Continuing with the ‘F’ theme, first let me apologize for a little bit of a hiatus, following a period of unprecedented output. I will (hopefully) be returning to regular updates now. Moving on!
After the tease that is Weekend Update Thursday, Saturday Night Live returned for real this past weekend to, I must say, middling results. After two strong editions of the Thursday night show, and the benefit of the summer to clear their heads and develop new material, the show was lazy and disappointing, in Heidi Klum’s words, a “snoozefest” (jog ahead to 40:40). Megan Fox proved game, and wasn’t a liability (to be fair, she did play herself in three sketches (not including the monologue), but she played herself very convincingly), but the sketches were uninspired. And with all the new material they could have introduced they instead went immediately back to the well, giving us a second helping of Kenan Thompson’s Grady Wilson character (who demonstrates various sexual positions, named for a less lascivious action with the same motion), and during Weekend Update inviting up frequent guests Parisian Def Jam comedian Jean K. Jean (Thompson again) and Kristen Wiig’s nervous travel writer, Judy Grimes (again, to be fair, their spots were at least topical, Jean K. Jean discussing the G-20 and Grimes talking about travel during the recession). I’m not sure if Jean K. Jean was ever more than mildly amusing, but the Judy Grimes bit was once very entertaining. And while I think the character’s rapid fire delivery demonstrates Wiig’s phenomenal and undeniable talent, it’s getting a little tired. Maybe for the first show they wanted to play some classics first, instead of challenging the audience with some new characters. Of course, for those who saw the East Coast feed it didn’t matter because the mediocre nature of the show was overshadowed by new cast member Jenny Slate uttering the F word during her debut sketch, “Biker Chick Chat.”
As this was Jenny Slate’s first show, and her first lead role in a skit, the obvious initial thought was that perhaps she had ended her SNL career before even getting through an episode, that perhaps she would experience a similar fate to that of the late Charles Rocket, who was axed after uttering the F-word during the 80-81 season. However, it seems that her slip-up has proven beneficial to both Slate and SNL. Instead of being semi-known as a new cast member, overnight Slate made her mark, albeit notoriously. And, as NY Magazine’s Vulture blog points out, SNL and NBC don’t seem to mind the publicity, as they have not pulled down clips of the sketch in question from YouTube, as they normally do with their proprietary content. Furthermore, Slate has gone ahead and created a catchphrase, “I f*cking love you for that,” that will now enter the zeitgeist, and will have far more staying power than the FCC approved alternative (plus, as the premise of the sketch was that every sentence includes at least one use of the modifier “freaking,” it was basically an accident waiting to happen).
Despite a lackluster premiere for SNL classic, last week’s Weekend Update Thursday continued to provide solid laughs, welcoming back Fred Armisen’s Gov. David Patterson and his unprovoked barbs towards New Jersey. The cold open was also a success, sending up President Obama’s recent interviews with numerous news outlets. The highlight of this sketch was probably Jason Sudeikis’ Glenn Beck impression, (and tip of the hat should also be given to Nasim Pedrad’s for her first appearance, as a convincing enough Kathy Griffith) but our favorite moment was another new impression, that of Food Network personality and TGI Fridays spokesman Guy Fieri (as played by sophomore Bobby Moynihan). The host of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, has been a favorite (target) for JumpedTheSnark for a while, and is the subject of a very upcoming post, and it was nice to see SNL take note of Fieri and his propensity of take meals to the extreme (For further proof, just visit his BBQ-Sushi joint, Tex Wasabi’s). Here’s hoping Moyniahan reprises his Fieri impression again, and soon (and maybe they can throw in an Alton Brown for good measure. Oh, and Melanie Hutsell could stop by with her acclaimed Paula Dean mimic).
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However, the recent sketch from an SNL member that I enjoyed the most is actually a bit I caught on Jimmy Fallon last night (okay, former SNL cast member). I was describing to my roommate a segment in which Fallon instructs his house band The Roots to improvise song lyrics based off scant facts about audience members and to compose the tunes in a very specific musical style (like Bollywood movies or a Disney opus); lo and behold when I turned on the show last night he was playing this very game (and with all respect to Jimmy, the Roots are the most talented people on the program). So after this bit we kept the dial tuned to Late Night and caught this sketch with guest (and mixed martial artist/street brawler) Kimbo Slice:
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It certainly wasn’t the smartest piece, but I laughed harder in those 3 minutes than I did during the 60 odd minutes of material on last week’s SNL. And to Fallon’s credit, while his interviewing skills are still very suspect, Late Night has putting out some of the best (and most absurd) comedy bits of all the late night talkers (take note, Jay).
And as for SNL, Ryan Reynolds hosts this weekend, so I have high hopes. If it’s not funny, at least I know it’ll be charming.