Posts Tagged ‘tom hanks’

(Season 38, Episode 16)




JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: “The 20/20 Experience” (album)



COLD OPENING: Hugo Chavez Memorial (3:54)
Hugo Chavez Memorial

–      I enjoyed the fact that someone finally did a bit on Hugo’s death and didn’t present him as a 100% pure great guy… because let’s face it, he was not.

–      Armisen’s opening bit was pretty amusing and I liked Cecily’s voice as the translator. Fred later holding a glass of milk was also funny.

–      Justin’s Elton John impression was pretty funny too and his singing voice was pretty close to the real thing. I especially liked the lines about Hugo being just like a candle in the wind “if a candle could pull out two guns at a press conference,” his parrot wearing the same red beret, and the whole bit about capitalism killing a former civilization that lived on Mars.

RATING: *** ½



That was definitely still Darrell Hammond doing the introductions rather than Don Pardo.



MONOLOGUE: Justin Timberlake (7:57)

–      This was chock-full with cameos and yes… I loved it. All the cameos were great and there weren’t really any that stood out from any others.

–      Dan Aykroyd being the bartender was hilarious and reminded me of Jon Lovitz having to serve the other five-timers during Tom Hanks’ 1990 monologue.

–      Chevy Chase’s appearance also really surprised me because I expected his portrait and there he was on the phone ordering a Rolls Royce on Steve Martin’s bill. I also liked Chevy telling Steve that they never see each other anymore and “it’s on purpose.”

–      Martin Short’s appearance was great too seeing as how he hosted earlier in the season. He also kinda played the same type of role he did back in the Alec Baldwin show in Season 32.

–      Candice Bergen’s appearance was legitimately the most surprising appearance out of all the cameos. She also cracked up a bit at Martin Short’s line, “I go in the sink.”

–      The Django Unchained reference with Bobby and Taran doing mandingo fighting was great, especially Bobby yelling out, “I KILLED MY FRIEND!”, Hanks saying he loves Drunk Uncle, and Bobby quickly thanking him and walking off.

RATING: *****



GAMESHOW: It’s a Date (7:58)
It's a Date

–      Awesome sketch.

–      Loved the opening announcer bit: “the only dating gameshow still on TV.”

–      I agree with Stooge that this was the perfect way to utilize Samberg’s cameo and his and Timberlake’s singing characters rather than doing a brand-new digital short with them singing about some other type of their anatomy.

–      Aykroyd and Martin appearing as the Festrunk Brothers was COMPLETELY unexpected and awesome as well. You could tell that the audience knew exactly what was going to happen as soon as Hader mentioned that they were brothers from Czechoslovakia. Them saying they’ve been in America for 37 years was also a great meta-reference.

–      Bobby was an excellent straight man here too like always and I loved his reactions to all the insanity going on around him.

–      Vanessa Bayer was also pretty solid here and I liked her not enjoying Bobby’s decidedly normal answers but rather wanting to go on the date with the singers AND Festrunks.

–      Steve telling the singers he can’t believe they’re not black was also quite funny.

RATING: **** ½



SKETCH: Veganville (5:35)

–      You had to expect this character of Timberlake’s to come back because it’s probably the easiest thing for them to write for him and he has enough charisma and dance moves to carry the whole thing. The Dancing with Myself parody was the best.

–      Moynihan’s appearance here was another great one. He is so good at playing straight roles or slightly-offbeat characters.

–      The Harlem Shake thing at the end was the only real downside but I guess they were going to parody the stupid fad at some point. Hopefully they just leave it alone now to all the shitty internet videos.




COMMERCIAL: NuvaBling (1:23)

–      This reminded me of a commercial parody they would’ve done back in the late 90s with most of the female cast.

–      I really liked the idea of reusing the NuvaBling as earrings as it provided for an amusing visual and Aidy and Cecily’s exchange (“Did you get those earrings Tiffany’s?” “Close, I got them from my vagina!”)

–      I wonder why Taran played that role that any male extra could’ve taken over.

RATING: *** ½



MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Suit & Tie” (5:06)
Justin Timberlake1

–      Love the fact that JT introduced his own performance and merely said, “Make some noise! LET’S GO!”

–      This was a really good performance; Jay-Z coming out and adding to the performance was also unexpected and another fun cameo as well. The man was actually smiling!



WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (7:31)

Guest: Stefon
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5

–      Best Jokes: Chavez funeral; Dennis Rodman/fake bishop; TSA restrictions; Hebrew Playboy jokes; Hooters; Daylight Savings Time

–      Stefon was awesome. This may have been the best edition thus far. The ovation for this character went on for quite a while as he has easily become one of the most popular ones in a long time. I actually noticed Hader making confused looks at the cue cards from time to time at the lines that were clearly written after he was given the final script. I especially loved the Sweet Willie Walker bit, the burned-down Red Lobster, Donald Duck having a Vietnam nightmare, a club being based on the novel Push by Sapphire, and of course… the human fanny pack. I also liked Stefon asking if Seth was taking his girlfriend to Mexico to kill her and then inviting him to join HIS five-timers club.

RATING: ****



SKETCH: The Tales of Sober Caligula (3:49)
The Tales of Sober Caligula

–      I know most people have been writing this off as the requisite bad sketch of the night but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. At first, I thought it was gonna be a rehash of that sketch where they would make references to things that Caligula did that sounded a lot like things that Timberlake did but I was quite happy when it was not that.

–      Taran was pretty funny here in his brief role; I liked his little moment where he felt up Justin’s golden armour. It also seemed to make Justin come very close to cracking up afterwards.

–      Bobby, once again, was also tremendous here. Tim Robinson also deserves credit though for the moment with his little sex pig.

