***** - Future classic
**** - Almost perfect
*** - Average in every way
** - Eh
* - Is this 1994-95 again?
COLD OPENING: Hardball with Chris Matthews
- Always nice to see them do something completely different with the Hardball format like they did last time.
- Darrell/Chris Matthews said this is the first time Hillary Clinton is appearing on Hardball, but I’m almost 100% sure there was one Hardball a few years ago where Amy played Hillary. Am I correct?
- This started out pretty funny, especially the Obama comments, but after a while, started going on a little too long and had me wondering when it was going to end. But it was worth it once they got to the unexpected swearing part towards the end. Some of the stuff besides that and the Obama comments could have been removed, though, to make this an appropriate length.
MONOLOGUE: Jeremy Piven
- A real creative monologue, much better than another musical monologue like they did last week. Jeremy was excellent here in his interaction with the lady and had a lot of funny, random comments. And it was cool how they used a real surprise audience member (I'm assuming) instead of a plant like they usually do. This was awesome and I want to see more monologues like this in the future.
- I admit to laughing at this and Sudeikis’ performance helped sell it, but I’m tired of so many SNL commercials these days being low-brow, gross-out ones like this. A commercial like this could have been thought up by anybody. Whatever happened to subtle, dry comedy like the Alec Baldwin/Valtrex commercial?
SKETCH: NFL on CBS
- This was only okay, but not really laugh-out-loud. Jeremy’s anger over Samberg’s repetitive “move the chains” comments was pretty good, as was the revelation of Andy’s real ADD at the end and him dropping dead.
TV FUNHOUSE: Fun with Real Audio and Stuff - Year 2007 in Review
- This was really funny, easily the best TV Funhouse of the season (not that there’s been much competition). The chipmunk Bush and Cheney was hilarious as well as all the other stuff. Smigel finally found a way to make Fun with Real Audio funny again.
MISCELLANEOUS: The First Person in the History of the World to Dance
- This was just brilliant, as well as short and sweet. I laughed for the entire sketch.
- I could tell the sitting caveman was Fred, but who was the actual dancing caveman played by? At first, my only guess was Piven since it didn’t look like any of the castmembers, but after a while, I actually thought it looked a little like Dane Cook oddly enough, although it obviously wasn’t him. But Sudeikis kinda looks like Dane Cook, so it might have been him. I’ve never seen Sudeikis do physical stuff like that before, though. I’m still not sure, but whoever it was did an awesome job.
NEXT LIVE SHOW: February 3, 2007 - Drew Barrymore
- This will most likely be good. She usually always does a fine job, and it’s nice to see another woman become a five-timer.
MINI-SKETCH: Macgruber #1
- A Macguyver parody in the year 2007? They’re about 20 years too late, but ooookay…
- The theme song was hilarious, especially the lyric “The guy’s a friggin genius – Macgruber!!!” That actually sounded like Will himself singing the theme song.
- I was wondering at first why this was taped, but it ended up being really short. I was surprised, but then they ended up making this a recurring bit throughout the night. All three were very funny, but this one was probably the funniest of the three with the dog turd bit.
SKETCH: Two A-Holes at an Adoption Agency
- The doctor bit between Jeremy and Amy at the beginning was pretty good.
- Nice to see the Two A-Holes finally get the applause they deserve. It’s good to have a popular recurring character(s) these days that’s actually FUNNY.
- This was the usual good A-Holes sketch. The best parts were the talking during the phone conversation and the Baby Gonzo bit.
- The awkward silence/stare right before they cut to the ending title card made me laugh, but also made me wonder if it was planned or did Piven forget a line right before the end or something. After all, Piven did also almost miss a line earlier in the sketch (when Sudeikis asked a question as they were sitting down) and Sudeikis had to re-cue him.
MINI-SKETCH: Macgruber #2
- The pubes bit was great, especially Forte explaining he’s a shaver. I also have to laugh at how despite being in an explosion at the end of each of these, they’re always still alive and without a scratch in the next installment.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Poehler & Meyers, with Rich Little
- Best Jokes: Monkey, video games
- What was with Seth completely recycling the terrorism/Muslim joke from earlier this season? It was an excellent joke the first time, but why repeat almost the exact same joke again? It's not one of those things that works with repetition.
- The Michael Vick/Really?!? segment was awesome and filled with so many great comments. Seth and Amy are at their best on Update when they do interaction pieces like this. I hope to see more stuff like this from them.
- The Rich Little bit was the usual type of thing we’ve come to expect from Hammond these days, but it was still good, especially the Star Jones joke. And at least he was doing voices of people he never played on SNL before (although I swear I heard him do the Carson and Reagan voices before; I think he did the Carson voice when he played Rich Little in that Charades sketch last season). And I never knew before that Hammond could do a Pee Wee Herman impression.
- The cigarette bit wasn't really that funny on paper, but Amy's performance made it a little better. Although her smoking distracted the audience when Seth moved on to his next joke.
- Short Update, but still very good.
SKETCH: The Blizzard Man
- The microphone wasn’t working at the beginning and you couldn’t hear a word that Piven said. I thought it was just my TV at first, until the mic suddenly came in loud right in the middle of Piven’s line.
- Samberg’s cheesy raps are still funny as was Piven’s expressions during the songs. But c’mon, this was almost exactly the same as the first Blizzard Man sketch.
- Common added nothing to the sketch but stiff acting. Kenan was pretty useless, too.
- I used to think Samberg was parodying Vanilla Ice with this character, but now I’m positive he’s supposed to be parodying Snow, the white Canadian reggae guy from the early 90’s. That would also explain the Blizzard Man name. It seems that Samberg has a big obsession with the early 90’s (with stuff like this, the Testicles digital short with Tom Hanks, and the out-of-breath jogger in 1992).
