***** = Brilliant, a possible future classic
**** = Great, but not quite perfect
*** = Average
** = Meh, but not complete crap
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Amy meets Jon Bon Jovi in 1986
• An awesome cold opening, easily the best one of the season so far.
• The whole 80’s/Bon Jovi flashback was clever and Amy was hilarious and cute in this. I also liked her breaking out the Boston accent, and her making fun of herself with the “Will I ever grow boobs?” line.
• When Jon told Amy she would be a castmember 20 years in the future, I thought she’d be shocked that SNL would still be on the air 20 years later, especially since this sketch takes place right after the infamous 85-86 season.
Monologue/Musical Performance - Jon Bon Jovi
• Liz Cackowski? I thought she left the writing staff a year ago? Did she come back because of a possible chance that she’ll be added a featured player later on this season? Yeah, I’m STILL holding out hope for her to join the cast…or ANY woman at this point, just so we can get Maya off the show.
• Steve Higgins’ part was really funny.
• Richie Sambora completely blanking on his line was painfully awkward, but funny. Jon did a good job bailing him out of it. Why the heck didn’t Sambora just look at the cue cards, though?
• I knew Bon Jovi would walk over to the musical guest stage and do a full-out musical performance during the monologue, ala Justin Timberlake (the first time he hosted), Sting, and M.C. Hammer. I hate it when they do that.
Sketch - Ohhh!
• This reminded me of another regional accent-based gameshow sketch, “What’s the Best Way?” from the early 90’s, especially seeing the map background. It also reminded me a little of Armisen and Hader’s unfunny New Jersey couple from last season.
• I was just about to write down that Hammond looked like James Gandolfini, right before they mentioned that he’s a professional Tony Soprano impersonator. His impression wasn’t that good tonight, though. He was clearly phoning it in and he looked badly out of place. I was actually glad when he left in the middle of the sketch.
• Everyone else was just fine. I think Armisen was the funniest contestant.
• Kristen was great in her part. She looked really good, too.
Sketch - A Visit with Former Vice President Al Gore
• Hammond was having microphone problems right at the beginning.
• Hammond’s Gore impression has really slipped. He spoke way too fast for him and his voice wasn’t nearly as deep. After a surprisingly decent week last week with the great Lou Dobbs commentary on Update and the decent Fred Thompson sketch, Hammond has gone back to his usual mailed-in, useless performances that make me wonder why the hell he’s still here.
• This started out very bad, as all the “An Inconvenient Truth” mentions at the beginning were tedious and got nothing but dead air from the studio audience. Then he got a good laugh with the Vagina Monologues/Tipper reference, but most of the rest of the sketch after that dragged on and on. The OJ Heisman Trophy bit at the end was the only other good part.
Digital Short - People Getting Punched Just Before Eating
• This was obviously a follow-up/variation of the “Andy Popping Into Frame” short. I remember in my review last season, I wasn’t really crazy about that short and gave it a low grade. This one, on the other hand, I just loved, simply because people getting punched out of nowhere never fails to crack me up. And this had a lot of inspired, unexpected parts, like the fake-out with Sudeikis talking on his cell phone when he was about to get punched, the “Jovi Punch” and “Full Recovery!”, Dave Grohl eating the other guy’s lunch before getting punched himself, the whole part with Forte, and the Thriller-esque Zombie Dance at the end.
• Did I just see Jorma as one of the punching victims?
• Overall, much funnier than the original “popping into frame” short, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of these type of shorts if they can keep it unique like tonight’s.
Mini-Sketch - Dane Cook Postseason ad #1
• I always noticed that Sudeikis facially resembles Dane Cook quite a bit, and I remember hearing last year that he once did a Dane Cook impression for people on the stand-by line outside Rockefeller Center. We finally got to see it on the show tonight, and his impression was scarily dead-on; he looked and sounded exactly like Dane Cook, and got the mannerisms and his whole act down cold.
• This ad was really short, but got enough laughs and it’s good to see SNL finally make fun of Dane Cook. At first I was disappointed by the length because I wanted to see more of Sudeikis’ impression, but they ended up doing a second one of these later on, so that was fine.
Sketch - La Rivista Della Televisione con Vinny Vedecci
• I hate to say this because I usually love this sketch, but they REALLY need to shake up some parts of the format. Mainly, the first minute of it. This sketch always starts with Hader gibbering to the guest in Italian and the guest looking around all bewildered and saying they don’t speak Italian, then Hader argues to someone off-camera and the camera reveals the two spaghetti-eating producers. That’s getting too formulaic and the sketch needs to begin differently next time, maybe even have Hader do a monologue like other talk shows.
• Funniest parts were the kids cigarettes commercial and Jon’s reaction to him being used as the sponsor, the Steel Horse, Armisen joining Hader in doing impressions, and the Italian version of “Livin’ on a Prayer”.
Weekend Update - Poehler & Meyers, featuring Rosa Santiago, Naked Guy, and Nicholas Fehn
• A rarity these days to see Update on before the first musical guest performance.
