Posts Tagged ‘jon hamm’


(Season 38, Episode 19)
Bumper

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

 

ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: “The Hangover Part III”

OF MONSTERS AND MEN: nothing

 

 

COLD OPENING: Fox & Friends (4:06)
Fox & Friends

–      I usually enjoy whenever SNL attacks FOX in any way, shape or form but this edition felt like it was lacking a bit. I did like Taran saying he prefers Asian ladies and sarcastically calling himself a hero, Bobby confusing the WNBA for being the Worse National Basketball Association, and Bobby having his sugar meltdown.

–      Armisen as Michael Bloomberg was a bit of a bore. His segment didn’t really add anything to the sketch. I did like the one line about how gun owners will certainly listen to a Jewish billionaire.

–      The comically-sized Big Gulp was amusing.

–      The “corrections” were funny as usual.

RATING: ***

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Zach Galifianakis (5:42)
Monologue

–      Absolutely hilarious monologue as per usual for Galifianakis on SNL. I especially liked his comment at the beginning for no one to get their hopes up. Also, when the audience was wildly applauding and Zach tells them that he hasn’t really done anything yet… great stuff.

–      My favourite bits were the charades/tofu joke and the Craigslist urination bit.

–      Zach’s piano segment was also very funny. I love whenever he gets musical. This time, he had some great bits on stumping Google (“how many Mexicans live in North Korea?”), “helping” people with car trouble, and the bit about the “funky beets.”

–      Loved his “character” too.

RATING: *****

 

 

GAMESHOW: Game of Game of Thrones (5:38)
Game of Game of Thrones

–      Loved the “you must be home with the flu” opener.

–      Funny sketch with lots of great details including Bill Hader as O.J. Sampson (“and yes, it’s been a long, hard life”).

–      Zach was the best part of this of course and his silly dragon costume was terrific. I loved his nerdy outbursts and his initial look of confusion when Hader asked him a real question rather than one about the show.

–      Taran and Aidy did some solid work as the other players as well.

–      The dude from Game of Thrones (I don’t feel like typing out his whole name) seemed a little nervous but he was fine and the cameo in itself was funny.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

COMMERCIAL: match.com (1:19)
matchdotcom

–      Not bad. I liked Kate’s Martha Stewart impression but there wasn’t a whole lot else to this commercial piece.

–      The other ladies did a solid job as did Taran as Martha’s suitor.

RATING: ***

 

 

SKETCH: Jennifer Aniston Look-Alike Contest (5:59)
Jennifer Aniston Look-Alike Contest

–      I laughed right away just from seeing what this sketch would be about. Zach was hilarious of course and a lot of the other castmembers did stand-out jobs at Jennifer Aniston impressions.

–      Zach making the same Helen Keller reference every time he was outraged just got more and more funny. I also liked him referring to Nasim as “Benebitch Arnold.”

–      Zach also being security was great.

–      And yeah, I dug the cameos by Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms as the co-winners even if Helms was a little awkward. It was cool just to see the Hangover crew reunited for this silly little sketch.

–      The ending was great with everyone singing the “Friends theme.”

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Little Talks” (4:13)
Of Monsters and Men1

–      This reminded me a LOT of when fun. was on the show back in November but I enjoyed this performance a great deal more.

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (12:41)

Guests: James Carville, Randall Meeks, and the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5 update6 update7

–      Best Jokes: self-background checks; NRA/new president; 3 million dollar nickel; Clitoris Awareness Week; overqualified graduates; Rocky musical

–      It was cool to see Hader bring back his James Carville impression even if it was fairly similar to the other ones he’s done. Still, the bit where Hader was talking to his grandmother’s ghost was hilarious and I like how he’s constantly moving in odd formations.

–      I actually really liked Fred Armisen’s piece about the Google Glass… like a lot! Fred’s perfect for this sort of subtle physical humour and the ending with the porn video was funny as was Fred twirling his head around so he could reboot.

–      Cecily’s party girl character has really grown on me throughout her last few appearances and much like Drunk Uncle and Stefon, she entertains me every single time she appears on Update with almost all the lines she has.

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: Racist Jim (4:59)
Racist Jim

–      This sketch was so not PC but SO very funny. Just seeing Zach in the M&M costume alone was enough to make me laugh and then as soon as he opened his mouth, I couldn’t stop laughing.

–      My favourite parts were Zach confusing Nasim for thinking that she is the wrong kind of indian (even though Nasim refers to herself as Pakistani), Zach saying that he often made fun of the gay guys through song, his constant little “no offense” asides to Nasim, and the “please don’t talk over me, this is not a movie theatre” line directed towards Black Joe.

–      Zach almost cracked up at the line about pointing to a brown M&M and saying, “Hey, it’s Black Joe!”

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: Darrell’s House (3:39)
Darrell's House1

–      Written by Seth Meyers.

–      Brilliant sketch, especially when combined with the second part which would appear later in the show.

–      Zach was once again the best part of the sketch and led this with aplomb. My favourite moments were him throwing a glass at Bayer’s character in a fit of rage and when Zach makes his lame Mad Men joke.

–      All of Zach’s editing directions to the cameraman were hilarious.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Mountain Sound” (3:26)
Of Monsters and Men2

–      Another entertaining performance.

 

 

SKETCH: Michael Jordan’s Wedding (4:51)
Michael Jordan's Wedding

–      Zach and Jason were pretty entertaining as the coked-up wedding emcees and I enjoyed the other walk-ons from Kenan as Charles Barkley and Pharoah as that huge basketball player.

–      The best line was from Zach regarding dating a black woman and saying that he didn’t want to be stereotypical but “she had the biggest penis I’ve ever seen.”

–      In fact, I wonder what effect they used to make Jay so tall. Was it just stilts?

–      I noticed as well that Zach was even wigging out a bit at the beginning of the show before they started wearing the cocaine powder on their noses. That’s a good character detail.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

COMMERCIAL: New Balance (1:11)
New Balance

–      Pretty funny little commercial piece. Zach, Tim, and Bobby all did a solid job here.

–      I liked the ending with Zach grabbing someone’s pretzel. The swimsuits were also pretty funny.

RATING: ***

 

 

SHOW: Darrell’s House (1:41)
Darrell's House2

–      Brilliant and an awesome way to end the show. Paying off the first sketch with all of Zach’s ridiculous editing directions resulting in an actual cut-together show was a great way to pay off the sketch.

–      Jon Hamm’s cameo was expected but still very funny and I like how Zach was in the background of one of the shots while Jon was talking but then quickly left when he realized he was on-camera.