RATING: *** ½



SHOW: Maine Justice (5:40)
Maine Justice

–      I never ever expected this to come back and while it definitely couldn’t live up to the original sketch, it was still entertaining. Sudeikis was hilarious as usual and Timberlake was also great in the role replacing Jamie Foxx.

–      I loved Kate McKinnon’s New Orleans accent.

–      Andy Samberg was a good straight man as expected. He would always do these roles really well back in the days when he was a castmember as well.

–      The conversation that Sudeikis had with the big fake alligator was insane and just amped the sketch up in terms of ridiculous-ness. It was definitely my favourite part.

RATING: *** ½



Justin Timberlake2

–      Loved the Three Amigos introduction.

–      Another great performance. Timberlake is so great.



COMMERCIAL: She’s Got a Dick (1:44)
She's Got a Dick

–      This meant well and it seemed to be a good parody of the type of romantic comedy that Timberlake would star in but I believe this was kinda the stinker of the night.

–      I did like Fred as Eugene Levy and Kenan’s lines.

–      I don’t agree with all those stupid GLAAD people believing the sketch is “transphobic” or whatever though. First of all, it’s not. Secondly, change the channel if you don’t like it.




COMMERCIAL: Moet & Chandon (3:49)
Moet & Chandon

–      Did NOT expect Vanessa and Cecily to bring back these characters but I really enjoyed this just as much as I did the first time back in the Jamie Foxx episode. Timberlake was also a great addition here. I have a feeling this will come back again multiple times.

–      So many great lines here like Bayer talking about her middle parts being just plastic bags, jerking off a horse (“now who’s the horse!”), Cecily being covered in blood that wasn’t hers (“I was like ‘hello!’”), and the final bit with Cecily saying “oral.”

RATING: *****






–      Justin Timberlake/Bobby Moynihan/Vanessa Bayer




What else can I really say? This was an awesome episode chock-full of great performances, another superb job by Justin Timberlake, and some great music as well. All of the cameos were delightful! Only one middling sketch! This was the second-best episode of the season thus far, coming awfully close to the Christmas episode.



(Season 38, Episode 10)




MARTIN SHORT: nothing really unless you count “Frankenweenie” back in October

PAUL MCCARTNEY: “Kisses on the Bottom” (album) – even though it came out way back in February



COLD OPENING: “Silent Night” (1:41)
Silent Night

–      Let me just take this moment to say that what happened in Newtown, Connecticut was a horrific tragedy. We’ve seen tons of school shootings all across the United States and for this one to happen at a fucking elementary school should tell the US government something about A) gun control laws and B) how they deal with mental health because clearly someone or two people or whatever who are able to go into an elementary school and start shooting at six-year olds has got something wrong in their head that has been ignored their whole life. I’m definitely not placing any sympathy on the shooter(s) so don’t think that but I just think that if they were treated at an earlier age, maybe shit like this wouldn’t happen. I also agree with Morgan Freeman’s statement that the media keeps sensationalizing the shooters instead of the victims for the most part which makes others want to one-up them and go out looking like a monster. It’s rather sickening on everyone’s part and I just hope the parents are able to recover this tragic loss. Sorry for getting on the soapbox a bit there but I just wanted to say that right off the top.

–      Anyway, this was a lovely tribute. They didn’t need to say anything. No one came out and talked specifically about what happened but this song by the New York Children’s Chorus encapsulated the whole thing and was a very classy and poignant way to open the show.

–      The kids did look pretty darn happy to get to say LFNY at the end.



MONOLOGUE: Martin Short (6:28)

–      This was excellent. Martin was a ball of energy, the lyrics were hilarious, and the cameos were just the icing on the cake.

–      The stuff before the backstage/music portion of the monologue was very funny as well like Martin pretending to be humble and talking about his love of things in order of importance and ending with family. I also loved the brief return of Ed Grimley.

–      Paul Shaffer playing piano with Short was also great and I liked him mentioning that Letterman was “the cranky one.” Short sitting on the piano was funny and awkward when he mentioned that he didn’t know how to sit on one.

–      I liked Kristen Wiig’s cameo. Martin wanting to kiss her little deformed hand was very funny and it seemed to be ad-libbed when he got all hot and bothered by it.

–      I loved Martin going around kissing everyone because you could see Jimmy Fallon and Tom Hanks actually holding hands and jumping around excitedly in the background afterwards. Also, Sam Jackson backing up and his cold stare towards Short when he attempted to kiss him was hilarious too.

–      Martin kissing Lorne Michaels was also a hilarious shocker and it was nice to see Tina Fey there as well.

RATING: *****



SHOW: A Tony Bennett Christmas (5:13)
A Tony Bennett Christmas

–      ANOTHER CAMEO?!? Alec Baldwin returned and was fantastic! Having Martin play Tony Bennett’s brother Jerry was a hilarious bit of business as well.

–      Having Jay Pharoah show up as Kanye West (another great impression of his) made me realize that this was the first speaking role for a castmember tonight. Not that I’m saying it’s a bad or a good thing… just an observation.

–      The usual sponsor bit was also hilarious with Kanye awkwardly promoting a laxative suppository product. Baldwin’s “it sure is easy to get down in the dumps when you can’t take one” line was hilarious and Short had some great allusions to constipation as well.

–      Short hugging Baldwin over and over was also quite funny.

–      Is it just me or has Alec Baldwin lost a shitload of weight?

RATING: ****



SKETCH: Royal OB/GYN (5:27)

–      Absolutely hilarious; I can see this as being a future classic. I don’t blame Bill for a second for coming so perilously close to cracking up in this sketch because Short’s character looked hilarious and WAS hilarious as well. It also seemed that after a while, Short was clearly trying to MAKE Hader crack up on purpose.

–      The first time Hader almost laughed was from Short’s ridiculous example of how he should respond when he sees her vagina. It caused me to lose it as well because Martin is just so damn good at being silly and over-the-top.

