Posts Tagged ‘will forte’


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 22)

The Show:

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

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

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

2. Monologue (3:10)

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

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

3. Secret Word (4:57)

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

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

4. Karaoke Night (5:00)

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

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

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

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

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

6. Politics Nation (4:16)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. The Californians (5:49)

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

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

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

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

13. She’s a Rainbow (4:20)

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

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

 

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

 

BREAKDOWN:

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

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

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

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

EPISODE MVPs: Mick Jagger/Kristen Wiig/Andy Samberg

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by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 21)

The Show:

1. Biden’s Room (5:11)

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

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

2. Monologue (3:55)

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

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

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

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

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

4. Alternative Prom (5:32)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Usher sings “Scream” (3:52)

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

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

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

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

9. The 2012 Funkytown Debate (5:24)

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

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

10. Broadway Sizzle (5:23)

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

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

11. Usher sings “Climax” (3:50)

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

12. Anniversary Toast (5:18)

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

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

13. Almost Pizza (1:19)

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

14. Goodnights

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

 

BREAKDOWN:

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

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

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

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

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

EPISODE MVP: Jason Sudeikis


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 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