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by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 13)

Boy oh boy, folks. I was real worried about this one. Jesse Eisenberg, recent Oscar Nominee and star of other films like Adventureland and Zombieland, was not my first pick at the next contender to host the long-running comedic institution. Jesse seems like a bundle of nervous energy and not in a good way, but in a rather Ellen Page-esque way that he might have trouble getting through the program. I set my expectations very low for this episode and hoped that by some miracle, it would surpass them. Joining Jesse is Lady Gag…err, I mean Nicki Minaj with her big hair and booty.

Yes, her booty is big.

This has got to be the worst intro I’ve ever done.

Anyway, I’m tired so let’s START!

The Show:

1. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s Response to the President’s State of the Union Address: The Second Attempt (4:12)
-Wiig

Wow, that’s a mouthful. Spoofing a recent YouTube favourite, Kristen Wiig reprises her role of Tea Partier Michele Bachmann and, in a very dry manner, mocks the crazy candidate’s response to the President’s State of the Union address complete with camera gaffes and wacky charts that don’t seem to tell anything. Having seen the actual video, I can safely say that it was ripe for parody and SNL sure had a blast with this one, making it another home run for Wiig and the writers (presumably Jim Downey or Seth). The Xena footage was a hoot, especially. A

2. Monologue (4:12)
-Eisenberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Lorne Michaels, Samberg

Wow, that’s a lot of ‘bergs. Jesse spends the beginning of the monologue talking about how he’s totally not a nervous ball of energy, but rather a cocky bastard who knows he’s bound to win the Oscar. After displaying his knowledge about women and their periods, he is soon joined by Mark Zuckerberg (Samberg) who talks about being a billionaire, of course. They are soon joined by the real deal, who meets Jesse for the first time and shares an awkward moment with our host. After some really stilted acting opposite Lorne Michaels, Zuckerberg does slightly better with Eisenberg. Still, it’s a fun monologue. B+

3. Once Daily Estro-Maxx (1:54)
-Armisen, Hader, Moynihan, Thompson, Brittain

Now there’s a new product for sex-changing hormones that only requires you to take ONE estrogen pill a day, which still works but is more obvious and takes way longer to complete the transformation. The sight of the male castmembers in drag (minus Kenan, who plays a security guard) was a hoot. B+

4. Mr. Wizard’s World (3:34)
-Eisenberg, Elliott, Hader, Thompson, Pedrad

Spoofing an old show from the Nickelodeon era, Mr. Wizard (Hader) teaches some children (Jesse, Elliott, Thompson, & Pedrad) about static electricity from rubbing balloons onto fabric. However, two kids (our host and Nasim) find a much better way to rub the balloons on each other and slowly discover each other’s anatomy (“Balloons make things grow”). The joke was obvious once the Van De Graaf was brought out, but the actors were game here and really sold the joke. A-

5. Don’t Forget The Lyrics (5:26)
-Eisenberg, Sudeikis

Mark McGrath (Sudeikis) has now resorted to hosting the pathetic karaoke-inspired gameshow. Jesse’s awkward singing is pretty damn funny as well as the slow-burn of McGrath and his sinking dignity. There’s not much else to say here. Jesse bombs each song he attempts with completely inappropriate lyrics while McGrath serves as a way to also make fun of the gameshow’s stupid premise. B+

6. WXPD New New York (4:17)
-Eisenberg, Hader, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson

Featuring the second performance of senile reporter Herb Welch (Hader), this time he investigates a drug bust while interviewing a college student (Eisenberg). His banter with the kids is only upstaged by his dialogue with the newscaster (Sudeikis) back in the studio, trying to direct the reporter on how to properly do his job. Bill came perilously close to cracking up here and it almost made everyone else lose it as well. When the newsman insults Herb’s parrish, the microphone-attack commences. I absolutely adore this character. A

