Category Archives: Kieran’s Korner

Kieran’s Korner In Memorium: A Eulogy For the Compact Disc (And the Worst It Had to Offer)

Jumped the Snark presents, with pleasure, the latest thoughts from Mr. Kieran Walsh:
They were shiny.   They were round.  After breaking the dorm room mirror I used one to comb my hair for an entire semester of college (true!)

And, now, suffice to say, they’re pretty much dead.

I’m referring, of course, to the Compact Disc.

Oh, you can still find them.  Most of the big music stores are closed, of course.  No more Tower Records.  Alas, Sam Goody.  Whither Virgin…

Yes, strictly speaking, CDs are still out there and, as long as what little I understand of economics still holds true in our increasingly bizarre post-TARP universe, they should be for a while.

But in terms of the popular imagination—in terms of being the de facto medium for pre-recorded music—the Compact Disc is history.

Read on: Kieran mourns the Compact Disc by mining thrift stores to put together the list of the Top Ten Used CDs.

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Kieran’s Korner: Another Look at ‘SNL,’ Dana Carvey and “The Best Cast Ever”

Even before we finished our analysis of last weekend’s Dana Carvey hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ we had no doubt that this particular episode, this particular crossroads, required additional insight.  Perhaps, more than ever, a Kieran’s Korner was needed.  As you know, we consider Kieran our elder statesmen when it comes to ‘SNL’ knowledge and personal experience, our very own living, breathing, sweater vest-wearing ‘Live From New York.’  To some degree, the Carvey years, ’86-’93, were always nostalgia to us; we were practically an infant when Carvey debuted, and thus only began to appreciate his talent towards the end of his tenure, largely because of the runaway success of ‘Wayne’s World.’  Our first time seeing the show live came just after Carvey’s exit, the final seasons of Farley and Sandler, and indeed we didn’t become regular viewers until the great cast turnover of 1995 (and, to be fair, like Kieran, we initially didn’t care for that group funny).  So while the Will Ferrell era was the first cast we became intimately familiar with, watched week in and week out, the Carvey period came during Kieran’s formative years.  We knew then that any effect the last episode had on us, there was a good chance that feeling would only be amplified for Kieran.  So we turned to Kieran for his special brand of wisdom, to discover his reaction considering his similar but much more personal relationship with ’86-’93 .  And, as usual, he obliged.

Speaking of the death of childhood, let me tell you about the flood of negative emotions I experienced watching the first episode of the 21st season of Saturday Night Live.

The date was September 30, 1995 and I was twenty-three years old. Mariel Hemingway was the host. There was an interminable sketch where Will Ferrell yelled at some kids who were, evidently, on a shed. Filmed pieces included a rather pallid spoof commercial for a “morning” beer named AM Ale. Against better judgment, Mark McKinney tried to import his Chicken Lady character from The Kids in the Hall.

I didn’t laugh.

Continue: Kieran’s Korner or: How Kieran Learned to Stop Worrying and Love ’95-’01. And a hindsight look back at Carvey’s auspicious beginnings…

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Kieran’s Korner: Let’s Get Real About Paul McCartney

It’s been five days and yet we still have a bad taste in our mouth after last week’s ‘SNL’ hosted by Paul McCartney with a special appearance by Paul Rudd.  We understand that Paul McCartney is special, even the British monarchy has acknowledged that.  There are stars, and there are mega-stars, and then there are supernovas.  McCartney is the latter.  However, we still believe that ‘SNL’ shouldn’t have been so much about him, and his presence struck us a somewhat selfish booking, designed to provide more pleasure for the cast and crew than the audience at home.  This sentiment was only driven home when Paul Rudd remarked on ‘Live! With Regis and Kelly’ that (no surprise) after the show McCartney stuck around to play an impromptu private concert.  Rudd was obviously still in awe of the moment, noting that he’s “a massive Beatles fan, like everyone.”  But we’re not massive Beatles fans, and even if we were, we wonder if we’d be interested in McCartney’s other works, like the songs he played for his first two ‘SNL’ sets.  So that got us thinking, do people really care about hearing Paul McCartney play anything but Beatles songs?  Do they just tolerate McCartney in hopes that he’ll break out the Beatles catalog?  Or do they genuinely enjoy the cuts from Wings and his solo stuff?  So to get more clarity on this question, we turned to our guest blogger-in-residence and Beatles aficionado Kieran Walsh, in our latest Kieran’s Korner:

Wow.  Lead me into a minefield, why don’t you?

