Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Morning Quarterback - Christoph Waltz & Alabama Shakes

I really didn’t know what to expect from tonight’s Saturday Night Live.  One one hand sometimes actors who aren’t generally known for comedy really relish flexing new muscles.  That could very well be the case for Christoph Waltz. 

On the other hand the three other hosts on SNL in 2013 have been Jennifer Lawrence, Adam Levine and Justin Bieber.  Those were dismal episodes. 

Why should anyone believe this week would be any different? 

Our rating system you ask?

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

Carnival Cruise – This was a good opener.  It allowed a variety of cast members to play parts and it was topical.  Plus, everyone swore Rubio would get the cold open treatment.  The use of the depressing stories of the week was a great touch.  And Armisen’s lame Michael Jackson impression was mad funny.  Strong and Sudekis really sold this bit. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Monologue – I really enjoyed Casual Hitler.  I don’t know what else to say, he struck me as funny.  Killam played him really low key.  It just seemed really on target for me.  Obviously, I’m not a fan of the singing monologue, but it really did seem like Waltz was trying to broaden expectations a bit too far for my liking. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

What Have You Become? – This was a weird sketch both in terms of premise and execution.  First off, the name of the show is introduced via chyron, next to the contestants name.  When we do finally get the name of the show announced, we only get the end of it, thanks to a technical glitch.  But the premise is great one.  I really like how dark it got and how Bryant turns it around on  the host.  Also, a game show sketch without Hater playing the host, it’s something that deserves mentioning. 

Rating: Chris Farley

Papal Securities – Again, this was topical and right on target.  “No other testimonials available” was great.  And it was dope seeing the retirement commercial clichés; bike riding, jamming with a band.  Great ad. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Tippi – I liked this sketch and not just because I think Pedrad is criminally underused.  I like the desperation in Tippi and how Pedrad played it; she was hungry and understated.  I actually worked with someone who was almost as desperate to be down as Tippi.  And I liked how off the mark she was with her guesses.  I hope we see the character again. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

DJesus Uncrossed – I actually just saw Django Unchained today.  Like I literally got home in time to catch SNL, so the source was fresh in my mind.  Obviously this was well done, but the critics cracked me up.  “A less violent Passion of the Christ.”  “I never knew how much Jesus used the N-word.”  I do wish we’d seen Killam doing his regular Pitt impression though. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

JaMarcus Brothers – This is nutty because it’s got three things going on.  First it’s a parody of late night ads for compilation albums (do those things even exist anymore?)  Secondly, it’s a skewering of slow jam songs.  But then you’ve got Englebert tossed in there for extra weirdness.  It might not have been a perfect sketch, but it was ambitious and Waltz had Keenan losing it. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Alabama Shakes Performance #1 – Ive got a soft spot in my heart for pretty much any Mulatto, Mulatress, Quadroon or Octoroon.  But they genuinely rock.  I also dig the complete lack of sex appeal.  This band made it on talent and not on looks.  It gives me hope that even in this shallow age that quality can still rise to the top.  Also, this song rocks.  They killed it. 

Weekend Update – I’m a sucker for any Waldorf and Statler reference.  The Rubio bit was funny.  Dog prostitutes had me weak.  I’d totally watch Mohawk & Bangs.  McKinnon’s accents are so on point.  I really love that she got so much time and worked every minute of it.  I should be tired of Stephen A. Smith, but because it’s the same formula, I find it comforting.  Plus it’s funny.  

Regine – I love this character.  I love how pretentious she is.  And that the character a chance for Fred to ham things up.  And seeing her dress everyone down, she’s like the kid that Martha and George couldn’t have.  Another part of this sketch that I like is how everyone seems to be enjoying it.  Hader and Bayer lost it and Bryant was on the edge. 

Rating: Chris Farley

Fox & Friends – This sketch was completely unnecessary.  If it wasn’t strong enough to stay the cold open (note the lack of Waltz) it should have been bumped from the show entirely.  The only part that’s worth a laugh is Moynihan.  Even Hader’s Nugent was disappointing. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

Alabama Shakes Performance #2 – Again, I like this song.  I wish they’d played the song they played when I first saw them on Fallon, which totally rocked.  They rocked out. It was awesome.  This song was just cool. 

Secret Admirer – I really enjoyed this sketch.  It almost had heart.  Clearly Dmitri was trying, just floundering.  Everyone else in the office could see it and while they weren’t playing along, they weren’t pointing fingers.  I also liked how Dmitri regretted his actions.  Strong played it very well.  This was a really good sketch to end on. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Final Thoughts: This was a pretty good episode, and not just because the three previous episodes were so dismal.  The writers seemed to be focused and even ambitious at times.  For me Fox & Friends was the biggest misstep and it may have just been laziness.  My faith in SNL was bolstered a little tonight.  

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