–      All the euphenisms that Short came up with for Kate’s vagina were hilarious. The “Downton Abbey” one got the biggest reaction but my favourite ones were “the King-Maker” and “Piccadilly Cervix.”

–      The guard bit worked but I wish we had not have seen Bobby sneaking by in the corner of the frame.

–      “Church of Taint Andrews” being the name for the Royal Butthole was hilarious as well.

–      Fred’s return as the Queen at the end was actually pretty damn funny because it was used so sparingly and I liked her saying she had to get her “Judi Dench” washed.

RATING: *****



COMMERCIAL: You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown (3:04)
You're a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown

–      Oh my God, this was terrific. The impression showcase was hilarious enough but combined with the fact that it was a Charlie Brown special just made it all the more hilarious.

–      It was great to see Jason’s Philip Seymour Hoffman impression make a comeback.

–      The best new impressions were definitely Martin Short as Larry David (I actually thought it was really Larry for a second), Kate as Edie Falco, and Taran as Michael Keaton (his facial expressions were perfect).

–      The random shots of the audience reactions were hilarious.

–      The football scene was awesome with Bill and Kate just exchanging profanities and then Bill quickly saying that they would take a little intermission.

RATING: *****



MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “My Valentine” (3:07)
Paul McCartney1

–      Joe Walsh?! Holy shit! I don’t think I have ever heard this song before this episode but this was a fantastic performance from McCartney et al. I may be a bit biased because I love the guy but I just really dug this.



WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (10:39)
Guests: Jacob and The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5 update6 update7

–      Best Jokes: North Korea rocket launch; Hillary Clinton/no hairdresser; HSBC; Jersey Shore Series Finale; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Google/porn; deer/contraceptives; daughter born on 12/12/12

–      I was really surprised to see Vanessa Bayer playing this Jacob character because I remember her doing the same character from two years ago in a bar mitzvah sketch. I liked all of Bayer’s cheap “low-level roast jokes” followed by her mugging for the camera. This was very funny though in a great character-focused and dry kind of way.

–      The Girl You Wish… commentary was the best one that Cecily has done up to this point and she continues to impress me with her performances time after time. Too many highlights to list here because the whole thing was awesome but rest assured, I loved it all. Also, her quick racist comment is always great and the minstrel show thing was the best one yet.

RATING: **** ½



SHOW: What Up With That? (7:45)
What Up With That.

–      Yes, I like the fact that they brought this back. Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie Brownstein were great cameos as well along with Hader as Lindsey Buckingham of course.

–      Martin Short bringing back Jackie Rogers Jr. was absolutely hilarious even though they seemed to have forgotten to apply his pale white makeup or maybe didn’t have enough time. Either way, it was very awesome to see him back. Sam’s reaction during the whole thing was great too. They need to get Jackson to host again.

–      Jason’s dancing continues to entertain me.

–      Of course, everyone’s talking about Sam’s F-bomb. I believe Sam’s story that Kenan was supposed to interrupt him but they messed up the cue. Sam saying “bullshit” afterwards though was definitely intentional and Kenan had a terrific recovery line by telling him “That costs money.” Carrie making the zip-your-lip motion afterwards was funny too.

–      I also like how Kenan called Carrie “the funny one on Portlandia.”

–      Poor Tim Robinson; he made his only appearance of the night here as a dancing Santa.

RATING: ****



MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Cut Me Some Slack” (4:39)
Paul McCartney2

–      This was not a song I expected from McCartney as it was more fast-paced and heavy but he did a great job nonetheless. Nirvana (well, most of them) were awesome in accompanying the legend as well.



SKETCH: Old Friends (3:42)
Old Friends

–      Silly little sketch with solid performances from both Short and Armisen as two old friends who share a lot of really strange details about their lives like Fred being a James Cameron impersonator (and apparently it’s going really bad) and Short being an actor for EMT training.

–      The odd detail with Martin and Fred asking Taran for the gramaphone and a captain’s telescope while adding that they would like to pay a lot for them was really funny.

–      Martin’s World War II book opens up with “It was the 1940s and everything was in black and white.”

–      The bit at the end with Martin saying he lives in a big field was also quite funny.

RATING: *** ½



SKETCH: Pageant Audition (4:08)
Pageant Audition

–      And one more highly-entertaining sketch to finish the night off… why not? Martin and Paul were a great duo and I liked how Paul kept asking if he could sing but Martin told him that he was not capable of singing.

–      The bit at the beginning with Kenan was hilarious.

–      Martin simply yelling at Paul doesn’t sound funny in theory but when it comes to the performances here, it really worked. I also liked how Paul just played the whole thing straight-faced and was clearly trying really hard not to laugh at Short’s antics.

–      Jason and Cecily were good straight characters too.

RATING: **** ½



MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Wonderful Christmastime” (3:40)
Paul McCartney3

–      I absolutely LOVED how they segued from the previous sketch right into this musical performance.

–      Wonderful musical performance to finish off the night. Paul delivered and it was nice to see the New York Children’s Chorus again.






–      Martin Short



Yep, I’m going the full monty for this. What we got here was a beautiful, lovely, awesome, wonderful, hilarious show. Martin Short was absolutely perfect as the host and Paul McCartney was stunning. The bevy of cameos was also terrific and along with the touching tribute at the top of the show, it just made this whole episode come to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I hope people recognize it as a classic in years to come.


(Season 38, Episode 5)




BRUNO MARS: “Unorthodox Jukebox” (album)



COLD OPENING: Second Presidential Debate (10:36)

–      This was just as excellent as last week’s debate sketch with so many great spots it was hard to pick out what I liked best.

