***** - Future classic
**** - Almost perfect
*** - Average in every way
** - Eh
* - Is this 1994-95 again?
COLD OPENING: A Message from Nancy Pelosi
- Kristen playing Pelosi was a bit of a surprise. I thought Amy was going to play her again. Kristen is more suitable for the role and did a good job here and the bugged eyes was a funny touch.
- I usually dislike these one-person “address the nation” cold openings, but this one had a lot of good laughs and several good lines.
- Fred and Will’s appearance was funny, as was the later off-screen noises and the shouting of the safe word.
- Two good cold openings in a row. And we didn’t need Borat this time, either. They’re getting better…
MONOLOGUE: Alec Baldwin
- Okay, this was a pretty shameless 30 Rock promotion-fest, but ignoring that, this was still funny.
- Alec's NBC bashing at the beginning was great.
- I wish Alec was more involved in this by himself, but I guess after 13 times, it’s hard to think of new monologues for him.
- Tracy was hilarious, and I liked Alec imitating him towards the end.
COMMERCIAL: EZ Date
- Finally, our first commercial parody of the season. Can’t believe it took them 5 episodes.
- Unfortunately, you can see why this took so long to make it on air. Not too funny. Although Kenan had a good line.
- Will once again ends up only appearing twice for the whole night. Why has he been appearing so infrequently this season? Is he busy filming a movie or something?
SKETCH: Britney talks about her split
- I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be very good when it started, and I was right. One or two funny lines, but the rest of this was the usual weak Britney/pop culture satire. And why do topical/celebrity sketches like this always have to be right after the monologue? I thought that was only a Tina Fey-era thing, but I see it’s carrying over to this year as well.
- Amy was okay as Britney, but she started spitting out her lines a little too fast after a while and was obviously glancing more at the cue cards than at Jason.
I like how Alec’s bumper pictures always have a classical/black and white touch to them. The ones from tonight were especially cool.
SKETCH: Saddam and his Lawyers
- Nice to see Alec’s Saddam impression back again.
- This could’ve been funnier. I laughed at the dated TV references, the Osama bit, and a few other Saddam lines as well as Fred and Bill’s reactions, but this didn’t really go anyplace by the end and they could’ve done much more.
COMMERCIAL: Herpes medication
- Alec’s dry deadpan delivery and expressions sold this, and this probably wouldn’t have worked with anyone else.
NEXT WEEK: November 18, 2006: Ludacris
SKETCH: Car Ride Conversation
- Started out slow, but once it got going and the increasingly stranger it became, it was hilarious. Alec and Kristen were great.
- The Bobby McFerrin line was just classic and had me laughing for 2 minutes straight, as did the ending with “Don’t worry, be happy” playing on the radio.
TV FUNHOUSE: Kobayashi
- Good bizarre Anime satire from Smigel.
- The Refridgerator Perry cameo was the funniest part.
SKETCH: Platinum Lounge
- Absolutely classic and hilarious the whole way through. Just perfect.
- Steve Martin! I had a feeling he would appear tonight, and I like how they’re continuing the Martin/Baldwin rivalry from when Steve Martin hosted last season.
- Martin Short!!!! That was a pleasant surprise. I laughed hard at Steve and Alec’s “Sad, isn’t it?” after he left, too.
- The poisoned drinks part was great.
- PAUL MCCARNTEY!!!!!!!! Holy crap! I couldn’t believe it! Now THAT was unexpected. And judging from Alec’s reaction, it looked like he wasn’t expecting it, either. He looked truly surprised, ala Mike Myers during Barbra Streisand’s cameo in Coffee Talk. It was awesome to see Baldwin and McCartney together again after the classic 1993 episode with them (probably my favorite SNL ever). Was Paul really not expected to show up here? Plus, it seemed like the ending with him, Steve, and Martin after Alec left was improvised.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Poehler & Meyers, Donald Rumsfeld interview, Aunt Linda, and Tom and Katie’s waiter
- A really good week for Amy and especially Seth as most of the jokes scored tonight and not too many misses.
- Best jokes: Bible, Mr. Eko, Veterans Day
- Interesting how Seth did an on-location, live interview instead of at the desk or something pre-taped (I don’t remember Tina, Jimmy, or Amy ever doing that), but the Rumsfeld interview just fell flat and was a waste of time. The couch thing with Kenan was annoying and drawn out way too long. Kenan continues to get worse and worse with every episode this season. And Darrell did nothing funny as Rumsfeld, he basically only sat there the whole time. And this was his only appearance tonight, too. After last week’s Best Of, how many more hints do you think Darrell needs until he realizes all his funniest work is far behind him and there’s no real reason for him to still be there? Yeah, people say he stays so he can do topical impressions like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Brit Hume and whatever, but what’s the point of it if they never even bother giving him anything funny to do as those people anymore? They always just have him sitting there reading off straight lines in sketches where someone else is supposed to get the laughs. The only exception I can think of is the O’Reilly Factor sketches. He’s nowhere near as important to the show these days as Lorne likes to pretend he is.
