Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Mumford & Sons

I’ve been looking forward to this episode for quite some time.  The last time Gordon-Levitt hosted, I missed out because it was before I’d recommitted myself to SNL.  But I’d heard good things about his hosting. 

I was also looking forward to the ep because I missed the Thursday night ep (damn you dream day job!)  While I’d read reviews that said it was diminished quality, I was curious what effect it would have on Saturday’s episode. 

Before we dive into the column, let’s review how we rate things, shall we? 

Phil Hartman – Comedic gold
Chris Farley – Definitely funny, but kinda messy
Norm MacDonald – Funny, but not for everyone
Kristen Wiig – So-so premise saved by performer.
Tim Meadows – Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it, dripping with adequatulence
Darrell Hammond – Funny, but overstayed it’s welcome
Jim Breuer- Crowd pleaser, but a bit obvious
Robert Downey Jr – Brilliant performer, not a lot to work with
David Spade – Trying too hard
Janeane Garofalo – Weird weird, not weird funny

Live with Kelly & Michael – Given the week in politics it seems weird that they wouldn’t open with a political sketch, but I suppose this is equally topical.  Two weeks in a row that we’ve got Pharoah in the cold open.  His Strahan impression is solid.  Nasim’s Ripa is equally good.  But Hader’s Pattison almost stole the show.  There really wasn’t much bite to this sketch, though, so it was kind of disappointing. 
"I saved this sketch."

Rating: Tim Meadows

Monologue – Eh, this monologue was sort of lacking in terms of humor.  The Ashton Kutcher joke was well past it’s “used by” date.  The Magic Mike tribute was interesting.  It seemed like Gordon-Levitt was just flexing his muscles, both literally and figuratively.  Thankfully the back up arrived to play it for laughs.  Taran Killam’s deadpan slayed me. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Undecided Voter – This was gold.  It totally worked on all levels.  It was a great parody of political commercials.  It savaged ignorant voters.  “Where’s my power cord?”  This was just perfect. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Tres Equis – I can’t front, I found it lacking.  The first one felt like a miscue.  Like there was a timing issue and they needed to throw on a pre-taped bit.  Of course with the second one there was payoff. Gordon-Levitt played the perfect douche and Sudekis swooped in for the kill.  The fight between father and son was perfect because it was real. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Private Detective Sam Flint – While I dig the premise of a struggling cartoonist who moonlights as  P.I. (and I can only imagine how weird that pitch was) the execution was sort of lacking.  Hader and Gordon-Levitt did their best, but the premise was paper thin. 

Rating: Robert Downey Jr.

Tommy Bergamont: Master Hypnotist – First off, I dug Gordon-Levitt’s voice.  I do believe he’s doing Johnny Carson.  I also liked Curtis’ really hamming it up.  And this is a great example of Gordon-Levitt proving that comedy is in playing it straight.  He really sold it.  I will say that this sketch marked the second appearance of humping in this episode.  And that ending was so dope.

Rating: Chris Farley

G.O.B. Tampon – Again, another well produced commercial full of political bite.  The line about it being “all year long” and the “metal applicator into the butt” had me weak.  Such a great commercial. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Mumford & Sons Performance #1 – I really do dig these guys.  Their first album blew me away and it’s way dope to see the actual band playing.  Dude on the keyboards seems out of place.  He seems almost fashionable.  It’s like he got into the band because he had access to the rehearsal space.  And this song felt rather long, but by the end I was fully into it and couldn’t wait for the album to drop. 

Weekend Update – Crazy long Update.  “What Are You Doing” was great, but I also enjoy a good Seth rant.  I’m always down for “Fill in the Blank’s” Best Friends from Growing Up.  I’m so glad they survived Kaddafi’s death. 

On a side note; that Times Square Elmo thing is crazy real.  Those characters are so creepy they only way they could be any more messed up is if they were anti-Semitic.  Ann Romney’s Beyonce was funny and it was good to see Pharoah’s Stephen A. Smith again, though I wish it wasn’t just recycled from the last time we saw him. 

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away – Nice of them to work Mumford & Sons into the sketch.  For the most part, I always love this sketch.  This one was sort of weak.  Sudekis’ and Hader’s stories were funny, Keenan and Gordon-Levitt’s not as much.  But the ending of the sketch was great.  “Larry Sandusky.” 

Rating: Tim Meadows

The Finer Things – Wow, both Black guys in the sketch at the same time?  While I enjoyed the send up of how Hip-Hop has become couture, the premise was light and the exectution just wasn’t there.  Gordon-Levitt again played it straight and did a solid job.  Teddy Graham was dope though. 

“Damn, whose pinot grigio is this?”
Rating: Tim Meadows

Mumford & Sons Performance #2 – I loved the quiet preamble of the song.  Yeah, pretty much if you dig Mumford & Sons, you’ll dig this song.  It was a solid performance. 

Evelyn – Again, Gordon-Levitt’s committal is amazing.  The lyrics to the song were dumb funny and genuinely made me want to rewatch the sketch immediately.  I also liked the turn at the ending.  I really sort of hope that the parent become a reoccurring sketch. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Powers Realty – I bet it was fun writing this sketch.  It was funny.  Unfortunately it got the plug pulled.  I can’t recall the last time a sketch got cut short.  What’s up with the poor time management.  At least we got a peek at the payoff.  But man, who dropped the ball with that timing? 

Rating: Chris Farley

Final Thoughts – Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a great job of hosting, by leaving the comedy to professionals.  For the most part, he played it straight.  It was a very good episode on the whole with no real missteps.  There were a few duds, but nothing glaring.  And more importantly there was really nothing to hate in this episode.  Still the timing was odd; crazy long Update, five to one sketch getting cut off.  I’m really looking forward to the Daniel Craig episode in a couple weeks. 

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