–      The winking “effect” was great too as was the stock footage of the Apollo crowd cheering.

RATING: *****

 

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Zach Galifianakis

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Terrific episode and definitely Zach’s best show out of the three he’s hosted thus far. He was a powerhouse, appearing in almost every segment and delivering every time in terms of his performances. He should be invited back time and time again because he always makes the most of these gigs. The cast all did a solid job this week too and the writing was top-notch.

 

TONIGHT’S RATING: ****


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 22)

The Show:

1. Cold Opening: The Lawrence Welk Show (5:01)

It’s time once again for Lawrence Welk (Armisen) to introduce another musical number from the sisters hailing from the Fingerlakes (Elliott, Pedrad, & Bayer) and their deformed sibling Dooneese (Wiig) as they attempt to seduce an Italian lothario (Jon Hamm!).

– A good choice for a cold open on Kristen Wiig’s final SNL. Everything worked here from Fred’s dependable Lawrence Welk, Jon Hamm’s surprise cameo and hilarious Italian accent, Kate McKinnon’s quick role, and of course Kristen as the gross deformed sister.
– I really liked Fred’s fingering joke at the beginning.
– The ending was perfect with Wiig finally finding her true love in Hamm’s character. I laughed a whole lot at Hamm sucking on her strange, disgusting hands. I think it almost made Kristen crack up as well.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (3:10)

Mick answers some questions that he frequently receives from people every day.

– Jagger proved right away that he would be a fun host with his laid-back demeanour and funny delivery. His charisma really helped carry this otherwise-alright monologue.
– My favourite question that he answered was regarding the “I can’t hear you!” line that rock singers typically yell out at concerts.
Rating: ***

3. Secret Word (4:57)

Another round of the popular 60’s gameshow sees returning player Mindy Gracin (Wiig) and her teammate (Bayer) go up against “macho” film star Chaz Bragman (Jagger) and his teammate (Killam).

– Pretty strong Secret Word sketch for Kristen to finish off her amazing tenure on the show. Kristen had lots of great moments here (I particularly loved the canal/anal mix-up) but I thought Mick Jagger’s performance was very strong as well. Loved the voice he chose for the character.
– Hader’s birth control line was hilarious.
–  The “soft” secret word part was predictable but hilarious because of Jagger’s performance and Killam’s reactions.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. Karaoke Night (5:00)

A number of bar patrons (Jagger, Armisen, Moynihan, Wiig, Bayer, & Killam) witness each other attempt their best Jagger impressions while performing some of his hits, while one of them (Jagger) doesn’t feel that the over-the-top characterizations are that accurate.

– Funny sketch with another very fun performance from Jagger and a really, really good Mick Jagger impression from Fred Armisen in particular. This was a very good example of a simple premise executed really well
– The patrons thinking that Bobby Moynihan sleeping on the microphone was part of the impression was hilarious.
– Moynihan actually singing “Sympathy for the Devil” as part of the lyrics was great as well.
– I liked the ending with Mick’s soft singing.
Rating: *** 1/2

5. Digital Short: Lazy Sunday 2 (2:06)

Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell are back, this time rapping about the new Sister Act: The Musical on Broadway.

– Much like last week, I was blown away by the digital short. It was so fucking awesome that they did a sequel to the original hit as a way to say goodbye to one of the most beloved features of SNL for the last seven years.
– The best part about this sequel is that they didn’t repeat the first one but rather brought a new spin to this thing and the bit with Andy and Chris doing the new rap segment was terrific.
– “On these New York streets, I honed my fake rap penmanship; that’s how it began and that’s how I’m-a finish it!” was an absolutely perfect way for the digital shorts to come to an end. Absolutely brilliant.
Rating: *****

6. Politics Nation (4:16)

Al Sharpton (Thompson) brings on J.P. Morgan representative Colin McKechnie (Jagger), New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg (Armisen), and Peter Panache (Sudeikis) to discuss a huge financial loss for J.P. Morgan and job availability in the US.

– I was in the minority of really enjoying the first one of these sketches back on the Katy Perry episode and I enjoyed this one as well just as much as the first one. It was one of the highlights of the night actually.
– Mick looked like he was on the verge of cracking up at the end of his segment.
– Armisen announcing the available jobs for New Yorkers was a funny bit.
– The “salmon canary” mix-up was hilarious.
Rating: ****

7. Mick Jagger & Arcade Fire perform “The Last Time” (4:09)

– This was an awesome performance. Simply fantastic. Mick and Arcade Fire were a really unexpectedly great combination.

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (8:43)
Guest: Stefon

Best Jokes: Obama: first gay president; Bloomberg commencement speech; anti-Obama Super-PAC; man candles; unsafe fish treatment; text message study

– Not much to say about the fantastic segment of Update this week. Stefon was the only guest and he was great like usual. Of course, he cracked up at one point and recovered somewhat and then continued on with his insane commentary. The highlights this time were the D-Bag Chopra, build-a-bear, roaming draggers, and human R2D2 comments.
Rating: **** 1/2

9. So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival (4:01)

Dave Matthews (Hader) hosts a series in which people attempt to dance to songs at an outdoor music festival while guest judges Carlos Santana (Armisen), Jewel (Elliott), and Steven Tyler (Jagger) look on.

– Funny sketch. I love the music and the dancing was fairly accurate but Moynihan was easily the highlight. Then again, Killam’s segment was quite funny as well.
– I love Hader’s Dave Matthews impression. I also really enjoyed the appearances by Abby as Jewel, Fred as Santana, and Mick as Steven Tyler.
– The crowd seemed to REALLY like this sketch.
Rating: ***

10. Mick Jagger and the Foo Fighters perform “19th Nervous Breakdown” & “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll” (5:56)

– Another fantastic musical performance, this time of a medley involving two great Stones songs.
– Jagger is clearly the best musical guest of the season and there has been a lot of good ones this year.

11. The Californians (5:49)

More melodrama, convoluted driving directions, and strange character twists from this stereotypical batch of Californian residents.

– Much like Politics Nation, I was happy to see this come back and I know barely anyone else felt the same way.
– My favourite moments in this sketch came from Mick’s strange and slow-paced Californian accent, Kristen nearly coming to laughs when questioning Fred having a father, and the great appearance by Steve Martin as an amnesiac.
– Steve Martin’s cameo was hilarious and totally unexpected. He got a great reaction upon his entrance as well.
Rating: ***

12. Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck perform “Tea Party” (3:07)

– A wicked original song written about the 2012 election. Something tells me that if Jagger could vote, he probably wouldn’t cast one for Mitt Romney.
– Jagger dropped an S-bomb.

