Posts Tagged ‘ben stiller’

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 3)

Cold Opening: Mitt Romney Press Conference (5:05)

Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney (Sudeikis) takes questions from various fundraisers, who find him boring and keep getting to their main point: how can they get Chris Christie (Moynihan) to run? Chris himself shows up to whip the crowd into a frenzy and give Romney his support, but Mitt can still not contain their interest.

– After Sudeikis’ fun take on Mitt during the season premiere, I was hoping we’d get another appearance from him and this worked out to my liking.
– My favourite parts were Sudeikis resorting to his Mormon anger by using words like “oh heck it all to fudge!,” Nasim asking to push the deadline so the Republicans to find a viable candidate, and the whole bit with Moynihan as Chris Christie was a lot of fun.
– “What do you people like? Buttered bread?” “My voice sounds like a black comedian doing a white man voice.” Great lines from Suds.
– Kristen’s outburst was pretty funny as well.
Rating: *** 1/2

Monologue (3:29)

Stiller talks about being exhausted after fasting for Yom Kippur before a Jewish Willy Wonka (Samberg) whisks him away to a magical land of Jewish foods.

– Funny monologue, especially when Samberg announces that he is the Jewish Willy Wonka and Stiller replies, “So you’re Gene Wilder?”
– Paul Brittain and Bobby Moynihan had no lines but they were still pretty funny in the background as the foods.
– Best part was Stiller and Samberg complaining about the soup and then being excited that it was terrible.
Rating; ***

Lincoln Financial Group (1:10)

A man (Sudeikis) sees himself in the future in pretty good shape because he used Lincoln Financial to invest his money. Shortly thereafter, the future version of himself suggests they get it on.

– This was a pretty quick bit but I still enjoyed it quite a bit mostly due to Sudeikis’ dry performance(s).
Rating: *** 1/2

Fox & Friends (4:52)

The usual gang of idiots (Moynihan, Bayer, & Killam) discuss current news items and spew their uninformed drivel unto the world. They also interview Hank Williams Jr. (Sudeikis) along with his manager (Stiller) after Hank made an unflattering comparison between President Obama and a certain German leader from the 1940s.

– I loved this sketch the first time I saw it on Mirren/Foo Fighters and it was still very, very enjoyable. I love Taran and Vanessa, but Bobby is still my favourite performer in this sketch (“we imply it”).
– Vanessa’s line about anarchy being “no government while people play bongos” was hilarious. I don’t know why people are saying her brief slip-up messed up the whole joke.
– Fred’s brief role as the fact-checker was funny again.
– Suds was hilarious as Hank Williams Jr. and his manager played by Stiller was a decent addition to the sketch as well. Jason’s ridiculous things that he said were hilarious and his singing at the end sealed the proverbial deal. I loved how Taran said “apology accepted” at the end of it too.
– The crawl at the end was funny much like the first one.
Rating: **** 1/2

Lincoln Financial Group (1:03)

The second ad focuses on one man (Hader) finding his future self to be fat, poor, and suicidal. This time, his future self attempts to force himself on his past self.

– Another amusing ad, though not quite as good as the first. I did like Hader’s “fat voice” though.
Rating: ***

The Best of Both Worlds (6:05)

Hugh Jackman (Samberg) hosts a show in which actors who do two radically different types of film are invited. Mandy Patinkin (Stiller), a beleaguered Clint Eastwood (Hader), and Daniel Radcliffe (Hugh Jackman!) are all guests on the show and try to show their dual layers.

– Another sketch from Mirren/Foo Fighters. It’s another one that I enjoyed quite a bit though, especially the surprise cameo from Hugh Jackman at the end and the ensuing banter between him and Samberg.
–  Stiller was fine as Mandy Patinkin, but the highlight of the whole sketch was Bill’s crazy impression of Clint Eastwood with his pants exaggeratedly raised almost up to his chest. His singing of the song from Gran Torino had me in stitches, especially his long groan at the end of it.
– The killing of Moynihan as the assistant was the same as in the first sketch but I did like Hader muttering “git off my lawn!” before shooting him.
– Abby as Nancy Grace was a funny quick bit.
Rating: ****

Digital Short: V-Necks (2:02)

After shopping around, one man (Samberg) is jealous of another man’s (Stiller) ability to wear such a low-cut V-Neck and thus begins a game of one-upsmanship.

