Archive for March, 2012


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 17)

The Show:

1. The Rush Limbaugh Show (4:01)

After his remarks referring to a college girl as a slut, Rush (Killam) announces that a bunch of sponsors have left him but then introduces some newer, better sponsors.

– This was a pretty thin premise but Taran made it work with his delivery and many of the sponsor jokes were hilarious, particularly the Syria Tourism Board, Moist Books, Depends for Racists, and Schroeder’s Fake Rape Whistles.
– As far as the impression goes, Taran did a great job here but it was more funny than accurate.
– This was Taran’s first time saying LFNY in a solo fashion. Great delivery.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (6:04)

Jonah talks about his Oscar win and then discusses how it really hasn’t changed him at all in terms of his personality. He shows a short film of him hanging out with the cast all week that seems to prove otherwise. Tom Hanks (!) then joins him on-stage to give him a few tips.

– This was a pretty original monologue and I liked how we got a film clip, which was definitely out of the ordinary for the past few seasons.
– The filmed parts were very funny with my favourite parts being Jonah immediately asking Andy for a Diet Coke, the discussion of the Black Captain Jack Sparrow sketch, the whole running joke with Jonah’s glasses and scarves, and I really liked the discussion he has with Kristen.
– The Moneyball line was pretty funny.
– The Tom Hanks cameo was also great and I liked how he kept hiding the Oscar away from Jonah.
Rating: ****

3. Six Year Old (4:45)

Precocious six-year old Adam Grossman (Hill) is back at Benihana’s where he taunts and gabs with his father (Hader), Sushin (Armisen) the cook, and several other patrons.

– I didn’t really think I’d see this sketch again but it was pretty funny much like the first time. Again, Jonah’s eyes were a bit glued to the cue cards but he still carried the sketch on his back and did a fine job.
– I like how they changed it up a bit by having more interaction with Jonah and Fred and the addition of Vanessa Bayer as Hader’s new girlfriend.
– Fred doing the rimshot with his knives was gold.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. Digital Short: Science Finders (3:19)

In order to find out what happens with the heartrate when a tennis ball approaches the genitals (without actually hitting them), a test subject (Hill) is the unfortunate victim of several accidental hits with the tennis balls.

– This was a major improvement over the last few digital shorts despite its obvious sophomoric premise. It was well-executed and I liked the multiple angles on Hill getting hit with the tennis balls.
– The John McEnroe cameo was hilarious.
– Taran as the ghost was another great part.
Rating: *** 1/2

5. J-Pop America Fun Time Now! (5:51)

This week, Jonathan Cavenaugh-san (Killam) and Rebecca Stern-Marcowitz-san (Bayer) welcome as their guest a Japanese warrior (Hill), who much like them, is clearly not Japanese. Their disapproving teacher (Sudeikis) and Jonathan’s Asian girlfriend (Armisen) look on.

– Another funny edition of this sketch with great performances from Taran and Vanessa as per usual. Of course, Sudeikis was great too and I really liked his mention of their tests being passed in as all stickers and one being a paper crane.
– The picture of Taran and Vanessa in reggae outfits was funny.
– I liked Jonah’s funny Japanese accent but his breaking character derailed the sketch a bit and made it fall apart a bit towards the end.
– The appearance of Fred as Taran’s girlfriend is not annoying or anything but the same joke with it has been done like three times.
Rating: ***

6. The Shins perform “Simple Song” (4:07)

– A really good performance. I was looking forward to the band returning to SNL and they did not disappoint.

