Posts Tagged ‘katy perry’


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 9)

The Show:

1. On the Record (5:24)

Greta Van Susteren (Wiig) welcomes Donald Trump (Darrell Hammond!) onto the show to talk about him being the moderator for the next GOP debate in Iowa. At either side of him, Newt Gingrich (Moynihan) and Rick Santorum (Samberg) sit idly by and are on the receiving end of some harsh insults.

– It was fantastic to see Darrell back and it’s good to see that he’s healthy enough these days to make an appearance on the show. His Trump impression never fails to entertain.
– The sketch mostly belonged to Darrell’s mimicry of The Donald and some of Kristen’s lines as Greta.
– My favourite parts were Donald talking about Obama’s birth certificate, his insults towards both Gingrich and Santorum, and Donald’s whole rant about people not being reliable because their wives are not a whole lot younger than them unlike Trump’s wife, Melania.
– The boom mic made a few appearances here.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (3:30)

Katy mentions how her outfits are inspired by people she knew while growing up in California. Subsequently, she is visited by three of them (Hader, Samberg, & Wiig) who each inspired a different song.

– Amusing monologue. I liked Wiig as the California Girls inspiration and Bill’s Fireworks-inspired guy, but Andy as the big nerd, Kathy Beth Kerry, was the highlight of this whole segment. I loved him saying how he was doing ‘Before’ modeling for dog food commercials.
– It reminded me of Halle Berry’s monologue when they hinted at the Katy Perry/Kristen Wiig kiss but didn’t deliver. Kind of a cop-out but still funny.
Rating: ***

3. J-Pop America Fun Time Now! (5:09)

Jonathan Cavenaughson (Killam) and Rebecca Stelmachowiczison (Bayer) welcome their guest, Hello Kitty club founder Kirstie Davenport (Perry), all the while their teacher Mark Kaufman (Sudeikis) claims no responsibility and keeps trying to apologize to the audience.

– I never expected to see this come back so soon after debuting back on the Anna Faris show but I guess that WAS like five episodes ago. Although this was funny again, it wasn’t quite as good as the first one they did mainly because they didn’t really change a whole lot with the format or the jokes.
– Katy’s first sketch appearance is a positive one and she was a good choice because of her propensity to wear all these out-there outfits.
– Sudeikis was again the highlight here though with several great lines, especially his remark about the kids finding a “loving version of racism.”
– Fred Armisen as the girlfriend is a funny quick visual gag.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. The Apocalypse (2:33)

In a take-off of New Year’s Eve, the new ensemble film The Apocalypse features tons of stars and also ridiculous ones like SIR Judi Dench (with a moustache), Al Roker (Thompson), and Osama Bin Laden (Brittain).

– This was absolutely hilarious. I love multi-impression sketches so to shove them all into a trailer AND make fun of those stupid New Year’s Eve/Valentine’s Day/etc.-type movies was the icing on the cake.
– My favourite new impressions were Abby as Kirsten Dunst and Jay Pharoah as Cuba Gooding Jr. We also got some great reliable impressions like Bill doing Alan Alda, Sudeikis as Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Fred as Penny Marshall (I missed it!).
– Kristen’s Kim Cattrall part was probably the funniest part.
– Did anyone else notice Seth in one of the boxes at the very end? Nice reference to him actually being IN the New Year’s Eve movie.
Rating: ****

5. Kalle (4:00)

Katy Perry is the guest on a very strange Finnish talk show in which the host (Wiig) seems to have a clip ready for just about anything that is said or mentioned.

– Very strange but certainly hilarious sketch. Kristen was perfectly suited for this role and it was definitely a very different character for her to take on.
– All the random clips were pretty funny but I think my favourite ones were the clips of earlier on in the interview, the one of Wiig drinking tea with her cats, and the one of Kristen and Katy being friends in the future (“it’s from ze future”).
– Kristen’s strange dance at the end was great.
Rating: ****

6. Digital Short: Best Friends (2:19)

Andy and Katy sing a song about being best friends and then start to become disgusted and scared when a drug addict (Matt Damon!) and a brilliant lunatic (Val Kilmer!) join their ranks and continue to sing with them while doing all sorts of strange things.