13. She’s a Rainbow (4:20)

Mick introduces Kristen Wiig as a “graduating” castmember while “She’s a Rainbow” and “Ruby Tuesday” play to honour her legacy on the show. All the castmembers dance with Kristen as well as she waves to everyone in the audience and the goodnights immediately follow.

– This was one of the classiest send-offs that any castmember has ever received on the show and a hell of a way to end the season. Say what you want about Kristen but she left a legacy that will be hard to follow and she was one of the best female castmembers of all time.
– The Lorne Michaels dance almost made me cry. That was an extremely nice gesture on Lorne’s part and it was a sweet moment.
– Hader, Moynihan, and Sudeikis looked particularly upset at the departure of Kristen Wiig.
– It was awesome to have Martin, Parnell and Hamm come back and that Chris Kattan, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, and Will Forte came back to send off Kristen.
Rating: *****

 

OVERALL: What a season finale. Mick Jagger was a terrific host & musical guest and Arcade Fire and the Foo Fighters were excellent accompaniment as well. To say that I will miss Kristen Wiig is putting it lightly and I can’t state enough how much of a wonderful contribution she has made to the program over the last seven years. Excellent season-closer. I will have my year-end statistics posted tomorrow.

 

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: MICK JAGGER – 7 segments (Monologue; Secret Word; Karaoke Night; Politics Nation; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)

CAMEOS: RACHEL DRATCH – 1 segment (She’s a Rainbow)
WILL FORTE – 1 segment (She’s a Rainbow)
JON HAMM – 2 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; She’s a Rainbow)
CHRIS KATTAN – 1 segment (She’s a Rainbow)
STEVE MARTIN – 2 segments (The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
CHRIS PARNELL – 2 segments (Lazy Sunday 2; She’s a Rainbow)
AMY POEHLER – 1 segment (She’s a Rainbow)

FRED ARMISEN – 6 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; Karaoke Night; Politics Nation; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 4 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
BILL HADER – 5 segments (Secret Word; Weekend Update; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
SETH MEYERS – 2 segments (Weekend Update; She’s a Rainbow)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (Karaoke Night; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; She’s a Rainbow)
NASIM PEDRAD – 2 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; She’s a Rainbow)
ANDY SAMBERG – 3 segments (Lazy Sunday 2; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 2 segments (Politics Nation; She’s a Rainbow)
KENAN THOMPSON – 3 segments (Politics Nation; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
KRISTEN WIIG – 6 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; Secret Word; Karaoke Night; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)

VANESSA BAYER – 5 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; Secret Word; Karaoke Night; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
TARAN KILLAM – 4 segments (Secret Word; Karaoke Night; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; She’s a Rainbow)
KATE MCKINNON – 2 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; She’s a Rainbow)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segments (She’s a Rainbow)

EPISODE MVPs: Mick Jagger/Kristen Wiig/Andy Samberg


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 21)

The Show:

1. Biden’s Room (5:11)

Joe Biden (Sudeikis) is furious with President Obama (Armisen) and stays trapped in his own room where he complains that Barack is getting all the press for agreeing with gay marriage even though Joe said he did first. After having a hissy fit, Joe consults with his friend George W. Bush (Ferrell), who’s been trapped in his closet the entire time.

– Very creative way to open the show whilst still mentioning the whole Obama/gay marriage thing that’s been all over the news lately.
– Of course, it was awesome to see Ferrell do his George W. Bush impression but the highlight here was Jason Sudeikis’ portrayal of Joe Biden (which is always great anyways) as an angsty teenager rather than just his usual funny performance as the vice president.
– My favourite parts were Biden’s whole scene with Obama, Ferrell saying that they’re all “gut and balls,” Ferrell referring to Dick Cheney as “President Cheney,” and the bit with the literal/figurative fire.
Rating: *****

2. Monologue (3:55)

Will decides to go off-script and has Wally lower the cue cards so he can talk to his mother (the real deal!) on-stage with it being Mother’s Day in 30 minutes.

– Will seemed a little under the weather here as did he throughout the whole show.
– This was a funny start to the show and I liked Will’s stumbly-bumbly “unscripted” dialogue towards his mother. I can’t really explain more specifics than that but let’s just say that I really enjoyed this.
Rating: *** 1/2

3. One-A-Day Extra Strength Nasaflu (1:50)

A woman (Wiig) tries to advertise the new nasal congestion medication but her husband’s (Ferrell) incessant and obnoxious sneezing is too much for her to handle.

– This was a simple one-joke premise but it was fairly short and Will’s crazy sneeze yelling was enough to carry it and make for a funny segment.
– Kristen makes for a good victim.
Rating: ***

4. Alternative Prom (5:32)

Marty Culp (Ferrell) and Bobbi Mohan-Culp (Ana Gasteyer!) are back and this time are DJ’ing a prom to sing about LGBT rights to the tune of several current pop songs.

– I never thought I would see these characters back again but it was delightful to see Ana Gasteyer return to join Will Ferrell for these wonderful recurring characters that I’ve always enjoyed.
– The singing itself was fun of course (the LMFAO bit was great) but the dialogue beforehand was also very funny like usual.
– Ana has aged pretty gracefully.
Rating: ****

5. Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994 (6:20)

Pete Twinkle (Sudeikis) and the dim-witted Greg Stink (Will Forte!) provide commentary for a ladies golf competition while quipping some inappropriate taglines for Stay Free Maxi Pads. At the same time, the O.J. Simpson case is ongoing and on-the-scene reporter Randy Feather (Ferrell) is having some audio problems.

– I always liked these sketches and I enjoyed this one a whole lot thanks to the fun and inappropriate taglines (“when your uterine lining looks like the elevator from The Shining“) and especially the format-bending stuff with Will Ferrell as the reporter.
– It sure was nice to see Will Forte return… and actually get the recognition applause he deserved that he didn’t get with his previous cameo appearance. He got some great laughs like usual in these sketches and I especially liked his comments about his wife leaving him.
–  Ferrell’s comments while waiting for his feed to begin was quite funny as was Jason setting up the clip (“once again, it’s 1994”).
Rating: *** 1/2

6. Digital Short: The 100th Digital Short (3:26)

To commemorate the 100th short that they’ve made together, Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Justin Bieber welcome a number of former guests like Michael Bolton, Natalie Portman, and Julian Casablancas as well as characters like Sergio (Jon Hamm) and the other half of the “Dick in a Box” guys (Justin Timberlake). They proceed to suck their own dicks metaphorically and literally in praise of their own accomplishments.