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (14:20)
Guests: Paula Deen, Andy Samberg, and Stefon

Best Jokes: Santorum/Kansas; Science…?; Taco Bell; Ohio University

– The Paula Deen commentary was pretty funny for the most part and I really liked Wiig’s impression of her. Other great details included Wiig using the butter and chicken in her hands as a hairbrush.
– Andy’s commentary as the faux-Sarah Palin was funny as soon as I realized he was not actually trying to do a real impression of her. I especially liked Andy using his catchphrase, “Da Bears!” and the one about President Clinton sleeping with Lewinsky.
– Stefon is back! It’s the usual great commentary from him and the kiss with Seth at the end was completely unexpected and hilarious. My favourite club name was “…Kevin?” managed by Blow-J Simpson.
Rating: *** 1/2

8. Primate Research Center (4:55)

At a science convention, one doctor (Hill) shows off his newest accomplishment in the monkey Brutus (Armisen), who is miraculously able to talk. Unfortunately, he talks about all the unnatural sexual goings-on that the doctor has been engaging in with him.

– This was a lot better than people are giving it credit for. Fred was outstanding as the monkey and it came across as one of the best performances of the night.
– Jonah was a good straight man here and his reactions were pretty funny.
– For some reason, Fred saying “Sorry?” made me laugh a whole lot.
Rating: ****

9. Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp (3:39)

I think the title gives it away, but anyway, Liza (Wiig) acts all weird and flighty while attempting to turn off a lamp all the while her guest (Hill) tries to get her to hurry up so they can make it to Cats.

– Very similar to the Ann-Margret sketch that Wiig did last season but this one wasn’t nearly as good and in fact, it just dragged on for way too long.
– At one point, you could see a crewmember handing Kristen a cord for the lamp.
– The only part I liked was Jonah doing a cheesy dance at the end as well.
Rating: * 1/2

Looks like there was a SportsCenter sketch here that was cut at the last minute.

10. The Shins perform “It’s Only Life” (4:00)

– Another great performance. They should really get the Shins back on the show again soon.

11. Anniversary Song (4:35)

To celebrate their anniversary, a loving husband (Hill) surprises his wife (Wiig) with a full orchestra playing her favourite  tune, “Pachelbel’s Canon.” However, it soon transforms into a Coolio’s “I’ll C U When U Get There” with backup dancers and such.

– Here was a sketch in which I didn’t really see where it was going and once they morphed into the Coolio song, it really started to take off.
– The parts about Coolio being a visionary rapper because of him using the letter U instead of spelling you “in 1997” was hilarious.
– The whole cast (minus Seth of course) walking off the set and around the crowd, singing the Coolio tune was brilliant. I love when the show does things like that in regards to audience interaction stuff.
– The fake Coolio RIP thing caught me off-guard at first until I realized it said he dies in 3162.
Rating: ****

12. Goodnights

OVERALL: Another solid show. Jonah wasn’t an amazing host or anything but he was fine and it certainly looked like he was at least enjoying himself on the stage. The Shins were awesome, of course. As far as the cast, Taran Killam continues to rise in the ranks and keeps proving himself to be a fantastic castmember. Fred Armisen had a pretty good night as well, particularly in the hilarious monkey sketch.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: JONAH HILL – 7 segments (Monologue; Six Year Old; Science Finders; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Primate Research Center; Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp; Anniversary Song)

CAMEO: TOM HANKS – 1 segment (Monologue)

FILMED CAMEO: JOHN MCENROE – 1 segment (Science Finders)

FRED ARMISEN – 5 segments (Six Year Old; Science Finders; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (Six Year Old; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
BILL HADER – 4 segments (Six Year Old; Weekend Update; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 4 segments (Monologue; Science Finders; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
NASIM PEDRAD – 3 segments (Monologue; Six Year Old; Anniversary Song)
ANDY SAMBERG – 4 segments (Monologue; Science Finders; Weekend Update; Anniversary Song)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 2 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Anniversary Song)
KENAN THOMPSON – 3 segments (Six Year Old; Science Finders; Anniversary Song)
KRISTEN WIIG – 4 segments (Monologue; Weekend Update; Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp; Anniversary Song)

VANESSA BAYER – 4 segments (Six Year Old; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
TARAN KILLAM – 5 segments (The Rush Limbaugh Show; Science Finders; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Anniversary Song)
JAY PHAROAH – 2 segments (Monologue; Anniversary Song)

EPISODE MVPs: Fred Armisen/Taran Killam


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 16)

The Show:

1. FOX Report (5:14)

Shepard Smith (Hader) (along with his dead mother) hosts the FOX news program in which he has a special interview with Mitt (Sudeikis) and Ann Romney (Wiig) along with their “five adult sons” (Armisen, MEYERS (!), Moynihan, Killam, & writer Michael Patrick O’Brien) in an effort to help out the campaign. Kid Rock (Samberg) also stops by to endorse Romney and sing the new campaign song.