– Pretty funny digital short. It was better than last week’s Stomp piece and it had a funny performance from Stiller as well. I loved the look of his strange character.
– The best parts were Samberg and Stiller naming the different styles of V-Neck shirts with the helpful subtitles along with it.
– The ending with Stiller getting arrested was pretty funny.
Rating: *** 1/2

The bit here with Sudeikis-as-Hank Williams Jr. singing with the SNL Band was awesome and it’s been forever since we’ve had something cool and format-breaking like this on the show.

Foster The People sing “Pumped-Up Kicks” (3:45)

– A lot of people told me about this song but I have honestly never heard this one. It was a pretty enjoyable listen though and I liked the unique sound it had. Nice to have a band every once in a while that doesn’t sound like everyone else.
WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (13:18)
Guests: Nan Washington and Stefon & Derek Zoolander

Best Jokes: Hermann Cain; Jose Reyes/Mets; Madonna/Superbowl; both pet costumes jokes

– I may be in the minority here but I though Kristen’s Nan Washington character was quite funny due to her very slow, dry delivery. It was definitely different from other characters she does and I really don’t get the Judy Grimes comparison people are making. Seth was clearly enjoying this as well.
– STEFON! It was so awesome to see him back and I loved his quick reference to the summer vacation he had with Seth (“how’s your back?”). Hader had many good lines here like usual and his club names are getting more and more insane. The addition of Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander made the whole thing even funnier and I loved his “Derek Zoolander Foundation For Fat Kids Who Are Fat But Not Om A Cute Way Like That Fat Kid On Modern Family.”
Rating: ****

Halloween Party (7:08)

“Sexy” Shana (Wiig) is back again, this time seducing an upper-management type (Stiller) at a Halloween party with her usual disgusting quirks while a group of on-lookers (Elliott, Samberg, Thompson, Killam) are not impressed.

– This is the character’s fourth appearance and not the umpteenth like some reviewers are saying. Wiig always does a good job with this character but I will admit that despite her not having appeared a lot in the past, I hope this is one of her last appearances so she doesn’t get too repetitive.
– The best part was the fart joke at the end. I know that sounds lame but Stiller falling flat on his back was a hoot. I also liked Abby pointing out the obviously-fake spider by informing her that it’s wearing a hat. Oh, and Kristen’s insane screaming was good too.
– For some reason, Abby looked super cute in this sketch too. I guess she always does though.
– Where has Kenan been all night anyway?
Rating: *** 1/2

Lincoln Financial Group (:24)

The shortest of the three, this time one man (Stiller) finds a woman (Elliott) beside him, but then notices a female version of himself beside her.

– The fake-out with Abby was funny here and the fact that this just got right to the point was a hoot.
Rating: *** 1/2

Columbus Day Assblast (3:09)

DJ Super Soak (Sudeikis) and Lil Blaster (Pedrad) present another insane party with all kinds of random shit going on, including an appearance by Eckhart Tolle (Stiller) and MC George Castanza (Pharoah).

– I gotta give credit to Stooge for this observation, but this is the THIRD sketch to be repeated from the Helen Mirren episode. Unlike the others though, this one is REALLY starting to lose steam. Nothing will ever top the first one of these sketches.
– The random shit that they throw out there just isn’t as funny anymore but I did like the bit about giving Queen Isabella polyps and the different twist they put on the usual Ass Dan death scene.
– I kinda liked the Stiller segment.
Rating: ** 1/2

Bruce Springsteen: Just The Stories (1:57)

A compilation DVD featuring all of Springsteen’s (Stiller) little stories he tells before his songs is advertised with a special bonus of Little Stevie (Armisen) attempting a story of his own but just bombing.

– This was another sketch I wasn’t too fond of. It had nothing to do with Stiller and his mimicry of The Boss, but I just thought this could’ve been taken in a funnier direction.
– Armisen’s brief Little Stevie segment was amusing though.
Rating: **

Foster The People (feat. Kenny G) sing “Houdini” (3:57)

– Wow, how random was it for Kenny G to show up here? It took nothing away from my enjoyment of the song though as they did another good job here and it was a very entertaining performance.

