Tag Archives: Saturday Night Live

Top 10 Sketches of SNL Season 37

Oh, SNL. Sometimes I wonder why I watch it every week. But then a character like Stefon comes along and makes me fall in love with the show all over again.

I thought this past season was actually a very strong one for the show. It seemed like the writing was a bit tighter, and with standout performers like Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and relative newbie Taran Killam stepping up to the plate, it gave us plenty of memorable moments. Here’s a look at some of the best.

Honorable Mention: “She’s a Rainbow” (Mick Jagger)

I didn’t feel right including it on my list, since this wasn’t a proper sketch and wasn’t supposed to be humorous. However, it was such a lovely send-off for Kristen Wiig that I would be remised not to mention it. Love Mick Jagger and Arcade Fire, love the rest of the cast members’ reaction. Wiig is awesome, and I’m sad to see her go.


Honorable Mention: “The Real Housewives of Disney” (Lindsay Lohan)

Definitely had some great moments (Taran Killam’s snooty Prince Charming laugh, Wiig’s drunken Cinderella), but didn’t quite live up to its potential as an entire comedy bit for me.

Honorable Mention: “J Pop America Funtime Now!” (Anna Faris)

Killam and Vanessa Bayer play two white kids obsessed with Japanese culture who are gleeful in their unintentional racism. At least they have Sudeikis’ exasperated teacher to try and set them straight. Killam’s moony grin kills me.

10. Bein’ Quirky With Zooey Deschanel (Zooey Deschanel)

Sketches that allow the cast to roll out their celebrity impressions are often enjoyable, but rarely noteworthy. But something about this sketch just worked. We may have seen Killam’s pitiable Michael Cera, Wiig’s giggling Bjork (who knits a sweater for an octopus and leaves “one extra hole for its dreams and ideas”), but they’re perfect in this setting. Abby Elliot’s adorkable Zooey Deschanel and Zooey Deschanel’s Mary-Kate Olsen were also nice.


9. Columbus Day Assblast (Ben Stiller)

Ass Dan will never not be funny to me.

8. You Can Do Anything! (Daniel Radcliffe)

Radcliffe was an eager host, so it made sense to give him such a high-energy sketch to work with. It cleverly commented on the obliviousness and delusions of young people today, and Radcliffe’s little jig was just wonderful. It also gave me a phrase to work into conversation: “I tried, and therefore no one should criticize me.” Radcliffe was actually a great host.


7. Someone Like You (Emma Stone)

It’s a simple premise: everyone listens to Adele’s “Someone Like You” and cries uncontrollably. But it’s really funny. Nasim Pedrad gets the Best Crier in Show award from me.


6. B108FM (Lindsay Lohan)

There wasn’t a lot to this sketch, but I just really, really enjoyed it. It was nice to see Killam and Bobby Moynihan get their own sketch. Playing two morning radio DJ’s in the middle of nowhere, Killam and Moynihan’s enthusiasm was infectious. Lohan’s contribution was less than stellar, but even she couldn’t bring down the gleeful mood of this one.

5. Retirement Party (Jason Segel)

This is a bit of a bizarre one, and some would say that it doesn’t go anywhere. I, however, found it increasingly hilarious to watch Wiig exclaim, “I don’t have anything to say!” repeatedly. “I’m not quick on my feet. I’m not Robin William.”

4.Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (Melissa McCarthy)

McCarthy proved countless times that she was a host up for anything. Perhaps this was never more apparent than in this sketch, which revolved around a focus group sampling ranch dressing. McCarthy’s comedic timing and ability to go with the flow are just two reasons why she was one of the best hosts of the season.

3. Coach Bert (Steve Buscemi)

Definitely an edgy one, considering it came right on the heels of the Penn State scandal. Very funny, though, and Buscemi was the perfect host to pull it off. I love when SNL goes dark (see also: Jason Sudeikis as the Devil).

2. Lord Wyndemere (Anna Faris)

Paul Brittain, you shall be missed. His delightful little sweets-loving lord was an inspired character. Jason Sudeikis as the enraptured father and Bill Hader as the footman, Turlington, were almost just as good.

1. Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (Sofia Vergara)

I had never heard of Andy Cohen when I watched this sketch, and I’ve actually still never seen him live in action. But something about Killam’s gleeful self-delusions as Cohen won me over. I laughed. A lot. This was one of Killam’s standout moments of the season, and I still can’t get that image of his face on a dog’s body out of my head.

