We’re going to warn you right off the bat that this is probably going to be the most subjective SNL recap we’ve yet written. So if you like your SNL analysis free of emotional attachment, well, then you should look somewhere else (we’re sure the web might offer one, maybe two, other options), because, unfortunately, as we watched this last SNL, hosted by legendary cast member Dana Carvey, our reaction was intrinsically bound up in how we’ve watched this show since childhood, and how the this particular episode made us reexamine and reassess our feelings about the show, Dana Carvey and his SNL era. So, at the extreme risk of being self-indulgent, here we go.
Tag Archives: Phil Hartman
Well, after a Muppetless week, you’re going to get a second dose tonight, along with another helping of blog stalwart SNL, as today’s search term is “swedish chef andy samberg.” But since we’ve already done a Swedish Chef post for this feature, and we sample enough Andy Samberg on this blog, we’re going to blend SNL and culinary expertise to bring you this little entree, one of our all-time favorites:Vodpod videos no longer available.
And if you had your heart set on Andy Samberg as the Swedish Chef, here’s a little dessert.
Somehow, despite committing our life’s work to documenting and analyzing SNL, we had never seen this phenomenal sketch before. But better late than never.Vodpod videos no longer available.
If you were wondering what kind of sketch we absolutely love, you now have your answer.
(also, do you think today’s date, 1.11.11, will overwhelm robots’ circuits?)
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.
Similar, and just as good:Vodpod videos no longer available.
Thank you, VHS copy of “SNL Goes Commercial” that my brother taped on off TV in 1991.
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).Vodpod videos no longer available.
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.