Tuesday, April 8

1,000 Words On Last Week's SNL.

Wowie-Wow-Wow!
(Because I could rant about the history of SNL for 9 straight days if people found it entertaining.)

Christopher Walken's most recent hosting stint on SNL was legendary; one of the best episodes I've seen in years. Nearly every sketch delivered, and had they booked a respectable musical guest (instead of the unfortunate Panic At The Disco), this might have been the best Walken SNL ever. Sketches like 'Walken Reunion,' 'Surprise Party,' and 'Gardening Tips From A Man Who's Very Afraid Of Plants' were significantly funnier than their titles would suggest.

This was Walken's first hosting stint in over five years, which I had to actually look up on Wikipedia to confirm for myself. It seems as if he hosts every year (he's hosted 7 times, and according to Lorne Michaels, can host whenever his schedule permits).

Walken's SNL brilliance lies in the fact that he's amazingly skilled at live performance and stage. When he acts as if he's off-script or about to break the sketch with his scatterbrain delivery, he's actually fooling you. This guy knows exactly what he's doing at all times, and it's one of the reasons why we love the guy so damn much. Ever since he became known for being 'the weird guy,' younger generations seemed to forget just how brilliant of an actor Walken was and still is. Sure, Balls Of Fury didn't help the argument any, but I won't dispute a man that likes to work.

I also admire that they didn't beat a dead horse and revive 'The Continental,' a once-brilliant sketch that has been running on nostalgic fumes since 1996. Most don't know that 'The Continental' is a parody of the 1952 CBS series of the same name, which used a subjective camera view as lead actor Renzo Cesana spoke directly to the females in the audience. I'm sure it would have been a passable sketch, as Walken can solo-command any scene he chooses, but it wouldn't have fit in with the theme of last week's cast-heavy episode.

It doesn't hurt that the current SNL cast is one of their more talented ensembles in a very long time. Bill Hader is a premiere impressionist, Andy Samberg is single-handedly bringing the YouTube fanbase back to the show, Kristen Wiig is on par with Gilda Radner as the funniest female in the show's 33 year history, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis are extremely versitile in their straight man/wacky man roles (I find Sudeikis to be my favorite cast member, frankly; his delivery is consistently hilarious and he reminds me of a smarter Will Ferrell), Darrel Hammond is the seasoned veteran, Amy Poehler practically stars in every sketch, Fred Armisen can quite simply play every ethnicity and role perfectly, Seth Meyers has stepped into the Head Writer position seamlesly and newcomer Casey Wilson is doing her best to keep up.

Keenan Thompson has been a strong performer since he was a child, but doesn't always receive decent material to shine with. Same goes for Maya Rudolph, who actually left the show during the strike. Having the entire cast come out and do their own Walken impression during 'Walken Reunion' was hilarious and brilliant, in that they all sounded pretty good (Hader was uncanny as always).

I am, however, growing increasingly irritated with the obvious pro-Hillary stance that SNL has been taking since the Strike ended. For a show that's quite aware of the effect they've had on past elections and overall swaying of the social landscape in favor of one popular candidate or the other, all they seem to be doing is a detriment to Barack Obama and his future presidential campaign against John McCain. I can only hope that SNL is swaying in this direction merely because Amy Poehler plays a good Hillary, and Fred Armisen drew some controversy (for whatever meager reasons) when he played Obama. The bottom line, however, is that the sketches are not funny, which is the main thing they should be focusing on.

McCain is playing it cool right now. That old, lumpy bastard is chilling in Europe, while his competition tears each other to shreds until there's nothing left to do but swoop in and pick the bones. He may be tempermental, he may be old enough to die at any second (hell, he might have died while I was writing that sentence, for all I know), but he's not an idiot.