–      My favourite parts was Obama and Biden’s childish fighting throughout the sketch, Sudeikis stating that he gets to say “four more things” followed by Obama asking if he’s bothering Candy, Sudeikis threatening Obama to fight him outside, Taran as Tagg Romney, Sudeikis talking about all the birds he would kill in order to bring gas prices down, the legalities behind threatening a former Governor of Massachussetts, Obama giving Romney the finger (his 1-point plan), Obama and Romney’s answer regarding assault rifles, Romney pushing and prodding at Obama during his speech, and Romney stating that Obama has never used the phrase “terrorist act” followed by Obama dropping the mike.

–      Aidy Bryant finally got her biggest role yet… that of Candy Crowley. She did quite a good job here so kudos to her. She did a particularly good job during her introduction segment.

–      I liked all the undecided voters but Armisen’s character was probably the least funniest. Bobby Moynihan was especially good as the guy who wanted to fight the candidates but Kate McKinnon was hilarious and Cecily’s and TOM FREAKIN HANKS’ brief questions were awesome as well.

RATING: *****



MONOLOGUE: Bruno Mars (4:49)

–      As expected we have a song-and-dance monologue. Unexpectedly, Bruno turned out to be very likeable here and full of charisma. This definitely had tons of energy.

–      Bruno was brave at mentioning Timberlake. Way to make people draw the comparisons, bud.

–      I liked Kenan’s part with him wondering why Bruno sang about being a Fillipino girl and then also how they didn’t make it a monologue all about Bruno singing inappropriate lyrics.

–      The “New York guy” impression fell flat but that was pretty much the point.

RATING: *** ½



COMMERCIAL: Chanel No. 5 (1:08)

–      The first of many Brad Pitt ads strewn throughout the night, I enjoyed this first one with Taran questioning if there was really no script and then trying to sound less coherent.

–      Taran’s impression is so underrated.

RATING: ****



SHOW: Haters (3:49)

–      Is this a real show?

–      Umm, what the hell was this? I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it… and I didn’t really know what to think of this at all.

–      Cecily did a pretty good job as the host but I really liked Aidy, Jay, and Bill as the out of control audience members.

–      Bobby in drag was a hoot (“my skirt wasn’t big enough for my puss!”) and I also liked Tim Robinson seemingly being flabbergasted by the whole show followed by shaking his ass at the camera.

–      Bruno made a decent first sketch impression here too.




COMMERCIAL: Taco Bell (:48)

–      This one wasn’t as good as the first Brad Pitt ad but I did like how it seemed like it was going to be an ad about immigration and then turned into a cheap plug for Taco Bell.

–      I also dug the line about the food being good when you have eight children.

RATING: *** ½



SKETCH: Pandora Internet Radio (6:59)

–      Great showcase for Bruno Mars as I was considerably impressed by the many different musicians’ singing voices that he could pull off.

–      My favourite parts were Jason telling Bill to simply say yes after he made a cheap Rolling Stones jokes as well as the many voices that Bruno did like Green Day, Aerosmith, Louis Armstrong, and of course the many Michael Jackson songs. Also, everyone having a Michael Jackson glove ready for Bruno was absolutely ridiculous.

–      All the cheap little jokes at the beginning were amusing.

–      There was a minor blooper here with Bruno laughing a bit before his Louis Armstrong but it was still an accurate take on it along with Jason’s funny ad-lib (“not your best”).

–      The ending was funny too with Bruno’s character dying.

RATING: **** ½



FILM: Sad Mouse (3:11)

–      This was excellent. It was a great combination of humour and drama with a good performance from Bruno and an excellent one from Sudeikis.

–      The actual scenes of Bruno in the mouse costume were almost heartbreaking with no one waving back to him no matter how hard he tried. The part with him smoking was also a nice touch.

–      The letter from his dad made me laugh out loud.

–      Very nice sweet sentimental ending with Bruno finding a lady in a frog costume who was also not getting any attention as they both walked off together.

RATING: *****



MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Locked Out of Heaven” (3:41)

–      Well, the man certainly has energy and stage presence. That’s for damn sure. I  did enjoy this performance quite a bit as well.



WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (10:11)

Guest: Stefon

–      Best Jokes: Second Presidential Debate; Romney/rural voters; Obama/Honey Boo Boo; mouth strip

–      I enjoyed Seth’s Debate Do’s and Don’ts segment. Lots of great lines here like Florida’s motto being “say it in my good ear,” the killed Bin Laden bit, and the bit about people milling about after the debate, making it look like a sad nightclub.

–      Stefon was back much to the delight of everyone and he was absolutely fantastic just like every appearance he ever makes. I especially liked him introducing himself to Seth as if they never met, Nick Nolte and Gabana, “or is it piss?,” Stefon’s rundown of what he does on Halloween, Hader finally cracking at the idea of Little Israel, “…my son…,” a human pinata (as well as Stefon saying fun-sized instead of the politically-incorrect term… midget), and Stefon’s ghost story.

–      Well, they kept Update relatively short this week with only one guest and that’s fine. That’s how it should be actually despite the fact that I have not grown sick of Seth unlike some viewers.

RATING: ****



SKETCH: Merryville Haunted Castle (3:08)

–      I still enjoy these sketches even though they are essentially the same thing over and over again with not much of a change in format.

–      Vanessa Bayer has been getting less and less screentime lately  ever since the premiere. It’s unfortunate and I wonder why that is.

–      Bruno did a good job as one of the robots.

–      The ending was hilarious with Tom Hanks as one of the robots that Bayer says has a kind face. Hanks’ response that he has heard that before was great.

RATING: *** ½



COMMERCIAL: Franklin’s Dog Condoms (:32)

–      Dog condoms?! What the hell?! What a great random punchline to this recurring segment. Still, it got a little weaker than the previous Brad Pitt sketch.




SKETCH: Yeti Point (4:11)

–      Odd sketch that gets points for weirdness but not much in the way of humour though. I do appreciate that they tried to take a different route with a premise-based sketch rather than another recurring character but it didn’t work out as well as they wanted it to.

