Tag Archives: Anthony Michael Hall

Did the Oscars Set Rip-Off ‘Saturday Night Live’ Circa 1985?

Well, perhaps it’s reparations for SNL stealing Billy Crystal’s mildly racist black people at the movies joke, but it appears that Crystal and the last night’s Academy Award’s telecast stole their set from the one used in Studio 8H during Season 11 (the notorious Robert Downey Jr-Anthony Michael Hall-Randy Quaid interlude).  The similarity is too hard to ignore.

Last night, hosted by Crystal:

Season 11, Episode 2 (November 16, 1985), hosted by Chevy Chase:

YOU DECIDE.

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Filed under Flashback!, Rip-off, Saturday Night Live, You Decide, Yvonne Hudson

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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Filed under Fashion Show at Lunch, Kieran's Korner, Nostalgia Corner, Saturday Night Live

Danza Moment of the Week: Boxer-Actor or Actor-Boxer? Toe-to-Face with Anthony Michael Hall

Our old pal Eliot Glazer recently alerted us to the virtual treasure trove of classic Saturday Night Live episodes that can now be found on Netflix Instant Watch.  In fact, they’ve made available nearly every episode of the show from its tumultuous 35 year history (although, it should be noted that episodes only feature “selected” sketches, and the musical performances have been excised for obvious licensing reasons).  Upon learning of this bounty, what was of most interest to us were two seasons in particular.  The first was the 10th Season, which boasted Billy Crystal, Martin Short, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer (and an opening credit sequence that inexplicably contained giant flying hot dogs); basically a group of ringers brought into the save the show after the departure of budding superstar Eddie Murphy (and, to a lesser extent, the exit of soon-to-be-punchline Joe Piscopo).  The second season we were most curious about was the subsequent year, in which Lorne Michaels returned to the show after a five year absence and replaced the seasoned veterans with a group comprised mostly of young novices, including Anthony Michael Hall, Robert Downey, Jr. and Joan Cusack.  The show suffered dismal ratings and a critical beating, but since it staved off cancellation and experienced a renaissance the following season with the arrival of Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Jan Hooks and Kevin Nealon, the 11th Season has become something of a footnote in SNL history.  However, after years of darkness, we can finally shed a light on this forgotten season.

And what did we find upon closer inspection?  You bet, an episode from April of 1986 hosted Mr. Tony Danza, who was just beginning to earn the greatest praise of his career for his early work in Who’s the Boss?*  Clearly though, Danza was not meant for sketch comedy, as his Russian accent in one sketch is just barely perceptible for much of the scene, and absent for the rest of it.  Much like in his roles on Taxi and Who’s the Boss?, Tony just can’t help being Tony, and his genuine upbeat, gregarious, often laughable, personality shines through no matter what character he attempts to portray.  Which is why inserting Dazna in this boxing sketch was a smart move.  Just like the producers of Taxi recognized, it’s best not to let “Tony” stray too far from Tony.  And then on top of Danza doing what he does best, and what comes naturally, you have Anthony Michael Hall probably turning in his finest work since The Breakfast Club (until 1988’s Johnny Be Good,** of course).

Hard to believe that scrawny little guy turned out like this.

*We’re making this up and assume it to not be true.

**See above.

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Filed under Who's the Boss?

Gratuitious Search Term Bait of the Day: Christmas in January

Very, very, excited about today’s entry.  Many thanks to whomever searched for today’s term, because it’s allowed us to post one of our favorite scenes from Community, and also one of our favorite scenes from anything ever.  Today, more than a week after Christmas, we were gifted the words “anthony michael hall community.”  The fact that it’s a holiday clip makes it all the more perfect.

Anthony Michael Hall with a mustache.  A brawl in fake snow.  Chevy throwing punches indiscriminately.  Florence + the Machine.  Can’t do much better than that.

But we’re going to try!  As a bonus, here’s a clip of Anthony Michael Hall from his ill-fated stint on the ill-fated tenth season of SNL (along with Robert Downey, Jr!  Also ill-fated!):

We’re going to Applebees!

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Filed under Brilliance, Gratuitous Search Term Bait, Greendale Human, Mustachio'd, Saturday Night Live

Something Funny Happened on the Way to Five Thursday’s Ago

(This a post I intended to compose a month ago, but then the holidays hit, and then the Thursday night comedies went on winter vacation so there was no real rush to write this.  But with the comedy block returning tonight, save for The Office, this seemed like the right time to finally record these thoughts).

One month ago, on December 10, before the Jaypocalypse, NBC’s Thursday night comedies aired their Christmas themed episodes.  And something funny happened:  The Office, well, wasn’t.  At least it was very clearly the weak link in what was otherwise a very strong night of comedy.  30 Rock continued to be the joke-for-joke best show on television, Parks and Rec extended what has been a breakout second season, and Community turned in what might have been its best episode yet.  And The Office?  By far it’s weakest Christmas episode to date.  Sure, it had a lot of live up to – Christmas Party, Benihana Christmas – but it didn’t even equal last season’s Moroccan Christmas, which itself was rather a disappointment. And against the other comedies that night, it just didn’t measure up.  Something seemed off.

Now, I’m not out on the ledge yet.  But it’s certainly concerning.

Keep reading: Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? Plus Anthony Michael Hall and Julianne Moore!

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Filed under Analysis, Bad Humor, Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam, Good Humor, Must See TV