- I liked Seth popping up behind Amy after returning from the Rumsfeld interview set, and Amy’s fake-shocked reaction.
- Kristen was very good as Aunt Linda, although most of her lines were kinda predictable. I liked her rating system.
- Another good Seth/Amy interaction piece with the pill bit.
- Andy’s waiter commentary was good, short, and to the point.
SKETCH: The Tony Bennett Show
- Funny how they still leave in the Will Ferrell voice-over at the beginning.
- Alec’s Tony Bennett impression is always a treat.
- Before this sketch started, I thought we had seen all of the special guests tonight had to offer, but then the real Tony Bennett showed up and surprpised the hell out of me. This was great! He and Alec were awesome together. I can’t believe all the cameos tonight. I love when they pull out a lot of special cameos in an episode (i.e. Steve Martin’s episode from last season, and Christopher Walken’s episode from 2003).
- Alec’s nail fungus ad was hilarious, too.
SKETCH: Creepy Guy at a Brazil Bar
- Alec and his super-sleazy pick-up lines were hilarious, especially the vagina line to Amy.
- Him starting to hit on Andy was funny, too, although I saw that coming once he sat down next to Andy instead of next to the girl with him.
- Maya and Fred as the slow foreign singers made me laugh.
- The ending was unexpected.
- I think I saw Jason as the bartender in the background, but he did or said nothing for the whole sketch. What was the point of him being there, then?
MISCELLANEOUS: A Moment with the Out-of-Breath Jogger from 1992
- I hated the 1982 one from before and am really surprised they’re making this recurring, but I admit this one made me laugh slightly more. Maybe because I’m more familiar with and really interested in 90’s pop culture and events and stuff as opposed to the 80’s, so I got all the references this time.
- Is this Andy’s first recurring character?
- The random Crystal Pepsi line right before the end made me laugh, but didn’t that not come out until 1993?
- This is still a silly and dumb premise, though. How many more times can they milk this idea? I guess one more with him in the 70’s, but please, no more.
- Baldwin doing his usual kick-ass job
- Platinum Lounge
- Car Ride Conversation
- The Tony Bennett Show
- Most of Weekend Update
- The boatload of cameo appearances tonight
- Donald Rumsfeld interview
- EZ Date
- Britney talks about her split
- A Moment with the Out-of-Breath Jogger from 1992
Anytime Alec Baldwin hosts is a guaranteed good show, and tonight was no exception. We got a lot of good sketches, inspired writing, and tons of excellent cameos including unexpected ones like Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett. Nothing really more to say, except I’m of course looking forward to whenever Baldwin comes back. Well-done.
TONIGHT’S RATING: ***1/2
CASTMEMBER/HOST COUNT DOWN:
ARMISEN: 4 sketches (A Message from Nancy Pelosi, EZ Date, Saddam and his Lawyers, Creepy Guy at a Brazil Bar)
FORTE: 2 sketches (A Message from Nancy Pelosi, EZ Date)
HADER: 2 sketches (Saddam and his Lawyers, Platinum Lounge)
HAMMOND: 1 sketch (Weekend Update)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Weekend Update)
POEHLER: 5 sketches (EZ Date, Britney talks about her split, Herpes medication, Weekend Update, Creepy Guy at a Brazil Bar)
RUDOLPH: 3 sketches (EZ Date, Platinum Lounge, Creepy Guy at a Brazil Bar)
SAMBERG: 4 sketches (Weekend Update, The Tony Bennett Show, Creepy Guy at a Brazil Bar, A Moment with the Out-of-Breath Jogger from 1992)
SUDEIKIS: 3 sketches (EZ Date, Britney talks about her split, Creepy Guy at a Brazil Bar [?])
THOMPSON: 2 sketches (EZ Date, Weekend Update)
WIIG: 5 sketches (A Message from Nancy Pelosi, EZ Date, Car Ride Conversation, Weekend Update, Creepy Guy at a Brazil Bar)
ALEC BALDWIN: 7 sketches (Monologue, Saddam and his Lawyers, Herpes medication, Car Ride Conversation, Platinum Lounge, The Tony Bennett Show, Creepy Guy at a Brazil Bar)