7. Film: The Creep (2:41)
-John Waters, Minaj, Samberg

After a fun introduction by the conoiseur of creep, John Waters, the Lonely Island sings a new hit about “doin’ the creep’ complete with the pencil-thin moustaches and the absolutely bizarre walk. Nicki Minaj joins in on the fun and her moment at the funeral is the highlight in this otherwise-average digital short. B-

8. Nicki Minaj sings “Right Thru Me” (3:52)

Donning a big mess of white/pink hair, Nicki cruises through a decent rap-inspired tune. I know nothing about Nicki besides her being a protege of Lil Wayne (I think), but this was a pretty good performance. She certainly has presence. B+

9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (10:28)
-Also: Fred Armisen and Kenan Thompson

After a pretty clever swipe at Michele Bachmann, Seth’s jokes go over at a steady rate especially the joke about the NBC/Comcast deal (“Seriously, I HAVE to say that”) before welcoming the Egyptian president (Armisen), who has shut the internet down and denies his total lack of popularity. After explaining that he called Time Warner to get the issue fixed, he makes a corny joke and some Bible allusions. It’s a pretty funny commentary by Armisen and a nice change of pace with a different impression. I also LOVED the Charlie Sheen bit (“There goes Charlie Sheen with some paperwork. That fifty-year old man with sunglasses and cargo shorts must be going to an important meeting”) and the elderly driving bit as well (they don’t focus on objects in the foreground, but rather interracial couples on the sidewalk). Seth’s second and final guest is Tyler Perry (Thompson), complete with money sticking out of his suit. Perry discusses his new plans for his sure-fire Oscar nominee complete with star Jesse Eisenberg. A fine, fine edition of Update as per the norm. A-

10. The Essentials – The Bride of Blackenstein (5:55)
-Eisenberg, Minaj, Sudeikis, Thompson, Pharoah

The second appearance of this recurring sketch marks the appearance of a blaxploitation flick known as The Bride of Blackenstein. The scientist (Pharoah), however, has his dimwitted assistant Igor (Eisenberg) to retrieve the brain for the bride (Minaj) and as a result, she is a sassy black woman who wants the monster (Thompson) to settle down and get a job. This sketch nails the blaxploitation movie to a tee with the constant close-ups of her ass and especially one of the villagers’ (Hader) reactions to the booty in question, despite his wife’s (Wiig) qualms. This was a classic over-the-top bit. A+

11. Skins (4:02)
-Eisenberg, Elliott, Samberg, Brittain, Pedrad

After an introduction by the MTV exec for programming (Samberg), we learn that the controversial new show Skins has lost several of its sponsors and so they must hawk crappy new sponsors during the show. It starts out funny, but gets even more ridiculous as it goes on (“That sounds great. For young vaginas.” “I’m twelve.”). The satire of the show is pretty smart and Samberg’s executive character is funny as well. Another candidate for best sketch of the night. A

12. Spa Talk (5:24)
-Eisenberg, Elliott, Moynihan, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer

Tyla Yonders (Wiig), most likely a new character for Kristen, hosts a show in which she wistfully slips around and gives facials to her one-dimensional guests. The way in which she conducts herself had me laughing a lot harder than I probably should have. Kristen has a way in which she can take a subtle character and make it work even better than it does on paper. It’s refreshing to see a character that doesn’t rely on catchphrases, but then we’ve had a trend of those lately (Herb Welch, Tyla, Mindy Gracin, etc.) and its resulted in helping out a great season thus far. A-

13. Nicki Minaj sings “Moment 4 Life” (2:57)

Donning her Blackenstein wig, Minaj sings another tune that sounds a little like her first one but its still pretty entertaining. Slight step down from the first one. B

14. El Shrinko (2:01)
-Eisenberg, Hader, Samberg, Wiig, Bayer, Pedrad

To help explain why Arthur (Samberg) and Randy’s (Eisenberg) penises are so small, they invent a product called El Shrinko that has supposedly shrunk them down from a monstrous size that girls just wouldn’t appreciate. This was more clever than I can devote words to from the purposely forced static acting by the girls (“What’s that? Say it now? …el shrinko!”) to the random appearance by their friend Derek (Hader). B+

Jesse thanks the Zuck, Nicki, and the cast and crew before waving goodnight.