– This was DEFINITELY my favourite digital short of the season. Everything worked so well here. The beginning with Andy and Katy singing was so joyful that you just knew something incredibly dark was going to happen and they delivered that in spades.
– The cameos were awesome too. Matt Damon’s was surprising but Val Kilmer’s was out of NOWHERE. I guess Andy is starting to get some pretty sick connections these days.
– The puppet looked a bit like Scred from the Muppets’ first year on SNL.
– Just when I thought it was going to run out of steam at the end, the puppet walking away to have sex with a white girl and the time machine gags only added to the classic short.
Rating: *****

7. Doggie Duty (2:49)

Fresh off the non-success of Bunny Business and Horse Play comes an animated film…’s soundtrack about dogs having to serve jury duty featuring artists such as Randy Newman (Armisen), Gwen Stefani (Wiig), Clint Eastwood (Hader), the guy from the Spin Doctors (Samberg), Meat Loaf (Sudeikis), and Florence Welch (Perry).

– This was another re-write of that Bunny Business sketch from way back but like I said, I’m a sucker for these types of sketches. The Randy Newman impression has got to go though because they ALWAYS include it at the beginning.
– Katy Perry impressed the hell out of me with her Florence Welch impression. Sounded EXACTLY like her.
– Sudeikis did a pretty good job as Meat Loaf even if he couldn’t do it as well as Chris Farley or Horatio Sanz.
– God, I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Bill’s Eastwood impression again.
Rating: *** 1/2

8. Robyn sings “Call Your Girlfriend” (3:38)

– I know nothing about this performer but she definitely impressed with her energetic performance here.
– My roommate’s name is Robyn. She was also suspiciously gone during the show. Hmm.

9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (13:46)
Guests: Rebecca Larue, Captain Steve Rogers, and Stefon

Best Jokes: Rick Perry/Trump; Queen Elizabeth pay freeze; Spain/toilet paper; Toygaroo; human’s mental evolution

– Kristen’s flirting expert character was something much different from her usual stuff that she does on Update. It was a pretty funny piece and it was funny to see Kristen spread her legs for Seth and get closer to him. The revelation at the end with Kristen crying was the cherry on the cake.
– Alec Baldwin! It was awesome to see him make a cameo and do a commentary as the captain of the flight he was booted from. His constant side comments to Seth back and forth was pretty damn funny and he did a great job overall of course.
– Stefon makes his tenth Update appearance (and his eleventh appearance overall) and still never fails to entertain. Also, he ALMOST made it through this one without losing it. He almost got to the very end but A Fish Called Kwanzaa did him in. My favourite part of the whole thing though was Stefon mentioning the flaccid outreach group, Doctors Without Boners. I also liked him thinking that Seth didn’t have a family and that he was made by gay scientists.
Rating: ****

10. Royal Pregnancy (4:5o)

A visit with Queen Elizabeth (Armisen) and Prince Philip (Hader) proves loathsome for the newlywed Kate Middleton (Elliott) as they intimidate her with their cockney accents and threats to have a baby already. Soon enough though, Pippa Middleton (Perry) also visits and reveals her true accent as well to combat the royal family.

– The third instance of this sketch involving the Queen and Prince but at least they do something different with it every time. I liked Katy’s part in this sketch and her cockney accent was funny despite not being terribly accurate. She actually looks quite a bit like Abby.
– I liked the Dr. Who slam and Fred making the comparison between his ass and the IRA. Fred throwing the money out was also great.
Rating: ***

11. Politics Nation (3:51)

Al Sharpton (Thompson) gets his own political talk show but can’t quite seem to grasp the notion of doing a live show as his several blunders and miscues demonstrate, leaving Kelly O’Donnell (Perry) and Jim VandeHei (Killam) frustrated.

– This sketch was a lot of fun and it was great to see Kenan bring his Al Sharpton impression back after 3+ years.
– Katy was really good here. Not a role I expected her to take on. Taran was a good straight man too.
– The ending was fantastic with Kenan mumbling and fumbling through his closing lines much like Sharpton does on a regular basis with this show.
Rating: ****

12. Robyn sings “Dancing On My Own” (3:54)

– Another very enjoyable performance and this one acted as more of a female empowerment song. It worked. I am now Gloria Allred.
– Her dancing is insane. In a good way.
– Why was she making out with herself at the end?

13. One Magical Night (4:37)

While a piano player (Sudeikis) sings a little ditty, a lonely woman (Perry) finds her soulmate (Moynihan) at the bar who is unrealistically identical to her in every way they could both imagine.