I find Panic At The Disco adorable. Not 'adorable' in that I want to hug them until they break and bleed, but 'adorable' in that their recent attempts at being taken seriously have faltered into a rut of predictability and unoriginality that I should have seen coming from a mile away. I love it when a pop-rock band discovers acid and Sgt. Pepper, and all of a sudden they're dropping the unnecessary punctuation from their name, wearing paisley and being accompanied by a horn section. That's adorable to me, in that we've seen this no less than a billion times in the last 30 years. We're all way ahead of you, Panic. You guys deserve a gentle pat on the head and a cluck of positive reinforcement; good luck being taken seriously, although, I must admit that I find 'Nine In The Afternoon' to be a fairly catchy number.

As a statement to how hard they're rolling with this new 'we're older, more mature and ripping off the Beatles...just like everyone else!' formula, they performed 'I Write Sins Not Tragedies' as their second song on SNL, only with a slower tempo, acoustic guitar and shuffling drums. It was seriously awful; one of the worst SNL performances I've seen since Ashlee Simpson 23-skidoo'ed her way into YouTube immortality. If you're a pop-punk band, just be one. Don't pretend you're Brian freaking Eno. Write your catchy song, wear your eyeliner and make your money. Spare us your pipe dream of mining talent from a dry well, and don't disrespect your fanbase by slagging your previous work. That's what desperate people do. You should hear me belt out 'I Write Sins Not Tragedies' when we sing karaoke, though. I flat-out destroy that thing.

My time is up. Sound off in the comments and enjoy your day.

Comments:
Aside from your lovely SNL rant, I'm just confused at apparently having wandered into a time warp. Your post says 12:03 AM on Tuesday, but my computer tells me it's really 11:41 PM on Monday.

I've clearly entered the Twilight Zone.
 
In order to stay current and ahead of changing trends in popular culture, I have invented a device that allows the CDP to function 22 minutes ahead of everyone. Keeps things sharp.

I like it when people tell me that they were reading my stuff late at night. Makes me feel all warm and squishy.
 
I don't like Amy Poehler.
 
I think she gets way too much screen time, and her willingness to take on the most off-kilter and silly roles is sometimes perceived as a sign of talent, when in fact she plays only three different characters (loud, louder and Hillary).

I didn't realize that Amy was slightly one-dimensional until Kristen Wiig showed up and pretty much set the standard for unapologetic female sketch comedy talent.

She's good and all, but there's just too much talent in this cast to feature her in so many sketches.
 
Good call. Walken is always hilarious, and that Walken Family Reunion sketch was brilliant.

I'm so glad that Kristen Wiig is getting her due. I think she's incredibly talented, and have thought so since she first played the Target Lady. I nearly wet my pants when she threw herself through the window in the Surprise Party sketch. And a couple of weeks ago when she and Will Forte were country music stars who made an album about toddlers, spaceships, and jars of beer (or something similar), I nearly...well, wet myself.
 
I was so, so, so excited for this episode. Then we had a huge storm front blow through and had a good dozen power flashes happening halfway through the show, so I missed some stuff. I think he was too obviously reading the cards at times, and my husband found that distracting, but I did enjoy the monologue, the indoor gardener (googly eyes!!), and the Walken reunion. And, this was the first and only time I've ever responded positively to Laser Cats (sorry - I don't find Andy Samberg that funny very often) - mostly because they had 1) a cat that very closely resembled mine and 2) that PUG PUPPY...I wanted to reach through the tv and squeeze that little puggy and rub its round little belly and...errrr...

*Ahem* So, yeah, good episode. I fast forwarded through the musical performances. Panic at the Disco? Meh to the nth degree. As far as this year's cast goes, I adore Jason Sudeikis. Seriously. Adore him. Kristen Wiig and Will Forte are both great too (more MacGruber, please!). I don't much like Amy Poehler in many of her roles, but I feel like Seth is consistantly underutilized. Maybe its by coice, now that he's a writer and co-anchors at the update desk, but still. And I would have preferred Finnesse over Keenan, but whatever. Give the guy some material he can work with and he can be funny. I'm going to really miss Maya's Donatella Versace. "Beeetches!"

