Tag Archives: Jenny Slate

Gratuitous Search Term Bait of the Day: Pushing the Probstvelope

We’re bringing this “daily” feature back after a too long hiatus (mostly because we’ve been busy, but also because our search terms everyday for the last six weeks have all been some variation on “Survivor Federal Agent Phillip”), today working with a non-Phillip term, “www.cbs/jeffprobst.”  Last week on Redemption Island Probst played with fire, just dying for a fine from the FCC and a rash of angry letters from the Parents Television Council.  Luckily, he toed the line, and while it seemed like he was just begging to blunder (a la Jenny Slate), he managed to somehow get out the following challenge commentary without explicitly describing a lewd act (but certainly suggesting it).  We included this in our recap, but it’s worth posting again.  Probst, living dangerously!

Oh, and if you were really curious (although, why you would search for a url, we don’t know), check it: cbs.com/jeffprobst

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Gratuitous Search Term Bait of the Day: Oedipal Complex

We expect to often see search terms like “justin bieber” and “miranda cosgrove,” and to a lesser, but more encouraging, extent “rashida jones” and “tom westman,” but it surprised us how often one of our top results has been “nasim pedrad,” the talented and pretty comedian now in her sophomore season on SNL.  Not that we think that she doesn’t warrant that kind of attention, but it’s intriguing that web surfers have taken a particular interest in Pedrad, considering that SNL has no shortage of attractive and funny female cast members (Kristen Wiig, Abby Elliott, Vanessa Bayer, Jenny Slate until this season).  Then again, it’s not terribly shocking, as Pedrad has continued to impress us with her diversity and poise, deftly portraying women like Kim Kardashian, Azam Farahi (aka Mrs. Ahmadinejad) and Cristiane Amanpour, as well as performing Lil Blaster in the Underground Records commercials.

Pedrad has also fallen into the unfortunate pattern of playing hyperactive, loquacious, often male, teenagers, which has been the only knock against her so far.  However, despite that, our favorite performance from Pedrad was as wise beyond her years teenager Bedilia, a confident young lady who exhibits just a little too much appreciation for her parents.

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See?  She more than holds her own against Alec Baldwin there.  If Pedrad can excise those other, more annoying, less successful characters then we see no reason why she won’t be one of our most popular search terms for years to come.

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Filed under Gratuitous Search Term Bait, Makes You Think, Saturday Night Live, Yasmine Bleeth

The Real Women of SNL: They are Fambily; Plus: a Totally Unnecesary Look Back at the History of Female Not Yet Ready for Primetime Players

Well, despite our reminder to you last week, we eagerly arrived home on Monday night only to be severely disappointed when we realized that we had neglected to set our DVR to record the Women of SNL special.  We had been looking forward to it ever since Jon Hamm delivered his goodbyes the day before, but the thought never occurred to us that our SNL season pass would not apply to the female-centric primetime special.  OUR BAD.

To add to our dismay, neither NBC.com nor Hulu is hosting the full special.  However, it appears that the only original material included a few one-on-one interviews and this excellent take on the Real Housewives (we’re going to go ahead and say they’re primarily targeting RH of NJ over the other installments, with Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Laraine Newman channeling the nascent RH of Beverly Hills via satellite).

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Read on: We speculate on what was in the special and then give an SNL history lesson. Get out your notebooks!

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Filed under Analysis, Good Humor, Lists, Saturday Night Live, Yasmine Bleeth, Yvonne Hudson

‘SNL: All-Stars’; Or: Where Was Betty White?

Amy Poehler returned to host the 36th season premiere of SNL this past week, but did it feel like she ever really left?  Between her frequent appearances last season on the big show and her stint co-anchoring Weekend Update Thursday last fall she was really on the show as much as Jenny Slate was, and probably more times than Jay Mohr during his brief run (cheap shot, sorry, Jay).  She even capped last season by coming back for the famed, Emmy-winning Betty White episode, joining her fellow former female castmates like Tina Fey and Molly Shannon in helping White carry the hosting weight.  That episode, the 2nd to the last of the season, felt more like a prime-time special than a regular show (indeed, it was billed as a Mother’s Day edition, but as a result of coincidental timing and to justify bringing in the ringers to support White, who then proved she really didn’t need assistance).  And while host-in-residence Alec Baldwin made his annual appearance to close out the season a week later, White’s episode really felt like the big finish.  And wouldn’t you know it, SNL felt like it picked up just where it left off, by pulling out the big guns and bringing back the all-time greats, starting with Ms. Poehler herself.

