Posts Tagged ‘the hangover’

(Season 38, Episode 19)








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.




MONOLOGUE: Zach Galifianakis (5:42)

–      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




–      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.




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.




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: *****






–      Zach Galifianakis




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.



by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 22)

Here it is, folks. The season finale. It’s been one hell of a ride so let’s crank this puppy out.

The Show:

1. Strauss-Kahn’s Cell (3:33)

Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Killam), former head of the IMF, arrives to Riker’s Island on his first day in prison only to be greeted by two other inmates (Thompson & Pharoah) who proceed to get in-depth about Europe’s financial problems.

– Good thing I watched this episode again later, because I had no idea what this cold open was parodying.
– Jay in a live sketch?!? AND the cold open?! Wow.
– Kenan and Jay were funny in the sketch, but Jay was very noticeably reading the cue cards at one point near the beginning of the sketch.
– Killam was also funny without uttering a single word until the end just by his facial expressions alone
– Anyway, this was a somewhat slow-moving cold open, but it was a nice, refreshing change from the ‘Obama addresses the nation’ opens or any other type of news show

2. Monologue (4:07)

Justin talks about how he is there to do sketch comedy and definitely not sing before he launches into a musical number about all the things he won’t do tonight.

– What do you expect me to say? Justin is one of the finest hosts the show has ever had and he always brings a buttload of charisma to everything he does.
– So, of course, Justin’s song was a hoot and I enjoyed every single moment of it, including the obvious joke that he sang about not singing.
– Particularly hilarious moments include Justin approaching a female audience member, “taking a sexy breath,” his wacky dancing, and the rain effect just to name a few.

3. Liquorville (5:59)

A mascot (Wiig) for tea gets interrupted by the mascot (Timberlake) for Liquorville, who proceeds to do a number of dances to the tune of popular songs.

– It’s unfortunate that neither Forte or Parnell are around to do these sketches anymore, but Kristen Wiig is a very suitable replacement, especially with her naiive references to “teabagging” and Justin telling her to google it.
– Justin’s dancing was as funny as ever, especially the visual of his beer bottle costume twirling around and rising up and down.
– Lady Gaga showing up was a pretty big surprise too and her wine costume was pretty damn funny. And was it just me or did she have a slight wardrobe malfunction at one point? If not, it was very, very close.
*** 1/2

4. WXPD News New York (5:05)

Herb Welch (Hader) is back, reporting a story on a carbon monoxide leak at a high school. In the process, he interviews a young teacher (Timberlake) and the principal (Armisen) while Jack (Sudeikis) pushes Herb to probe further into his investigation.

– Another appearance by Herb Welch and it’s essentially the same as his last appearance, but Hader never fails to make this old geezer a hilarious character.
– I loved Herb attacking the principal when he found out he was Japanese and then his usual attacking the camera/coming back from the dead ending.
– Interesting to note here is that Nasim Pedrad played the same newscaster that was in the news sketch on Emma Stone/Kings of Leon when they were reporting on “souping.” And the news station in that sketch was also called WXPD.
– Was that an on-air prank by Samberg to scream “you suck” just to make Hader crack? It almost worked and it didn’t really seem to contribute to the sketch at all.
– The very end with Sudeikis getting a microphone in his face made no sense and was hilarious.

5. Digital Short: 3-Way (The Golden Rule) (3:05)

The harmonizing duo (Jandy Timsamlake) are back and after finishing off with each other’s mothers (Sarandon & Clarkson, again) they decide to meet up with their respective girlfriends. When they each discover that it’s the same girl, they sing about having a three-way.

– I knew they’d bring this back, but I had no idea what they would try to pull off.
– I really liked their continuous yelling of “yeah” at the beginning and then stopping themselves when they noticed the stoplight.
– Again, Lady Gaga is involved in a sketch and again, it helps it a lot more than hurts it. Her staring at them during the “helicopter dick” scene was uproarious.
– This was no Motherlover or Dick in a Box, but it was still hilarious and another successful return for the Andy/Justin duo.