– This was an excellent sketch and a really wonderful, sweet way to end the episode. It also gave Bobby Moynihan a rare lead role and he showed how capable of a performer he can truly be with his great performance. Katy was no slouch here either.
– Jason’s singing was a nice companion to the sketch and just added to the classic nature of the segment.
– My favourite part was probably them showing each other their tattoos.
– Bobby’s gonna have to start looking out for Russell Brand after that kiss.
– The ending was so dark but I loved Bobby’s insane screaming and then his casual walk back.
Rating: *****

14. Goodnights

 

OVERALL: What a fantastic show. I think I liked this episode even more because I was expecting absolutely nothing from Katy Perry and she delivered on every cylinder. She was a really good host; maybe she wasn’t a Timberlake but she was closer to what Taylor Swift pulled off a couple years ago. She looked happy to be there and she was never awkward or anything except for maybe a few brief moments during Kalle. Overall, the cast was great this week as well and there was some real sharp writing. Perhaps a new contender for best episode of the season. I’ve said that a lot this year but damn, it’s been pretty great so far.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: KATY PERRY – 9 segments (Monologue; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Kalle; Best Friends; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)

CAMEOS: ALEC BALDWIN – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
DARRELL HAMMOND – 1 segment (On The Record)

FILMED CAMEOS: MATT DAMON – 1 segment (Best Friends)
VAL KILMER – 1 segment (Best Friends)

FRED ARMISEN – 5 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse [2 roles]; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
BILL HADER – 6 segments (Monologue; The Apocalypse; Doggie Duty; Weekend Update; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
SETH MEYERS – 2 segments (The Apocalypse; Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (On The Record; The Apocalypse; One Magical Night)
NASIM PEDRAD – 1 segment (Best Friends)
ANDY SAMBERG – 5 segments (On The Record; Monologue; Best Friends; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 4 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Doggie Duty; One Magical Night)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)
KRISTEN WIIG – 6 segments (On The Record; Monologue; The Apocalypse [2 roles]; Kalle; Doggie Duty; Weekend Update)

VANESSA BAYER – 2 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Best Friends)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Kalle; One Magical Night)
TARAN KILLAM – 5 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)
JAY PHAROAH – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)

EPISODE MVPs: Katy Perry/Kristen Wiig


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 15)

Have we ever been this far into a season without a truly bad episode? The last season I remember being this good was Year 26 (2000-2001) and the difference there is that the cast during that year was not nearly as strong and cohesive as the one that has been present on the show for the last few years. The year-end awards are going to be very difficult for this season as there are some real strong contenders for best host and best episode, specifically, that will be a chore to sift through and choose the strongest candidate.

This week we get British stand-up comedian/actor Russell Brand aka Mr. Katy Perry aka I’m Jealous. Brand exploded onto the acting scene in 2008 with Forgetting Sarah Marshall and his hilarious ex-junkie rock star character, Aldous Snow. Soon after, Russell became almost as popular in America than he is in England with starring roles in Get Him to the Greek and supporting roles in Bedtime Stories and The Tempest. Before that bit of success, he was eternally popular in England to the point of an actual rock star and he actually IS an ex-junkie.

Joining Brand is musician/Rihanna-beater Chris Brown. Talk about controversial choices. Not only has Chris Brown been convicted of beating his ex-girlfriend, Rihanna, but the aforementioned songstress is also good friends with Katy Perry, who is Russell’s wife of course. This would make for a pretty interesting dichotomy and whether to see if Brand would put up with having to share the stage with this loathsome personality.

Show show here we go!

The Show:

1. The O’Reilly Factor (5:09)
-Armisen, Sudeikis, Pedrad

 

Well, with Darrell Hammond no longer on the show, Jason Sudeikis takes over the impression of conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly, who highlights his pre-Superbowl interview with President Obama (Armisen). The satire is pretty close t the mark, as they mock O’Reilly’s obvious factual errors, his constant interrupting of the president’s answers, and his undermining of the whole segment. The sketch takes things a little further though as Bill turns the proceedings into a gameshow-like affair with Obama being forced to hold up letters to answer the various pop-culture questions. My favourite little aside was O’Reilly remarking that, combined with the Superbowl, his interview was viewed by a record TV audience. Overall, despite Jason’s impression that was lacking, this was a well-rounded satire of the big interview. A-

