Tag Archives: Chevy Chase

Saturday Night’s All Right For Leaving

Screen shot 2013-05-21 at 6.42.30 PMMuch was made last week about the departure of Saturday Night Live stalwart Bill Hader, and still more was made when word broke just before (or, perhaps, during) last Saturday night’s show that longtime cast member Fred Armisen would be joining Hader in exiting Studio 8H. Add to that the speculation that Jason Sudeikis is a part of the exodus – only a year after show centerpiece Kristen Wiig left the show – and we seem to have a full-fledged panic. Hader, Armisen and Sudeikis – who accrued twenty-eight seasons of combined service on the show – will certainly leave a gaping hole, having portrayed such vital characters as President Obama, Vice President Biden, James Carville, David Patterson, the Devil, and, of course, Stefon. How could the show possibly survive such a great loss of talent, three of their leading men, a trio of go-tos. Losing one, sure, it happens. But all three, plus the farewell of Head Writer Seth Meyers at mid-season? Won’t that just be the end of SNL?

No, no it won’t. Despite some histrionics that seem to point to the opposite sentiment, the show will persist just fine. In fact, this is the circle of life for Saturday Night Live (it’s just Saturday Night Life?). Granted, if Sudeikis does, in fact, join Hader and Armisen, then you would have a more severe than normal bloodletting, but it’s not a lethal loss. The show has always and will always subsist on the infusion of new, exciting, eager talent. This season SNL was without Kristen Wiig, who seemed to have shouldered the load for so many seasons (to the show’s detriment, in our opinion) and it went on unencumbered in her absence, bolstered by noteworthy performances by newcomers Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong, two fantastic young talents who might have not had the chance to breakout if Wiig was still around. And the show has weathered the loss of every great star during its history, with someone waiting in the wings to step up. Chevy Chase leaves after the inaugural season and Bill Murray gets the call. Farley and Sandler leave and we get Will Ferrell. Ferrell leaves but Armisen and Will Forte join the show and Amy Poehler receives more screen time. Every time SNL closes a door it opens a window, a window cracked just wide enough for a talented young sketch comedian to crawl.

And it will be the same with this loss, which should better be classified as a transition than a remaking; it’s certainly nothing as a dramatic as the turnover before Ferrell’s first season. Bobby Moynihan, who had a stellar season with his “Weekend Update” appearances as Drunk Uncle and Anthony Crispino, has already been doing much of the heavy lifting, appearing in cold opens, monologues, parodies, and Update visits, performing as straight man as well as Guy Fieri. He’s certainly more than capable of being the show’s anchor in his sixth season. Likewise of Taran Killam, whose squared-jaw good looks and Baryshnikovian dance moves make him possibly the show’s most valuable not-yet-ready-for-prime-time-player, and who is due for his breakout season. Then you have Kenan Thompson, who has only improved with age, as he shook off his All That trappings and grew into a reliable SNL presence, and Tim Robinson, who had a strong, confident debut season, and Jay Pharoah, who is an incredible mimic but still looking to find his groove, despite getting the nod to play Obama this season. Not to mention the fresh new talent they might recruit to replace the departing cast members. And add to that the terrific female players that we already discussed, and you have a dynamic, hungry, inspired cast ready to make their mark and define their era on SNL. If the show is guilty of anything over its last 38 seasons, it’s of being lazy, relying on the old standbys. With the old guard on its way out, SNL just might not have that luxury next season, and we might be better off for it.

Yes, we had to say goodbye to Stefon, and that was very, very sad. But Stefon had to move on, and so do we. Because there’s another Stefon out there. There always is. We just don’t know him yet.

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Filed under Analysis, Be careful what you wish for, Makes You Think, Saved by the Bell

Elliott Ghoul’d: JT Joins the ‘SNL’ Five Timers Club But One Member is Conspicuously Absent