6. Lady Gaga sings “The Edge Of Glory” & “Judas” (4:21)

– Once again, Gaga impresses the SNL stage with her impressive presence and powerful singing abilities.
– She only performed part of the first song; a quiet, somber piece at the piano, before launching into her second ditty
– Where “Judas” was a frenetic dance-a-thon, “The Edge Of Glory” was anything but. It resulted in a sort-of schizophrenic performance and it was definitely entertaining.

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (8:45)
Guests: “Get in the Cage” with Nic Cage (Samberg) and guest Bradley Cooper; Stefon (Hader)

Best Jokes: Donald Trump; Disney/Seal Team 6; 25,000th Big Mac; baby cakes; ‘planking’; marijuana-laced margerine

– Seth’s edition of “Really!?!” regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger was hilarious and I’m glad to finally see it make its return. I especially enjoyed Seth saying that Arnold “has really big balls for a guy with little steroid balls” and the fact that almost all his movies make great headlines for this story.
– The second edition of “Get in the Cage” was funny and it was cool to see Bradley Cooper show up on the program again; he was a fun host a couple years ago. I especially like Cage when he freaks out about how he’s not in the movie his guest is promoting (“I’m told the actors were given food!”). Cooper was very laid-back and all smiles, which made this very entertaining and Cage’s rant at the end of the bit was the icing on the cake. The revelation that Mel Gibson is Nic’s life coach and that Wesley Snipes is his accountant was also funny. I enjoyed this one quite a bit more than the Jake Gyllenhaal edition.
– Seth leaving Update at the end with Stefon in a Casablanca homage was a great way to go out.
**** 1/2

8. What’s That Name? (6:14)

Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga compete on a game show that tests their trivia knowledge, but it soon turns into a confrontation as Justin is stumped by a woman he shtupped a couple of weekends ago and a former band member. Gaga, however, has no problem remembering every single one of her fans.

– Even though they did this one with Paul Rudd before, this was a perfect way to bring it back and Hader is a perfect match for the host.
– Timberlake’s facial reactions during the sketch were hilarious as well as Gaga’s knowledge of everyone’s name and life situation.
– Justin was a sort-of slow burn here and the part with the ‘N Sync band member was an absolute highlight.
– I think this may go down as an all-time classic.

9. Merryville Love Tunnel (3:34)

A couple (Sudeikis & Pedrad) take a spin in the Merryville Love Tunnel, where several of the animatronic robots (Timberlake, Hader, & Killam) creep out the husband and slowly attempt to take away his girlfriend and marry her.

– I never thought this would be more than a one-off sketch, but the edition from Carrey/Black Keys was hilarious and this was a really fun follow-up.
– Sudeikis was a perfect straight man here as per always and the performances by the three playing the robots were perfect as well.
– Jason’s scream in particular made me laugh out loud.
– Even though this was recurring, at least this went in a much different direction and the wedding at the end plus Hader’s flirting was a funny ending.
*** 1/2

10. Secret Word (4:31)

It’s another edition of the 1960s game show with Mindy Gracin (Wiig) this time going up against a magician named the Mysterious Crandell (Timberlake).

– Hader as ANOTHER game show host in the same show?! Has that ever happened? Maybe with Phil Hartman back in the 80s, but I doubt it.
– This is a sketch that has somewhat run out of steam despite the consistently funny performance by Kristen and Bill.
– The jokes where Wiig accidentally says the secret word are running thin as well, except for the one where she misinterpreted “BOOT” as “8OOT”
– I did like Timberlake’s phony magician character and the cheap motorized pinwheel that he employed to try and confuse the host (Hader).
** 1/2

11. Lady Gaga sings “Born This Way” (4:20)

– Well, hatching out of an egg was certainly a unique way to make an entrance.
– Gaga belts out another impressive song here. There’s no denying that she should become a five-timer on the show if her career keeps going the way it is.
– The glitter birth: wow.

12. The Barry Gibb Talk Show (5:18)

In the fifth edition of the popular recurring sketch, Barry (Jimmy Fallon!) and Robin (Timberlake) welcome their guests Rachel Maddow (Elliott), Ben Bernanke (Armisen), and Roland S. Martin (Thompson).