Tinyballs (1:56)

A parody of Moneyball finds the coach (Killam) resorting to a shady gentleman (Stiller) to get their team into shape by way of using steroids and other male enhancement drugs.

– I enjoyed this quite a bit after those last two subpar sketches and it showed off the fact that Taran Killam does a really good and accurate Brad Pitt impression, while Bobby does a decent Jonah Hill.
– Jay Pharoah’s second appearance of the night and both times were pre-taped segments. So far this season, he has been in a live setting ONCE very briefly during the Office Flirt sketch last week.
– Stiller reminded me of that “Do it” character he did back on The Ben Stiller Show.
Rating: *** 1/2


OVERALL: Another very enjoyable show with only a couple of lowpoints and even the worst sketch (the Springsteen bit) wasn’t terrible or anything, just weak. This episode was about on par with last week’s Melissa McCarthy one, although we had a slightly better host then. Stiller certainly more than held his own but he definitely didn’t go all out like the previous host. He was funny throughout the night though and the highlight from him is definitely as Derek Zoolander on Update. And can we please have more segments like the one where Jason sang with the band before commercials? Stuff like that is awesome.


HOST: BEN STILLER – 10 segments (Monologue; Fox & Friends; The Best of Both Worlds; V-Necks; Weekend Update; Halloween Party; Lincoln Financial Group 3; Columbus Day Assblast; Bruce Springsteen: Just The Stories; Tinyballs)

CAMEO: HUGH JACKMAN – 1 segment (The Best of Both Worlds)

FRED ARMISEN – 3 segments (Fox & Friends; Bruce Springsteen: Just The Stories; Tinyballs)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (The Best of Both Worlds; Halloween Party; Lincoln Financial Group 3)
BILL HADER – 4 segments (Mitt Romney Press Conference; The Best of Both Worlds; Lincoln Financial Group 2; Weekend Update)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 7 segments (Mitt Romney Press Conference; Monologue; Fox & Friends; The Best of Both Worlds; V-Necks; Columbus Day Assblast; Tinyballs)
NASIM PEDRAD – 3 segments (Mitt Romney Press Conference; V-Necks; Columbus Day Assblast)
ANDY SAMBERG – 4 segments (Monologue; The Best of Both Worlds; V-Necks; Halloween Party)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 5 segments (Mitt Romney Press Conference; Lincoln Financial Group 1; Fox & Friends; Hank Williams Jr./SNL Band segment; Columbus Day Assblast)
KENAN THOMPSON – 1 segment (Halloween Party)
KRISTEN WIIG – 3 segments (Mitt Romney Press Conference; Weekend Update; Halloween Party)


VANESSA BAYER – 2 segments (Mitt Romney Press Conference; Fox & Friends)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 4 segments (Mitt Romney Press Conference; Monologue; V-Necks; Tinyballs)
TARAN KILLAM – 5 segments (Mitt Romney Press Conference; Fox & Friends; V-Necks; Halloween Party; Tinyballs)
JAY PHAROAH – 2 segments (Columbus Day Assblast; Tinyballs)

EPISODE MVPs: Bobby Moynihan/Jason Sudeikis

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 8 )

Oh, I was not looking forward to this. I was not looking forward to this in the least. Perhaps the worst two-time host of all time, Robert DeNiro, graces us with his presence for a third time. I racked my brain all week trying to come up with a reason why this cue card-staring, wooden-acting, not-ready-for-live-television player would be invited back and I couldn’t come up with a single possible reason. Former director Beth McCarthy-Miller has stated that Robert was one of the most difficult hosts she has ever worked with, not so much because of an attitude or crazy behaviour, but more from his inability to emote in a live setting and make it look like he’s not reading cue cards. If they needed someone to promote Little Fockers, why not just forget their gripe with Ben Stiller and get him to host?

Joining DeNiro is an even more assinine choice in the form of Diddy-Dirty Money. Just who is Diddy-Dirty Money, you ask? Well, it’s P. Diddy and a couple of skanks. Yes, we will be treated to Sean Comb’s rapping “skills” while two hos dance alongside him. Wonderful. I really don’t have anything to say about this episode. I have pretty low expectations, so let’s see how it all plays out.