They keep doing the Hillary Clinton skits because she's so easy to lampoon - the woman is a walking caricature already. And Fred Armisen's Obama sucks. It's just awful.
 
My planned night of filmin' it up at the WFF was cut short unexpectedly and I headed home in a grumpy funk, only to flick on the TV and bask in the glow of Walken/SNL. It was quite the consolation prize, and I think I squealed audibly.

(unfortunately my bliss was shortlived-- I fell asleep by 10:55!)

I agree with you about the pro-Hillary stance. So annoying. But it is nice to see Poehler break out of her stupid/silly/crazy bitch routine to play a smart/smarmy/scary bitch.

(did I really say that?)

Kristen Wiig is hilarious, she's creating some really classic characters. But whatever did happen to Maya Rudolph-- she just up and quit? BTW I noticed in another post that you're enticing folks to move to Madison and have a drink with you. I live in Madison so I can have a drink with you and the Missus any time-- let's do it up (T minus 16 days til Lost returns)!
 
Ride the snake.
 
JENNIFER - I was really tired when I saw that Forte/Wiig/Country music/toddler/spaceship/beer jar sketch, and I seriously thought I was dreaming. That's how weird it was, and I laughed my ass off. What's more, Jonah Hill barely keeping it together was all the more surreal.

MAUS - That baby Pug was adorable. Anything with cats usually perks me up. MacGruber should be a weekly series.

I think I may have a man-crush on Jason Sudeikis, too. That 'retirement' sketch sort of touched upon that, I think.

SWOONIE - I remember when Poehler and Rudolph would do 'Bronx Talk' or something, and I always fast-forwarded through it. It was seriously as annoying as SNL has ever been. Maya left the show during the strike, and never really came back. I think she's working on some films right now.
 
Maya left the show during the strike, and never really came back. I think she's working on some films right now.

Idiocracy 2: Escape from COSTCO
(tagline: They love you...to DEATH!)
 
I caught some of Idiocracy a few weeks ago, and became stunningly aware of how attractive Maya Rudolph is.

Maya's partner (and father to her new baby) is director Paul Thomas Anderson, so I'm certain that she doesn't really have to work anymore if she doesn't want to.
 
Maya Rudolf is also good in Chuck & Buck, which is an underrated movie if you like gay retard movies (like I do).
 
"We're here! We're queer! APPLES!"
 
My disdain for Maya Rudolph before she had her baby was almost as great as my new disdain for Amy Poehler, so I'm pretty glad that she left. They just do the same impressions over and over and over. Be gone, I say!
 
I think you hit the nail on the head with all of that shit, CDP. After watching the first 45 minutes or so of SNL, I was surprisingly happy with most of it. I laughed at Laser Cats, Walken Reunion, and whatever else I paid attention to, including the flailing Weekend Update segment. That only worked for Amy when she was with Tina up there.

Which brings me to the point of the pro-Hilary BS going on up in that piece. Do you remember one of the last SNL shows before the strike? Tina was hosting, and she took some time out during her guest spot on WU to promote Hilary. "Bitch is the new Black" anyone? Yeah, I feel the pro-Hilary stuff comes from a staff of NY lady writers who support her, including Tina and Amy. I'm tired of it, I'll tell you that much.
 
Hey, Swoon Queen, do you post up on the Forum?
 
KENNY - Although it goes against my (our) argument, I must admit that Tracy Morgan showed up on Weekend Update a few weeks ago with the following comment:

"Yeah, bitch might be the new black, but black is the new President, bitch!"

It was the funniest thing Tracy Morgan has ever said. I could also listen to Christopher Walken say "googly eyes" for hours.
 
The seemingly pro Hillary slant is more likely a product of the talent on hand's ability to impersonate than a political bias. Also I think that they have been mocking the media's soft handling of Obama more than anything.

As for the funniest thing Tracy Morgan ever said; I think everything Tracy Morgan says is the funniest thing Tracy Morgan ever said. Astronaut Jones anyone?
 
