Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar

So, last week’s episode of Saturday Night Live was extremely flawed.  But you know what I’m willing to chalk that up being rusty.  Everyone had a month off for the holidays they were out of their rhythm. 

Plus this week they should be excited.  As I pointed out, about two months back, Adam Levine was being groomed to host the show.  Wouldn’t that invigorate the staff?  Obviously he was qualified to host right? 

SNL wouldn’t have two clunkers in a row, would it? 

We’ll get into the episode, but first our rating scale;

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

President Obama and MLK – When was the last time both Black cast members were in the cold open?  I’m pretty sure it was this sketch from nearly two years ago. Anyway, this sketch was kind of weird.  I liked that MLK was just a regular dude and him joking that he ought to have the day off made me smile. I kind of wish they’d gone the route of MLK being overwhelmed by the modern world, but whatever. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Monologue – The premise was pretty decent; Levine needing a comedy mentor.  Andy Samberg’s appearance was mildly funny.  And Cameron Diaz’s appearance felt forced because at this point she’s better known for who she’s dating than for her comedic work.  Trotting out Jerry Seinfeld should have been a warning sign; no one has any faith in Adam Levine. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

Rosetta Stone – This ad is funny.  At Fish & Spaghetti we’ve had a longstanding joke that Thailand is for pervs and that anyone wanting to go there is up to no good.  It was nice to see it trotted out a comedic truth. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Circle Work – This is a tough one.  I think Keenan’s character was better realized and not as stereotypical as Levine’s.  I think it was Levine’s lisp that push his portrayal over into offensive.  The sketch itself was kind of boring.  They think everyone is gay and it turns out they’re right.  Keenan actually spelling it out actually made the sketch for me. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Soprano’s Diaries – This was a perfectly realized sketch (and it totally caused me to scrap my version of The Wire set in a middle school.)  The performances were spot on impressions.  Kate McKinnon is a brilliant impressionist and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve seen so few, but she’s really unparalleled.  The settings were funny and of course the critics critiques were mad funny.  This was a homerun. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

New Haven Fire Department Fundraiser – Wow, two sketches, back to back, featuring gay stereotypes?  Who made that call?  This is really tough call.  Circle Work got a pass because it actually had comedy.  But this sketch is clearly designed with just enough outline for Hader to fill in the rest.  But it’s not that funny and Hader is clearly carrying on in an effort to keep his composure.  For a minute I want to say that Hader made the decision to play the character as gay, but when he gets his coat it’s obvious he was scripted that way from the start.  Maybe if the dog had actually been fake and he got called on it, it might have played differently. 

Rating: Robert Downey Jr.

YOLO – This was funny.  Taking the whole YOLO mentality and flipping it into paranoid scenario.  It was clever.  It didn’t make me laugh, but it made me smile. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Kendrick Lamar Performance #1 – Ok, so this isn’t my favorite song from his album.  I also found his performance to be a little lackluster.  Honestly I wish he’d picked another song, but I guess this is his host single, so whatever. 

Weekend Update – This was just cool with me.  “I had the weirdest dream speech” had me weak, especially because of how Seth milked it.  Also the Zune for baboons tickled me.  Arianna Huffington was great because of a spot on impression.  And Ray Lewis was tolerable, not just because I claim Baltimore. 

Maroon 5 vs Train – This started out wack, got much better and ended kind of flat.  Jay Pharoah’s indifference played against Bayer’s histrionics worked perfectly.  For me the fight didn’t get interesting until Jason Mraz showed up.  And the inclusion of John Mayer was the cherry on top.  The ending was wack, but they’d painted themselves into a corner.  Two things to note 1) Adam Levine playing himself and 2) Adam Levine’s reading of his cue cards has reached the tipping point.  This is the sketch when it became utterly distracting. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Catfish – It seemed like a pretty solid recreation of Catfish, granted the only time I saw the show was at work when I was working (don’t ask, about either.)  Again Levine’s reading is distracting because he’s not making any attempt to connect with his partner in the scene.  And then at the end of the sketch the cue card guy’s reflecting on the window was distracting. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

Kendrick Lamar Performance #2 – Glad to hear Poetic Justice.  Mildly disappointed that Drake didn’t show up.  Very impressed he’s actually got a dude up there playing the sax.  Dopeness! 

Adam & Janet – It’s pretty ironic that Adam Levine is a crucial part of this sketch and also it’s biggest weakness.  Janet is a hilarious character, but they might as well have called this sketch “Adam Levine reads his cue cards.”  Hopefully this poor outing won’t be the last we see of Janet. 

Rating: Robert Downey Jr.

Biden Bash – SNL literally saved the best for last.  I don’t know who Sudekis teams up with to write this stuff (it’s clearly the same people who do the Kickspit Underground ads) but they are geniuses.  This made me laugh, for the first time in what felt like forever.  Amateur dog show.  Neil Diamond, impersonator, of the year, participant Dave Kaufman?  I was done.  And then Biden’s Macho Man impression, I almost forgave SNL for the previous hour and twenty six minutes.  What happens in Delaware?  Brilliant. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Final Thoughts – This episode was horrible.  Hopefully SNL will never invite Adam Levine back to host.  He was ill prepared and did a terrible job.  And the writers didn’t really give him that much to do.  Adam Levine was a disastrous experiment.  That should never be duplicated. 

What’s that you say; Justin Bieber is doing double duty in two weeks?  Great.  

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