– This was a great way to start the show and I like how they made the usual Romney opening a bit more interesting with the addition of his sons and Samberg’s funny portrayal of Kid Rock.
– I love how Hader’s Shepard Smith impression has gone off the deep end. It started with a bit of an exaggerated southern accent but now they really went all out with it with the Psycho reference involving the skeleton of his mother.
– Wiig did very well here with a mostly-silent role as Mitt’s wife and I laughed a lot at her various facial expressions.
– So random for Seth to be in this sketch but I guess he had to do it since Paul Brittain’s no longer there. It was funny when Killam was mentioning different things that they like to do and Seth was just subtly moving his hands in rhythm.
Rating: ****

2. Monologue (2:39)

Lindsay thanks everyone for allowing her the opportunity to host but then runs afoul of some of the cast’s little tests to make sure she remains clean and sober, including an ankle bracelet, Kenan checking her eyes, Kristen patting her down, and Jimmy Fallon making an appearance to point out Jon Hamm in the audience as “replacement host” if necessary.

– They addressed LiLo’s issues here as expected but did it in a pretty original and very funny way that I didn’t really see coming at all. The cameos from Fallon and Hamm were great.
– Best part here was Kenan saying he’s been stoned since Good Burger. Nice reference to that marijuana incident a few years back.
– What was with that random audience member yelling out “Kristen Wiig!”? I’m sure they got kicked out right after.
Rating: ****

3. The Real Housewives of Disney (3:18)

Much like the Housewives of Atlanta, this series focuses on a number of materialistic housewives constantly at each other’s throats. This one focuses on Snow White (Bayer), Rapunzel (Lohan), Belle (Elliott), Jasmine (Pedrad), and the drunken mess, Cinderella (Wiig).

– This was excellent and a very clever way to parody the Real Housewives show. My only note is that Lohan playing Cinderella would’ve made for a better joke but then again, I don’t think she would’ve done as good a job as Kristen did.
– My favourite parts were Kristen’s introduction (“I’m a huge fuckin’ mess…”), the dwarves bit, Pedrad cooking Abu into a casserole, Taran as the gay Prince Charming (especially that laugh!), and Abby’s demo tape.
Rating: **** 1/2

4. 2012 Psychic Awards (3:35)

Psychic Dan Fernando (Samberg) and assistant Lucy (Lohan) present a number of awards to various psychics and then show a memorial video of ones that will die during the following year.

– This was very funny and kept short enough so that it didn’t go beyond the premise’s short expiration date. It’s also the first time in a long time that I remember there being a good “awards show” sketch.
– Andy’s “the power of the mind!” bits were very funny and I like how the smoke barely came into frame.
– Hader not being sure of where to walk off the stage was a funny little detail that happens at almost every awards show.
– The memorial segment was great too, especially with the various facial reactions from the psychics who will die.
Rating: ****

5. Scared Straight (6:07)

Officer Sikorsky (Sudeikis) is tired of the punk kids (Moynihan, Hader, & Samberg) in his office and so he sends in Lorenzo McIntosh (Thompson) and Lindsay Lohan from the Scared Straight program to talk some sense into them. Instead, they make thinly-veiled movie references about their own lives and threaten bodily harm in prison.