2. Monologue (7:46)

For the first time since Dane Cook (I might be wrong), the monologue consists of no goofiness with the cast or writers-as-audience-members, but rather just a good sampling of our host’s stand-up comedy material. Russell riffs on many different subjects from his English patriotism to his marriage to Katy Perry having lots of “ordinary moments.” It ran a little long in the tooth (much like Dane Cook a couple of years ago), but it was still good to see the host let loose and he clearly had a lot of fun with the crowd. B+

3. Gublin & Green (1:42)
-Armisen, Moynihan, Samberg, Bayer, Brittain, Killam, Pedrad, Pharoah

Due to the problems with one of the latest broadway productions, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, a lawyer (Armisen) presents his firm that specializes first and foremost in re-imbursing various folks for their Spider-Man-related woes. The best bit comes from an actor who is “not Bono” (Samberg) talking about how his soundtrack was used for this play and in turn, it makes him depressed. B+

4. Ultimate Vacation Giveaway (5:00)
-Brand, Elliott, Moynihan, Thompson, Wiig, Killam

Kristen Wiig makes her third appearance as sweepstakes congratulator (I guess that would be a good job description) Cheryl Bryant, who proceeds to inform the latest winner (Brand) that he’s won a $50,000 cruise. Of course, like the other two sketches they’ve done with this premise, the winner is none too impressed and instead just remains stone-faced throughout the whole ordeal. These sketches really depend on two things: the host’s performance and the reactions of past winners (Elliott, Thompson, Killam in this case) that they always show. It succeeds mostly based on Brand’s portrayal of a redneck-type individual and his ability not to crack during Wiig’s crazed performance. B

5. Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun To Re Ro (2:42)
-Brand, Armisen, Hader, Wiig, Pedrad

In a brilliant parody of those British gangster flicks that all seem to be the same now, ex-con Terry Donovan (Hader) is on the prowl for a big-time gangster (Armisen) in order to save his young daughter. The little details in this trailer are exquisite like the look of Russell’s dreadlocked villain and Armisen’s angry dog companion that every British gangster villain seems to have by his side. The performances by everyone are superb and it’s so well-done that if one told me this was a real film, I might believe them. A+

6. Royal Taster (4:31)
-Brand, Hader, Killam, Wiig (Voice)

King Reginald (Brand) employs his new royal taster (Killam), who couldn’t be more nervous due to the intense hatred between his Highness and his tortured chef (Hader). The majority of the sketch is Russell and Hader screaming at each other much to the utter horror of Taran, but it’s a sketch that relies heavily on Russell’s large amount of charisma. Bill was a delight as the chef though and Killam was game as the unfortunate soul in the middle of this scuffle. Aces. A-

7. Chris Brown sings “Yeah 3x” (2:43)

I’m surprised he didn’t get booed out of the building upon his appearance on the stage. With regards to the actual performance though, this wasn’t as bad as I thought it might end up being. It was actually pretty short too. B

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (15:12)
-Also: Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Taran Killam, and Jay Pharoah

The highlight of Update this week has to be Seth’s comments revolving around a recent senator’s retirement due to a Craigslist picture of him being leaked on the website, Gawker. After commenting on what could be the Egyptian President’s next job (replacing Regis), Hosni Mubarak himself (Armisen) stops by to comment on his recent resignation. Mubarak cracks some cheap jokes in between the discussion of his regime and his bit is well-written and very funny. Seth’s AOL bit is cute but a little cheap, but his joke regarding Al Gore’s new TV channel that no one but Al Gore knows about was exquisite. His bit on the superpower poll was delightfully nerdy and so it was great as well. Lil Wayne (Pharoah) and Eminem (Killam) stop by to present a Valentine’s Day song that they recently wrote and promise that the song contains no misogynistic lyrics. The two crooners censor themselves at the most opportune moments, but it still doesn’t hide the fact that the song is much like their other offensive songs. Despite Pharoah’s good impression of Lil Wayne, he is upstaged by Killam’s phenomenal wailing impression of Eminem, the best I’ve ever seen. Finally, the last guest to join Seth is city correspondent Stefon (Hader), who offers some terrible romantic hot spots (“Booooooooof… with 9 o’s.”) for New York couples. That is funny in itself but the interplay between Bill and Seth is terrific and the unwanted flirting is also a delight. And of course, Bill loses it again. One of the better Updates of the entire season. A+