– This was wonderful; it was a brilliant way to commemorate the 100th short and a perfect send-off if this is really to be Andy Samberg’s final season and the end of these digital shorts.
– Even though we’ve seen all these characters/impressions before, it was still hilarious to see all the references to past shorts while Samberg and co. admitted to pretty much pleasuring themselves with all the self-referential shit.
– I like the bit about all of them being written by Lorne Michaels and his random cameo.
Rating: **** 1/2

7. Usher sings “Scream” (3:52)

– Ferrell always has the best outfits as he introduces the musical guests.
– This performance was actually pretty good and Usher relied a bit more on the singing rather than dancing this time.

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (9:55)
Guest: Get in the Cage with Liam Neeson

Best Jokes: Obama/gay marriage; Limbaugh/traditional marriage; turtle’s shell; snakes in Guam

– I gotta admire Seth’s devotion to the Michael Phelps joke.
– Seth’s “Really!?!” segment on the TIME Magazine cover was hilarious and him pointing out how creepy the photo is just had me laughing and nodding the whole time. My favourites were the Psycho bit and the part where he photoshops the chair out of the picture.
– Andy brings back his Get in the Cage segment with guest Liam Neeson. It was a decent segment but I really think they should’ve ended this recurring bit on the highest note it reached with the real Nicolas Cage. They repeated a lot of the jokes that they usually do in this segment but some of the stuff was still hilarious like Cage explaining the plot for his new film based on the game “Hungry, Hungry Hippos.” The testicles’ nicknames being Liam Neeson characters was great. I also loved the John Travolta line and it ended the segment on a hilarious note.
Rating: *** 1/2

9. The 2012 Funkytown Debate (5:24)

On C-SPAN, Michael “Monkey Sweat” James (Killam) emcees a debate in Funkytown between incumbent mayor Dr. Silky Delicious (Thompson), Captain Catfish (Ferrell), and straight-laced Janet Nichols (Pedrad).

– This was quite an odd sketch and I give them credit for at least trying to do something unique but that certainly didn’t result in it being funny whatsoever.
– I guess I lightly chuckled at Ferrell’s cabinet and Usher’s dance moves were put to good use here as Mr. Galactic Fantastic but that was about it.
– This may be the worst sketch of the season or at least in the top ten.
Rating: *

10. Broadway Sizzle (5:23)

A recently divorced couple (Hader & Wiig) host a program in which several performers (Ferrell, Moynihan, & Thompson) do some of their best Broadway performances on-stage in an effort to get some recognition.

– This was another head-scratcher. While it wasn’t as bad as the previous sketch, it was still lacking in humour somewhat. Ferrell’s part was okay but I didn’t really get what the main joke of his segment was supposed to be.
– Kenan’s part was strange. Was the song supposed to be funny on its own?
– Will constantly realizing that he’s singing women parts was somewhat amusing.
– Bobby Moynihan made me laugh with his brief bit.
Rating: **

11. Usher sings “Climax” (3:50)

– Another decent performance. At least Usher uses his real voice rather than auto-tune or something stupid like that.

12. Anniversary Toast (5:18)

An anniversary toast is interrupted by several uninvited party guests like a professional psychic (Ferrell), the rock & roll shorts guy (Armisen), Hamilton (Will Forte), Gail (Wiig), the very strange Reg (Killam), and of course microphone guy (Moynihan).

– I didn’t expect this sketch to make a comeback but it was fine anyway. There were some parts that didn’t work but a good portion of it did and it was a nice break after the previous two bad sketches.
– Wiig was funnier here than she was in the other sketches like this.
– Taran’s character was hilarious but for me, I was most happy with Will Forte bringing back Hamilton and his insane right-wing nuttery.
Rating: ***

13. Almost Pizza (1:19)

– Repeat from Sofia Vergara/One Direction (4/7/12).

14. Goodnights

OVERALL: Well, aside from two bad segments in the post-Update slot, this was a pretty good show but slightly disappointing for an episode hosted by Will Ferrell. There was no Jeopardy! sketch which I half-expected anyway but once the episode entered the second half, it seemed to lose a lot of the energy it had built up to that point and ended on a bit of a lower note. Still, it was solid all-in-all.

 

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: WILL FERRELL – 9 segments (Biden’s Room; Monologue; One-A-Day Extra Strength Nasaflu; Alternative Prom; Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Broadway Sizzle; Anniversary Toast)
MUSICAL GUEST: USHER – 2 segments (The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate)

CAMEOS: KAY FERRELL – 1 segment (Monologue)
WILL FORTE – 2 segments (Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; Anniversary Toast)
ANA GASTEYER – 1 segment (Alternative Prom)
LIAM NEESON – 1 segment (Weekend Update)

FILMED CAMEOS: JUSTIN BIEBER – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
MICHAEL BOLTON – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
JULIAN CASABLANCAS – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
JON HAMM – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
NATALIE PORTMAN – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)

FRED ARMISEN – 4 segments (Biden’s Room; The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Anniversary Toast)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 2 segments (Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; The 2012 Funkytown Debate)
BILL HADER – 3 segments (Broadway Sizzle; Anniversary Toast; Almost Pizza)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Broadway Sizzle; Anniversary Toast)
NASIM PEDRAD – 2 segments (The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Almost Pizza)
ANDY SAMBERG – 3 segments (The 100th Digital Short [6 roles]; Weekend Update; The 2012 Funkytown Debate)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 3 segments (Biden’s Room; Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; Anniversary Toast)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (Alternative Prom; The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Broadway Sizzle)
KRISTEN WIIG – 7 segments (One-A-Day Extra Strength Nasaflu; Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Broadway Sizzle; Anniversary Toast; Almost Pizza)

VANESSA BAYER – 3 segments (Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Anniversary Toast)
TARAN KILLAM – 3 segments (Biden’s Room; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Anniversary Toast)
KATE MCKINNON – 2 segments (The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Anniversary Toast)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segment (The 2012 Funkytown Debate)

EPISODE MVP: Jason Sudeikis


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


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 21)

1. The Situation Room (5:01)

Wolf Blitzer (Sudeikis) and Jennifer Kates (Bayer) comment on the bin Laden story while President Obama’s (Armisen) victory speech gradually gets more and more cocky, eventually delving into a sort of stand-up act.