– It was mildly surprising that this showed up again, but Timberlake obviously loves doing this, so that’s why it’s only a mild one.
– I didn’t think this was as funny as the previous ones, but this was still a funny sketch and it certainly had its moments, mostly due to Jimmy Fallon’s freak-outs and Timberlake’s decision to remain silent.
– The best part was Fallon being revived with the gold medallions as a defibrillator and screaming out that he survived the rapture.
– Kenan was on the brink of cracking up at the end when Jimmy started touching his face.

13. Goodnights

– Well, it really looks like this may be Fred’s last year. The camera lingered on him quite a bit and he seemed to be doing a lot of emotional embracing.
– Timberlake briefly dancing with an audience member was pretty cute.
– Holy crap, they let the goodnights run the entire time! That’s awesome that they did this for the season finale.

OVERALL: In what may be a representation of the entire season, this was yet another phenomenal episode (even with pretty much everything being a recurring sketch/character) with only one hiccup and an average sketch or two. Everything else was terrific though and it all resulted in a helluva season finale. Timberlake can almost be depended on for a great episode now as I don’t think he’s ever hosted a bad one yet. Much like Jon Hamm, he has proven himself to be a great go-to host once again and even has a few recurring sketches under his belt. Lady Gaga was also a great addition to the show and her participation in sketches made the show that much more fun.


HOST: JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – 8 segments (Monologue; Liquorville; WXPD News New York; 3-Way (The Golden Rule); What’s That Name?; Merryville Love Tunnel; Secret Word; The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
MUSICAL GUEST: LADY GAGA – 3 segments (Liquorville; 3-Way (The Golden Rule); What’s That Name?)
CAMEOS: BRADLEY COOPER – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
JIMMY FALLON – 1 segment (The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
FILMED CAMEOS: PATRICIA CLARKSON – 1 segment (3-Way (The Golden Rule))
SUSAN SARANDON – 1 segment (3-Way (The Golden Rule))


FRED ARMISEN – 3 segments (WXPD News New York; What’s That Name?; The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (What’s That Name?; Secret Word; The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
BILL HADER – 5 segments (WXPD News New York; Weekend Update; What’s That Name?; Merryville Love Tunnel; Secret Word)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 2 segments (Merryville Love Tunnel; Secret Word)
ANDY SAMBERG – 3 segments (WXPD News New York (voice only); 3-Way (The Golden Rule); Weekend Update)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 2 segments (WXPD News New York; Merryville Love Tunnel)
KENAN THOMPSON – 2 segments (Strauss-Kahn’s Cell; The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
KRISTEN WIIG – 2 segments (Liquorville; Secret Word)


PAUL BRITTAIN – 2 segments (Strauss-Kahn’s Cell; Merryville Love Tunnel)
TARAN KILLAM – 3 segments (Strauss-Kahn’s Cell; What’s That Name?; Merryville Love Tunnel)
NASIM PEDRAD – 2 segments (WXPD News New York; Merryville Love Tunnel)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segment (Strauss-Kahn’s Cell)


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’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.


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)


FRED ARMISEN – 4 segments (The Situation Room; what up with that?; The Ambiguously Gay Duo; Weekend Update)
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)


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 17)

Can you believe there’s only five more episodes after this one until the end of the season? This has been one of the strongest seasons in quite some time (comparable to the 2000/2001 season) and unless the train falls completely off the tracks by season’s end, this will shape up to be one of the more memorable ones as well.

After last week’s gamble (but ultimately, success) with Miley Cyrus taking the realms of host, SNL relies on a returning host this time in Zach Galifianakis, who delivered a slew of fun performances in an above-average episode from last season. The biggest note about his last stint was the shaving of his beard merely so he could do the last sketch of the night as his alter-ego, Seth Galifianakis. However, Zach also proved himself to be a team player and was very clutch during that episode. Obviously, the cast enjoyed having him around and hence, he is back once again and this time he is promoting The Hangover 2 and also his new stand-up DVD.

Joining Galifianakis is a young lady making her American television debut, Jessie J. I really don’t know too much about this woman but something tells me I’ve heard at least one of her songs before. She is supremely popular in the United Kingdom, so hopefully we will see some examples of why she is so well-liked over there and it will translate over to the US.


