Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Tracy Morgan & Demi Lovato

I’m glad Tracy Morgan is host SNL.  I’m glad he’s well enough to perform and that he’s getting the chance to.  I’ve been rotting for him since he first started on SNL. 

But I’m also terrified about Tracy Morgan hosting Saturday Night Live.  Is he going to mess up and drop the ball?  Can he still perform?  Mind you, his baseline wasn’t all that great to begin with, but now post accident what’s he going to be like? 

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 the host rating scale;

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

Democratic Presidential Debate Cold Open – Naturally this had to be the cold open.  It was the biggest political thing this week.  Mooney gets another disposable and forgettable impression.  And new guy’s Anderson Cooper just felt off.  But of course all anyone is going to talk about are the guest appearances.  Alex Baldwin as Webb was solid, but Larry David’s Bernie Sanders killed.  And while I appreciated the reality of the scene, it does feel weird to see SNL following the internet’s lead. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Monologue – This is a tough one.  Technically I should downgrade the monologue, because it barely featured the host and relied heavily on nostalgia.  But the nostalgia worked.  As a 30 Rock fan, I got a kick out it.  It was also nice to see it fit perfectly with the tone of 30 Rock by making jabs at NBC. 

Rating: Chris Farley

Family Feud – How refreshing; a new spin on a tired concept.  I applaud the writers for actually putting effort into this Family Feud sketch.  It should also be noted that this sketch shows the importance of having a diverse cast.  While race wasn’t integral in the sketch, the sketch certainly benefited from it, even just visually.  I even liked how it sort of had an ending. 

Rating: Norm Macdonald

Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet – Obviously I’m glad that we get to see one of Morgan’s signature characters so early in the show.  I also appreciated how the animals, particularly the camel, reminded us that we were watching live television. 

Rating: Chris Farley

Mitchell’s Fake Cocaine – I dug the escalation in this sketch, from the covering up of the dump with the fake cocaine to the fake spray to the clogged toilet.  For me the line of the sketch was Bennett’s blow up “there are other people at this party you know. You don’t have to just talk to me!”  That line reading was perfect. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Demi Lovato First Performance – I can’t front; I found the fake horns to be distracting.  I didn’t care for the Robert Palmer-esque horn section.  It took me out of the medley and the performance.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t see past that.  It’s my failing. 

Weekend Update – I liked how awkward Che’s alien rant was.  I’m still a fan of Che and Jost ping-ponging a single topic.  Tina Fey did a fine job riffing on Playboy, but the star of Update was Willie.  Willie may be my favorite current Update correspondent.  And of course the Woodrow was the cherry on top of the doo-doo pie.  Seeing Woodrow made me so happy. 

The Loveliest Kingdom – Nice to see Cecily Strong make an appearance.  This sketch existed in a weird gray area.  I guess the implication that the pastor had his eye on the kid and waited until he was 18 is what made him a creep and worthy of being ostracized, right?  This one felt a bit off.   

Rating: Tim Meadows

The Standoff – The story in this sketch was so well done and Morgan’s character so well developed.  This was so fully realized.  It was really just perfect. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Demi Lovato Second Performance – I really felt the emotion in this song.  I loved how her voice was raw and breaking.  I added a level of earnestness to the performance that really contrasted with her first performance.  This one was impressive and had my attention. 

Yo! Where Jackie Chan At Right Now – How can anyone hate his Peabody Award winning show?  I liked this sketch because of how committed everyone was.  I believed that both Morgan and Thompson were indeed looking for Jackie Chan.  The quick hit impressions we got were funny, particularly the more random they got (Owen Wilson, Lynne Thigpen’s The Chief).  I also liked how they were actually working the case and had a file.  Nutty and funny sketch. 

Rating: Norm Macdonald

Astronaut Jones – Perfect for the show to end with another of Morgan’s characters.  This was short but sweet. 

Rating: Norm Macdonald

Final Thoughts – I don’t know who Cecily Strong pissed off, but she’s been getting very little play the last couple weeks.  Also, I just realized Zamata received a promotion and I find it baffling considering her lack of substantial screen time. 

The writers certainly wrote to Morgan’s strengths/limitations.  But both Astronaut Jones and Brian Fellows reminded me how much I miss when sketches had theme songs.  I guess they don’t anymore before so few shows have theme songs now, so they’d be anachronistic? 

Tracy Morgan did a really good job, on what I’m sure was an emotional night for him.  He didn’t really have to stretch too much, but consider his horrific accident; it was still an impressive outing. 

Host Rating: Edward Norton

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