– This was easily one of my favourite cold opens that they’ve done thus far this season. I really didn’t know what to expect at first, but when Jason’s amusing Wolf Blitzer impression then cut to Obama, I started to worry a bit.
– Thankfully, this was the best thing Fred has done as Obama. What starts off as a somber patriotic speech soon turns into a rally in El Paso as Obama even begins smoking again in front of everyone.
– There were a lot of great moments here from Barack’s carefree attitude to his acquiring of a new catchphrase (“killll bin laden!”) and his two assistants (Killam & Pedrad) with shirt guns beside him.
– It also sounded like actual audience members were getting shirts launched at them. That’s a nice touch.
– Also, this sketch reminded me of one they did back in the late 80s called “Bushwacked,” where Dubya Sr. was hosting a talk show and trying to prove he wasn’t a wimp by smoking and shoving his guests around.
*****

MONTAGE: I just need to add this… A CARTOON BY ROBERT SMIGEL?! When’s the last time you remember seeing this announced? I nearly jumped off my chair when I saw that!

2. Monologue (4:31)

Ed tells the story of when he first found out that being a comedian was his future.

– It’s nice to see a standard monologue. They seem to be kind of rare these days.
– Ed starts out the night on a good, albeit long-winded, foot. It’s also rare to see this type of monologue where the funny part is really only at the end but it was worth the wait.
– When Ed got into his outfit, I nearly spit out my drink. The baton-twirling was funny too.
*** 1/2

3. Corn Syrup Producers of America (1:25)

What starts as some vague criticism from a fellow housewife (Wiig) regarding the excessive use of corn syrup, a woman (Pedrad) suddenly becomes quite scornful at these allegations and dresses down her friend.

– Repeat from Zach Galifianakis/Jessie J (3/12/11).
*** 1/2

4. what up with that? (8:15)

Diondre Cole (Thompson) welcomes his guests Paul Simon, Chris Colfer, and of course Lindsey Buckingham (Hader) and doesn’t let any of them get too many words in before delving off into musical interludes like usual.

– This may have been the ultimate edition of this sketch. There were already rumors that this is Kenan’s last year on the show and this edition of “what up with that?” may have solidified them. That having been said, it was probably also one of the best editions.
– I liked the direction they went with this by having it be a sort of “music past and future” edition with legendary Paul Simon and Glee castmember Chris Colfer.
– So many things to like about this sketch from the usual dancing by Jason Sudeikis to the fun characters played by Ed Helms and Kristen Wiig to the insane cameo from the real Lindsey Buckingham (complete with a mean guitar riff).
– I liked a lot of the smaller bits too like Paul Simon being very familiar with the format and thus feeling bad for Buckingham (Hader) and trying to get a word in edgewise and the fact that all the singers and dancers on the show have names now.
****

5. The Ambiguously Gay Duo: The Dark, Clenched Hole of Evil (6:51)

It’s business as usual for the queersome twosome, but when Dr. Brainiac invents a flesh-ray gun and turns them into real live, people (Jon Hamm & Jimmy Fallon), the device goes haywire and also transforms Dr. Brainiac (Stephen Colbert), Bighead (Steve Carell), Two-Face (Helms), and Lizard Man (Armisen).

– This was simply fantastic. What started off as a typical episode of the Ambiguously Gay Duo soon evolved into something much more than that with the fantastic live-action portion.
– Everyone was perfectly cast here. Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon (who I thought was Mark Hamill at first) were absolutely hilarious as Ace and Gary and it was super-awesome to see Steve Carell AND Stephen Colbert in the flesh.
– I was really surprised to see Ed Helms make an appearance and he had a few funny lines as well.
– There were some great moments like when it was alluded that the villains also had some skeletons in the closet as well.
– How did they get away with that visual of Ace and Gary’s penis-car having a headlight?
– It is also amazing how they filmed this in less than a week as the production values were pretty terrific.
– This got a MONSTER ovation when it was done. I know the audience always cheers when a sketch is done, but they went absolutely nuts.
*****

6. Paul Simon sings “Rewrite” (4:08)

– Paul looks really, really old now but he hasn’t lost a step. His performance was very good and his backing band was pretty spectacular too.
– He did look elated to be back on SNL as well and the studio audience was greatful to have him.

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (14:22)
Guests: Anthony Crispino (Moynihan); Will Smith (Pharoah); Garth & Kat (Armisen & Wiig)

Best Jokes: Newt Gingrich on Facebook/Twitter; pet alligator; Spider-Man musical; Lonesome George; Oreos/sweatpants

– Say what you want, but I do enjoy Bobby’s second-hand news correspondent, Anthony Crispino. It’s a fairly one-note character, but Bobby makes it entertaining with his likeable performance as he comments on will.i.am’s big wedding to Kate Gosselin, a condom wrapper at the White House, and the world ending in 2012 according to Maya Rudolph’s calendar.
– The second commentary is a great impression in a somewhat-pointless segment. Will Smith (Pharoah) comments on his huge trailer causing residents to complain. Will talks about positivity and talks about how he can do anything now with his method of thinking. It wasn’t terrible, but Jay’s Will Smith is somewhat wasted here.
– Lastly, Garth & Kat (Armisen & Wiig) stop by to belt out some songs just in time for summer. It’s the same ol’ thing from these two characters, but they always have fun with it and despite what some people think of them, I still find them amusing most of the time. They’re also getting remarkably better at keeping straight faces. This edition was decent enough.
– Like last week, this wasn’t the greatest week for Seth’s jokes but he still had some good ones thrown in there.
***

8. Song Memories (4:28)

Four friends (Helms, Hader, Samberg, & Sudeikis) reminisce about long-standing memories while “Wild World” by Cat Stevens plays on the stereo.

– I haven’t seen this sketch since Ryan Phillippe/Ke$ha. It was a pleasant surprise.
– This sketch’s quality really depends on how funny the stories are from each guy and this sketch definitely succeeded there, as I found all of them pretty funny.
– Sudeikis’ placement of his grandfather’s ashes in a Jamba Juice cup followed by Ed Helms accidentally drinking it and spitting it out almost made me spit out MY drink.
– It was odd to see Samberg there instead of Forte, but his doctor story was pretty funny especially after the second punchline when it was revealed that he is a dentist.
– Ed’s story was funny too, but the drinking of the ashes was the best part of it.
– Another nonsensical ending and I think this one was the best yet.
****

9. One-Take Tony (3:36)

It is circa 1941 and master thespian, Tony Toluca (Samberg) arrives on the set much to the director’s (Helms) delight and bestowment of the nickname, One-Take Tony. However, Tony’s actions seem to prove otherwise.