–      I did get a few laughs out of Hader’s actions with the yeti outside the window as he got romantic with it while Bayer and Sudeikis made idle chit-chat inside the cabin.

–      I liked that Bruno’s character had an eyepatch and that he had a keyboard but no computer monitor in sight. Funny odd little details.




COMMERCIAL: Jonathan Zizmor M.D. (:28)

–      One more Brad Pitt ad thus violating the Rule of Three. This one was actually kinda lame though despite Killam still nailing the impression.




MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Young Girls” (3:46)

–      Stefon introducing Bruno Mars was pretty inspired.

–      Another solid performance. I like how this one was a bit more underplayed than the first.



COMMERCIAL: Donkey Punch the Ballot! (2:48)

–      I liked the fact that they brought this back and it was just as good as some of the editions from back in the day.

–      Loved Sixpence None the Richer being named among the other insane bands like Todd Akin and the Legitimate Rapes.

–      The Ass Dan twist with Butt Dave was good as it kept it from getting stale.

–      MC George Castanza… I still dig this role. However, Bruno’s part was alright.

–      Okay, the best parts were still definitely the Lincoln-Douglas debate with Linkin Park and Buster Douglas along with Kate McKinnon playing Ruth Bader Ginsburg doing a Borat impression.

RATING: ****





–      Jason Sudeikis/Jay Pharoah/Bruno Mars



A superb episode with lots of great sketches and a very surprisingly good performance from host Bruno Mars. Lots of good stuff in this week’s episode with not too much to complain about and it just continues to prove to me how strong this season has been looking since it started.


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 17)

The Show:

1. The Rush Limbaugh Show (4:01)

After his remarks referring to a college girl as a slut, Rush (Killam) announces that a bunch of sponsors have left him but then introduces some newer, better sponsors.

– This was a pretty thin premise but Taran made it work with his delivery and many of the sponsor jokes were hilarious, particularly the Syria Tourism Board, Moist Books, Depends for Racists, and Schroeder’s Fake Rape Whistles.
– As far as the impression goes, Taran did a great job here but it was more funny than accurate.
– This was Taran’s first time saying LFNY in a solo fashion. Great delivery.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (6:04)

Jonah talks about his Oscar win and then discusses how it really hasn’t changed him at all in terms of his personality. He shows a short film of him hanging out with the cast all week that seems to prove otherwise. Tom Hanks (!) then joins him on-stage to give him a few tips.

– This was a pretty original monologue and I liked how we got a film clip, which was definitely out of the ordinary for the past few seasons.
– The filmed parts were very funny with my favourite parts being Jonah immediately asking Andy for a Diet Coke, the discussion of the Black Captain Jack Sparrow sketch, the whole running joke with Jonah’s glasses and scarves, and I really liked the discussion he has with Kristen.
– The Moneyball line was pretty funny.
– The Tom Hanks cameo was also great and I liked how he kept hiding the Oscar away from Jonah.
Rating: ****

3. Six Year Old (4:45)

Precocious six-year old Adam Grossman (Hill) is back at Benihana’s where he taunts and gabs with his father (Hader), Sushin (Armisen) the cook, and several other patrons.

– I didn’t really think I’d see this sketch again but it was pretty funny much like the first time. Again, Jonah’s eyes were a bit glued to the cue cards but he still carried the sketch on his back and did a fine job.
– I like how they changed it up a bit by having more interaction with Jonah and Fred and the addition of Vanessa Bayer as Hader’s new girlfriend.
– Fred doing the rimshot with his knives was gold.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. Digital Short: Science Finders (3:19)

In order to find out what happens with the heartrate when a tennis ball approaches the genitals (without actually hitting them), a test subject (Hill) is the unfortunate victim of several accidental hits with the tennis balls.

– This was a major improvement over the last few digital shorts despite its obvious sophomoric premise. It was well-executed and I liked the multiple angles on Hill getting hit with the tennis balls.
– The John McEnroe cameo was hilarious.
– Taran as the ghost was another great part.
Rating: *** 1/2

5. J-Pop America Fun Time Now! (5:51)

This week, Jonathan Cavenaugh-san (Killam) and Rebecca Stern-Marcowitz-san (Bayer) welcome as their guest a Japanese warrior (Hill), who much like them, is clearly not Japanese. Their disapproving teacher (Sudeikis) and Jonathan’s Asian girlfriend (Armisen) look on.

– Another funny edition of this sketch with great performances from Taran and Vanessa as per usual. Of course, Sudeikis was great too and I really liked his mention of their tests being passed in as all stickers and one being a paper crane.
– The picture of Taran and Vanessa in reggae outfits was funny.
– I liked Jonah’s funny Japanese accent but his breaking character derailed the sketch a bit and made it fall apart a bit towards the end.
– The appearance of Fred as Taran’s girlfriend is not annoying or anything but the same joke with it has been done like three times.
Rating: ***

6. The Shins perform “Simple Song” (4:07)

– A really good performance. I was looking forward to the band returning to SNL and they did not disappoint.

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (14:20)
Guests: Paula Deen, Andy Samberg, and Stefon

Best Jokes: Santorum/Kansas; Science…?; Taco Bell; Ohio University

– The Paula Deen commentary was pretty funny for the most part and I really liked Wiig’s impression of her. Other great details included Wiig using the butter and chicken in her hands as a hairbrush.
– Andy’s commentary as the faux-Sarah Palin was funny as soon as I realized he was not actually trying to do a real impression of her. I especially liked Andy using his catchphrase, “Da Bears!” and the one about President Clinton sleeping with Lewinsky.
– Stefon is back! It’s the usual great commentary from him and the kiss with Seth at the end was completely unexpected and hilarious. My favourite club name was “…Kevin?” managed by Blow-J Simpson.
Rating: *** 1/2

8. Primate Research Center (4:55)

At a science convention, one doctor (Hill) shows off his newest accomplishment in the monkey Brutus (Armisen), who is miraculously able to talk. Unfortunately, he talks about all the unnatural sexual goings-on that the doctor has been engaging in with him.