– It was nice to see this sketch again as I have enjoyed pretty much every single edition of this recurring segment. I could see the twist of Lindsay playing herself from a mile away but it was still an inspired idea.
– Lindsay was obviously a little wooden here and had trouble with some of her lines but it didn’t really take away from the sketch too much.
– Jason also gets goofier with every one of these sketches, which is a good thing. I also loved how he crazily jumped up on the desk and caused everyone to laugh out loud. Otherwise though, Bill actually held it together fairly well in the part of the sketch where Kenan usually makes him laugh.
– The AIDS line was surprising. I didn’t think they’d get away with that.
Rating: *** 1/2

6. Jack White sings “Love Interruption” (2:45)

– A good slow-paced tune that was a bit out-of-character for White.

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (9:26)
Guests: James Carville and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (with: Jon Hamm)

Best Jokes: Snooki pregnant; Seth Rogen: Stoner of the Year; Chuck Norris bridge

– Bill’s James Carville impression is as great as always and it was nice to see him back after not being around for almost a year. His mannerisms were great as always and I liked his bit on Cops, him mentioning that he should be king of the snakes, the random reference to his childhood enemy, and the whole bit with him going out with Newt Gingrich.
– It was also great to see Snooki do an Update commentary again and Moynihan had some funny comments as per usual. However, he looked a lot less orange than he usually did for this impression. I loved the bit with Snooki saying “Never once in my life did I think…” but the Jon Hamm cameo was the icing on the cake as the father of Snooki’s baby.
Rating: *** 1/2

8. Delinquent Girl Teen Gang (4:29)

A gang of rebellious dancing girls (Lohan, Armisen, Elliott, & Wiig) continue dancing in the streets despite the pleas of Officer Jenkins (Hader). Babette (Armisen), however, gets a little too close to the traffic and keeps getting hit by cars.

– This was an utter waste of time. The sketch was bad enough because of the one-note joke of Armisen constantly getting hit by cars but the fact that it hearkened back to that terrible Nascarettes sketch made it even worse.
– I did like Armisen asking if they can call it a night but that was a very minor part.
Rating: *

9. Digital Short: Afro (1:15)

Two people (Samberg & Wiig) who share an afro sing about falling in love while another man (Thompson) uses various instruments while singing about them as well.

– What the hell was this? This was one of the strangest digital shorts I’ve ever seen. That being said, it wasn’t as horrible as that last sketch but it certainly wasn’t good or anything.
– Kenan gave me my only laughs in this sketch.
Rating: **

10. B108 FM (5:05)

A couple of annoying morning DJs (Moynihan & Killam) talk about hip hop with their intern Illiterate Lisa (Lohan) and Karen (Bayer), the only normal one, reading the news.

– I gotta give Taran and Bobby credit for their performances here and they made this sketch much better than it had any right to be. I also gotta give “mad props” to Vanessa Bayer for her low-key mousy performance as well. She just keeps getting better and better as her tenure goes on.
– Lohan wasn’t too bad here.
– The listing of schools that are closed was funny mostly due to Killam constantly referring to Bayer as Jiggle Butt and Moynihan’s random “I’m gonna kill myself!” comment.
– The part with the radio hosts waiting for a call was funny as well.
Rating: ***

11. Chantix (1:42)

– Repeat from Charles Barkley/Kelly Clarkson (1/14/12).

12. Housesitter (4:42)

A new housesitter (Lohan) comes over to look after a young woman’s (Wiig) home but as she gives her the tour, she keeps receiving phone calls in which she becomes insane and yells into the phone to stop calling.

– This was a typical weird Kristen Wiig sketch but this was a whole lot better than that crab legs sketch and Wiig was really good with her insane performance here as usual.
– Lohan was a pretty decent straight character here and I did like how she was getting increasingly frightened, especially when Wiig said she was sorry that Lohan would die in her house.
– I also loved the weird comments Wiig would make between phone calls.
– The neckbrace on Wiig was a funny little detail.
Rating: *** 1/2

13. Verizon (1:31)

– Repeat from Zooey Deschanel/Karmin (2/11/12).
– ANOTHER repeat?!

