Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Charles Barkley & Kelly Clarkson

Jay1 and I were just talking about the period of SNL that we both sort of consider to be the golden age. We’re huge fans of the Carvey/Myers/Hartman/Nealon/Miller/Hooks/Lovitz (and others) era. To us it felt like SNL was one show that consisted of like 20 different shows. There was Massive Head Wound Harry, Sprockets, Lyle the Effeminate Heterosexual.

We loved them all.

In some ways this week’s episode of Saturday Night Life, featuring Charles Barkley & Kelly Clarkson, harkened back to that era of the show.

(Our rating system as always)

Phil Hartman – Comedic gold
Chris Farley – Definitely funny, but kinda messy
Norm MacDonald – 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

Message from Rick Santorum – The idea of Santorum as a vagabond is kind of funny, but the execution of this big left a ton to be desired. This bit felt like it went on too long. It’s disappointing that after an extended break, the show opens on such a sour note.

Rating: Andy Samberg, David Spade

Monologue – Barkley’s monologue was pretty funny. It was self deprecating and was a genuine monologue. No one from the cast came out to give a helping hand, he did it on his own. It felt like an old school monologue.

Rating: Tim Meadows, Chris Farley

Chantix – Funny commercial. It didn’t go overboard with Wiig acting out the side effects. Obviously Jazz Hands and Robert DeNiro face were funny. But the “use caution while operating spaceships” was the one that really slayed me.

Rating: Jim Breuer, Tim Meadows

Inside the NBA – Initially I was worried this was going to be one of those skits where the person being impersonated confronts the impersonator, so I was relieved when Barkley was revealed to be playing Shaq. Hader’s Ernie Johnson was spot on and Barkley’s Shaq was funny because of the history between the two of them. Keenan’s Barkley is as funny as always and honestly, I was just surprised to see the two Black cast members and the Black host in the same sketch. The funniest part was probably seeing Pharoah and Keenan almost lose it when Hader’s joke about “Black friends” either gets mangled or bombed.

Rating: Chris Farley, Tim Meadows

White People Problems – Glad to see SNL writers are using trending topics on twitter to base sketches on. It was an interesting sketch that could have been subtitled “and Black Stereotypes.” Honestly it felt like the writers were trying to balance out the poking fun at white people by poking fun at Blacks in equal measure. I will say that Taran Killan’s yuppie inflection is mad funny and probably the highlight of the sketch.

Rating: Jim Breuer, Tim Meadows

ESPN Bowl Madness – This is a funny bit, but it felt very throwaway. There wasn’t a performance other than the voiceover and it wasn’t particularly clever. It almost felt like a sketch by way of madlibs. The Trojan minis was funny though.

Rating: Jim Breuer, Andy Samberg

Joanne Comes Out – First off, at this point Keenan’s been in every skit so far. Second off, Paul Brittan alert! Thirdly, I really dug the absurdity of this sketch. It felt almost Kids in the Hall-esque. I really loved how they sort of incorporated Barkley’s stilted delivery and used it to their advantage. I thought it was genuinely funny.

Rating: Norm MacDonald, Tim Meadows

Charles Barkley Post Game Translator App - This was pretty funny, because it used Barkley’s rep for frankness. I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing this app actually existed.

Rating: Tim Meadows

Kelly Clarkson Performance #1 – Kelly Clarkson is quietly a guilty pleasure of mine. I blame it on my time spent in Las Vegas. I was curious about her band set up. She literally had four guitars on stage with her, and a key-tar.

Weekend Update – I’m not going to front, I was totally going to write this up as the worst Update of the year. Seth’s jokes just didn’t have enough zing for me. And Wiig’s Michelle Bachmann was just acceptable. But then we got the pornstar Oatmeal Raisin. And then Nicholas Fehn came out. I love Armisen’s riffing as Fehn and I loved how he evolved the character this time out. And then we got Drunk Uncle, my favorite new character? “I wanna kindle my boyfriend.” Really strong performances from Armisen and Moynihan.

Cecil – Nice to see Sudekis pop in for an appearance. And we get Paul Brittan again, this time playing a central character? Nice. Funny character and great reaction from the other characters. I really hope that Cecil is Brittan’s breakout character on the show. And Tarrington the Footman was also a pretty funny aspect of the bit. What I really loved was how the sketch had no ending. Sometimes it’s wack, but with a nutty sketch like this it works.

Rating: Norm MacDonald, Chris Farley

Adult Video Awards In Memoriam – Funny bit with minor performances. Moynihan’s Ron Jeremy was almost as pervy as the real thing. Clearly you can’t go wrong with porn names, but the behind the scenes guys and their photos cracked me up. Armisen’s screenwriter Ted Hennessy seemed like such a sadsack, while Dean Dwyer the Set Designer had me in stitches. And Frank the Foot was icing on the cake. This was a performance piece and it worked.

Rating: Jim Breuer, Phil Hartman

Digital Short: Convoluted Jerry – This would have been funnier if the character of Convoluted Jerry weren’t dressed so ridulously. If visually the character was more lame than goofy, it would have worked better. It just felt like it was trying too hard and the visual of the character was overcompensating for a weak premise. Even Barkley felt wedged into the sketch.

Rating: Andy Samberg, David Spade

Kelly Clarkson Performance #2 – Totally zoned out, couldn’t tell you anything about this.

Mayan Calendar – I liked the premise of Armisen and Hader trying to pitch the Mayan Calendar to the elders of the tribe. I also liked how pedestrian it is. I’m enjoy putting modern archetypes into historical settings. I genuinely find it funny. I liked how square Armisen’s character was. It was a funny sketch, not the funniest final sketch of the year, but a decent offering. And the absurd ending of the calendar talking pushed into good territory.

Rating: Tim Meadows, Jim Breuer.

Final Thoughts – I’ll admit to being totally surprised by the absence of women in most sketches this week. I was equally surprised not only by Jay Pharoah and Keenan being in back to back sketches before midnight, but also by Paul Brittan having a couple big roles this episode. Armisen and Moynihan completely salvaged Weekend Update. Barkley did a fine job hosting. It was a pretty enjoyable episode al the way around.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I hadn't fallen asleep after wknd updt, the show showed some promise in the first half.

    They finally started using CB's shortcomings to their advantage.



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