– This was a lot better than people are giving it credit for. Fred was outstanding as the monkey and it came across as one of the best performances of the night.
– Jonah was a good straight man here and his reactions were pretty funny.
– For some reason, Fred saying “Sorry?” made me laugh a whole lot.
Rating: ****

9. Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp (3:39)

I think the title gives it away, but anyway, Liza (Wiig) acts all weird and flighty while attempting to turn off a lamp all the while her guest (Hill) tries to get her to hurry up so they can make it to Cats.

– Very similar to the Ann-Margret sketch that Wiig did last season but this one wasn’t nearly as good and in fact, it just dragged on for way too long.
– At one point, you could see a crewmember handing Kristen a cord for the lamp.
– The only part I liked was Jonah doing a cheesy dance at the end as well.
Rating: * 1/2

Looks like there was a SportsCenter sketch here that was cut at the last minute.

10. The Shins perform “It’s Only Life” (4:00)

– Another great performance. They should really get the Shins back on the show again soon.

11. Anniversary Song (4:35)

To celebrate their anniversary, a loving husband (Hill) surprises his wife (Wiig) with a full orchestra playing her favourite  tune, “Pachelbel’s Canon.” However, it soon transforms into a Coolio’s “I’ll C U When U Get There” with backup dancers and such.

– Here was a sketch in which I didn’t really see where it was going and once they morphed into the Coolio song, it really started to take off.
– The parts about Coolio being a visionary rapper because of him using the letter U instead of spelling you “in 1997” was hilarious.
– The whole cast (minus Seth of course) walking off the set and around the crowd, singing the Coolio tune was brilliant. I love when the show does things like that in regards to audience interaction stuff.
– The fake Coolio RIP thing caught me off-guard at first until I realized it said he dies in 3162.
Rating: ****

12. Goodnights

OVERALL: Another solid show. Jonah wasn’t an amazing host or anything but he was fine and it certainly looked like he was at least enjoying himself on the stage. The Shins were awesome, of course. As far as the cast, Taran Killam continues to rise in the ranks and keeps proving himself to be a fantastic castmember. Fred Armisen had a pretty good night as well, particularly in the hilarious monkey sketch.


HOST: JONAH HILL – 7 segments (Monologue; Six Year Old; Science Finders; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Primate Research Center; Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp; Anniversary Song)

CAMEO: TOM HANKS – 1 segment (Monologue)

FILMED CAMEO: JOHN MCENROE – 1 segment (Science Finders)

FRED ARMISEN – 5 segments (Six Year Old; Science Finders; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (Six Year Old; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
BILL HADER – 4 segments (Six Year Old; Weekend Update; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 4 segments (Monologue; Science Finders; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
NASIM PEDRAD – 3 segments (Monologue; Six Year Old; Anniversary Song)
ANDY SAMBERG – 4 segments (Monologue; Science Finders; Weekend Update; Anniversary Song)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 2 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Anniversary Song)
KENAN THOMPSON – 3 segments (Six Year Old; Science Finders; Anniversary Song)
KRISTEN WIIG – 4 segments (Monologue; Weekend Update; Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp; Anniversary Song)

VANESSA BAYER – 4 segments (Six Year Old; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
TARAN KILLAM – 5 segments (The Rush Limbaugh Show; Science Finders; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Anniversary Song)
JAY PHAROAH – 2 segments (Monologue; Anniversary Song)

EPISODE MVPs: Fred Armisen/Taran Killam

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 18)

Well there haven’t been too many head-scratching choices for guests this season. The only real oddity was Miley Cyrus’ stint, but even then it turned out pretty cool (note: I actually didn’t realize what I was doing as I typed that). But when the announcement was made that Elton John would host and be the musical guest for an upcoming episode, I was a little perplexed. Sure, he can hold up his end of the music fine but has the man ever truly acted before? Then again, I went into this one with no real expectations except that I expected a lot from the musical performances.

There’s not much else to say. The announcement was made that Leon Russell would join Elton here but not as a scheduled musical guest. Okay then.

The Show:

1. The Lawrence Welk Show (4:29)
-John, Armisen, Elliott, Wiig, Bayer, Pedrad

Can you believe they’ve already done this sketch on five separate occasions? While I was never a huge fan of this from the beginning, it has its place, I suppose. This time, Lawrence (Armisen) welcomes the sisters from the Fingerlakes (Elliott, Bayer, & Pedrad) and of course the weird one, Dooneese (Wiig). This time, “confirmed bachelor” Frances Lynn Mulge (John) introduces them by playing the piano (gasp!). It should be noted that the first gay joke of the night comes at one minute and fifty-two seconds into the episode. Never a good sign. Kristen was good as usual with her creepy character and the sight gag of her popping out of the piano was amusing. Elton was also appropriately giddy, but the sketch was only middling. C

2. Monologue (4:18)

While I was surprised and a little disappointed that we didn’t get a song from Elton during this portion of the show, this was still a very funny bit of dialogue from our host. Basically, Elton just describes what he’s been doing for the past little while and how Lady Gaga is his child’s godmother (true story!). However, he does it with a good bit of comic timing and it results in a better monologue than it had any right to be. B+