Other Notable Bits (AKA things that weren’t their own sketch, but still were funny):

  • Bobby Moynihan as Drunk Uncle on Weekend Update (“Netflix me! Netflix me!”)
  • Justin Timberlake as Bon Iver
  • Nicholas Cage appearing in Get in the Cage
  • Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Seth Myers sharing the Weekend Update desk. That whole Jimmy Fallon episode was just lovely.
  • Jason Sudeikis playing both the Devil and Jesus over the course of the season
  • The entire Maya Rudolph episode. Seriously. There wasn’t one super standout sketch for me, but it was just an all-around fantastic episode.

10 Sketches That Saved SNL Season 35

Saturday Night Live gets a lot of heat for its uneven (to put it lightly) writing, but every once in a while, everything comes together, and a sketch just works. It may not be enough to truly justify watching the show every week, but it’s always exciting when something genuinely funny happens. And while this season had a couple of episodes that undeniably bombed entirely (hi, January Jones), and seemed unusually weak over all, there were a few redeeming moments.

1. Stefon on Weekend Update (Gabourey Sidibe/MGMT)

People gave Jimmy Fallon a lot of flack for frequently cracking up mid-sketch, but I almost always enjoy sketches more when the cast members fail to contain their laughter. On this Weekend Update segment, Bill Hader played “Stefon”, a “City Correspondent” recommending New York City hotspots. He reprised the character for the season finale, too, but his giggly, lusty turn here made for one of the most memorable moments SNL has had in years (for me, at least). From the monosyllabic night club names (“Crease”, “Wesh”) to the descriptions of the colourful characters found within (“screaming babies in Mozart wigs”), everything is bizarre. But you’ll have to watch the above clip to answer one burning question – what exactly is a human fire hydrant?


2. What Up With That? (Gerard Butler/Shakira)

SNL sometimes hits a homerun with its bizarre, out-of-left field concepts (though they more commonly bomb), and somehow everything came together with their spoof of BET programming. Keenan Thompson’s nonstop enthusiasm, Bill Hader’s ever-snubbed Lindsay Buckingham, and Jason Sudeikis’ sweet dance moves have propelled this sketch through repeated rehashing. But the bizarreness of it all the first time around (wait, so you got James Franco on the show, but never let him speak?) is what made it work so well.

Watch it on hulu.com

  

3. The entire Betty White episode (Betty White/Jay-Z)

This highly anticipated episode may have not featured the “soon-to-be-classic” sketches that many had hoped for, but as a whole, it was very charming (largely thanks to White, of course). The inspired hosting choice and the joy that surrounded the whole thing (including Jay-Z dedicating “Young Forever” to Ms. White) made it a highpoint in the season. And we’ll always have “The Wizard of Ass”.

 

4. Laser Cats 5 Digital Short (Sigourney Weaver/The Ting Tings)

Taking full advantage of their guest host, The Lonely Island topped their Laser Cats series with an entry “directed by James Cameron”. They got Cameron himself to cameo (trying desperately to prove that he has a sense of humour), and their spot-on low-budget spoofs of Terminator, Titanic, and Avatar were both topical and timeless.

Watch it on hulu.com

 

5. Threw it on the Ground Digital Short (Ryan Reynolds/Lady Gaga)

The Lonely Island are at their best when they inject some sly, silly social commentary into their Digital Shorts. And this random riff on self-righteousness gets better each time they repeat the gag. The ending is a bit of a cop-out, but I was too busy laughing at the first three-quarters to care.

 

6. Zach Drops By the Set (Zach Galifianakis/Vampire Weekend)

In additional to Galifianakis’ glorious non sequitur of a monologue, this sketch – in which he appears in the background of various NBC programs – provided all of the offbeat charm that I’d expected from the host. It’s a simple concept, but it worked far better than most of the purposely “random” sketches (such as the lengthy, unfunny bidet one) that the writers threw at him.

 

7. Kickspit Underground Rock Festival (Blake Lively/Rihanna)

It should have been a throwaway fake ad, but this send-up of music festivals somehow managed to nail all of the skeevy details of what a heavy metal gathering might consist of (“Everyone gets a pitchfork!”). The follow-up during the Ryan Phillippe episode (a music video honouring the death of “Ass Dan”) was equally hilarious. For once, SNL showcased sharp, succinct writing.

Watch it on hulu.com

8. Hamm and Buble (Jon Hamm/Michael Buble)

Jon Hamm is one of the best recent hosts the show has seen, and his second time hosting provided a few memorable sketches (though perhaps none as memorable as “Jon Hamm’s John Ham”), such as the Closet Organizer, and the character’s subsequent return a couple of sketches later. But pairing Hamm up with the affable musical guest made for the best sketch of the night. Hamm played the owner of a pork and champagne restaurant (get it? Ham and Bubbly?) who ruled with an iron fist, and both men delivered the laughs.