- The “You give me an idea”/show canceled ending wasn’t even funny, plus it was already used before, in that sketch with Colin Firth as a British actor who was doing a terrible American accent during the filming of a movie.
MINI-SKETCH: Macgruber #3
- The shortest of the three, but still funny. I like how Piven has to touch increasingly more disgusting and ridiculous things in each of these, and him just flat out saying “No!” before the explosion was great.
- These pre-recorded Macgruber shorts were Maya’s only appearances tonight. She wasn’t in any live sketches at all. Unusual for her.
SKETCH: The Unicorn Forest
- Where’s Hader been all night? Why is this just now his first appearance, so late in the show?
- A great bizarre idea for a sketch and had funny parts all throughout. This was reminiscent of the Magic Fish town meeting sketch from the early 90’s with Phil Hartman. But I felt this should’ve been even funnier if they went all out a little. I expected a little more.
- Sudeikis was great, and I also liked him drinking the beer during the freeze frame at the end.
- Amy’s appearance and voice had me cracking up a lot.
- Most of the other actors were good, too, but Kenan on the other hand was too hammy and forced. In other words, the usual from him. Sometimes he can be okay, but it’s episodes like tonight’s and sketches like Deep House Dish and embarrassing attempts at doing impressions like Flavor Flav that make me wonder why he’s still on the show. I used to like him, but he’s clearly become one of the weakest links of the cast now.
- Adding to the microphone troubles tonight, you could also see a boom mike enter the shot in one part.
- The ending with the talking unicorn was actually kinda lame. I said they should’ve went all out with this sketch, but that was trying too hard.
DIGITAL SHORT: Nurse Nancy
- At first, I thought this was going to be another re-cut version of an actual trailer like the Apocalypto one.
- While this was an accurate parody of that new Eddie Murphy trailer (and all Eddie Murphy movies in general where he plays multiple roles and wears a fatsuit), this was pretty dumb and one-joke. For a digital short, this was very disappointing and below standards. A rare miss from the Lonely Island crew (although it still could’ve been far worse).
- I still laughed at a few parts, like Samberg as the pizza delivery guy in the operation room, Samberg as the white gangster saying “Daaaamn!” (they always have a scene like that with a black person saying something stereotypical in comedy movie trailers like this), and when they showed close-ups of a Chinese woman and a toaster while the announcer was still saying “Scott Garbaciak”. By the way, they must’ve said Scott Garbaciak about 30 times total in only 2 minutes.
SKETCH/COMMERCIAL: Lansford Brothers & Associates
- How come so many of the 10-to-1 sketches this season have been lawyer-type commercials? The cat laywer commercial, the 10-second long Dolemite commercial last week, and now this.
- Interesting pairing of Forte and Hader, two brilliant castmembers who don’t seem to be getting the amount of sketches they deserve this season (I might have to add Armisen to that list soon, who got shafted pretty badly tonight, too). Hader especially, he’s been getting pretty small roles the last month or so and playing too many laid-back, quiet characters like his character in this sketch. He needs more great stuff he was doing earlier this season like Peter O’Toole, celebrity impressions, or the bitter version of Frankenstein he played. And Forte made his one and only live appearance tonight with this sketch. Ridiculous.
- Too bad this sketch wasn’t very funny. Sudeikis as Sammy “Hangar” was hilarious and stole the sketch, though, but the Forte/Hader stuff went absolutely nowhere and was boring. This was a waste of both of their talents.
- The First Person in the History of the World to Dance
- Weekend Update
- TV Funhouse
- Two A-Holes at an Adoption Agency
- Sudeikis as Sammy “Hangar”
- Lansford Brothers & Associates
- Nurse Nancy
- The ending of Blizzard Man
- The ending of Unicorn Forest
A pretty good show, better than last week’s middling effort. Nothing was too terrible (although the hanging sketch came close), and it had some classic material like the caveman sketch. Jeremy Piven wasn’t bad at all and had one of the best monologues in recent memory, but he should’ve played more funny characters, since he’s already proved to be capable of doing comedic roles. Almost all of the sketches he was in tonight had him just playing a straight man to someone else (although he was still good at it).
TONIGHT’S RATING: ***1/2
CASTMEMBER/HOST COUNT DOWN:
ARMISEN: 2 sketches (The First Person in the History of the World to Dance, The Unicorn Forest)
FORTE: 4 sketches (Macgruber #1, Macgruber #2, Macgruber #3, Lansford Brothers & Associates)
HADER: 2 sketches (The Unicorn Forest, Lansford Brothers & Associates)
HAMMOND: 4 sketches (Hardball with Chris Matthews, Urigrow, Weekend Update, The Unicorn Forest)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Weekend Update)
POEHLER: 4 sketches (Hardball with Chris Matthews, Two A-Holes at an Adoption Agency, Weekend Update, The Unicorn Forest)
RUDOLPH: 3 sketches (Macgruber #1, Macgruber #2, Macgruber #3)
SAMBERG: 3 sketches (NFL on CBS, The Blizzard Man, Nurse Nancy)
SUDEIKIS: 5 sketches (Urigrow, NFL on CBS, Two A-Holes at an Adoption Agency, The Unicorn Forest, Lansford Brothers & Associates)
THOMPSON: 2 sketches (The Blizzard Man, The Unicorn Forest)
WIIG: 3 sketches (Urigrow, Two A-Holes at an Adoption Agency, The Unicorn Forest)
JEREMY PIVEN: 8 sketches (Monologue, NFL on CBS, Macgruber #1, Two A-Holes at an Adoption Agency, Macgruber #2, The Blizzard Man, Macgruber #3, The Unicorn Forest)