Posts Tagged ‘john mcenroe’


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

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by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 10)

Well we’ve hit the break, folks. After ten episodes, it is time for the annual holiday break for Saturday Night Live cast and crew a like until January 3rd when they will prepare for the next episode when they return on the air. Oh, and that episode? Well, it’s set to be hosted by an actor named Jim Carrey. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Yes, that’s right. Jim freakin’ Carrey will be making his second hosting appearance on January 8th with musical guest the Black Keys. It promises to be an outstanding show. That is not to take away from the lineup being offered to us with this week’s episode.

The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges, seems like one of the most laid-back and amiable people working in Hollywood today. It’s somewhat of a surprise then that he’s only gotten the opportunity to host once before (in 1983, where he did a fairly good job) because he seems like a guy who would be up for pretty much anything. Bridges is here to promote two films: Tron: Legacy, which is already breaking records at the box office, and his upcoming Coen Brothers remake of True Grit, a film that holds a lot of promise, at least in my opinion.

Joining Bridges are two musical guests that are slightly less than laid-back. First up is Eminem, making his fifth appearance on the show ready to showcase his new meaner side that we aren’t so accustomed to. Joining him is Lil Wayne. After a banal performance during the season premiere two years ago, Wayne looks to redeem himself a bit this time and hopefully with the assistance of Eminem, he can pull it off.

CHRISTMAS START!

The Show:

1. Christmas Eve in Washington (2:40)
-Armisen, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer

Frosty the Snowman (Thompson) introduces a series of quick clips of several key members of the office looking out the window and dreaming about better headlines in the new year ahead. Whether it’s President Obama (Armisen) imagining lower unemployment and WikiLeaks telling everyone that John McCain is a Muslim, Hillary Clinton (Bayer) thinking about switching jobs with the pres, or Joe Biden (Sudeikis) beaming at the thought of trading jobs with Batman, it was a very funny short and sweet opening. A-

2. Monologue (5:09)

Jeff tries to separate his own personality from that of the Dude’s but of course, its way too similar. The real meat of the monologue though is the Starman bringing out SNL hopeful Cookie Monster to sing along with him to “Silver Bells.” It was a pretty cutesy segment but aw shucks, it was pretty amusing. B

3. Assange Attacks Mark Zuckerberg (2:10)
-Hader, Samberg

Before the Facebook founder himself (Samberg) can truly comment on how he feels being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Hader) interrupts again to point out how ridiculous it is that Zuckerberg took that honour over himself. Assange has a point and the segment resulted in another funny piece by Hader. B+

4. The Miley Cyrus Show (4:50)
-Bridges, Moynihan, Sudeikis, Bayer, Brittain

In its third appearance, Miley (Bayer) does some more funny stuff including a segment in which she takes pictures of celebrities and puts them together to see if they had a baby (and that’s more-or-less what the segment is called). Cyrus of course discusses her “very serious five-minute drug problem” and then brings out Nick Nolte (Bridges) as her guest to discuss his own past drug abuse problems. Jeff doesn’t have to stretch too much to do the Nick Nolte impression, but it’s funny nonetheless. The sketch itself is pretty much settled into a formula now but there’s enough goofiness to keep it entertaining. B+

5. Film: I Just Had Sex (2:52)
-Samberg + Akon, Jessica Alba, Blake Lively, & John McEnroe

The Lonely Island’s latest opus has Andy and Jorma rapping about their most recent sexual encounter (with Blake Lively and Jessica Alba, respectively, no less) with the assistance of Akon. It’s hard to get into too many details here, but I don’t see where the criticism comes from here. Akon looks like he’s having a hell of a time and the crew create another fun, catchy song. B+

6. Larry King Live (4:48)
-Bridges, Armisen, Elliott, Thompson, Wiig

After taping his last show, Larry King (Armisen) returns for one more show with Jermaine Jackson (Thompson), the Judds (Elliott & Wiig), and Dog the Bounty Hunter (a hilarious Bridges). The usual stuff happens with King’s senility as he questions Jermaine if he has any siblings and also wants to know which of the Judds is the mother. There’s a few amusing things here as Dog cries in a very scary way and this acts as a great swan song for Armisen’s spot-on Larry King impression. Larry’s daily routine is a hoot as well. A-

7. Crunkmas Karnival! (2:37)
-Moynihan, Sudeikis, Pedrad, Pharoah

Following in the tradition of the Under Underground Records ad, DJ Super Soak (Sudeikis) and Lil Blaster (Pedrad) shill for their big Crunkmas three-day concert. Ass Dan (Moynihan) makes another hilarious appearance and then Pharoah shows up to do a funny bit as MC George Costanza. The most fun comes from all the random events and guests that will be at the event though. Quickly becoming one of my favourite recurring bits. A

8. Eminem & Lil Wayne sing “No Love” (4:59)

The two mega-stars rap with each other with a little “What Is Love” thrown in the background, which made me think: how great would it have been if Ferrell and Kattan interrupted as their Roxbury characters? Of course Em would never let that go down. All that aside, it’s still a good performance from both rappers. A-