Read on: Parade of Stars: Timberlake, Dratch, Rudolph, Fey, Fallon & Peterson. Also, whom did SNL really rip off?

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‘SNL’ Shake-Ups & Sensationalism: Slate & Sudeikis

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed by since we waved goodbye to Michaela Watkins (we hardly knew ye) and Casey Wilson (probably for the best) and welcomed with skeptical arms the rookies Jenny Slate and Nasim Pedrad.  And it’s sad to report that a year later we’re already saying goodbye to the former of that dynamic young duo.  And once again, the changes are sure to raise eyebrows.  However, this time around, we don’t have a good theory as to what precipitated the moves.

With Will Forte’s departure two weeks ago the whispers began to circulate and the dominoes began to fall.  Except, they really didn’t fall so much as erect themselves next to already firmly planted playing pieces, with Taran Killam (best known from Scrubs), Paul Brittain and Vanessa Bayer from the iO Chicago, and Jay Pharoah, a comedian and talented impressionist, joining the cast, while veterans Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson – rumored to possibly be following Forte out the door – remain (as of press time) at their posts.  So it came as a bit of a shock when word got out yesterday that the show had released a cast member, but not one of its established male veterans with s burgeoning film careers (or even Kristen Wiig, who may have already over-stayed her welcome a season or two), but, instead, Slate, who had only put in a season’s worth of work.

Now, if you recall last year’s history lesson on women & SNL, you’ll recall that going into the season with four women (Slate, Pedrad, Wiig & Abby Elliott most recently) was on the high side.  In fact, going a whole season with four veteran female cast members is just about as good as it’s ever been on the show.  So, with the addition of Bayer, it’s not surprising that SNL & head honcho Lorne Michaels decided to cut loose a lady.  It was a numbers game.  That we understand.  But then why add one in the first place?

Read on: The curious case of Jenny Slate. Also, Jason Sudeikis is the new Ben Affleck.

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Filed under Analysis, Flashback!, Saturday Night Live, Yvonne Hudson

SNL & James Franco Hit Christmas Break Early: You Can’t Squint Funny

It’s getting harder and harder to write these SNL commentaries; not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I’m afraid that I’m going to sound redundant, as it seems that I have the same reaction almost every week.  Occasionally there’s a funny, or at least a buzzworthy, sketch, or a Digital Short that goes viral, or a host that either succeeds beyond expectations or crashes spectacularly, but for the most part, week in and week out it’s becoming the same show.  Starting to feel like a broken record.

James Franco had a fairly successful debut as host last season (although I can only seem to remember the glossy Gossip Girl send-up “Murray Hill“), but in the period leading up to this weekend’s show (indeed since Franco was announced as the anchor in the Blake Lively-Taylor Lautner-James Franco hosting triumvirate) it seemed there was a feeling that Franco was going to be some sort of SNL savior, that he’s developed into a comedy wunderkind.  Now, his turn on General Hospital may be generating laughs, but it’s not necessarily comedy (in fact, if you listen to Franco, it’s “performance art“).  And the very reason he was hailed for his comedic performance in last year’s Pineapple Express and his subsequent SNL hosting gig was precisely because he was playing against type.  Before that time he was identified more with his previous characters: the quiet cool of James Dean, Freaks & Geeks sensitive bad boy Daniel Desario, and petulant, moody Spider-man friend turned enemy turn friend Harry Osborne.  Franco was so successful in Pineapple Express because it was somewhat unexpected.  However, now it seems that he’s planted himself in the comedy camp, or at least as some sort of genre chameleon or Renaissance Man, moving between comedy, serious drama (Milk), daytime soap operas and Columbia University.  And with this shift, we’re now less surprised with Franco’s comedy aptitude, and then perhaps set the bar a little too high for his second SNL go-around.

Which is not to say he was anywhere near January Jones territory, not even in the same stratosphere.  He was enthusiastic, confident and capable.  But he also spent the majority of the broadcast squinting severely which gave off the impression that either a) he was struggling to see the cue cards without the use of prescription lenses, b) his eyes are particularly sensitive to the bright studio lights, or c) he was really, really high.  His giggly demeanor and off-beat rhythms didn’t help dissuade the viability of option C.  During the monologue if felt like I was looking at French Stewart, not James Franco.  But he clearly felt very at home, and up for anything (including making out with Will Forte).

Keep reading: Greatest Hits, the return of Fart Face and belated thoughts

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Filed under Analysis, Discos and Dragons, Saturday Night Live, Yankee Swap

January Jones Was the Worst Host Ever On the Worst Episode of ‘SNL’ Ever

Or so it would seem.