9. Livin’ Single (5:08)
-Brand, Elliott, Wiig, Bayer, Killam

A strong independant woman (Bayer) hosts a show in which she boasts about the joys of the single life to her studio audience (including Elliott and Wiig) and her DJ (Killam), who harbours an unrequited love for her. Taran gets another one for the highlight reel here and Bayer is a delight as well. Bayer brings out a pastry chef (Brand), who gets her motor runnin’ in more ways than one, which also upsets the DJ as well of course. The side-story between Bayer and Killam was very well-written and it is the highlight of this amusing sketch. B+

10. A Spot of Tea (3:52)
-Brand, Hader, Samberg, Brittain

Three gossipy old coots (Brand, Hader, Samberg) host a British panel-discussion show from a low-rent house built directly on the fault line where earthquakes are a-plenty. The inclusion of a seismograph and the strange juxtaposition of the constant earthquakes with a dry show hosted by old ladies make this one of the more odd sketches in recent memory. It kind of reminds one of Monty Python and that’s definitely not a bad thing. The sponsor bit was definitely the best part of the sketch and Brittain’s walk-on at the end was also amusing. A-

11. Chris Brown sings “No Bullshit” (3:46)

The intro to this song was pretty funny, as Brand remembered at the last second to take off his earring from the previous sketch. Why does Brown decide to start his songs up before he’s even introduced? Nevertheless, Brown takes it down a notch for this song but it’s hard to buy this sentiment with the obvious nature of his character looming overhead. It’s also not as good as the first song. C

12. Time Machine (2:45)
-Brand, Hader, Sudeikis, Wiig, Killam

To finally settle the forefathers debate once and for all, a general (Sudeikis) unleashes a super-secret time machine much to the surprise of Nancy Pelosi (Wiig), House Speaker John Boehner (Hader), and Rand Paul (Killam). Out comes George Washington (Brand), but instead of educating everyone on what he truly thinks of today’s politics, he goes mad with the devices of today and attempts to murder the people before him. It’s a fast-paced sketch to close out the night’s festivities and it’s quite amusing. The ending was fittingly dark as well. B

Russell doesn’t look too enamoured by Chris Brown but thanks him nonetheless as well as the cast, crew, Lorne Michaels, and even lighting director Phil Hymes. Brand even shows everyone that he injured his finger during the proceedings.

Another show in the can, another positive episode. This is the season that WILL NOT DIE. Russell helmed a very funny episode and was a really fun host as well, participating in sketches where he didn’t always have to be the center of attention. Whereas Chris Brown was an alright musical guest, Brand was a burst of energy and looked to be having a ball during the night. I can only hope that he will be invited back at least once more to show more of what he can do in 90 minutes.

It should be noted again that this was another highlight show for Taran Killam, who continues to impress ever since his great showing in Carrey/Black Keys. So far, Bayer and Killam have been the two featured players who have impressed me the most while Brittain has had some isolated pockets of comedy and Pharoah has relied a bit too much on his impressions.

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


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 1)

SNL has had quite a summer. The first thing we discovered is that long-time castmember (since 2002), Will Forte, announced that he was leaving the show to care for his ailing sister in Los Angeles, five upcoming hosts were announced (Amy, Bryan Cranston, Jane Lynch, Emma Stone, and Jon Hamm), Jenny Slate was fired or quit (it was never confirmed either way, but it looks like the former), and finally… four new featured players were hired. Vanessa Bayer (a comedienne from Improv Olympic in Chi-Town) Paul Brittain (another iO Chicago player), Taran Killam (a former MADtv castmember for one season), and Jay Pharaoh (a very young stand-up comedian from Virginia) join the fairly large cast this season.

As mentioned by several people, this year is looking like its going to be a transitional year with several repertory players being cut next season (methinks it will be Fred and Kenan). However, that is in the future and for now, we look to this week’s show. Season premieres in general for the program can be iffy at best and drab at worst with a few notable exceptions (namely Damon/Springsteen and Cook/Killers come to mind). For the last few years, they haven’t always been the strongest choice (athletes, no-charisma divas) so that’s why when I heard that Poehler was set to be the first host of the season, I was definitely down for this.

Joining Poehler is Katy Perry, the gorgeous pop singer who apparently has been decidedly lukewarm when it comes to live performances. The songstress has been the source of a bit of controversy lately as her recent performance on Sesame Street with Elmo was pulled because of the very revealing clothing she wore on the program. Of course, this “controversy” is a rather silly situation and the hopes are that Katy will make reference to it in some way, shape or form.