Let’s (sigh) start…

The Show:

1. WikiLeaks: TMZ (3:41)
-DeNiro, Armisen (x2), Hader, Moynihan, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer, Brittain, Pedrad, Pharoah

Well, this is a pleasant start. After the start of what seems like another Obama opening, the tape cuts out and we are treated to Julian Assange (Hader), the founder of WikiLeaks, showing a snippet of his new TMZ-style show with his crew catching various world leaders like Muammer Kaddafi (Armisen) with a nurse/prostitute (Wiig), Hamid Karzai (DeNiro!) getting caught in an obvious bribery scandal, and Hillary Clinton (Bayer) getting “Biden’ed.” This satire nailed the show on every aspect including the inane chatter between the crew and the usual dialogue that the cameramen spew out when they catch their target. A-

2. Monologue (2:33)

After gushing over how much he loves New York, Travis Bickle mentions a number of famous institutions around the city that are obviously incorrect. Despite some audience members’ objections to his ridiculous name-dropping, DeNiro shrugs it off because he’s ROBERT F’N DENIRO. DeNiro looked stiff and a bit uncomfortable in the monologue but he wasn’t awful. B-

3. The Abacus Countdown (1:11)

Author Harlan Kane (DeNiro) brings a new book to the forefront after some of his other ridiculously-titled books like “The Godiva Gyroscope” and “The Pokemon Directive.” The satire here was pretty amusing and DeNiro got to be a little more relaxed because it’s a filmed piece. B

4. what up with that? (7:22)
-DeNiro, Robin Williams, Armisen, Hader, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer, Brittain, Killam, Pedrad

Marking the sixth occurrence of the recurring talk show sketch, Diondre Cole (Thompson) welcomes his guests in the form of DeNiro, ROBIN WILLIAMS, and of course… Lindsey Buckingham (Hader). The way Cole segways into one of the first huge musical numbers is new and inventive and freshened up the sketch a bit. Also, Shasta Taffy (Wiig) and a Devo-inspired assistant (Brittain) make an appearance along with Mothra (Samberg). I’m still not tired of this sketch; it freshens up a bit every time and manages to always be entertaining. B+

5. From The Garden (4:22)
-DeNiro, Samberg

Mr. Produce, Tony Sicilia (DeNiro), tries to host a show about how to prepare one’s produce but constantly finds bugs and other infestations because of his irresponsible son (Samberg) not taking care of them during his trip to The Today Show. Samberg is amusing, but DeNiro in a slow burn role is surprisingly not that bad. He does fumble a few lines throughout the sketch and he is still somewhat awkward, but he is still better than one would have expected him to be. B

6. Film: Party at Mr. Bernard’s (2:38)
-DeNiro, Hader, Moynihan, Samberg, Sudeikis, Wiig, Bayer, Brittain, Killam, Pedrad, Pharoah

Showing up to hang out in a palatial beach house, two dudes (Hader & Samberg) find their boss, Mr. Bernard (DeNiro) to be dead. It follows the plot of Weekend At Bernie’s as they pretend that Bernie is alive in front of all the partygoers, but unlike the film, no one is stupid and they realize that he’s living-challenged immediately! This is also followed by a somber courtroom scene but then it reverts back to the light-hearted tone of the original film in a moment’s notice. This is one of the top shorts I believe. A

7. Diddy-Dirty Money sing “Coming Home” (3:58)

Some inspirational lyrics here. No, not really. P. Diddy raps in an inane manner and his hos sing with him as well. Okay, well it’s not the most awful performance ever but his attempts to sound like Kanye West were really annoying. C

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (11:03)
-Also: Abby Elliott, Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, Vanessa Bayer, & Nasim Pedrad

