Helen Mirren / Foo Fighters
April 9, 2011


***** = Excellent, a possible future classic

**** = Great

*** = Average

** = Meh

* = How'd this get past dress?


Cold Opening - A Message from Fred Armisen in Blackface

• No. Just... no.

Stars: *


Monologue - Helen Mirren

• Seriously? Our bazillionth unfunny song-and-dance monologue this season with castmembers as cheesy backup singers? No. Just... no. (yeesh, this episode is becoming very easy for me to review so far)

• On a bright note, I will say that I liked Andy’s “Can ya blame me?” line and Mirren’s joke about SNL having Elton John play a queen in every sketch last week (it's funny cuz it’s true).

Stars: *½


Sketch - Mort Mort Feingold, Accountant for the Stars

• I was surprised at the return of this sketch, but this installment wasn’t bad and it had some decent moments. However, they completely rushed through some of the impressions that would’ve benefited from having funnier lines.

• Oh, look, Jay Pharoah is still alive apparently! Well, that’s good to know. I almost forgot dude was even still in the cast, considering he hadn’t appeared in a live sketch in ages.

• Fourth episode IN A ROW with Fred’s boring-as-hell Moammar Ghadafi impression??? Please, SNL, retire that impression AND the Kardashian impressions for good.

• Paul Brittain doing dual roles in the same sketch was pretty random, but decent. And how in the world did he get his costume and make-up changed so fast?

Stars: ***


Digital Short - Helen Mirren’s Magical Bosom

• Interesting. Having Nasim as the star of a Digital Short for once was a nice change of pace, and this short was pretty funny overall.

• Loved all the random stock footage shots, especially the black guy dancing on Maury.

Stars: ***


Sketch - Fox & Friends

• This was cut from last week’s episode, although Jamie Klein’s description made it seem like the sketch was centered around Fred’s minor role. I think Jamie only mentioned him because his character’s name was Louis and apparently, Jamie assumes that was a shoutout to her husband. Well, Fred WAS playing a senile old man, so...

• A pretty funny and very accurate take on Fox News. Taran in particular gave a strong performance in the lead role.

• Other highlights include Bobby’s “birth certificate” and the hilarious scrolled list of factual corrections at the end.

• Mirren’s delivery was painfully awkward and she seemed to have trouble with her lines.

Stars: ***½


Sketch - Frankenstein

• Didn’t really care too much for most of this. Fred’s random growling/arm-waving did crack me up, but overall, this felt like yet another dull “been there, done that” role for Fred and he basically used the same voice as his Rooster character from the Wizard of Oz sketch.

• The “...and she didn’t” ending was pretty clever.

Stars: **½


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring James Carville, Shelly Elaine, Jean K. Jean

• Best jokes: Catholic priest relationship

• I used to love Bill’s James Carville commentaries, but the last few ones have felt too by-the-numbers and very formulaic. Tonight’s commentary had a few too many recycled bits (the snake-hissing, etc.), but Bill is always able to get laughs out of this role and the “that’s how we passed health care” line was very funny. The multiple Lou Bega jokes weren’t necessary, though. SNL really needs to get away from their habit of having Update guests make dated pop-culture references.

• Kristen’s commentary got a few minor laughs from me, such as the line about the plane’s ceiling being “not as there as it should have”.

• Jean K. Jean - just get the fuck outta here.

Stars: **


Sketch - The Best of Both Worlds with Hugh Jackman

• Interesting concept for a talk show and it worked just fine this time. However, I don’t know how well this’ll be able to hold up in future installments when they make this recurring (and you KNOW they will).

• Yet another excellent celebrity impression from Taran Killam; loved his take on Gerard Butler. Taran’s proving to be a very skilled impressionist lately, and unlike Jay Pharoah (who I now admit to overhyping way too much earlier this season), Taran is actually a well-rounded performer who can seemingly play almost any type of role. I predict Taran will definitely go on to be the cast’s utility man/lead go-to player in the future after all the veterans in the cast finally leave.

• Mirren’s brutal massacre of Bobby was pretty funny, and reminded me of Will Ferrell stabbing Chris Parnell with a trident 30-something times in the classic Angry Boss sketch.

• What’s with all of Andy’s frequent character breaks lately? He cracked up during his last two Weekend Update commentaries (Teenager Who Just Woke Up and Nicolas Cage), and he laughed his way through this sketch. Is he turning into the new Jimmy Fallon? Andy can’t seem to do ANYTHING with a straight face anymore.

Stars: ***


Commercial - Crunk-Ass Easter Festival

• Congratulations, SNL - you’ve officially milked a once-great fake ad completely dry! While there were still a few okay parts in tonight’s installment, the overall concept of these Kickspit Underground Festival commercials has become tired. In particular, the running joke with Ass Dan always dying just isn’t funny anymore.

