Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sunday Morning Quarterback – Alec Baldwin & Radiohead
At Fish & Spaghetti industries we have weekly meetings (or conference calls if someone can’t make it into the office) to discuss blog content. We literally take for hours about potential Friday Face-Offs or Point/Counter-Points. We talk about new features and theme weeks.
Sadly you’ll never get to see most of it. But consider Sunday Morning Quarterback one of the lucky ones that made it out of the conversation stage and onto the blog.
Being the comedy geeks and SNL fans that we are, for years we’ve wanted to give our thoughts on new episodes. Amongst ourselves we’d dissect episodes every week, critiquing and praising.
And now you get to read it.
Basically we're going to give our thoughts on Saturday Night Live this season. Now for the sake of blog, we're going to implement a rating system. It just a way to rank a sketch. And since it's SNL, we'll be using cast members as the ratings.
Phil Hartman = Comedic gold
Chris Farley = Definitely funny, but kinda messy
Norm McDonald = Funny, but not for everyone
Tim Meadows = Solid Bit
Andy Samberg = Funny, but overstayed it’s welcome
Jim Breuer = Crowd pleaser, but a bit obvious
David Spade = Trying too hard
Chris Elliot = Didn’t click at all, how did it get on
Republican Debate – And so the new season begins with the long standing tradition of political satire opening the show. It’s a funny bit with Bill Hader doing some heavy lifting as Shepherd Smith. Seeing Paul Brittain and Taran Killam getting some screen time and working on impressions gives me hope that these guys will have memorable runs on the show.
Still, the sketch was overly long. It was like ten minutes long. The high points were Taran Killam’s John Huntsman showing off his extensive knowledge of Chinese culture and Alec Baldwin’s Rick Perry.
Rating: Jim Breuer & Andy Samberg
The Monologue: It’s not Alec Baldwin’s first rodeo, but things were still choppy. The whole Ben & Jerry’s bit was supposed to be a fake out with the Steve Martin reveal, but that’s not how it played. Clearly the opening sketch ran long, which necessitated Baldwin’s rushed delivery during the monologue. Also, while I’m happy for Seth Rogen, I’m equally sick of him.
Rating: Chris Farley & Jim Breuer
Red Flag Perfume – Now this is classic style SNL ad parody. It’s humorously relevant, yet a spot on for the genre. The performances were there, plus it gets bonus points for incorporating the episode’s host, Baldwin, into the whole thing.
Rating: Phil Hartman
All My Children Wrap Party – This was dumb funny. Apart from the woefully miscast Vanessa Bayer as Susan Lucci, it was really solid. There were some hiccups with staging, which can be forgiven especially on the season premiere.
Trotting out the soap opera tropes, the overacting, the names of the characters, the close ups and the hair and costumes all worked in perfect conjunction. This is surely one bit that killed during read through.
Rating: Tim Meadows & Chris Farley
Satellite Delay – This one must have been difficult to pitch because it’s pretty high concept. But it worked. It was a funny, harmless bit. Sadly it was one of those sketches where there was really no ending, which is difficult to pull off. Still, it wasn’t bad.
Rating: Jim Breuer & Andy Samberg
Radiohead Song #1 – Dope to see Thom getting his groove on. He’s never looked more relaxed onstage. And they’ve got two drummers? Dopeness. Also, Lotus Flower is easily one of the best songs on The King of Limbs.
Weekend Update – It’s the fake news, what more could you ask for? Seth is still Seth, doing the snark alec thing. Also, can anyone ever get enough of Alec Baldwin’s Tony Bennett? Weekend Update was so good that it felt too short.
Who’s On Top – Apparently Bill Hader is the go to guy on the cast for “game show host.” He is good with the faux sincerity, but they should give the guy some room to stretch now and again.
The sketch was sophomoric and juvenile, but it was funny. It probably could have been funny if it had more room to breathe and so you could get the full creepiness of Alec Baldwin’s character. It’s also undoubtedly a game that SNL writers play when they’re supposed to be writing.
Rating: Jim Breuer & David Spade
Top Gun Screen Tests: Funny bit full of great performances. Again, Alec Baldwin gets to flex his impression muscles. Everyone was funny in this. But it looked like Killam was Prince. Did Armisen retire his Prince impression? Also, why was Jay “All I Do Are Impressions” Pharoah absent from this one?
Rating: Phil Hartman
Child Psychologist Date Sketch – First off, props to the directing and staging. This was a well-choreographed sketch. Sure it was predictable, but the daughter appeared and disappeared rather fluidly. The only flaw would be that we barely got to see Baldwin mouth the words on the note.
It was predictable. It had an obvious ending, but Baldwin’s like were very funny, especially when he mentioned his ex.
Rating: Jim Breuer & Tim Meadows
Radiohead Song #2 – Staircase is a cool song. The performance is mesmerizing. Like, it was literally hypnotic.
Angels in the Trenches – Really funny bit. The rising level of absurdity really made it a winner. From Baldwin’s increasingly intimate demands to the eventual “your mom” jokes, it was inspired. Mostly it was a perfect “five to one” sketch.
Rating: Tim Meadows
Final Thoughts: I was happy to see that Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig will be on the show this year, I was genuinely worried that they’d be leaving. Oddly enough I was surprised by the lack of Jay Pharoah. It was a strong season premiere and the lack of falling back on established characters gives me real faith in the writing for the season.