Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Ben Affleck & Kanye West

It’s the season finale of Saturday Night Live, but it’s not just a season finale it’s also the final episode for some cast members.  We made our predictions of who’s leaving a few weeks back.  But Bill Hader’s already made his announcement. 

Also, Kanye West is the musical guest.  Having Kanye on the show is a big deal any time, but he’s coming off a rant, promoting a new album and performing new songs.  Plus since it’s Kanye on live television, who knows what’s going to happen. 

Finally, Ben Affleck is hosting.  For the fifth time.  But really the only reason people are tuning into SNL is for the first two reasons.  Let’s get to it. 

But first, here’s our rating system;

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

Politics Nation – It was during this sketch that I realized Kenan’s Al Sharpton is like a remixed version of Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery.  It’s a decent way to tackle the topical story of the week.  It’s also a bold move to make Sharpton crazier than the Tea Party guy.  This was an acceptable sketch. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Monologue – The referencing of the Timberlake’s introduction to the Five-Timer’s Club was funny and had to be done.  But Affleck referencing his Oscar speech, from three months ago felt clunky.  And then dragging his wife out.  And their lack of chemistry was uncomfortable.  The most interesting thing about the monologue was when the whispered in her ear before she left.  Yeah, it didn’t really work. 

Rating: David Spade

Bengo Fuck Yourself – This was a funny premise and it allowed Armisen to flex some muscles.  The scenes were funny and it was layered comedy.  The stilted script was funny as were the performances.  The Gigli reference was unnecessarily included.  But the callback to the monologue was a nice touch.  And obviously “Park the car in the Harvard yard” was a great touch. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Xanax For Gay Summer Weddings – This was a great parody.  Yeah, I can totally see people being anxious about going to an awesome gay wedding.  The choreographed dances, the fashionable outfits.  And seeing everyone unwind and enjoy themselves was dope.  Plus I’m sure that pharmaceutical companies would totally sell that product. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

New York, 1933 – This had an interesting premise; a down on his luck guy who’s a dirtbag.  Given how he’d been stumbling though the show so far, I’m surprised how well Affleck did in this sketch, since so much of it was delivery.  Everyone did a great job with the delivery.  Hader had all of the good lines and he really sold it. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

New Beginnings – The idea of camps to “get rid of the gay” crack me up, so it was funny to see them lampooned.  I liked that Affleck didn’t go stereotypical with his character.  It was refreshing.  His relationship with his wife was funny and with his “former roommate” was even funnier. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Kanye West Performance #1 – What a powerful performance.  I fully appreciate how Kanye has blossomed into a full on rockstar.  This performance was so kinetic and explosive.  I dug the use of the spotlight and how his band were completely in the background.  This was masterful. 

Props to Make Up and Wardrobe for getting everyone in character.
Weekend Update – This was perfect.  Amy popping up and pitching in.  A “Really?!” segment.  Stefon.  And Stefon’s send off was amazing.  It had everything; Furkel, Dora the Menorah, Human traffic cones!  Seriously, what a proper goodbye. 

Greg Pulin’s Funeral – Another sketch with a decent premise. Affleck’s accent was incredibly good.  But this was very predictable, in the bad way.  I did like Taran Killam’s character.  And the ending left a bit to be desired. 

Rating: Darrell Hammond

Herme’s Handbags – First off, this sketch plays so much better in the five to 1 slot.  Apart from that, it’s the same formula it was for Jamie Foxx and Justin Timberlake, only with half of the funny.  I wish Cecily Strong would get some material to work with that doesn’t require her to not enunciate.  The name Girth Brooks was funny. 

Rating: Darrell Hammond
Kanye West Performance #2 – Again, a dope performance.  The contrast between the two was a very nice touch.  Having Kanye stand still not only puts the focus on him but his words.  New Slaves indeed. 

Shawna & Jake’s Engagement – This didn’t really that much for me.  It was way too predictable for my tastes.  The moustaches were funny and again Killam give a great performance, but the writing wasn’t there. 

Rating: David Spade
At this point, I had a lump in my throat.

Ian Rubbish & the Bizarros – Wow.  This was dope on so many levels.  First off, it’s great that Lorne gave Fred a proper goodbye.  Secondly having Fred saying good-bye to the audience and his castmates was incredibly touching.  And having all those musicians pay their respects.  Just way dope.  “It’s been alright.  I’ve had a lovely Night with you.”  I can’t front; I got a bit choked up. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Final Thoughts – The highs of Kanye, Update and goodbyes to Hader and Armisen more than make up for the lows (virtually everything else.)  In terms of comedy, it was just ok.  But in terms of a finale for a season and Hader and Armisen it was just perfect.  Honestly, I’d put Armisen’s goodbye sketch right up with Wiig’s from a year ago. 

Yes, I watched the entire end sequence.
I need to end this, I’m getting emotional.  

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