3. KY Jelly Ladies Shot Put Championship 1985 (6:12)
-Carmello Anthony, Tom Hanks, Will Forte, Sudeikis, Wiig

Yes! It’s the return of those guilty pleasure ESPN sketches that I’ve missed a bit since Will Forte left the program last year. Pete Twinkle (Sudeikis) and Greg Stink (Forte!) commentate during a match between Charlotte Ft. Worth (Wiig) and Carmela St. Knix (Anthony with a cute name change) while making all the appropriate innuendo-laced jokes regarding the sponsor. Also surprising is Tom Hanks’ cameo as Greg’s equally moronic brother, Steve Stink. While Hanks’ and Forte’s cameo were a delight and it was nice to see this sketch return… well, I got nothing. This was great. A-

4. Knights of the Realm (5:49)
-John, Tom Hanks, Armisen, Hader, Moynihan, Samberg, Thompson, Wiig, Brittain, Killam

“Fancy a Jar, Do You?” (the most popular show in the history of Britain) is interrupted by a very special report from a BBC News reporter (Brittain) that a dragon has attacked England. After mentioning the collecting of all the honourary “knights” that will be assembled to battle the creature, we cut to the room where they are all gathered. From Elton himself to Michael Caine (Tom Hanks again with a great impression!), Richard Branson (Hader), Bono (Samberg), and of course Sir Mix-A-Lot (Thompson) just to name a few. This was quite an entertaining sketch from the stilted delivery on the part of Tom’s Caine impression to Branson’s crazy jet pack, Ringo’s (Armisen) random drum-playing, the crazy sitcom that is interrupted, and with the conclusion of Sting finally putting his tantric sex to good use when defeating the dragon. A

5. Digital Short: Laser Cats The Musical! (4:15)
-John, Carmelo Anthony, Tom Hanks, Lorne Michaels, Armisen, Hader, Samberg

After a lengthy chat with Lorne, Tom Hanks is the latest celebrity to be thrown into this mess as Bill and Andy attempt to get him to sell the idea of Laser Cats again. This time, they put it together as a musical along with a hilarious recurring appearance of Spider-Man. Elton also plays the evil Droz (who is revealingly taken from a Dr. Oz poster) in a funny bit. This was not the strongest edition of “Laser Cats,” but it was still quite entertaining with the usual intentionally bad acting/special effects. The Carmelo Anthony cameo was funny as well. B+

6. Elton John & Leon Russell sing “Hey Ahab” (4:18)

With a huge array of back-up singers, Elton and Leon sing a rockin’ tune. I don’t have too much to say about this. Leon looks like Santa Claus. They both sounded good as did the other singers. Good stuff. B+

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (15:01)
-Also: Jake Gyllenhaal, Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg, & Kenan Thompson

Seth jokes about the Libyan bombings and a great bit about the employment rate with a Gary Busey punchline. Seth brings forth another big rant this week; this time, it’s on Donald Trump’s “run” for president. In doing so, he compares the Republican candidates to contestants on Celebrity Apprentice. It was cute, but not one of his better ones. The best comparison was to Lil John, but the John Rich one was good too. Actually, the jokes were quite good for the most part this week, but its the commentaries that somewhat failed. The first was from Muammer Kaddafi (Armisen) who, while discussing the state of his country, drops dated references to In Living Color and MC Hammer. It seems like most of the other foreign people that Fred impersonates and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it was only okay. The second commentary featured Kenan as a zoo owner who lost the snake that got out of the Bronx. Kenan’s bit was funny at first when he realized that the snake was missing but then it got really silly when he started fighting it. Lastly, Jake Gyllenhaal (the real deal!) stops by to get interviewed by Nicolas Cage (Samberg) in a piece I expected to finally win me over, but it wasn’t all that either and it just played on the same ‘Nicolas Cage is crazy’ jokes that we’ve come to expect. It had its moments. This was a rather weak edition of Update sprinkled with some funny jokes from Seth but hampered by lifeless commentaries. C

8. Royal Engagement (4:54)
-John, Armisen, Hader, Samberg, Killam

Queen Elizabeth (Armisen) and Prince Philip (Hader) return from their first appearance in Hathaway/F&TM and this time, they chastise Elton John, who is scheduled to sing at William’s (Samberg) wedding. The banter between the queen and prince is good as per usual, but this just feels reheated and Elton’s blatant cue card-reading was more than a little distracting. This was serviceable. C+

9. The Silver Screen (4:11)
-John, Killam, Pedrad

Two nancies (John & Killam) host a movie discussion show and welcome their guest, Vanessa Hudgens (Pedrad). Not surprisingly, this sketch plays on the gay stereotypes that we all expected with this host and it was only moderately amusing. It was nice to see Taran and he obviously went all out and held nothing back while kissing his co-host (John), but this fell flatter than a pancake. I also have no idea if Nasim’s impression of Hudgens was anywhere close to the real thing. C-

10. Flamboyant Cowboy (4:15)
-John, Hader, Moynihan, Sudeikis, Wiig, Killam

Aaaaaand another gay-themed sketch. This time, a flamboyant older cowboy (who else?) shows up to town and shows his love for a burly criminal (Sudeikis) rather than the floozy (Wiig) that constantly hits on him. And that’s it. Elton just keeps using gay innuendos and the sketch doesn’t go anywhere. I did like Elton’s unicorn and the voice he used as well as his ad-lib when his hat fell, but that’s it. D

11. Elton John & Leon Russell sing “Monkey Suit” (3:35)

I’m really surprised Elton didn’t go with an oldie for his second song, but this was fine. It was similar to his first song in style, but that’s fine. B

Elton thanks each and every one of his guests… and then the goodnights are cut off. Of course.

To quote the great Leonard Pinth-Garnell, “well, that wasn’t very good now, was it?” To be fair, this episode had a pretty solid first half with only the cold open being the only downer. Once Weekend Update disappointed though, the show was all downhill from there and basically featured one sketch with Elton playing himself and two following that loaded with cheap gay jokes. Our host seemed more than game, but his performance got worse and worse throughout the night. He blatantly stared at cue cards and acted rather wooden, but on the music side of things he delivered.