It’s not an easy question.  It’s not an easy answer.  Gosh…  Well, let’s do this.

After the jump: Kieran does this.

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And Now the Long Awaited Debut of ‘Kieran’s Korner’: More Thoughts on ‘SNL’ & Scarlett Johansson

We’ve made a concerted effort on this blog to do things just a little differently, to present our material in a way that is somehow unique from the dozens of similar sites out there, whether that be reviewing The Office from the perspective of the series as a whole, or comparing Conan O’Brien to President Obama, or finding any excuse to link to an episode of Pete & Pete (like right there, for example).  But sometimes, no matter how hard you to try to keep an eye on the bigger picture you get lost in the details, and you can’t see the forest for the trees.   That’s why it’s always great to have a loyal reader (and good friend) who can fill in the blanks.  And for us, that person is Kieran Walsh.

And, once again, Kieran replied to one of our SNL posts with his own excellent thoughts, expanding on a couple of our points and suggesting some ideas we might have missed.  We’re grateful to have Kieran around reading our posts, clarifying our arguments and providing his own keen insights.  So, without further ado, we’re proud to bring you what we hope is the first of many visits to Kieran’s Korner:

It’s kind of painful to say this, but I think Fred Armisen is now moving into eclipse while Bill Hader is on the ascent.  Manuel Ortiz is a good example.  It’s barely even a sketch – more of a gimmick, and not a particularly funny one, either.  For that matter, it’s waaaay too reminiscent of “What Up With That” to be comfortable (talk show constantly interrupted by dance routine, etc.)  Meanwhile, Bill seems to have found a new level of accessibility by crafting more user-friendly breakout characters (Stefan!)  Perhaps these are the side-effects of dating a scientologist.  Not entirely his fault.  The pop culture pendulum swings wildly.

Don’t really understand Scarlett Johansson.  I mean, in general.   She must be incredibly easy to work with because I don’t really know why SNL and Woody Allen keep going back to her.  I dunno.  She’s just excruciatingly limited.  On the one hand I get the sense that she’s up for anything – but that’s incredibly different from being genuinely good at anything.  Clearly, she’d like to get laughs, but, jeez…

Yes.  Bayer had an incredibly strong show, particularly with the Stars of Tomorrow sketch.  She’s got definite potential.  Pharoah, too, but he really needs his own thing.

I think it’s definitely time for Andy to leave.

Very astute observations on both the Armisen and Johansson fronts.  Regarding Fred, perhaps that’s why he seemed so unenthusiastic during the “Mike’s Busteria” sketch.  And perhaps his character’s recalcitrant disposition on “Update” was a reflection of Armisen’s current displeasure with the show.  Perhaps he feels like he’s stranded at sea with a shrill, prickly Jewish wife.

And as for Johansson, Kieran hits it on the head, and gracefully encapsulates the point we attempted to make in our earlier post.  She’s beautiful.  And it’s not as if she’s January Jones out there (boy, Jones is never going to live that down, is she?).  But as Kieran’s so eloquently notes, Johansson is “excruciatingly limited,” so she must just be a person SNL enjoys having around.  Or maybe she drives up the ratings.  Let us not forget that it’s always about the bottom line.

But, then again, sometimes it’s about the byline.  So look out for more Kieran authored posts in the near future, and maybe a Snark-Walsh debate.  Because if we blog on the web and no one is around to respond does it really post?

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