The Show:

1. Selection Sunday (5:01)
-Hader, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Wiig, Pedrad

I will be the first one to admit that I do not watch sports on television. At all. So when this opener started with Greg Gumbel (Thompson) and Jim Nantz (Sudeikis) opening a sports-related sketch, I thought here is something that will go way over my head. However, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that this would in fact not be related to March Madness, but rather just Madness, the tournament to decide the craziest person in the world. The interviews with Kaddafi (Armisen) and the Melissa Leo (Wiig) bit were funny, but Charlie Sheen (Hader) popping up again, this time on Sheen’s Corner, was the highlight. I would like to add that Two and a Half Men performed with popsicle sticks would probably be a better show than the real thing. The acting would be better, anyway. Hi-yo! …oh yeah, the sketch. It gets a solid B.

2. Monologue (7:01)

For the second time this season, we get a sampling of the host’s stand-up material. Even though Brand’s monologue was funny, this one blows it right out of the water with multiple highlights found throughout. I personally enjoyed his “Worst Bragger” character (“So, I was french-kissin’ my brother last night”) and the guy who really likes cargo shorts. These segments then lead into Zach getting into a dress ala Annie and while “Tomorrow” starts playing, he does his bit where he rips sheets of paper off a big display. A top-notch monologue here; it was easily the best one so far this season. A+

3. The Talk (6:24)
-Galifianakis, Elliott, Hader, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer, Pedrad

As soon as this started, I thought it was just another way for SNL to take a stab at “The View” and I thought… why wouldn’t they just do another View sketch instead? Alas, this is an actual morning show that airs with Leah Remini (Elliott), Sara Gilbert (Bayer), Julie Chen (Wiig), and Sharon Osbourne (Pedrad) discussing banal topics that no one really cares to hear about from a group of third-rate actresses. I used to like Leah, but damn she has lowered herself with this show. Anyway, this sketch is not exactly first-sketch-of-the-night material, but is still a pretty funny condemning of the terrible program, particularly one The View-obsessed fan (Zach) who is disappointed at being taken to the wrong show on his birthday. Although Bayer shines as Gilbert, who just wants to hide in her sweater from the embarrassment and the Steven Tyler (Hader) segment goes nowhere. B

4. The Original Kings of Catchphrase Comedy (2:47)
-Armisen, Elliott, Hader, Meyers, Moynihan, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Bayer, Brittain, Killam, Pharoah

I’m not sure why not a lot of people understood what they were making fun of with this one. Stupid one-joke comedians like Larry the Cable Guy (who, for the love of God, should never host) and Jeff Dunham are skewered here as an this piece advertises a show with catchphrase comedians. There are way too many to list here, but suffice to say there are a few highlights like Pete “Airhorn” Schultz (Galifianakis), White Bernie Mac (Sudeikis), Barry the Plumbing Gentleman (Killam), and finally Boston Powers (SETH MEYERS!). Very clever parody. A

5. Scared Straight (5:48)
-Galifianakis, Hader, Moynihan, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson

Marking his first appearance since Betty White/Jay-Z from last year, Lorenzo McIntosh (Thompson) shows up again to teach a number of kids and send them on the straight and narrow. This time, he brings along a Hannibal Lecter-like criminal in Larry Bernstein (Galifianakis), a former accountant who now eats people. Zach’s insane criminal was the cherry on the sundae as he basically stood there and unleashed some truly great lines (“And also, Helena Bonham-Carter is there ’cause this is real!”). It should be noted that Hader didn’t crack up this time, which is truly an accomplishment for this sketch. Solid. B+

6. Digital Short: Zach Looks For An Assistant (2:59)

As a companion piece to last season’s piece where Zach showed up on various TV show sets, this time our host begins his search for an assistant, but he only interviews awkward children. What follows is some Between Two Ferns-like banter between Zach and some cute kids, which alone makes for a solid and humourous digital short. B+

7. Jessie J (feat. B.o.B.) sings “Price Tag” (3:56)

And the verdict is… Jessie J’s debut is a very successful one. This song sounded familiar and I’ve definitely heard it before, but just didn’t know who actually sang it. B.o.B. (who?) comes out at one point to rap with her, but that’s really the only downside to this otherwise electric number. A-