The reaction to last week’s Taylor Swift SNL was overwhelmingly positive, with most critics/bloggers declaring it the best episode of the (mediocre) season.  While I think it was one of the stronger episodes of the season, I’m not quite sure it was the best (I’d probably have to hand that distinction to the Gerard Butler outing, in which Butler was more polished and comfortable than Swift), but certainly it’s possible to make the argument for its season supremacy.  But boy, how quickly things change.  After the buzzed about Swift edition SNL returned  this weekend with Mad Men‘s January Jones as host, and if the blogosphere is to believed it was the worst episode in the history of Saturday Night Live, featuring the most ill-prepared host in 35 years of the show.  Well, yes, it was bad, but we’re hyperbolizing just a little bit.  If anything, saying that the new episode was that bad gives too much credit to other dreadful performances from this season (basically all but Butler and Swift), and certainly episodes from past seasons (ahem, Michael Phelps).  So to get all riled up about a single terrible episode of SNL is about as useless as getting giddy about an excellent episode of SNL, because, no matter what, the show is coming back next week, sometimes it’s going to be inconceivably bad, sometimes surprisingly brilliant, and mostly very average.  That’s why teachers invented the bell curve, to bring the extremes back down to earth.  So, by all means, complain about the episode, as it was lazy, sloppy and just generally unfunny.  But, remember, they have and will do worse.

With that, it’s not worth doing a rundown of the highlights, as there weren’t that many, but a few thoughts:

More: Running out the clock, Jones vs. Hamm, Slate vs. Watkins, and cotton balls made out of clouds…

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Filed under Analysis, Bad Humor, Saturday Night Live

‘SNL’ Trying to Get Viewers Drunk. Can’t Hurt.

Was that an infomercial for Bud Light Golden Wheat or an episode of Saturday Night Live?  It was a little hard to tell at times, as the newest member of the Bud family served as the sponsor of the show, and also brought us “never before seen” SNL moments, aka past cast members and hosts breaking during dress rehearsal (although Will Ferrell as a fashionista cracking up Sean Hayes and Jimmy Fallon is actually available on the Best of Ferrell DVD, so not entirely new to SNL completists).  What would John Belushi have thought of this corporate shilling?  Probably wouldn’t have minded too much, as long as he got to sample the new beverage.  But the sponsorship gave the show a weird vibe that almost overshadowed what turned out to be a (if you can believe it) a decent outing. Continue reading

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SNL Week 2: Better, but Lady Gaga Can’t Be On Every Week

Quick reaction to the second outing of the 35th season of SNL:  Generally an improvement over the premiere, although still not firing on all cylinders.  There’s a lot of talent there, but it just seems like at this point this sum is less than the parts.

The Good: Jenny Slate did not utter the F word or any other obscenity (although, she didn’t get a big sketch like “Biker Chick Chat,” but my hunch is that’s unrelated).

The Bad(?): Lady Gaga did slip in a swear word during her performance of Paparazzi.  But like Slate’s transgression, don’t expect many consequences from this.  If it happens a third straight week though…well, we know how baseball works.  But then again, this is TV and not baseball, so who knows.

The Okay: Ryan Reynolds turned in a perfectly fine performance, but one that was probably overshadowed by Gaga’s two musical performances as well as her appearances in two sketches (including her awkward cat-fight with Lady Madonna in the latest installment of the abominable “Deep House Dish”).  So instead of a Ryan Reynolds sketch, let’s take this opportunity to check him out as a young boy on Nickelodeon’s forgotten gem Fifteen:

The Old: Scarlett Johansson (Mrs. Ryan Reynolds) reprised her role as a Grecian Long Island princess, this time helping her dad hawk porcelain fountains.  However, I prefer, the original, Mike’s Marbleopolis (You gotta get yourself some marble columns!):

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The Eh: The Family Feud sketch featuring the John Phillips clan vs. the Osmond siblings fell a little flat, but I’m all for anything that includes Richard “The Kissing Fool” Dawson.


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Filed under Analysis, Good Humor, Nostalgia Corner, Saturday Night Live

SNL (and SNL Related) Round Up: F-Bombs, Fieri and Fallon

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 Guy_FieriDiners, 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.

Oh, and much like the “Michaela Watkins Club” feature on Vulture that I wrote about a few weeks back, Entertainment Weekly compiled their own gallery of blink and you missed them SNL castmembers.

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Filed under Analysis, Good Humor, Saturday Night Live, Tex Wasabi's, Yvonne Hudson