9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (9:25)
-Also: Fred Armisen, Abby Elliott, Bill Hader, Bobby Moynihan, Kenan Thompson, & Taran Killam

Seth’s Harvard joke is one of the highlights of this week’s so-so edition of Update. While the jokes were sharp and witty for the most part, the commentaries left a little to be desired. Michael Steele (Thompson) stops by to talk about running for a second term and his recent defection to the Tea Party in a segment that goes nowhere; likewise, Brad Pitt (Killam) becomes the new weatherman before he is joined by Angelina (Elliott) with another baby. It’s certainly not a great Brad Pitt impression, but it was amusing nonetheless mostly thanks to Killam’s performance abilities. It’s another segment that really doesn’t do much for me either though. Update ends on a high note though with an appearance by three regulars in Stefon (Hader), David Paterson (Armisen), and Snooki (Moynihan) singing “Oh Christmas Tree,” with some funny interaction in between the verses. B-

10. This You Call Wonderful Life?! (4:33)
-Bridges, Armisen, Elliott, Hader, Moynihan, Samberg, Sudeikis, Wiig, Bayer, Brittain, Killam, Pedrad

Presenting the original version of It’s A Wonderful Life, Ben Mankiewicz (Hader) shows the all-Jewish rendition of the film. It’s essentially another version of the Wizard of Oz sketch from the Anne Hathaway episode but this one works a lot better as for some reason, this mish-mash works a lot better with this film. Our host also stops by to make a funny appearance as the rabbi and gives ol’ George Bailey (Sudeikis) some much-needed advice. B+

11. Jeff’d (4:15)
-Bridges, Elliott, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Brittain, Killam

Spoofing Ashton Kutcher’s once-popular celebrity prank show, Bridges puts his laid-back persona on display as he performs some pretty light-hearted pranks on his old pals like Sam Elliott (Sudeikis), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Elliott), but the best one is Billy Bob Thornton (Samberg), who appears to have some other plans for our host. This was okay, but the sketch was a little too late to work as a Punk’d parody. Jeff was affable though. C+

12. Eminem sings “Won’t Back Down”; Lil Wayne sings “6’7” (6:14)

-Eminem runs through his hit single and tears the house down before switching off with Lil Wayne, so that the two-time guest can perform a hit of his own, although nothing as powerful as Em’s song. I’m impressed with Marshall’s new image and Wayne was a lot more impressive here than he was two years ago. B+

13. General Store (4:11)
-Bridges, Hader, Moynihan, Sudeikis, Wiig, Bayer

In the old West, two weirdos (Bridges & Wiig) have set up shop in the corner of a general store in order to gift-wrap presents for the customers. It’s an oddball sketch that is okay I guess, but the sketch really owes it to Jeff’s bizarre performance as the developmentally-challenged clerk. C

14. A Holiday Message from The Kardashians (1:54)
-Elliott, Bayer, Pedrad

Kim (Pedrad), Kourtney (Bayer), and Khloe (Elliott) wish everyone a happy holidays and gush over the fact that they’re famous for nothing. I enjoyed this much like their other appearance on Update a while back. B

Jeff waves goodbye and enthusiastically thanks everyone on stage for helpin’ him out tonight.

I really didn’t know how Jeff would do but it was obvious he wouldn’t be as stiff as, say, a Robert DeNiro type but I wasn’t sure if he would be a slam-bang great host. He was pretty darn good I’d say and he did better than most upper-echelon actors on the show normally perform. It’s hard to remember how good Bridges was in his previous hosting stint, but if I remember correctly he was good but somewhat restrained and limited. Here, he seemed to have a lot of fun hosting the Christmas show (and we got quite a large number of Christmas sketches too!) and seemed to be pretty open for anything.

Eminem and Lil Wayne were quite surprising to me, but moreso in the case of the latter performer. Where Wayne’s first stint was lazy and reeked of unpreparedness, he dazzled this time with a much more solid work ethic and some good ol’ fashioned rapping. Eminem was as good as you’d expect as he performed in what was probably his gloomiest appearance on the show and even though he slightly upstaged his partner, the duo had good chemistry and put Diddy Dirty-Money to shame.

All in all, it was a decent Christmas episode. Last week’s act was hard to follow up, but they tried their best this week and ended up with a handful of funny sketches and a couple of meh-worthy ones. Thanks to a willing host, a good musical guest combination, and mostly no cast burnout, we got a pretty entertaining show this week and a good way to end the first half of the season.

I’m not sure if I’ll be back every week to review retro SNLs. I’ll be doing one this Thursday but then after that I may take a break until after the Holidays. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Joyous Kwanzaa everybody!

Host Rating: B+
Musical Guest Rating – Eminem: A-
Musical Guest Rating – Lil Wayne: B+
Show Rating: B/B+