Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Seth Rogen & Ed Sheeran

I’m really trying to think if I’ve seen a Seth Rogen episode of SNL before.  Either I haven’t or he didn’t make an impression.  Which is weird because I feel like he’s known for his comedy. 

I will say that I enjoyed Rogen on Freaks & Geeks, but there are times that I feel that his success is due mostly to who he knows rather than his actual talent.  Oh well, it’s just Saturday Night Live; how bad can it be?  

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

GOP at Coachella – This sketch seems to have the ingredients of comedy.  You have the un-hip Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan at the uber-hip Coachella festival.  And yet, this sketch doesn’t really fire because honestly it’s difficult to lampoon how lame the GOP is.  Yeah, hearing them butcher the use of “ratchet” and “turn up” felt appropriate, but didn’t cause laughter.  Also, Killam’s Ryan felt off. 

Rating: David Spade

Monologue – A monologue that needs as much set up at this one does (“I barely remember the first time I hosted”) isn’t a good sign.  While it was nice to see Noel get some screen time as Beth Rogen, having Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift show up felt desperate, while James Franco’s appearance felt obligatory.  There was really very little to laugh at in the monologue. 

Rating: David Spade

Shalen – This reoccurring sketch has been one of the pleasant surprises of the season and this time is no exception.  Having the classmates get involved earlier was a smart addition to the sketch as was loosening up the format.  Seth plays his role and everyone else gets to be funny. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

CNN Pregnancy Test – This was a nice little shot at CNN.  While it ran a bit long, it’s jokes were well timed and well placed.  Bayer’s frustration at the situation and Bennett’s apologizing for the test was pretty perfect. 

Rating: Darrell Hammond

Birthday Party – This was a weird sketch.  Not “five to one” weird, but weird in that it got on the show.  I guess it’s supposed to be funny with the physical comedy, but there’s not really that much of it.  And I also supposed it’s funny that they’re all Southern, but, much like the rest of the sketch, that never really connects.  It’s almost funny to see Seth almost lose it, but that’s the highlight of an otherwise dreadful sketch.  And of course there’s zero ending. 

Rating: Janeane Garofalo

Monster Pals – This another weird short, tonally.  The beginning and the end play like dramatic pieces set in a world where monsters just exist.  But the middle is where the comedy lies, as O’Brien’s monster scares random people on the street.  Conceptually it’s a pretty solid bit.  But it might be a bit too try for some people. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Blue Driver Dog Food – Watching Sidney and Pat’s relationship crumble under the stress of having fed their dog inferior dog food is pretty funny.  It’s a pretty bold sketch to do live and works because Strong and Meyers play their parts well.  Yes, it sort of boils down to the trope of a woman who can’t let go of the past, but as a sketch it’s pretty funny. 

Rating: Chris Farley

Ed Sheeran Performance #1 – I’m happy that this dude has gotten as far as he has.  He’s doing the whole “I’m an earnest guy with a guitar” bit that John Mayer did, only this time it’s actually believable.  And you can clearly hear the influence of Hip-Hop in this song.  But rather than being offensive, bit’s flattering.  He’s incorporating not emulating. 

Weekend Update – Allow me to start by giving Colin Jost his props; that Katherine Heigl joke was great.  He finally nailed one.  Beyond that, it’s another week when the guests outshined the jokes.  Kenan’s Big Papi feels like the second coming of Dominican Lou, which is a good thing.  And it’s always great to see Jacob, the Bar Mitzvah Boy.  I like his new dynamic with Cecily. 

Engagement Party – Another sketch, another Seth Rogen character who is basically the straight man.  Unfortunately this sketch is completely ruined by Cecily Strong’s brutally unintelligible accent.  She has all the funny lines, but no one can understand them.  It’s sad and she doesn’t seem to do anything to correct the course.  So painful.  I don’t know why the writers decided to be so accent heavy tonight, but this sketch suffers all the more for it. 

Rating: David Spade

Undercover Sharpton – This should be a homerun.  Kenan’s Al Sharpton is usually good for laughs.  But it feels like the writers tried too hard to set things up.  First there’s the scroll at the beginning of the sketch, then there’s Sharpton getting the briefcase, talking to the bartender and finally talking to the mobsters.  There are maybe two times when the audience laughs during this sketch.  Maybe their still in shock from the previous sketch? 

Rating: Robert Downey Jr

Ed Sheeran Performance #2 – Again, this dude is clearly a guy who digs Hip-Hop and he’s allowed it to influence what he does.  The songs that he’s known for are nothing like this, but I like that he’s using his time in the spotlight to do what he loves.  I’m still probably not going to buy his album. 

420 Dude – Another week another Kyle Mooney character who would benefit from being subtitled.  I like that his characters are so fully realized, I don’t like having to focus at this hour.  But Kyle does a great job of being the stereotypical 420 enthusiast who is aware of rituals and traditions that no one else knows about.  Also, I want to know more about Bob Blinger. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Herman & Sons – Yeah, this sketch is funny.  A sperm bank is going out of business and they’re loaded with hobo sperm.  And they’ve got to get rid of it all so they can switch over to be a TCBY.  What more could you ask for? 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Final Thoughts: I guess I’m surprised that someone known for comedy like Seth Rogen is, would essentially relegated to straight man in every sketch.  It was an episode that ranged from underwhelming to baffling.  There were missed opportunities and poor decisions.  Hopefully the break will do everyone well. 

But on the horizon we’ve got Andrew Garfield and Coldplay. 

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