After a pointed jab at New York’s LaGuardia airport, Seth introduces the Kardashians: Kim the pretty one (Pedrad), Kourtney the smart one (Bayer), and Khloe (Elliott). The large prosteriored sisters talk about the products that they’ve removed their names from like the Kardashian Birth Control Pills (“they were Skittles”) in an amusing segment. Seth declares Dreidelpalooza the WORST palooza ever in a funny bit and then brings on an actor (hanging upside down) from the Spider-Man musical, Ryan Christopher (Samberg). The production is plagued with problems and besides describing some new villains for the show, he also has a funny bit where he keeps trying to flip but the cue is not working. After a trio of funny jokes involving a man marrying his dog in Australia, Seth brings out his final guest in the form of Janet Judy Tran (Wiig), a 1992 video fitness instructor to talk about her role in Michelle Obama’s initiative against childhood obesity. What seemed like a stock Wiig character at first turned out to be a pretty accurate interpretation of those video fitness instructors. Solid Update as per usual. B+

9. Little Fockers (3:41)
-DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Hader, Moynihan, Sudeikis, Thompson, Brittain, Pedrad

Remember that hockey sketch from Cooper/TV on the Radio with the overexcited Keith (Moynihan) glossing over his favourite players except for the star, who was ignored the whole time? I always thought that was a fun sketch and now Keith is back. This time, he’s on the set of Little Fockers and after getting overexcited over the director, a REAL camera, and the craft services guy, he could really care less about DeNiro himself showing up to the set. He had so many good lines in this sketch and the surprise appearance from Ben Stiller was terrific as well. B+

10. Blizzard Man (4:37)
-DeNiro, P. Diddy, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Wiig

Never thought Blizzy B (Samberg) would be back, but this time P. Diddy recruits him for his latest album cut. We get the usual fun antics and ridiculous lyrics from the Vanilla Ice wannabe, but this time the sketch gets a dose of life with Blizzard Man’s mother (DeNiro) showing up. The image of Diddy trying to get all up in his bidness was really a sight to see but the sketch was definitely not as good as his last appearance. Despite some good moments, it’s a step down. C+

11. La Rivista Della Televisione (4:33)
-DeNiro, Armisen, Hader, Moynihan, Brittain

Pretty late in the show to air this recurring sketch. This one is a guilty pleasure for me from Vinny’s (Hader) terrible Italian to the general awkwardness usually shown in his interviews to the ridiculous sketches he usually has planned for his guests. This one’s pretty amusing as Vinny has Robert do an impression of himself, brings out his infant  son (Moynihan) who is on a drunken bender, and then brings out the deer from The Deer Hunter. There’s also another great moment as Vinny tricks DeNiro into saying a line from Taxi Driver. B+

12. Bosley Hair Restoration (1:30)
-Armisen, Moynihan, Sudeikis, Wiig, Pedrad

Repeat from Poehler/Perry (9/25/10). B+

13. Diddy-Dirty Money (feat. Swizz Beatz) sing “Ass on the Floor” (3:48)

P. Diddy sits with some chicks while his two ladies and Swizz Beatz take over the singing and dancing necessary for the song. This was one of the most patheric displays by a musical guest ever. So Diddy sits in a chair surrounded by women for most of the song while this Swizz Beatz loser sings along with the two girls in the band. When Diddy finally joins in, he does nothing of note. Awful. Just awful. F

14. Sex For Beer (3:33)
-DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Samberg, Sudeikis, Killam

“Who do I have to screw to get a drink around here?” Everyone has heard this figure of speech before and the answer is finally given: the one you have to screw is an old wizard-looking guy (DeNiro) in a closet in the bar. This bizarre sketch works thanks mostly due to Sudeikis and his way of selling any situation, no matter how strange. There’s also another great cameo from Ben Stiller as another old man in the closet who’s getting his licks in as well. B+

15. Cartoon: American America: I, Hippie (:41)
-Dana Carvey

After months of deliberation, we finally get the Fred Wolf-penned cartoon with the voice of Dana Carvey as a hippie talking about great stories. The final reveal is pretty damn funny and despite this being a very, very short piece it’s pretty good for what it was. A-

Robin Williams shouts out really loud before DeNiro thanks everyone and the inevitable hugs are exchanged between cast and guests alike.