Time to rumble!

The Show:

1. RNC Headquarters (5:43)

Republican candidate Christine O’Donnell (Wiig) meets with her advisors (Hader & Sudeikis) in the Delaware Senate campaign to discuss some of her recent controversial admissions like her dabbling in witchcraft when she was young and her anti-masturbation campaign. When O’Donnell admits that she initially confused masturbation with something else, her stance completely changes and the conversation turns lurid. Not to mention her history of running illegal dog-fights and her history of committing arson. This sketch works due to Kristen’s knack for comic timing and her chemistry with Hader and Suds. This was a great way to start the season with a fun target and some enjoyable writing. A-

2. Monologue (5:08)

Elated to be back, Amy promises to be a diva host and after announcing the arrival of the four new featured players, Poehler tells of her pre-show nightmare to the audience. The nightmare is mostly just an excuse to load up on cameos from the likes of Rachel Dratch, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, and Justin Timberlake, but it was still a hilariously rapid-fire section of the monologue with everyone delivering on the laughs, particularly Nasim in Poehler’s old Caitlin get-up, Wiig explaining a complicated dance number very quickly, and Fallon and Fey retaking their spot at the Update desk. A

3. Bronx Beat (5:51)

Well, I guess this was inevitable. This talk-show bit has never been a favourite of mine mostly due to its repetitive nature despite the strong attempts by Poehler and Rudolph (another cameo!) on every occasion. I would imagine that Emily Spivey came back to write this sketch because it follows the same typical formula. This time, Betty & Jodi discuss the recent outbreak of bedbugs and the latter talks about her renewal of wedding vows with her “stupid husband.” Their guest is a librarian with an Elmo shirt (Katy in a cute reference to the Sesame Street incident), whose boobs are discussed for a majority of the sketch. That was probably the downside although there were some good lines here and there like Betty saying that she would go to France except she “can’t speak the language and [she] hates the people.” C+

4. Bosley Hair Restoration (1:30)

The first real gross-out piece of the show is all about fixing your bald spots by removing some hair from “down under” and placing your short ‘n’ curlies where your hair should be. The pube wigs are pretty funny and Suds works well as the spokesman. B+

5. Maternity Matters (4:13)

I could tell from the opening that this was another sketch featuring Roger Brush (Armisen), the producer of several women’s issues shows, who is forced to act as host when the regular female host is absent. Of course, his answers are sexist and he is clearly in desperate need of some PR. Equating Poehler’s self-confidence problems with the stress involved in missing his water bill payment is the highlight. I read somewhere that this character is supposedly based on someone and it really wouldn’t surprise me if it was because Fred acts like a typical ball-busting producer who needs to be behind the camera. B+

6. The Mosque at Ground Zero (1:17)

What starts off as a description of the perfect gay wedding day (between Poehler and Bayer) turns into a crazy rapid-fire commercial for the new mosque at Ground Zero. It doesn’t end there though. Every Republican irrational fear of the Mosque is elevated tenfold here as they advertise pregnancy termination and innocent add-ons like an espresso bar. Classic. A+

7. Katy Perry sings “California Girls” (3:45)

God, she is absolutely gorgeous. Just thought I should let that out right now. Although I and several others were warned of her tendency to dog it during live performances, I found her to be quite apt and a pleasant little distraction to look at and admire. At least she didn’t auto-tune her whole performance either. B

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler (15:17)

At first it seems like Seth is going solo, but after an early-on edition of “Really?!?”, Amy joins in and reports on the rest of the news with Mr. Meyers. Like all other editions of “Really?!?”, this one is a lot of fun like when Seth mentions the nonsense over the troops being supposedly “not at war with Iraq anymore” and the silly controversy over homosexuals in the military. There’s plenty of good material from both newscasters this week like Seth’s war with Blockbuster, Kim Jong Not Ill being the leading cadidate to take over North Korea, and my favourite: buying your subway tickets on a iPhone app. Will Smith (new kid Jay Pharaoh with an awesome impression) stops by to yell and shill for his son, Jayden, who he’s promptly whored out to movies like The Karate Kid. There’s also a funny 911 call re-enactment where Poehler admits to doing two of the voices afterwards in an amusing bit (“The third voice was Gene Hackman,” Seth ad-libs). Finally, Gov. David Paterson (Armisen) wheels in for some comments on the two new candidates for his replacements. The usual schtick occurs, but he is interrupted by the real deal (yes, Gov. Paterson himself) and the two engage in some amusing banter, which is particularly impressive for a blind governor who can’t see cue cards. The best line: “You’re still sporting the beard? I shaved that off a year ago. Are you blind?!” It was nice to see Paterson has a sense of humour, but the two Patersons stepping in front of the camera aimlessly was the icing on the cake. They really brought the house down. A+