– It’s rare to see a new character for Andy these days, but this was a fun bit.
– Ed was delightful as the director too and his old-timey voice and inflection was pretty accurate.
– It also feels like it’s been a while since we’ve seen a sketch like this where someone is filming something and an actor/situation keeps breaking up the proceedings.
– I loved Tony breaking character just because there was a dog wearing a hat (“It’s wearing a hat! That would never happen in the wild!”)
– The non-sequitor ending with Louis Armstrong was a great capper to this sketch.
*** 1/2

10. Paul Simon sings “So Beautiful Or So What” (4:58)

– The second song from Simon features another terrific performance by the 69-year old crooner.
– Unlike some musical guests, Simon’s second number is also a lot different in sound from his first one. Take note, Elton John.

11. Ann-Margret Tries To Throw Away A Wad Of Paper In The Trashcan (2:00)

The Swedish-born actress, Ann-Margret (Wiig), attempts to throw a wad of paper out while doing her crazy dancing moves and has some issues with this mundane task despite her husband’s attempts to help out.

– I had to go find what they were parodying before I watched this because I had NO idea.
– After watching the infamous dancing scene from Viva Las Vegas, I was able to fully appreciate this short, absurd piece.
– Wiig had the dancing down perfectly and Ed was a good straight man to the festivities.
****

12. Republican Candidate (1:16)

One Republican candidate (Helms), who represents all the bland faceless GOP nominees, makes some very general comments in his address to the nation.

– This was a very quick piece and gave Ed a lead role, but he seemed to stumble over his lines a bit. He was still pretty funny though in a deadpan sort of way.
– I like how Helms just said things like “my dad, the military, dogs, church stuff” and said how he was one of the lesser-known candidates, but he doesn’t know who.
***

13. Goodnights


OVERALL: This show was already going to be at least a good episode after Paul Simon’s first song. The first half of the show was tremendous with THREE knockout sketches (the cold open, what up with that?, and the Smigeltoon) and a fun monologue. After Update, Mr. Helms got a few more meaty roles than earlier and managed to do a pretty good job overall despite a couple of missed cues. This episode may have been just as good or very close to last week’s, but this time there wasn’t really a bad sketch. Sure, Update was not as great as usual but that’s only a small complaint in an episode with two serious candidates for best sketch of the season.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: ED HELMS – 7 segments (Monologue; what up with that?; The Ambiguously Gay Duo; Song Memories; One-Take Tony; Ann-Margret Tries To Throw A Wad Of Paper Into A Trashcan; Republican Candidate)
CAMEOS: LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM – 1 segment (what up with that?)
CHRIS COLFER – 1 segment (what up with that?)
FILMED CAMEOS: STEVE CARELL – 1 segment (The Ambiguously Gay Duo)
STEPHEN COLBERT – 1 segment (The Ambiguously Gay Duo)
JIMMY FALLON – 1 segment (The Ambiguously Gay Duo)
JON HAMM – 1 segment (The Ambiguously Gay Duo)

CAST:

FRED ARMISEN – 4 segments (The Situation Room; what up with that?; The Ambiguously Gay Duo; Weekend Update)
ABBY ELLIOTT – none
BILL HADER – 3 segments (what up with that?; Song Memories; One-Take Tony)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (Corn Syrup Producers of America; Weekend Update; One-Take Tony)
ANDY SAMBERG – 2 segments (Song Memories; One-Take Tony)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 3 segments (The Situation Room; what up with that?; Song Memories)
KENAN THOMPSON – 2 segments (what up with that?; One-Take Tony)
KRISTEN WIIG – 5 segments (Corn Syrup Producers of America; what up with that?; Weekend Update; One-Take Tony; Ann-Margret Tries To Throw A Wad Of Paper Into A Trashcan)

FEATURING:

VANESSA BAYER – 2 segments (The Situation Room; what up with that?)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 1 segment (Song Memories)
TARAN KILLAM – 2 segments (The Situation Room; what up with that?)
NASIM PEDRAD – 3 segments (The Situation Room; Corn Syrup Producers of America; what up with that?)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segment (Weekend Update)

EPISODE MVPs: Fred Armisen/Bill Hader/Andy Samberg/Kristen Wiig


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 5)

It’s a wonderful thing when SNL finds a host that they enjoy working with and one slowly sees them morph into a go-to host and one that is invited back almost every season to command the reigns of the show. One of these hosts is Jon Hamm. After making his hosting debut two seasons ago on another Halloween episode, Hamm solidified a good reputation as a host who was more than willing to go the distance in his performances and also to step aside and not have to be the center of attention in a sketch at all times. It is nice to see a host worshipped every now and then, but it is an absolute delight when the host becomes an honourary castmember for the night.

Joining Hamm is a two-time musical guest, Rihanna. While her first appearance was mid-way through the last season, she was fairly entertaining in that particular underrated Blake Lively/Rihanna episode (I know, I’m in the minority of people who liked it). This time, she promotes her upcoming album “Loud” and brings her usual strong-willed, Chris Brown-dumping self to the stage. Rihanna is an odd one for me; at times, I really dig her stuff but then sometimes I just want to turn off the TV and be sure she is done singing before turning it back on.

Program START!

The Show:

1. A Message from the Vice President (3:25)

The beloved Joe Biden (Sudeikis) makes one last-ditch attempt to save the Democrats during the mid-term elections, but declares it “dead in the water” anyway. What really makes this work though is Biden comparing the state of the economy to the Chilean miners and declares since they dealt with that fine, no one else should have any right to complain about the economy. Biden’s test related to this is funny and whenever Sudeikis does the impression, it’s almost always gold. B+

2. Monologue (3:46)

After doing Mad Men for four seasons so far, the “Hammer” thinks himself a master at developing ad campaigns on the spot. To test this newfound talent, Hamm takes product suggestions from the audience including one near-stumper from a particularly weird gentleman (Samberg) of 9-volt batteries. Jon is such a relaxed and laid-back host that this whole thing just works very naturally for him. B+

3. Digital Short: Ronnie & Clyde (2:53)

It’s the return of Shy Ronnie (Samberg)! This time, Rihanna refers to her “Bonnie & Clyde ’03” hit and initiates a bank heist with her very unhelpful accomplice. This time it’s even better than their first digital short together even though a lot of it was fairly predictable after having seen the original. Oh and our host? He plays a customer who is probably getting lucky with our musical guest. Another fun piece. B+

4. Vincent Price’s Halloween Special (5:32)

One of my favourite recurring sketches makes its return as Vincent Price (Hader) welcomes the usual technical difficulties and difficult-to-deal-with guests. This time, he welcomes a pilled-up Judy Garland (Wiig) and Senator John F. Kennedy (Hamm) and his campaign manager/prostitute, Candy (Pedrad). Liberace (Armisen) is introduced in a terrific way and this time, the gay jokes are even more plentiful than usual. All the same, it’s more good fun from Vincent and the gang. A-