Astronaut Jones was good times. Brian Fellow never ceased to make me laugh, either...

"That goat has debil eyes!
 
there's a forum??
 
WILL/HATHERY - Rocket. I'm taking a rocket. I'm packing my suitcase. Hey, look out, moon.

SWOON - There's certainly not a CDP forum, if this helps the conversation any.
 
What are we talking about?!?
 
Nothing that concerns us, I believe.

What a dreary, depressing, soggy Wednesday in Madison, Wisconsin.

(NOTE: This is the 16,591st CDP comment.)
 
What am I missing, Walken couldn't take his eyes off the teleprompter all night, in place of Walken's usual off-beat deadpan delivery was wooden reading of scrolling text.
 
Seth Meyers and Tina Fey seem almost uncomfortably in love with Amy Poehler. I for one am not.

Maya Rudolph is one of the most talented cast members I have seen in awhile.

Tracy Morgan was indeed one of the funniest. I still laugh to myself thinking about his Brian Fellows and Astronaut Jones sketches.

Christoper Walken equals best (ever?).

(/end Caveman's Saturday Night Live statement)
 
I go back and forth on whether or not I like Amy Poehler. I am unapologetically a fan of her "and I'm rockin' one leg" America's Top Model character, but I agree that SNL seems to over-utilize her to the point of redundancy and less funny.

I am happy to see so much love for Kristen Wiig. I've been impressed every time I see her.

You know who I really miss, though? Rachel Dratch. I adore her, and I don't care what anyone else says about it.
 
CUTTER - If you look back at pretty much every Walken-hosted SNL, you'll see that he's always focused on the cuecards. It's par for the course where he's concerned.

I've always found that you should never have someone host SNL if they have bad vision. McCain's stint was insanely embarrassing.

CAVEMAN - I don't deny that Amy Poehler is a wonderful sketch performer and improv troupe genius, but she reminds me more of a female Chris Kataan every week.
 
EMILY - Yeah, I like some of Amy's sketches ('I'm rocking one leg,' 'Rick! Rick! Rick!'), but anyone can hit a home run if they get to bat a million times in a row. We seem to be in agreement that she's better suited to slightly less screen time.

Kristen Wiig filled the void that Rachel Dratch left behind. She was a very versitile and truly hilarious performer, and a ton of her sketches constantly cracked me up, like Debbie Downer, or when she would play the old male file producer.

"So, are we making a picture?"
 
*Film, not 'file.'
 
I LOVED Rachel Dratch.
 
ditto on Dratch
 
The ruined Debbie Downer sketch was the most culturally significant thing that Lindsay Lohan has ever been a part of.

I also liked it because Horatio Sanz was laughing so hard that he had to wipe his tears away with a pancake.
 
Oh Horatio Sanz, has he ever managed not to break character during a sketch? Somehow, I find it strangely endearing.
 
I know that him and Fallon couldn't legally be in a sketch together without purposely trying to crack the other one up, but yeah, I always found it pretty funny.

Every 'Jared's Room' comes to mind.
 
CDP at least post the rest of the song lyrics:

Rocket, I'm taking a rocket.
I'm packing my suitcase, hey look out moons.
Yeah a rocket, into outer space, goodbye human race, I'll be there soooooooon.
Blastoff. For fun and adventure. Yes I said adventure. Collecting stones!
Yeah it's my way, on the old space highway, that's Why they all say, because it's astronaut Jones.
 
Will, I think we should both greet our respective spouses with Astronaut Jones speak tonight.

MISSUS - Hi, honey.
CDP - Mmm-hmm.
MISSUS - Work sucked.
CDP - Yeah.
MISSUS - I had to skip lunch.
CDP - You don't say.
MISSUS - How was yours?
CDP - How 'bout you spin yourself around and let me slap that ass?


(roll credits)
 
Why do you assume we don't do that at my house?
 
Well played, good man.
 

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