14. Jack White sings “Sixteen Saltiness” (2:46)

– Another great performance although this one was a lot more fast-paced and hard-rock than the first.

15. Rude Buddha! (3:36)

Buddha (Samberg) gives various people (Lohan, Hader, Moynihan, & Bayer) some sage-like advice but it becomes painfully obvious that he is just being a dick and giving terrible life lessons out or ones that make no sense.

– This was kinda weak. Samberg tried but this was essentially the same joke over and over again. I DID like the Facts of Life reference.
– Lohan added absolutely nothing to this sketch. She wasn’t bad or anything but obviously the writers had no real place for her in this sketch.
– Nasim was good as the dialed-in assistant.
– The ending was funny and abrupt.
Rating: **

16. 70’s Album (:35)

A man (Sudeikis) sits in front of a fire and talks about how great it would be to have all your favourite 70s hits in one album.

– This was a hilarious blackout bit. It started off like any of those ads where they start talking about the CD and what it would include but having Sudeikis just ask the opening question and then trail off without doing the rest of the ad was great.
Rating: ****

17. Burnt by the Fire (:25)

The same man (Sudeikis) is back and this time, he burns his hand in the fireplace.

– Not quite as good, but still funny.
Rating: ***

18. Goodnights

OVERALL: Not a terrific show but certainly not the disaster that some people are saying it was. The show was a lot stronger in the pre-Update parts but there were only a few bad sketches with some really good ones sticking out as well. As far as Lohan’s performances, she is probably the weakest host of the season by default because of not really doing a whole lot and being stuck into a lot of supporting roles plus her weak delivery during the Scared Straight sketch. However, she wasn’t awful. Just average. So yes, it IS the worst show of the season but I still think it was pretty good.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: LINDSAY LOHAN – 8 segments (Monologue; The Real Housewives of Disney; 2012 Psychic Awards; Scared Straight; Delinquent Girl Teen Gang; B108 FM; Housesitter; Rude Buddha!)

CAMEOS: JIMMY FALLON – 1 segment (Monologue)
JON HAMM – 2 segments (Monologue; Weekend Update)

FRED ARMISEN – 5 segments (FOX Report; 2012 Psychic Awards; Delinquent Girl Teen Gang; Verizon; Rude Buddha!)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (The Real Housewives of Disney; 2012 Psychic Awards; Delinquent Girl Teen Gang)
BILL HADER – 8 segments (FOX Report; 2012 Psychic Awards; Scared Straight; Weekend Update; Delinquent Girl Teen Gang; Chantix; Verizon; Rude Buddha!)
SETH MEYERS – 2 segments (FOX Report; Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 6 segments (FOX Report; 2012 Psychic Awards; Scared Straight; Weekend Update; B108 FM; Rude Buddha!)
NASIM PEDRAD – 3 segments (The Real Housewives of Disney; 2012 Psychic Awards; Rude Buddha!)
ANDY SAMBERG – 6 segments (FOX Report; 2012 Psychic Awards; Scared Straight; Delinquent Girl Teen Gang; Afro; Rude Buddha!)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 5 segments (FOX Report; 2012 Psychic Awards; Scared Straight; 70’s Album; Burnt by the Fire)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (Monologue; 2012 Psychic Awards; Scared Straight; Afro)
KRISTEN WIIG – 8 segments (FOX Report; Monologue; The Real Housewives of Disney; 2012 Psychic Awards; Delinquent Girl Teen Gang; Afro; Chantix; Housesitter)

VANESSA BAYER – 4 segments (The Real Housewives of Disney; 2012 Psychic Awards; B108 FM; Rude Buddha!)
TARAN KILLAM – 4 segments (FOX Report; The Real Housewives of Disney; 2012 Psychic Awards; B108 FM)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segment (2012 Psychic Awards)

EPISODE MVPs: Bill Hader/Kristen Wiig