Justin Timberlake made his triumphant return to Studio 8H this past weekend, delivering the episode that it felt like SNL and its fans had been waiting for all season long. The affair marked Timberlake’s fifth turn as host, inducting him into the esteemed “Five Timers Club” that includes such SNL luminaries such as Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Alec Baldwin and Tom Hanks. In fact, it was during Hanks fifth hosting appearance in December of 1990  (and before fifteen of Baldwin’s sixteen hosting turns) when we first learned about the existence of the exclusive club, with a young Conan O’Brien (going by the alias “Sean”) presenting Hanks with his club robe. For the first time in just over twenty-two years we revisited this VIP lounge this past Saturday night, with Timberlake receiving his robe from another O’Brien, SNL writer and 7 Minutes in Heaven star Mike O’Brien. Martin, Simon and Hanks were once again present, as well as fellow club members Chevy Chase and Candice Bergen (and non-club but former cast members Dan Ackroyd and Martin Short). But shockingly absent from the distinguished proceedings was Five Timer Elliott Gould, who helped initiate Hanks back in ’90. Sure, by that time Gould hadn’t hosted for ten years, and hasn’t in the twenty-two since, but once a Five Timer always a Five Timer, right? In fact, Gould was the third host to join the club (behind Buck Henry and Martin), which essentially makes him a charter member. So why then has Gould essentially been excommunicated from Saturday Night Live? Why has someone who was so instrumental and loyal in those early SNL years become a persona non-grata at the Five Timers Club? Was it his role on FriendsA falling out with Don Pardo? Or, perhaps he and his friends stole from Lorne? Most likely, while fellow club members Martin and Baldwin climb higher and higher into the double digits, we’ll never know why Gould has been away for over two decades, whether by banishment or by self-righteous declaration of independence. No matter what though, they can never take away his pool privileges.

Btw, Lindsay Lohan is one hosting appearance away from joining the club. Should she be tapped for that fifth time, expect stricter membership requirements to follow soon after.

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Filed under Flashback!, Good Humor, Hanx, Makes You Think, Saturday Night Live

Gallagher: Still Mad After All These Years

Back in March Gallagher suffered three separate heart attacks and it seemed like the very appropriate time to post a long-gestating Gallagher piece we had been planning to write.  Well, obviously, two months have passed, but during that interim we kept this tab open in our browser, a reminder that, eventually, we needed to get to it, to talk about Gallagher, to try to make some sense of this fallen from grace comedian in the twilight of career, and possibly of his life.

We should preface this by detailing our own personal history with Gallagher.  We very clearly recall watching his cable specials as a child, filling time slots in the early years of Comedy Central and possibly even on VH1, before they had Celebrity Rehab to occupy the bulk of their schedule.  Of course we remember the watermelon smashing – the Sledge-O-Matic – but we also vividly remember a giant couch, outfitted with a trampoline under the giant cushions, and as an eight year-old that seemed like the coolest thing ever.  It was like Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann, but crossed with a playground, with a purpose.  We wanted one.  The stage, with its oversized props, was quite literally a giant toy store, and Gallagher was the wily proprietor, with a sparkle in his eye and a mischievous grin.  We’re not sure at the time that we really understood “comedy,” but we liked whatever he was doing.  It may not have been comedy, but it sure as fuck was entertaining to a kid still five-years shy of his Bar Mitzvah.

Read on: Our journey with Gallagher continues and we look back at one of those early specials…

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Filed under Analysis, Bad Humor, Good Humor, In defense of:, Masochism, Nostalgia Corner

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 Mom’s Korner: Kieran’s Mom Weighs-In on the Rise and Fall of ‘SNL’

Yesterday we posted a new ‘Kieran’s Korner’ with Kieran’s thoughts on the recent ‘SNL’ hosted by Dana Carvey.  We figured we’d get some real wisdom, some genuine perspective.  And we did.  But now we have a special treat, some observations about the show from an even wiser, more experienced source.  Ladies and gentlemen, we’re proud to present the first (and hopefully not last) ‘Kieran’s Mom’s Korner’:

I have some thoughts on SNL.  I think it took a wrong turn when they changed the closing music from something with lots of saxophones to something lighter.

Also, I never liked that sketch with “I hate when that happens.”
But some of the early stuff with Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and even Chevy Chase was brilliant.

Love,
Mum

Well it seems that Carvey got at least one thing right last week: everyone does have their own favorite cast.

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Filed under Makes You Think, Saturday Night Live, Weigh-in

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

“Presidential Reunion”; Or Will Funny or Die Kill ‘SNL’?

By now you’ve all seen this Funny or Die sketch (because it was uploaded almost a week ago, which this day in age classifies it as old) that brings together the all time team of SNL presidential imitators.  It’s great, right?  Totally awesome (especially Chevy, doing what Chevy does best).

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However, what concerns me is what this video, and videos of its ilk, means to SNL.  Why I am so concerned about a show that has basically been skating by since 1993, if not earlier, and has never really faced any real competition, I don’t know (and no, MADtv doesn’t count).  But the more I see the Funny or Die videos featuring both SNL and non-SNL talent I wonder how long the show will be able to compete (especially now that Funny or Die has its own show on HBO, although the one episode I saw was rather underwhelming).  And this Presidential Reunion, directed by Hollywood heavyweight Ron Howard, really caused me pause.

Keep reading: Does this spell the end for ‘SNL’?

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Filed under Analysis, Good Humor, Saturday Night Live, Virulent