5. Back To The Future 25th Anniversary DVD (2:31)

With the release of the new BTTF DVD, some auditions for the major roles in the movie are shown. This sketch is mainly here to highlight the impressions from the cast and there are tons of good ones from Al Pacino (Hader) auditioning for Doc to Robin Williams (fun impression by Hamm) vying for the same role as well but getting carried away by his wacky improv. We also get another bang-on impression by Jay Pharaoh, this time of Eddie Murphy. A

6. Audition (4:40)

During an audition for a local play, the director grants time for actress Lizette Barnes (Wiig), who basically spends her time explaining what she will show and do and what she will absolutely not do. What starts as a seemingly gross-out sketch develops into much more than that when her husband (Hamm) enters the room and evokes an impassioned speech about his wife’s talent, dating back to a dog commercial. The performances of Hamm and Wiig are what really carry this well-written sketch, but Sudeikis provides terrific straight-man foil as well. A-

7. Back To The Future 25th Anniversary DVD (2:46)

More auditions! Much like the Star Wars Auditions sketch from Kevin Spacey/Beck back in 1997, they make this one a two-parter. This time, Samberg shows off his Nicolas Cage impression but once again Bill Hader dominates the sketch, this time with a wonderful impression of Alan Alda. We see a few that we’ve already seen before like Bill Cosby (Thompson), Joan Cusack (Elliott), and Prince (Armisen), but it turns out that Killam does a funny impression of Gilbert Gottfried and Pee Wee Herman as well. A

8. Rihanna sings “What’s My Name?” (3:50)

Taking a page out of Kanye’s playbook, Rihanna revamps the stage and douses it in a beautiful red glow second only to the beauty of Rihanna herself. With low-to-no expectations, Rihanna does a pretty decent job with this first song and her outfit is nothing to sneeze at either. B

9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (11:02)

Seth’s guests this week are James Carville (more fun with Bill Hader!), who comments on the mid-term elections with the usual clever metaphors that he likes to throw out, and Garth & Kat who come by to sing some “planned” Halloween songs from their new concert tour. Of course, it’s just as slapped together as their songs usually are and that only adds to the charm. Seth’s jokes are just as consistently good as usual like a funny bit involving a new Trick or Treat app on the iPhone and also one involving China’s wonderful air quality saving a boy’s life. The one involving the miners was pretty slick too. A-

10. I Didn’t Ask For This (5:38)

A talk-show featuring an unwilling Youtube celebrity (Moynihan) talking to fellow Youtubians as they all try to figure out why people make fun of their unfortunate mishaps that just so happened to be captured on camera and posted to the eponymous website. One guest (Wiig) was accidentally hit with a hammer, while the other (Hamm) was caught crying as his son finally confessed his love for him. Hamm actually sends the host and Wiig into a fit of laughter because, well, his crying noise is too much not to make fun of. This sketch was a pretty clever commentary on the media, actually. A

11. Highway Cops (5:11)

A 70s show on NBC features two cops, Randy (Hamm) and Cutter (Sudeikis) drive their boss crazy with their constant distractions preventing them from doing drug busts or catching criminals in general. The distraction involves their bike rides together which eventually develops into a, you guessed it, a man-on-man kiss. However, it’s not played for gross-out quality and the whole thing is a pretty funny throwback to cheesy cop shows. B+

12. Darlique & Barney (4:54)

Lounge act Darlique (Wiig) & Barney (Hamm) start their show off with a little joke and a fake fight. This is one of those sketches much like the “Bjelland Brothers” one from Cranston/West that features some terrible lounge singers and an even worse act. However, unlike the aforementioned sketch, this one is not nearly as good and it really drags for most of its duration. Hamm really tries though and he and Wiig have good chemistry. C+

13. Rihanna sings “Only Girl (In The World)” (3:44)

The umbrella girl’s second number has a lot more flash than the first but in the rare instance that this happens, style actually creates more substance with this performance. B+

14. Cartoon: Dog in Purse (1:30)

A cartoon from former writer Fred Wolf! Simplistic animation aside, Dog in Purse features David Spade doing the voice of a dog making snide remarks about celebrities and the media in general. It works perfectly because of Spade’s voice perfectly fitting the cartoon character, but overall its a pretty quick sketch. B

Jon thanks everyone and wishes everyone a happy Halloweeeeeeeeeen!

Jon Hamm is the new Steve Martin. There, I said it. In terms of new SNL hosts in the past ten years, no one has stepped up to the plate quite like Don Draper himself. He can easily carry a show like he did during his first gig but then he can also step aside and sometimes he blends in so well that you’d think he was a castmember. If Hamm doesn’t become a five-timer in the next two years, there is no justice in the world.

Rihanna was surprisingly entertaining as the musical guest and her contribution to the digital short was appreciated as well.

The main highlights in the cast this week were Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, who actually got to anchor a number of sketches more than he is usually allowed.

Notes:

Constantly referring to Bill Hader as “ma’am” in the monologue was hilarious.

“1.21 Jigawatts? Great, Scott!”

Sudeikis jumping out the ground floor window was a great sight gag.

Alda: “I want in. Who do I have to f*ck?”

Not to sound perverted or anything, but holy god has Rihanna got some nice gams or what?!

Hader sure has fun playing James Carville. I’m glad he brings it back so often… (“I look like a mean peanut!”)

I think I heard Jason cracking up off-screen at Kenan answering the phone really quickly.

Kenan’s subplot with his wife in that “Highway Cops” sketch almost stole the entire scene.

Host Rating: A+

Musical Guest Rating: B+

Show Rating: B+/A-


Well, it’s only been about 15 months since Mr. Jon Hamm last took over the hosting duties for Saturday Night Live, but he seemed to have a lot of fun then and was an apparent joy to work with. With all that combined, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before Jon returned again to helm the long-lasting comedy institution’s 671st broadcast and the 13th one of this season.

Since the average reader doesn’t really know what I think about the rest of the season since I don’t have any reviews from this season written up and posted, but I’m going to briefly explain my stance.

Most people I know have said that the show has taken a creative slump this year ever since the fantastic season they had last year. I tend to disagree with that idea though as I thought this season has started out strongly, took a bit of a quality dip mid-way through the season but after a couple of episodes ago, it has seemed to perk back up again and will hopefully stay that way for the remainder of the season.

Enough about that, though. On with the show!

