Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Chris Hemsworth & Zac Brown Band

I can’t front; I’ve got zero interest in either Zack Brown Band or Chris Hemsworth.  I’m watching this episode because I like SNL. 

I am sort of curious to see what Hemsworth’s skill set is like.  He’s an action star, which typically means he’s not really an actor.  But he’s also Australian, which tends to indicate he’s a good actor.  How will he do as Saturday Night Live host? 

First 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

And introducing our new Host Rating Scale;

Drake – Outstanding
Edward Norton – Impressive
Josh Hutcherson – Fine Enough
Charlize Theron – Essentially an Extra
Seth Rogen – Expectation, Unmet
Jim Parsons - Awful

Hillary Clinton Cold Open -  It’s interesting to have McKinnon play Clinton as so energetic, since Clinton’s usually portrayed as calculating and reserved.  McKinnon’s energy doesn’t seem like quite the right fit for the character.  Though the runner of “if I choose to run” was used pretty effectively. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Monologue – Hemsworth’s jokes didn’t really go over, which is a shame.  Clearly the bulk of the writing for the monologue wasn’t to make Hemsworth appear funny, but rather to having a funny situation with Hemsworth as a part of it.  It’s rather dismaying that the writers went to the Audience Q&A well in two consecutive weeks.  Thompson’s Callum Hemsworth was just fine and Kate’s Mom Hemsworth didn’t seem to go anywhere, but thankfully signaled the end of the monologue. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

American Express Ad – It was sort of funny.  Having Hemsworth recount his Hollywood journey was cute, but that journey went on a bit too long.  Also, the huge penis bit could have easily been cut.  But the parody does get bonus points for having the actual Mindy Kaling played immediately following it. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Brother 2 Brother – I love that this sketch had an actual set up.  It was refreshing touch.  When Strong’s Mrs Watkins goes in on the differences between the brothers and keeps going in, it got great.  Having Bryant and Mooney chime in was equally fun.  But that dick comment came out of nowhere and felt kind of unnecessary.  Still, overall it was a great sketch.  On an unrelated note, I’d totally watch Cody Pepperoni. 

Rating: Norm Macdonald

Empire – I wanted this bit to be better than it was.  It could have been so much funnier.  Chip was just boring.  If Chip had been an Empire sized exaggeration of a white person it probably would have been funnier.  Or if Chip had been single minded on his mission to lock down email protocol.  It just didn’t go far enough for me. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

S. S. Orion – I love a good nutty sketch and this one was pretty nutty.  The reveals were doled out perfectly.  The reveal of the captain and of Hemsworth’s relationship with the captain escalated things nicely.  The microwave payoff was right up my alley.  Sometimes I just want silly. 

Rating: Norm Macdonald

The Iggy Azalea Show - What a disappointingly toothless sketch.  I’m guessing this got pitched because McKinnon can do an Australian accent?  This sketch is just off.  Pharoah’s T.I. is pretty shabby and I feel like Azealia Banks’ profile isn’t large enough to warrant someone playing portraying her.  The less said about Hemsworth in this sketch, the better.  Ugh.

Rating – Robert Downey Jr.

Zac Brown Band First Performance – It’s funny because I recall that earlier this year Blake Shelton also performed a song about small town life on SNL.  Small world.  Is it a  sign of how formulaic country songs are or how they pander to their audience?  Both?  Either way, it’s a pretty inoffensive if instantly forgettable song. 

Weekend Update – I enjoyed this outing of Weekend Update, if only because it felt so much looser than usual.  I’ve officially reached my fill of Jones doing stand up on Update, though I totally loved Jost calling her out on her lack of transition.  The Ben Carson bit was certainly fun to watch as was Che and Jost switching jokes, and Jost immediately pulling a Che by bumbling the set up.  And of course Strong is always welcome on Update. 

Avengers Defeat Ultron – There wasn’t really much to this sketch, but it was fun to see Hemsworth’s Thor ham it up for the spectators.  It was also fun to see Bobby Moynihan for what felt like the first time this episode.

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Love Unfinished – McKinnon is killing it tonight.  But the star of this sketch is Thompson, actually playing a character.  It’s always a treat when Thompson gets an actual character to play.  His direction and pretension were hilarious.  Also, props to the sketch for having an actual ending. 

Rating: Chris Farley

So You Think You Can Live With Brian – This parody was great.  I’d have been fine with it if it were just the Real World parody, but roping in the other reality shows slayed me. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Zac Brown Band Second Performance – Seriously, seven stringed instruments onstage at the same time?  Honestly, I couldn’t even tell what parts they majority of them were playing.  It’s chaos.  It’s a madhouse.  A MADHOUSE!!!  But it’s always good to see that Chris Cornell hasn’t completely wasted away. 

Dolce & Gabbana – This sketch needs to be put down.  Part of it’s allure was from the outrageousness, but that’s gone.  Now there are only unmet expectations. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

Final Thoughts – It wasn’t a bad episode of SNL, it was just an off target episode of SNL.  Many sketches seems to be off enough to disappoint, but not off enough to be bad.  It’s just like the writer’s didn’t seem to go quite far enough. 

But Hemsworth did a fine job.  He deserves credit for his commitment to the S.S. Orion sketch and the Iggy Azalea sketch.  He didn’t just show up, which is what many action stars do. 

Host rating: Josh Hutcherson

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