9. The Lean Years (3:33)

Continuing with the Showtime tradition of “women with secrets,” Amy Poehler stars in a series called The Lean Years as her Amber character with one leg. The portion of the sketch that features Amy talking about the show in a very serious, philosophical tone is the best part of the sketch. Never thought I’d see an impression of Stanley Tucci on this show though. B-

10. Digital Short: Theme from ‘Boogerman’ (2:09)

Katy Perry performs the critically-acclaimed original song from the aforementioned film at some type of awards show while clips of the movie play on the screen in the background. Based on the clips, there is no way of figuring out the convoluted plot of the film, which only adds to this digital short’s charm. The dancing is amusing as well as the ending. A-

11. Chez Henri (3:38)

A woman (Wiig) is constantly one-upped by her friend, Trish (Poehler), in front of their mutual friends (Elliott & Bayer) with her tiny hats. It continues to escalate to ridiculous levels with Bill Hader effectively playing an effeminate passer-by who keeps score. At first, I really didn’t like this sketch but upon second viewing, I’ll admit that it’s got that ‘so ridiculous, it’s funny’ vibe to it and it doesn’t hurt that the reveals of the restaurant are hilarious as well. B+

12. Katy Perry sings “Teenage Dream” (4:12)

Another tune from Perry and a very revealing skirt. Good thing Russell Brand wasn’t around… B

13. Actor II Actor (1:07)

Andy Samberg sits down for a James Lipton-style interview with Justin Timberlake but it turns out to be a very quick one-joke sketch as Andy just wants to know why Justin isn’t singing anymore. Despite the brief length of this sketch, it still turns out to be pretty funny just based on the chemistry between the two. B+

14. The Even More Expendables (2:35)

Mocking the fact that The Expendables really only had about two stars in it, the sequels and spin-offs are announced with people like Steven Seagal (Hader), Chris Tucker (Pharaoh), and Brigitte Nielsen (Samberg). It gets even more obscure than that though as Brooke Hogan (Elliott), Kim Jong Il (Poehler), Hooch (of Turner & Hooch fame), and Steven Slater (Killam) of Jet Blue infamy are all slated to appear. Not to mention the return of Sudeikis’ Rod Blagojevich impression. Just an excuse for the cast and host to do their favourite impressions, but hell, I had fun watching it unfold. B+

Amy has about a bajillion people to thank due to all the cameos and then gets a big hug from Maya Rudolph as the cast and guests bid a goodnight to one and all. Yep, Saturday Night Live is back, folks.

So how was this premiere? Better than last year’s and a LOT better than the one two years prior. Amy was an energetic host as one would expect and despite being a former castmember, she didn’t try to dominate the broadcast like some have done (coughMollyShannoncough). She definitely had some great support though from a re-energized cast and a number of cameos from some willing participants.

The cast clearly had a lot of fun and enjoyed having one of their own back with them for their first week back. Jay Pharaoh shined the most out of the newbies and did a couple of fun impressions (Will Smith and Chris Tucker), while also having a small part in the digital short. Taran Killam was pretty funny in his brief bit in the ten-to-one sketch, but Bayer and Brittain were barely visible during their first episode. This is nothing to worry about, people, this is their very first episode.

What else to say? Fun start to what I am hoping is going to be a hell of a season!

Notes:

Has there ever been a really bad performance by a former castmember-turned host besides a few awkward moments with Chevy? Even David Spade was fun.

I think it’s only a matter of time before Fallon hosts…

Katy Perry addressing her Sesame Street incident with that sly little jab was funny because she wasn’t overt about the joke.

I’m sold on Pharaoh so far. Just waiting for the other three newbies to do something memorable now.

I gotta admit I giggled like a schoolgirl at all the cameos in the opening monologue.

It’s about time Bobby Moynihan got promoted.

Tell me: What is YOUR favourite season premiere?! Also, who is your favourite former castmember-turned-host?

Host Rating: B+

Musical Guest Rating: B

Show Rating: B+