• If they HAVE to keep doing these, then why not take a hint from the sketch they did in the Ryan Phillippe episode where they used these characters in a new format and took the sketch in a completely different direction? I want more stuff like that, and less copy-and-paste formulaic commercials like this.

Stars: **


Sketch - The Roosevelts

• I was wondering when SNL was finally going to parody the controversy over the Kennedys miniseries.

• An okay sketch overall. Most of my laughs came from the interviews with Paul’s historian character and Fred as the sleazy creator.

• The Abby Elliott/Helen Mirren kiss - uh... WOW!!! I’m speechless. I guess this was SNL’s way of making up to all us male viewers who complained about the frequent man-on-man kissing on the show. Though if SNL had to do a girl-on-girl kiss, I’d rather it had been Abby and Nasim - but whatever, I’m not picky...

• In just a single episode, Helen Mirren got to have her boobs groped by both Nasim Pedrad & Kristen Wiig, AND she got to make out with Abby Elliott. Somewhere, Jane Lynch is watching this episode and crying to herself, wondering why the writers didn’t give HER those roles when she hosted.

Stars: ***


Commercial - Perspectives Photo Studios

• Another segment tonight that was cut from last week.

• While I’m tired of how a majority of SNL’s fake ads this season have taken such a juvenile direction, this commercial was a little funnier than I thought it would be. Some parts got a good laugh out of me such as the puppet legs, Bobby as the double, the family group photo, and Bill’s interview.

• Seth in another sketch??? Please tell me that the reason he’s been making so many rare sketch appearances lately is because this will be his final season. (*crosses fingers*) Oh, and regarding that comment Seth made in this commercial about “loving the ladies”... uh, yeah... at this point, he’s practically BEGGING for the people on the Voy SNL board to continue with their endless barrage of gay jokes about him. He’s now making it TOO easy.

Stars: ***


Sketch - Bongo’s Clown Room

• Yet ANOTHER sketch tonight that was cut from a previous episode. I forgot which episode exactly, but I definitely remember reading this in a list of cut sketches a few months ago.

• While this was too slow-paced and dragged at parts, Jason gave a funny performance and I LOVED the voice he used; I’ve never heard him sound like that in any other sketch before. Overall, he carried this sketch just fine, but the writing needed more of a spark to make it really work.

• The biggest laughs were from Jason talking about a drug bust that turned into a sword fight, and the “She’s got the bush to prove it” line.

Stars: **½




Episode Highlights:

• Fox & Friends

• the random stock footage shots in the Digital Short

• parts of Best of Both Worlds with Hugh Jackman


Episode Lowlights:

• A Message from President Obama

• the Jean K. Jean commentary on Weekend Update

• Monologue


Best Performer of the Night:

• Taran Killam / Andy Samberg



ARMISEN: 5 sketches (President Obama, Mort Mort Feingold, Fox & Friends, Frankenstein, The Roosevelts)

ELLIOTT: 3 sketches (Mort Mort Feingold, The Roosevelts, Clown Room)

HADER: 6 sketches (Monologue, Mort Mort Feingold, Frankenstein, Update, The Roosevelts, Perspectives)

MEYERS: 2 sketches (Update, Perspectives)

MOYNIHAN: 8 sketches (Monologue, Digital Short, Fox & Friends, Frankenstein, Best of Both Worlds, Easter Festival, The Roosevelts, Perspectives)

SAMBERG: 4 sketches (Monologue, Mort Mort Feingold, Digital Short, Best of Both Worlds)

SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (Frankenstein, Easter Festival, Perspectives, Clown Room)

THOMPSON: 4 sketches (Monologue, Update, Best of Both Worlds, The Roosevelts)

WIIG: 5 sketches (Digital Short, Frankenstein, Update, Perspectives, Clown Room)


BAYER: 2 sketches (Mort Mort Feingold, Fox & Friends)

BRITTAIN: 5 sketches (Monologue, Mort Mort Feingold, Frankenstein, The Roosevelts, Perspectives)

KILLAM: 6 sketches (Monologue, Mort Mort Feingold, Fox & Friends, Best of Both Worlds, The Roosevelts, Perspectives)

PEDRAD: 5 sketches (Mort Mort Feingold, Digital Short, Easter Festival, Perspectives, Clown Room)

PHAROAH: 2 sketches (Mort Mort Feingold, Easter Festival)


HELEN MIRREN: 9 sketches (Monologue, Mort Mort Feingold, Digital Short, Fox & Friends, Frankenstein, Best of Both Worlds, Easter Festival, The Roosevelts, Clown Room)