Well, that was a heck of a show. Certainly much better than I expected from the likes of Jesse Eisenberg. Just from looking at the guy, I assumed he would be a nervous wreck and I was completely wrong in that assumption. Solid stuff this week and it seems like most of the cast got at least one moment in the sun, particularly Bill Hader (like usual), but we also had a lot of Andy Samberg this week as well, which is a nice treat.

Nicki Minaj was an average musical guest, while Eisenberg was a fun host who didn’t need to be the center of attention in everything he was in.

Great stuff.

Host Rating: A-
Musical Guest Rating: B
Show Rating: A-

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Since there was no new review this week, we have decided to re-post a popular SNL Review! Enjoy!

By Brendan Wahl

At long last, a day that no one thought they would ever see. After an arduous Facebook campaign by a young man named David Matthews, Lorne Michaels and co. began to take notice and so Betty White was invited on to host the show. Despite her agent insisting that she should do it, White said she was far too nervous to do it at first, but she finally caved and agreed to do the show.

That sure made everyone and their mothers the happiest little campers to hear that the legendary television star, Betty White, was to host the legendary television staple in comedy.

The wait began to find out just who would be joining Mrs. White for the huge and memorable night. When Jay-Z was announced as the musical guest, the reaction was somewhat apathetic as people thought this was one of the worst choices possible. But then things briefly looked up as it was announced that Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Ana Gasteyer, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Molly Shannon would all be joining her, all of them being mothers themselves.

So did it all work out and were we given a hell of a show? Let’s find out!

The Show:

1. The Lawrence Welk Show

Much like the Christmas show with James Franco back in December, we open with another Lawrence Welk Show parody featuring three sisters who are seemingly normal-looking (Gasteyer, Poehler, and Rudolph) and strange, deformed Junice (Wiig). Betty makes an appearance here as their mother and the sketch, while silly, is still a fun way to open the show. B+

2. Monologue

Betty goes for the more simple approach to a monologue and simply states that she had no idea what Facebook was beforehand, finds it a complete waste of time, and then makes a few cute jokes about her age. B+

3. MacGruber

This time, MacGruber joins forces with his grandmother (White), where his politeness ultimately leads to a moment where…BOOM! MACGRUBER! A-

4. The Delicious Dish

Much to the audience’s delight, Margaret Jo (Gasteyer) and Terry Rialto (Shannon) return for another edition of NPR Radio to present Delicious Dish. This time, they get a visit from a kindly old business owner (White) who is there to spread the word about her Dusty Muffins. What follows is essentially a repeat of “Schwetty Balls” but with vagina references instead. However, still quite funny. A

5. the Manuel Ortiz Show

Here’s a sketch that I wasn’t sure was going to return! Manuel (Armisen) hosts a Latin-themed talk show complete with dancing in between guests. This time, one of his guests (Forte) wants to come out to his parents (White & Moynihan). Maybe the weakest sketch of the night, but still not bad. B-

6. MacGruber

The second part of the MacGruber triptych sees our hero finally snap at his grandma and yell at her really loudly. A-

7. Gingey

Continuing the hot streak of fairly simple premises but hilarious results, this sketch takes place in 1904 as several ladies get ready to go to a party while one of them (Poehler) looks somewhat less feminine than the rest. Of course, White is quick to point out that she’s a lesbian and also throws out a number of great lines. A-

8. MacGruber

The final segment of MacGruber sees a very strange, sexually disturbing development take place between MacGruber and granny. A-

9. Jay-Z sings a medley of “Real As It Gets”, “99 Problems”, & “Empire State of Mind” (feat. Bridget Kelly)

Is this the first time the same song was performed twice in the same season?! I expected nothing from Jay-Z but he powerhoused his way through this performance and rocked the house. After an amazing 8 1/2 minute performance, *I* almost got up and cheered. A+

10. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers

Lots of fun on Update this week as Maya Rudolph reprises her Whitney Houston impression in one of her funniest moments actually as she huffs and puffs through a re-enactment of her latest concert flop. Amy and Tina join Seth later on for a hilarious segment of “Really?!” as well, while 50-year old Sally O’Malley (Shannon) finally meets her counterpart in Dottie O’Donegan (White), a 90-year old who likes to sit down a lot. A

11. Scared Straight

If ever there was a host that I was more excited for them being in this sketch than Betty White, I doubt it. Here, Betty plays Lorenzo’s (Thompson) crazed grandmother who is quick to help along with the rape jokes and thinly-veiled movie references. Lots of fun. A-

12. CSI: Sarasota

Making a combination of old jokes and also poking fun of David Caruso’s stupid quips provides the premise for this fake ad for two cops (White, Dratch) looking for the reasoning behind strange occurrences like 103-year olds “suddenly” dropping dead. Another sketch that clicked. A

13. Digital Short: Thank You For Being A Friend

What starts off as a beautiful tribute to Betty with the cast and guest stars singing the “Golden Girls” theme song to her soon develops into Betty’s own hardcore punk remix. Another wonderful piece. A

14. Jay-Z sings “Young Forever” (feat. Mr. Hudson)

Jay-Z brings the goods again with a favourite of mine from “Napoleon Dynamite” with some rapping over top of it. Mr. Hudson provides the singing portions and makes this another worthy ditty. A

15. The Census

In a sketch that was very reminiscent of the Christopher Walken/Tim Meadows census sketch from a few years ago, Betty plays a kooky tenant with some strange answers for the census-taker (Fey) (“Blarfinger Blarfinger!”). A great sketch to close out the night. A+

Betty joins Jay-Z, her guests, and the cast to say goodnight and much to her surprise, they give her two dozen roses. Adorable.

I don’t even know what to say after that one. Betty was adorable, Jay-Z rocked the house, the writing rocked, the guests were utilized in a great way. Overall, a fantastic show.

Host Rating: B+

Musical Guest Rating: A+

Show Rating: A+


Be Careful What You Post!

Posted: December 3, 2009 by Matthew Casey in Articles
Tags: , , , , ,

Recently a New Brunswick Tory party member got into some hot water over a comment that he posted on his Facebook page.  He was expressing his thoughts on the provincial budget.  Now this got me thinking about how common it is nowadays to hear of people getting into trouble over things they post on the internet.

The word privacy in today’s society means almost nothing.  People seem to have given up privacy for some infatuation to publicly display their lives on websites like Facebook.  While I don’t feel there is anything wrong with social networking, I can’t understand why people feel the need to post everything they do and everything about themselves on these sites. The false sense of anonymity that the internet provides seems to make people keener on saying anything.  But would we all go out to the middle of a crowded place and start barking out personal information for all the people to hear? I think not.

Now before you email me and tell me that only their “friends” can see it, that’s where we’re wrong! Honestly, how many people that are added to profiles on Facebook are actual close friends? I’m thinking probably not too many, and if they were all really close friends than people must have one heck of a social life to balance spending time with all of them.  So my point is that people don’t necessarily know who they are adding to their network all that well and they don’t know who these people know.  Most often people are quick to add anyone they had a conversation with at some point.

Take this for instance, if one was to post some wild party photos on their page or perhaps a statement on how much they hate their boss, this could land them in serious hot water.  Who’s to say that one of the “friends” on their network doesn’t know their boss? Perhaps they see the photos or the statement and think they should tip the boss off.  In a matter of seconds the employee’s career is finished.

Some people argue but what about my privacy rights? This is like saying I want to go swimming but I don’t want to get wet. If you post something on the internet then it is a form of publishing.  Therefore it is being put out there with the intention of being read or viewed by the public, and therefore people can do with it what they please.  If you don’t want people to know that the last time you called in sick to work you actually went to a beach party, then don’t post pictures of yourself having a grand old time on the internet!

—Matthew Casey