARMISEN – 4 segments (White People Problems; Joanne’s Confession; Weekend Update; The Mayan Calendar)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 2 segments (White People Problems; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards [2 roles])
BILL HADER – 5 segments (Chantix; Inside the NBA; Lord Wyndemere; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards; The Mayan Calendar)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 4 segments (Weekend Update; Lord Wyndemere; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards; The Mayan Calendar)
NASIM PEDRAD – 1 segment (The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards)
ANDY SAMBERG – 5 segments (A Message from Rick Santorum; Lord Wyndemere; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards; Convoluted Jerry; The Mayan Calendar)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 2 segments (Lord Wyndemere; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (Inside the NBA; White People Problems; Joanne’s Announcement; The Mayan Calendar)
KRISTEN WIIG – 5 segments (Chantix; White People Problems; Joanne’s Confession; Weekend Update; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards)

VANESSA BAYER – 3 segments (White People Problems; Joanne’s Confession; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 2 segments (Joanne’s Confession; Lord Wyndemere)
TARAN KILLAM – 2 segments (White People Problems; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards)
JAY PHAROAH – 3 segments (Inside the NBA; White People Problems; The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards)

EPISODE MVPs: Charles Barkley/Bill Hader/Paul Brittain

First time for Everything

Posted: January 7, 2012 by Brendan Wahl in Articles, Entertainment
Tags: , , ,

Did some standup for the first time at a local bar on Thursday night… check it out.