• Best jokes: Republican debate/Cocoon, Blind People, Nick Nolte, Naked guy/Tad’s Steaks
• The Update jokewriter bit was standard unfunny Maya stuff for the most part, although the driving naked/Seth part was good.
• When they mentioned the naked guy was about to walk on, I thought Forte was going to play him.
• Anyone else notice Seth looking when Samberg bent over?
• Armisen’s been on all three Updates so far this season. Anyway, this “witty” political humorist piece of his was brilliant, and he’s good at making that type of concept funny. It kinda reminded me of something Andy Kaufman would do.
Sketch - Captain Wallace’s missing purse
• Okay, what the hell was this?
• Kristen going on and on and on about her purse was just not funny and the whole sketch felt lethargic, as did everyone’s performances.
• Easily the worst sketch of the night, and probably of the season so far. Odd because this starred Kristen and Forte, who are both usually great when they have the main role in a sketch. The pairing of them here just didn’t work.
Mini-Sketch - Dane Cook Postseason ad #2
• Great seeing Sudeikis’ impression again, and his lines were funnier in this one, especially the “Spider Man reference” bit, and the “I’m sure one of them’s a hockey team” line. Both were exactly something Dane Cook would say.
Commercial - Notre Dame Football on NBC
• This was strange, because it was so short and didn’t feature any actual performers. I did laugh at the “Touchdown!...other guy” part at the end.
• What’s with all the commercial breaks tonight after only, like, 30 seconds of airtime? Can’t they fit in two or three consecutive sketches anymore?
Sketch - Naming Bon Jovi
• Only a few good parts, like Jon calling Forte and Samberg “the other two guys”, and Forte saying he'll only stick around for 25 years, then he's leaving. And Sudeikis was a great straight man.
• The ending was predictable.
Sketch - Iconoclasts
• Great closing sketch.
• Kristen was just hilarious as Bjork. And Kenan surprisingly did a decent impression here, as Barkley. He had a lot of good lines, especially the comment about Bjork being “Dennis Rodman if he were a tiny white lady” and him always pronouncing her name as “Bork”.
• NICHOLSON!!!!! Why the hell wasn’t he in a sketch???
• Cold Opening
• Sudeikis’ Dane Cook impression
• Digital Short
• Armisen on Weekend Update
• Missing Purse
• Former Vice President Al Gore
• Notre Dame Football
• Maya on Weekend Update
• Some parts of Naming Bon Jovi
Best Performer of the Night:
• Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis
A mixed bag tonight, with more bad than good. Easily the weakest of all the shows this season so far. Some great sketches here and there like the cold opening and Iconoclasts, but also some truly horrible material like Missing Purse and the Al Gore snorefest which weighed down the show a lot. An interesting thing about this show is that it actually felt like a “new season” episode, unlike the Lebron and Rogen episodes which came off as leftover episodes from 06-07. I think tonight’s episode felt different because of the odd structuring of the show with all the quick, mini-sketch type stuff (Dane Cook, Notre Dame), unusual placement of the musical performances, and Update being on before the musical guest, and stuff like that. Jon Bon Jovi was about what I expected. He got a few laughs here and there, but didn’t really stretch at all and basically played himself in all the sketches. Boring.
Brian Williams hosting the next show has potential, since he’s proven to be funny on Conan before and he had a great cameo appearance on SNL last year. But seriously, what’s with all the non-actors hosting this year? Of the first 4 shows this season, only 1 of them (Rogen) is an actor. The others have been a basketball player, a singer, and now a news anchor. I don’t want this to turn into another 03-04 season where getting actual actors to host was a rarity. I know Lorne likes the unconventional hosts, but they are very hit or miss, and the misses are not pretty (Paris Hilton, Donald Trump, Steven Seagal, Deion Sanders, etc.). And when are we going to get a female host this season?
CASTMEMBER COUNT DOWN:
ARMISEN: 6 sketches (Ohhh!, People Getting Punched, Vinny Vedecci, Update, Missing purse, Bon Jovi’s name)
FORTE: 4 sketches (People Getting Punched, Vinny Vedecci, Missing purse, Bon Jovi’s name)
HADER: 3 sketches (Ohhh!, Vinny Vedecci, Missing purse)
HAMMOND: 2 sketches (Ohhh!, Former Vice President Al Gore)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
POEHLER: 2 sketches (Amy meets Jon Bon Jovi, Update)
RUDOLPH: 2 sketches (Update, Missing purse)
SAMBERG: 3 sketches (People Getting Punched, Update, Bon Jovi’s name)
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (People Getting Punched, Postseason ad #1, Postseason ad #2, Bon Jovi’s name)
THOMPSON: 2 sketch (Missing purse, Iconoclasts)
WIIG: 3 sketches (Ohhh!, Missing purse, Iconoclasts)
JON BON JOVI: 7 sketches (Amy meets Jon Bon Jovi, Monologue, Ohhh!, People Getting Punched, Vinny Vedecci, Missing purse, Bon Jovi’s name)