Another pleasant surprise much like Johansson was a few weeks ago. This time, it’s not due to the host really proving something though. DeNiro was still stiff. He was still awkward. He still looked like he was reading from cue cards. But this time, he seemed to loosen up a little bit more. The writers also tended to know how to use DeNiro a lot better this time as well. Rather than give him too many outlandish characters or impressions that he would have to perfect, they limited him to playing himself in three different sketches, giving him that one crazy role in the Blizzard Man sketch, and having him appear in a number of filmed pieces (and in one of which, he played a corpse). I would like to applaud the writers for utilizing DeNiro in a very intelligent way.

Diddy-Dirty Money was one of the worst musical guests in recent memory. Sure, he was serviceable in his sketch appearance and it was a hilarious visual to see Combs hit on Rob in drag, the music aspect of this show definitely bit the big one, particularly the second song. I make this plea: for the love of all things holy, please do not let this man perform on the show again. Thank you.

The cast really had to work hard this week with a sorta-weak host and they managed to pull out all the stops, particularly Bill Hader who continues to be a very consistent performer. Sure, he flubbed a bit in the cold open but Hader still delivers most of the time and this episode was a good example of his abilities.

All this added up to a pretty solid show.


Robin Williams and Ben Stiller mark the first cameos this season since the premiere. Side note: was Robin texting in the middle of “what up with that?”

I love that they parodied Weekend At Bernie’s 20+ years after its release. Seriously. That was pretty awesome.

That was a pretty decent Kanye West impression by P. Diddy, I guess. Seriously though, ugh.

“This week, American diplomacy accidentally hit ‘Reply All.'”

“He is dead.”

“Kinda like a neighbour coming over to borrow a cup of sugar. It just makes sense.”

“I’m gonna need WAY more eye contact.”

Host Rating: C+

Musical Guest Rating: D

Show Rating: B+

Alright! Here I go with another commentary about the one, the only, Conan O’Brien.  Last night (Jan 21) was probably one of the funniest episodes of the “Tonight Show” I have ever had the joy of watching since I can remember. The episode was the second last with tonight (Jan 22) being, unfortunately, the last one.

The monologue  was pretty typical of recent days, making jokes about his future, making indirect jokes about his former home of NBC.  His new bit that is supposed to milk NBC of a lot of money was pretty funny as well. The last couple of nights he’s been releasing a comedy bit known as “skits that aren’t as funny as they are expensive.”   Last night it was an expensive Kentucky Derby race horse watching restricted NFL footage on a huge plasma television. According to O’Brien this gig cost NBC a whopping $4.5 million! Talk about going out in style!

Ben Stiller also made a brief appearance on the show.  He stopped by and gave a funny little public service announcement on how building $50 million studios that are only used for seven months is bad for the environment. He also put together a great little montage of what he believed to be the “classic Tonight Show moments” that he enjoyed.  And as one could imagine, his clips were entirely of his appearance on a previous episode of the show.

Things really got funny though when Robin Williams came on.  As people well know, Williams is not the most conservative comedian out there and he was a perfect choice for the second last episode’s guest!  It started right from the beginning with Williams commenting on how the studio as an apartment was too big and could never be rented.  He then commented on the view in the background of LA.  Screaming at the people stating “you gave me the wrong view!” over and over he turned his back to the camera, went up to the back drop and of course grabbed his crotch! Classic late night television! I felt as though I was watching history in the making.

Where Williams really got me laughing was just towards the end of his interview when he decided to sing to Conan an Irish “lament”.  It basically ended with Williams dancing around the stage singing in an over exaggerated Irish accent “As for NBC F*** the bastards they can’t take a joke!”  over and over again, whilst waving two middle fingers around.  There was something about watching Robin Williams on the stage of the “Tonight Show” waving middle fingers and telling NBC to basically shove off, with Conan O’Brien dancing with him and Andy Richter slapping his knees on the couch that screamed to me this is not something I see everyday and this is truly the end of an era in late night.

It’s such a shame that these last few episodes for Conan have had the highest ratings and in my opinion the funniest skits of all time!  NBC should reconsider, keep him on and just let him do what he’s been doing, it’s drawing the crowds in like ants to a picnic!

—Matthew Casey

** By the way Jan 22 looks to be a great show,both Will Ferrel AND Tom Hanks will be on the show! Can’t wait for 11:35pm to roll around! <====Click this link to see the hilarious ending of his interview!!!!