Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Andrew Garfield & Coldplay

It can be tricky when the person hosting Saturday Night Live is doing so to promote a movie.  It’s essentially just part of their promotional tour, for something they finished a year ago, so who knows how into it they’ll be? 

Additionally, Andrew Garfield is a bit of a mystery.  I’ve only ever seen him in dramatic pieces.  And I’ll be honest; having watched Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Monday and Amazing Spider-Man on Friday night, I’m not the guy’s biggest fan. 

So, how’d he do on SNL? 

Our trusting 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

NBA Cold Open – Of course SNL had to address the Donald Sterling incident.  Adam Silver’s line about learning new handshakes was funny and it would have been interesting if they’d kept it on him (perhaps issuing new penalties) instead of trying to make Sterling funny.  Sterling saying offensive things might sound funny, but there were more audience groans in this sketch the all season combined.  And that NAACP/Colored joke got zero response.  Kenan bit was funny and almost redeemed this sketch.  Almost.  It felt like because SNL spent so much time avoided race based humor that it’s muscles had atrophied and it couldn’t perform here.

Rating: David Spade

Monologue – Nice to get a taste of the real Andrew Garfield.  It was cool to see how genuinely excited he was to be there.  I will say that the (completely predictable) appearance of Emma Stone could have been executed better.  Nice to see Aidy get her shoutout for being in Amazing Spider-Man 2.  But Garfield wasn’t the star of his own monologue, which was disappointing. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

Stanx – This sketch felt way tonally off.  Crude fart jokes aren’t for everyone, but this just didn’t hit the right note.  Yeah, the accumulation of his farts throughout the day was mildly funny, but the explosion came out of nowhere and didn’t fit the sketch at all. 

Rating: David Spade

Family Feud – Nice to see SNL is trying to make this sketch work.  It’s always funny to see people break out bite-sized impressions of celebrities  Poor Noel, whose Reba is close enough to her Nancy Grace to give me flashbacks.  I will confess to loving Aidy’s Adele.  Of course half of this sketch is introductions, but it seemed like Garfield was really giving it to Timberlake.  Like really going at him.  I also like that Pharoah opted to go extra Canadian with his Drake impression. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Oliver Twist – I can’t front; this feels like Strong is doing a Melissa McCarthy character.  Deirdre could have easily been played by McCarthy any of the previous times she hosted.  She’s got that same sadsack quality.  The juxtaposition and anachronistic qualities of the sketch made it funnier for me than the character.  Also, the ending was wack. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Beygency – Nevermind that it’s modeled on a movie that essentially flopped, this sketch was gold, because what sane person doesn’t love Beyonce?  From Bobby Moynihan’s cashier to appearance of Jack Bauer and Chloe Sullivan O'Brian this was great.  Will seeing people do the Single Ladies choreography ever get old?  The premise, the execution, everything was flawless.  They only way it could have better is if there had been a Bill O’reilly reference. 

 Rating: Phil Hartman

Coldplay Performance #1 – This seems like a very subdued Coldplay song that sounds nothing like the one being promoted in the Target ads.  I did it.  I also can’t help but hear the song and imagine how it relates to his current relationship problems. 

Weekend Update – Olya Povlatsy is always a welcome person on update.  She’s a great character with so much to give.  Plus I grew up with Yakov Smirnoff so it’s a comfort character.  Leslie Jones made her debut in a bit that was vaguely reminiscent of statements made by Cliven Bundy.  She sold a tough premise, it didn’t quite work perfectly, but she did her best.  (I’m looking forward to seeing how the white SNL recappers tackle critiquing her.)  Also, when was the last time a writer made it on Update?  Jebidiah Atkinson returns and steals Update as always.  Killam’s recovery powers are amazing!  I also liked the circle-back to Lincoln.  As for Jost and Strong, the George Clooney joke was funny. 

Spider-Man Kiss – So what is a pretty pedestrian bit about Emma and Andrew not kissing like normal people is saved by the appearance of Chris Martin.  He’s the star of this sketch and what makes it memorable. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Wedding Dinner – Garfield really nails the nervous energy of Kevin.  His proposal to the new bride was pitch perfect as was his meek retreat.  But the escalation in this sketch was masterful.  And that’s what makes the lack of an ending all the more disappointing.  Everyone performed so well in this sketch, especially those kids, that it’s conclusion just killed things. 

Rating: Chris Farley

Coldplay Performance #2 – I do like this song. Yeah, it’s very much a dance song, but I enjoy when Coldplay aren’t mopey and sad or soaring and anthem-y.  These two songs make me curious enough that I might actually check out Coldplay’s new album, though that might just be my sympathy for Chris Martin’s crumbing marriage talking. 

The Bird Bible (Repeat) – So I knew there was something wrong when there was an extra set of commercials between “Wedding Dinner” and Coldplay’s second song.  I wondered if it was something related to their performance or another matter entirely.  I didn’t imagine that we wouldn’t get another new sketch though.  It’s disappointing.  I wil say that this sketch does play much better in this slot than it did when it originally aired. 

Final Thoughts:  This was a pretty good episode.  Garfield did a solid job for his first time hosting (though he really only did heavy lifting in Wedding Dinner and Family Feud) and seemed completely game.  That mess up at the end of the show was disappointing though. 

Next week is Charlize Theron and The Black Keyes, which should be interesting.  I’m trying to calibrate my expectations accordingly.   

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