Watch it on hulu.com

 

9. Smash Mouth (Jennifer Lopez)

This is a sketch that had no business working (and for many viewers, it probably didn’t), but I loved the completely unexpected reference point (yes, the 90’s band Smash Mouth). The premise was pretty thin, but the visual humour of the goateed rockers popping up around the set really worked for me.

Watch it on videogum

10. Boombox Digital Short (Jude Law/Pearl Jam)

Featuring The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas (whose strange charisma served the sketch well), this digital short was initially confusing, catchy, and even disturbing. But on subsequent viewings, the whole thing suddenly and inexplicably became hilarious to me.

JGL on SNL

Last night was the big Joseph Gordon-Levitt show on Saturday Night Live. As we know, I was way too excited about this. But here’s my rundown about how I thought the parts with JGL went.

“Monologue”

After an iffy, Levitt-free cold open, JGL came out with LOTS of energy for his opening monologue. After the nearly-catatonic January Jones show last week, it was a nice change. He danced, sang, and flipped his way through “Make ‘Em Laugh” from Singing in the Rain. Even despite the hints dropped in (500) Days of Summer (the karaoke scene, the dance number, this viral video) I still had no idea that he had that much in him. It was a great way to open the show. By the end of the opening he was out of breath (understandably), and that wide-eyed excitement and eagerness to please carried throughout the episode.

 

“Secret Word”

The first sketch was yet another game show spoof. This time it was “Secret Word”, where celebrities and normal people work together to get the other to guess a secret word. JGL played a latin pop singer (he sang in more sketches than most actual musicians do when they host), and though he didn’t have too much to work with, it was amusing. Kristen Wiig was also hilarious as a Broadway star who was obsessed with “theataaar”. Wiig’s character saved this otherwise forgettable sketch.

 

“The Mellow Show with Jack Johnson”

One of the best sketches of the night. Andy Samberg was great as the notoriously “mellow” Jack Johnson, who would randomly spew out random “mellow” things, like “Vegan cookies!” and “hemp necklace!” Bill Hader played Dave Matthews (who was the musical guest last night), and JGL was the fedora-clad Jason Mraz. Then, Dave Matthews came out as the very un-mellow Ozzy Osbourne, and talked about how Dave Matthews made him want to throw up in his hands. Matthews kind of stole the sketch, but I thought that JGL was great as Jason Mraz. It was sort of an easy concept (making fun of hippies/hipsters isn’t a new concept), but all four guys were really funny, and I always like music humour.

 

“What Up With That”

When this BET spoof was first introduced on the Gerard Butler episode, it seemed to go over pretty well. So like any successful sketch that they have, SNL is going to beat it into the ground. Mind you, this re-hash wasn’t too bad. Jason Sudeikis continued his hilarious dancing in the background, and all the randomness and cacophony of the original sketch was still there. I LOVE how Lindsey Buckingham (played by Hader) is always the third guest on “What Up With That”, and always gets bumped. Al Gore showed up and got to say some stuff about the environment in between Keenan Thompson’s constant singing of the show’s theme song. JGL had a small part as a spacey guy playing a keytar. At the end of the sketch, as the “show” ends, and everyone dances, JGL kept pacing back and forth in front of the camera, wielding his keytar. Not as funny as the first time around, but still not too bad.

 

“Angry Thanksgiving Dinner”

I swear I’ve seen this exact sketch before (probably because I have). It revolves around a dysfunctional family eating a thanksgiving dinner. No one can bring up anything without Kristen Wiig’s character threatening to storm away from the table. It’s good for a smile, but it goes on way too long, relying on the same joke over and over.

 

“Woman to Woman”

Another talk show sketch. It’s a female advice talk show, but when the host falls ill, the insensitive male producer takes over to host. Of course, he gives awful advice to the women in the audience. Armisen was funny, and JGL was cute as the show’s assistant trying to cover for the producer’s brash remarks. It didn’t really work, though the concept was amusing enough. It’s one of those sketches that they throw into the last half hour of the show that seem like half-baked concepts.

 

“Say Anything”

This was a close second for my favourite sketch of the night. The sketch showed us what would’ve happened if a neighbour had witnessed the infamous “boombox” scene in Say Anything. It was awesome seeing JGL as Lloyd Dobler. He had the whole persona down pat. The Genesis humour was probably lost on some of the show’s younger viewers (my mom is a fan, so I got it) but I think I laughed harder at the “Genesis is back together!” line than anything else in the show.