The Show:

1. Cold Open: State of the Union 2010

Well, what better way to start off than with a politically-themed sketch? In a set that reminds me of the original ‘State of the Union’ sketches with Dan Aykroyd as President Carter, Obama lays out the state of…well, the union while telling everyone that at this point, he really doesn’t care either way about the health care bill. Of course, Joe Biden (Sudeikis) and Nancy Pelosi (Wiig) sit behind him and clap at almost everything, as does the rest of the audience. B

2. Monologue

The Hammster makes his way out and looks as suave as ever in a dapper suit. Instead of making lots of Mad Men references like the first time he hosted, this time Jon introduces clips of several shows that he “appeared” on before Mad Men including a Degrassi-type show, an appearance on QVC hawking jewelry, and finally some stand-up at the Def Comedy Jam (“Wash ye’ ass!”). Of course, all three appearances basically have him playing Don Draper. Jon once again shows that he has a natural presence when it comes to do doing comedy. A-

3. Don’t Make Me Sing

A dinner party in the 1920’s quickly evolves into a performance piece by one of the guests (Hamm) on the piano. Before he really gets a chance though, his wife (Wiig) insists that she sing along with him in a sort of non-assuming way. Wiig’s performance is great as usual while Jon does a good straight man. Another decent sketch. B

4. Digital Short: Sergio

Ahh, yes the good ol’ digital shorts. Every week, these are usually the best thing on the show (with a few exceptions that stink up the joint of course), but last night was no different. A businessman (Samberg) crushes an ancient hobo’s (Armisen) dreamcatcher and refuses to pay for it, so therefore he is cursed. Cursed with what, you may ask? Why a shirtless saxophone player named Sergio (Hamm) bursting through the walls and laying down some sweet tunes. The twist ending in this filmed piece was the icing on the cake. A

5. New Senator

Republican senator Scott Brown has been in the news lately. Here’s a charismatic young guy who is CONSERVATIVE and has a few Obama-like qualities when it comes to his speeches and candor. Here, Scott (Hamm) keeps “accidentally” bursting in on a democratic meeting with Robert Byrd (Hader), Barbara Boxer (Pedrad), Nancy Pelosi (Wiig), Barney Frank (Armisen), and an unnamed senator (Forte). Because of this incident, each senator ends up having their own little daydreams of Scott in various forms of undress, the highlight of which being Frank’s and Byrd’s fantasies. B-

6. Michael Bublé sings “Haven’t Met You Yet”

I had no real semblance of how good or bad Bublé would do on the show since I’ve only heard about two or three songs in his repertoire, but tonight he proved that he could channel Frank Sinatra fairly well and entertain the crowd at least. B

Great show so far, huh?

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers

Wow, Seth was on an absolute roll tonight. After an incredibly hilarious take/rant on the Obama Q&A at the Republican headquarters, Meyers welcomes two guests this week. First off is Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Pedrad), who talks of the great diversity within the Supreme Court (which includes white guys and one black guy who “might as well be a white guy”). The second guest sees the return of Snooki (Moynihan) from Jersey Shore. The impression coupled with the hair “poof” and bright orange skin is enough to have one laughing for ages, but the commentary itself is pretty funny too. A+

8. Game Time With Randy And Greg

In its third outing since the inception, Randy Dukes (Thompson) and Greg (Hader), who “is not an alien”, host a sports call-in show where several of the people calling in start off with a sports question but then quickly veer off-topic and ask if Greg is indeed an alien. Randy is quick to switch callers and deny these claims, but Greg’s antics are not very helpful in that regard. Soon enough, the aliens multiply (Hamm is one of them) and things go awry. I liked that they added a minor twist here in regards to the last two versions of this recurring sketch, but it fell a little short of being truly worthwhile. C+

9. Hamm & Bublé

In a sort-of repeat from the last time Jon Hamm hosted, his name is used as a pun again. This time, it’s for a restaurant that only serves ham and champagne (Get it? Bubbly = Bublé?). At first, this bit seemed like it was just coasting on one joke, but Michael proved himself a worthy sketch actor by feigning terror at Hamm having kidnapped him and forced him to participate in this strange go-nowhere business venture. The portrayal of Jon Hamm as an insane criminal is enough to send this one over the top. A-

10. Closet Organizer

Talk about bizarre. I thought the digital short was strange, but this commercial piece involves a man dressed in a blue spandex one-piece that catches everything you throw into your closet and “organizes” it. It starts off with everyday things you would put in there, but eventually it gets so ridiculous to the point of hilarity. A-

11. Stenographer

Okay, I have to admit that I liked this one despite its general weirdness and feeling of laziness at times in the writing. Here, Fred Armisen plays a female court stenographer (who is using a typewriter, by the way) who is having trouble keeping up with the case and at several points, has to halt the proceedings to find important items in her purse. This could have been an annoying, grating character sketch, but Armisen makes it work and Hamm plays straight man very well. B

12. Michael Bublé (Ft. Sharon Jones) sings “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)”

I think I am going to be in the minority here and say that I did not enjoy this song as much as some people did. Bublé’s insistence at never speaking directly into the microphone got a little annoying and the two just did not seem to mesh together very well. C

13. Closet Organizer in a Bar

Wow. That’s all I could say at this point. In this sketch, they actually make a callback to the “Closet Organizer” piece by having Will Forte being recognized in a bar by someone (Hamm) who realizes that he was in said commercial. It is an absolute rarity on SNL to make a callback to previous sketches like that. In fact, I believe the last time that happened was about twelve years ago. Either way, this sketch escalates to a great peak and kills. B+

14. American Enterprise

And finally, we come to the last sketch of the night. It’s a quick CNN fluff-piece on Barnes (Hamm) & Noble (Hader) and how they got their business started as a homeless person’s bathroom, but then realized they actually needed to sell something so they chose books. It’s a very one-note joke, but it’s funny nonetheless. B+

And that’s the end of the show. Hamm thanks everyone for helping him perform a great show and waves goodnight to one and all.

Essentially playing variations of Don Draper throughout the night in most of the sketches, Hamm was no Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin, but he is still a very welcome addition to the show whenever he wants to make an appearance. I would not be opposed to Mr. Hamm hosting every year or couple of years as he brings his innate natural charisma and a knack for comedy no one would expect to the forefront. Bublé was also a surprise. Who knew he could be a half-decent sketch player before appearing in “Hamm & Bublé?”

The cast also rocked the house this week even though there were a few that didn’t get too much screentime (Abby, Jenny, Suds, Kenan). The writing has definitely perked up again after a bit of a midseason lull and it’s great to see everything in full swing again.

Host Rating: B+

Musical Guest Rating: B

Show Rating: B+

NEXT WEEK: Ashton Kutcher hosts while Them Crooked Vultures are representin’ in the category of musical guest.