Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Louis CK & Sam Smith

Louis CK makes everything look easy.  He makes stand up look effortless.  He makes having a hit show seem like a piece of cake.  He also makes Saturday Night Live better than it usually is. 

At least that’s how things turned out last time he hosted SNL.  Given his performance last time, the expectations are high for a repeat performance.  Will he deliver? 

Before he look at the results, 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

President Obama Cold Open – With this sketch SNL raises some interesting questions; is it worth diminishing the office of the Presidency to make sure your signature piece of legislation is a success?  Is your Presidential legacy worth going viral over?  What will the history books remember; or the lengths Obama went to promote it?  Unfortunately none of these questions are anywhere close to funny.  But they are interesting. 

Rating: David Spade

Monologue – Glad to see Louis CK stuck with his signature look for the monologue.  And again, CK eschews doing a bit and does an actual monologue.  God as a single dad is pretty funny.  I imagine that this monologue turned off as many people as it entertained, but for me, it was great. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Black Jeopardy – This sketch stood a great chance of being a completely offensive debacle, especially with #CancelColbert blowing up this week.  That said, it balanced things pretty well.  Instead of making the punchline about Black people they made it about Mark trying to figure out how the game works, which Louis pulled off perfectly.  And as Mark, CK’s answers were great.  Equally great; Steve Higgins’ blaccent. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Mr. Patterson – I was wondering when this character would return, as when he debuted it seemed like something SNL would try to milk.  After Beck messing up his initial line, things went pretty smoothly.  I dug the taking the sketch further, with the spit up on the tie and Patterson not wanting to be held.  Not terribly funny, but decent. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Jos. A Bank – Yeah disposable suits are funny.  I guess.  The funniest part of the ad were the spills in the beginning.  And given the lack of CK, I’m guessing this is a filler ad.

Rating: Tim Meadows

Sam Smith Performance #1 – I really know Smith from this collabo with Disclosure.  The fact that he’s backed by so many Black singers and musicians is mildly distracting, but the performance is solid.  It’s really quite a beautiful ballad. 

Weekend Update – I’m trying to figure out why Colin Jost isn’t clicking with me.  I think it’s because he lines don’t feel witty or even smart funny, but rather goofy funny.  There’s no bite there and I’m a fan of bite.  Pharoah’s Stephen A. Smith is as formulaic as they get, but it’s also equally solid (though his Coack K bit fell way flat.)  I’m seriously trying to figure out who on SNL’s writing staff is infatuated with Katt Williams?  Are they fans and they want him to be bigger?  Do they hate him and want to trash him on a weekly basis?  I don’t get the almost weekly references to Katt Williams. 

Mr. Big Stuff – SNL has had success recently with incorporating songs into the sketches and shorts and this one is no exception.  CK’s character providing commentary on an obviously choreographed situation was great.  I also appreciated Aidy trying to bring it back.  This was perfect. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

It’s Better To Know – Mike O’Brien appearance?  This is a great weird short that could have easily played after the second musical performance.  Who knew that having a Darth Vader action figure in your butt was a common fear for men?  Aidy’s addition of General Grevious was pretty perfect. It is true; it is better to know.

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Pajamas – I love how weird this sketch is.  It’s like a bad tv movie, the stilted dialogue and dreadful acting.  But Brock’s fixation on having sex grows funnier as things progress.  The discussion on pajama holes was so off kilter. This was a sketch that you just had to roll with.

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Dyke & Fats – As a fan of 70’s era police shows (Police Story, Police Woman, Quincy) this hit all the right notes.  The title cards complete with character names, Dutch Plains and Les Dykawitz and Velvy O’Malley as Chubbina Fatzarelli, were so period perfect.  But the punchline of them taking ownerships was shockingly funny.  Well played. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Sam Smith Peformance #2 – Let’s just be frank; this dude has a voice.  I dig that he’s confident enough in his voice to be onstage with just a piano and a cello.  I also dig that that confidence doesn’t translate into being completely comfortable.  I may have to check this guy out. 

Chris Fitzpatrick for ASB Class President – Kyle Mooney appears to have rebounded after a couple shorts that disappointed.  This felt like it could be a real video for a kid running for student government, from the bad puns (Christina Crapulera) to referencing small bands (Subverted Consciousness) it felt real.  Chris seems like a kid trying to be cool.  It works. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Loboland – I want to see more of Dave and Stacy.  This is the quintessential five to one sketch.  “It’s not about the bags.  It’s not about me, it’s not about you; it’s about the bags.”  I could not wait to hear what the next line out of Louis’ mouth was going to be.  And even though he was clearly reading the cuecards, he sold those lines.  And everything out of his mouth was quotable.  So great. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Final Thoughts: This was a really good episode.  Louis CK stuck to his wheelhouse, but still gave it his all.  Props to the writers for going weird this week.  Next week is Anna Kendrick and Pharrell Williams.  Should be interesting. 

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