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (9:12)
-Also: Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig

There’s no possible way they could’ve followed up last week’s amazing edition of Update, but Seth did an admirable job this week. The bit about the NFL lockout was pretty good as well as the International Women’s Day/Mardi Gras piece. I also enjoyed the piece about men who cheat on their wives. Guests this week include Julie Taymor (Wiig), the director of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, who is in the midst of a certain kind of madness after being fired from the production. After constantly bringing up her other successes (i.e. The Lion King), Taymor keeps defending her Spider-Man knowledge and takes credit for writing “Hakuna Matata.” Her constant bits of advice were funny too, resulting in a great commentary from Kristen. The other guest this week is Liam (Samberg), the teenager who just woke up. Well, I didn’t think his first appearance was particularly amazing, but this time it fares a little better and Andy’s performance is a lot of fun even though he barely comments at all on the topic at hand. All in all, a pretty good edition of Update but not as outstanding as last week. Classy ending with the mention of Red Cross. B+

9. Noodles (4:48)
-Galifianakis, Elliott, Hader, Moynihan, Thompson (voice), Wiig, Pedrad

After an unfortunate event involving the family dog, a mother (Wiig) and father (Galifianakis) are forced to explain to the children what had happened without getting into any grisly details or leading them to believe that the dog has perished. What starts off as a sketch that looked like one of the kids (Pedrad) was just going to challenge the parents’ logic the whole time developed into something much more than that. The ending felt a little tacked-on but the dark territory that this sketch reached at times was pretty funny. A-

10. Celebrity Scoop (4:00)
-Galifianakis, Armisen, Hader, Wiig

Well, it’s been a long while since SNL has taken a swipe at their neighbour up north. I, myself, am Canadian so I felt a special attachment to this sketch, which would’ve been all the more special if this bit were funnier. To be fair, they hit all the Canadian stereotypes with pinpoint accuracy but it was run into the ground a bit too much and the sketch ran long. Zach’s bit as the guy who enunciated his words for far too long was pretty funny, but my favourite part was the moose as the producer. If they really wanted to go for broke though, it would have been a beaver. C

11. Jessie J sings “Mamma Knows Best” (3:15)

This time, Jessie gets to sing solo without the unnecessary B.o.B. in there ruining things. She really gets to showcase her voice with this one as she reaches levels that Christina Aguilera only wishes she could get to. She’s not too hard on the eyes, either. Yowsers. A

12. Corn Syrup Producers of America (1:25)
-Moynihan, Wiig, Pedrad

What starts as some vague criticism regarding the excessive use of corn syrup from a fellow housewife (Wiig), a woman (Pedrad) suddenly becomes quite scornful at these allegations and dresses down her friend. The ending packed the punch and I enjoyed the banter between the two ladies. B+

13. Titanic (2:35)
-Galifianakis, Elliott, Hader, Moynihan, Wiig, Bayer, Pedrad

Moments after the infamous ship sunk, one “woman” (Zach) sneaks “her” way aboard a lifeboat with the women and children, but they quickly discover that it is obviously a man. It feels like I’ve been saying this ad nauseum, but Zach was delightful here (“Mrs. … Boat”) and Hader showing up as an imposter baby was also amusing. B

And for the goodnights, Zach shaved his head to get a Mr. T look (“Unfortunately, we did not get to the Mr. T sketch”) and then thanks everyone before closing out the show.

And this would be known as the night of the B grades. There was nothing outstanding or amazing this week (aside from the monologue and the catchphrase comedians bit), but there was nothing truly terrible either. The “Canadian Scoop” sketch may not have been that good, but it certainly wasn’t awful and didn’t drag anything else down.

Zach was a willing host once again and it seemed like he got to do a lot more this time out. Despite being thrust in the background of a few sketches (albeit, very hilariously) Zach was one of the major highlights of a solid episode of SNL, thus continuing the awesomeness that is Season 36. Jessie J, as well, was outstanding and if not for B.o.B. interjecting himself, her first performance would have been near-perfect.

Good stuff this week, although I find it amusing that after praising Taran Killam last week and declaring him a big player, he was only in one sketch tonight.

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