While it was nice to see Tom Hanks and Will Forte, one wishes they could’ve been part of a better episode. This show was a strange beast; at first viewing, I found myself enjoying it (and even posting on the boards in response to all the negative nancies) but on closer inspection, it was definitely the worst episode of the season. While it wasn’t a total wash-out thanks to the quality of the aforementioned first half, it was by no means a very good episode and thus it is the first official clunker of the season.

Host Rating: C
Musical Guest Rating: B
Show Rating: C

An end of a late night era has just come to a close.  Conan O’Brien bid his farewells to NBC and his fans on his final episode of “The Tonight Show”.  The show was very well put together and included quite a few high profile guests to send him on his way. Conan seemed very humble throughout the show.  There seemed to be a different side to him tonight, he didn’t act like the NBC bashing man he was for the last couple of weeks.  In fact he seemed thankful to NBC for everything they gave him over the years despite the recent differences they have had.

He seemed to be very modest about everything and didn’t portray much hate towards the company that housed him for over twenty years.  In fact a comment that he made towards the end of the show was very surprising to me.  He stated that young people should not be cynical about this whole situation, mentioning that cynicism was his least favourite quality because it gets people nowhere.  This remark really resonated with me because I would have expected him to be full of cynical thoughts given his situation.   He mentioned he was very lucky to have even had his job for seven months and that to host the “Tonight Show” is every comics dream.

The way that Conan ended his show tonight displayed to everyone that he is the better man in this situation.  He ended it with dignity and class, and it looked much better then going out guns blazing at NBC.  It showed that he was a bigger man who is modest about the circumstances and he is looking forward to the future and he is not going to dwell on the incident. He didn’t even blame anyone once during the whole show for the fiasco.  Even though he could have been full of hate and spite tonight, he chose to show the nation that he has class and that should land him a high place in the book of respect.

I think he is setting a good example for people. At least on the camera he seemed to hold no malice towards anyone which seems like a good thing for people to follow.   Sure it has been fun to watch him the last few weeks really “stick it to the man” as it were, but he  brought everything back to reality, that this is all just show business and that there is a real world out there with real problems.  Throughout the show he kept mentioning the name of a charity for people to donate for relief efforts in Haiti.  I applaud him for the way he handled his last show, he really made a point to make people realize that what happened to him isn’t anything compared to what is going on in the real world.

As the credits began to roll across the bottom of the screen at then end of the show, I really couldn’t help but feel like I was losing a friend.  A friend who brought me laughs for years almost every night at the end of a hard day. I can’t wait to see him on the airwaves again as soon as he can get on them.  Late night just simply isn’t the same anymore.

Farewell Coco, many good things lie ahead for you I’m sure. Thanks for the laughs.

—Matthew Casey

Well folks, it has come to this. The final episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien aired tonight (or as I like to refer to it – The Tonight Show with the Only Funny Host It’s Had Besides Johnny Carson) with guests Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell, and musical guest Neil Young.

But tonight wasn’t really about the guests. Tonight was about the pale-faced warrior himself, Conan O’Brien, and his last night on television to entertain us as a host for at least seven months.

Way back in 1993, a young man named Conan O’Brien auditioned to take over the reigns of Late Night after David Letterman jumped ship to CBS after a dispute with the network. With much assistance from Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels, Conan was able to obtain the show. After three or four years of struggling to find his niche, Conan became extremely popular with the young college-aged crowd specifically with his knack for off-the-wall comedy and experimental humor.

When Conan was finally announced to take over The Tonight Show, many people (myself included) were ecstatic. And now ever since the whole “Late Night Shuffle” (I’ll spare everyone with the well-known details), it looks like this was the last show tonight for Mr. O’Brien after only seven months of some of the most inventive and funny bits in quite some time.

So, the show specifically? How was it tonight? Well, simply put it was a very classy and beautiful way to go out for the Cone Zone. After a monologue poking fun at the whole ordeal (which has become somewhat of a mainstay these past few weeks) followed by a great montage of Conan’s Tonight Show moments, Conan gave a number of suggestions about what NBC could do with the studio with it being vacated now.

Following this, Steve Carell made a delightful appearance as an NBC executive to administer an exit interview with Conan (“How was your time spent at NBC? Positive? Very Positive? Or Extremely Positive?”).

The guests were delightful. After Tom Hanks got Conan feeling a little woozy on cream soda, he talked about the history he had with Coco and cracked wise with him for a solid fifteen minutes. It should be noted that Hanks can be credited with the aforementioned nickname for Conan and it is sure to be one that will stick for a long time.

Surprisingly, Conan’s second guest was Neil Young performing and he was, as always, quite wonderful.

Then it was time for Conan to speak seriously.

While on the verge of tears, Conan announced to everyone that he had the best time in his life in these past seven months. Of course, in usual classy fashion, he was quick to point out that he did not blame anyone for the fiasco and that it was a decision he ultimately just had to make. He relayed the message to everyone not to be cynical and to instead to just work really hard and be kind to others because it will all pay off. For God sakes, he even thanked NBC for all they’ve done for him over the past 20 years. The man has butt-loads of class.

The show then ended with a bang as Will Ferrell, Beck, ZZ Top, Max Weinberg, and Conan himself performed “Freebird” for the live audience. Ferrell stopped between a few verses to mack on some pregnant blond chick that accompanied him on stage, but the song was performed very genuinely and if you looked closely, you could see Conan crack a smile and sigh deeply.


I will be the first one to admit that I have not been the most avid watcher of The Tonight Show as I should have been, but this episode was a truly wonderful way to go out for Conan O’Brien and I hope that he only has good things ahead in his future for the benefit of him and his family.

Farewell, Coco. Thanks for the laughs.

Thanks for the memories.