 

So, to wrap things up, it was much better than last week’s disastrous episode. I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a decent job hosting. He isn’t going to become the new Justin Timberlake, but he certainly brought some much-needed energy to the show. It was also nice to see him look like he was having a blast. Oh, and since I didn’t cover it above, I also wanted to say that Al Gore was great on Weekend Update, talking about his plan to become crazy, and scare people into saving the environment. Overall, it was a better-than-average episode.

10 People Who Need to Host Saturday Night Live

 

It was recently announced that Megan Fox will be the host for the premiere of the 35th season of Saturday Night Live, which will air on September 26. At first, I hated this choice, mainly because I can’t stand Megan Fox. Then I began to see that Fox has the potential to succeed as a host. If she actually goes for it, and doesn’t worry about looking stupid and doesn’t mind poking fun at herself, they could probably get some funny material out of her. And (despite her questionable level of skill) she is an actor. Actors almost always do a better hosting job than politicians, musician, or athletes (though there is at least one exception with Peyton Manning, who was probably one of the best hosts of recent SNL history), since that’s what they do. You can’t expect to send Michael Phelps in there and automatically get comedic gold. But even if Fox does a decent job hosting, it’s still a pretty safe, predictable choice on SNL’s part. They know that most people tuning in won’t even care if Fox is funny. Does anyone ever watch anything involving Megan Fox to admire her talent? So I began to think about people who I think would be edgier, funnier hosts. Last season, the show’s more successful hosts were the oddball, unexpected choices, like Jon Hamm, John Malkovich, and Neil Patrick Harris. So here are ten people who have never hosted Saturday Night Live (to the best of my knowledge), and who I think could do a great job with it.

 

1. Zach Galifianakis

His comedy style is incredibly offbeat, but I think it would be a refreshing change for a show where the biggest problem is stale writing. In my opinion, there are two kinds of hosting styles for SNL. Some hosts try to compliment the comedy of the show, and if they’re successful (think Anne Hathaway or Zach’s Hangover co-star, Bradley Cooper), they almost seem like they could be one of the cast members. But other hosts are larger than life and steal every skit that they’re in, even if they’re the straight-man. Galifianakis could be the next Christopher Walken.

 

2. Will Arnett

He’s married to the show’s most beloved recent alumnus, and he was on the already-classic Arrested Development. So why hasn’t Will Arnett hosted? He could definitely be another scene-stealer, and I could see him playing off of the rest of the cast really well. After all, he’s already done movies with most of the shows’ cast members (Hot Rod, The Brothers Solomon, The Rocker), so I think his humour would fit in well.

 

3. Anderson Cooper

So this probably seems like a weird choice for the #3 slot, but if you’ve ever seen CNN’s “Silver Fox” interviewed outside of the newsroom, you know that he’s a pretty quick guy. Brian Williams did quite a respectable hosting job a couple of years ago, and I think that Cooper could follow suit.

 

4. Zooey Deschannel

Everyone loves Zooey, and I think that her sunny, laid-back charm would do wonders on the show. She’s got a quirky kind of vibe about her, which be a change from the usual starlets that they have on the show.

 

5. Demetri Martin

Another stand-up comedian turned actor who has a quirky style about him. He’s very youthful, and I think he would work well with the rest of the cast. His oddball humour seems kind of similar to the work that the Lonely Island team is doing, so I think that he would be a great match.

 

6. Ryan Reynolds

He seems to be more along the lines of the hosts that SNL usually gets, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him hosting the show (though we might have to wait until The Green Lantern movie comes out). He’s really funny, and even in some of the so-so movies he’s been in, his charisma still shines. I think he would be a lively choice.

 

7. Joel McHale

The hilarious host of The Soup already incorporates some sketch comedy into his show, so I think he would adapt easily to SNL‘s format. He’s got a new series coming this fall (Community), and will be in the new Soderbergh flick (The Informant!) so now we just need him to bring some of his talent and wit to this venue.

 

8. Jason Segal

Almost every other big name from the Apatow clan has hosted, so I think it’s probably a matter of time until Jason Segal does, too. He’s a very funny guy, and has that “everyman” quality, which can be very funny. I think he’d be willing to do just about anything on the show.

 

9. BJ Novak

Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson have both successfully hosted the show, and I think that it’s about time that another Office cast member tries their hand. John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer would probably both be fine choices, but my pick is actually for BJ “Ryan the Temp” Novak. He’s seems like a cool guy, and he always has awesome reactions to wacky situations.

 

10. Amy Ryan

Okay, so she’s also on The Office, but I think that Amy Ryan would be great, too. Of course, she’s primarily a serious actor, but she’s just so charming as Steve Carell’s love interest, Holly. She’s quirky, but I think she’d also fit in with the style of the show.

 

So there you have it. Disagree with any of my choices? Have any of your own to add? Feel free to leave a comment!