***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - A Message from Rick Santorum
• A forgettable cold opening. A few chuckleworthy lines at best, but overall nothing special at all.
• Andy’s impression has improved a little, accuracy-wise. But he and the writers are gonna need all the good luck they can get in finding a way to make this Rick Santorum impression less generic and more exciting in the future. I think I actually prefer the previous angle they had on him earlier this season, where Andy played him more frightened and whiny. At least that was funnier than Andy’s boring portrayal of him tonight.
• The line about starting a war in Iran as a favor to Israel got the biggest laugh from me.
Monologue - Charles Barkley
• Funny monologue with Barkley being his usual self, despite some occasional line flubs here and there.
• Only Charles Barkley could make a sentence like “A turkey leg named Kelly Clarkson is here” come off as humorous as it did.
• I also enjoyed Barkley saying the NBA’s been crap since he left and how after being dubbed “The Round Mound of Rebound” back in the 80s, he waited 25 years to do something about it.
Commercial - Chantix
• This was decent. Like we saw with the Red Flag Perfume commercial earlier this season, they seem to utilize Kristen’s “wacky” roles better in pre-taped fake ads than in live sketches.
• Bill’s facial reactions cracked me up.
Sketch - Inside the NBA
• A fun sketch. Kenan and Charles both played well off of each other, and both had lots of funny little lines throughout this. Some of my favorites were Shaq being referred to as an “Amish Mr. Clean” and Kenan saying “I’d rather be in Free Willy 2 than Kazaam 1”.
• Bill did a nice thankless job as the only sane one in the bunch, and I got a good laugh from his random “We’re all black friends!”
• Barkley’s Shaq “impression” wasn’t much of an impression but I couldn’t help but laugh every time the camera cut to him, simply because the combination of him in that ridiculous bushy beard and his deadpan facial expression just came off amusing to me.
Sketch - White People Problems
• Interesting idea and format for a sketch, but I was expecting it to be better than it turned out. Overall, this was still decent, but I felt this could’ve been even stronger.
• The look Jay gave the camera at the end of the scene with Abby was just perfect.
• It feels unusual seeing Jay so prominent in tonight’s episode so far. He’s obviously being used a lot because they have a black host. Reminds me of Tracy Morgan’s earlier seasons, where the only time he received a lot of airtime was whenever they got a black host (Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx), and then the following week, Tracy would go back to appearing in 0 sketches as usual.
• The most clever line of the sketch was Barkley’s “Awkward is a white people word that can be applied to every situation”.
• The ending kinda fell flat.
• I can’t help but wonder who wrote this sketch. I know SNL has very few if any black writers in their current staff (which is ridiculous, considering how huge their writing staff is), and I’d hate to think it was a white writer who penned this sketch.
• Another thing I noticed is that it feels like this sketch was intended to have more “angry black employee” segments than just two, but they weren’t able to go further than that because they only have two black castmembers on the show. I should just be happy they didn’t resort to having Nasim or Fred play a black character.
Commercial - ESPN Bowl Madness
• A one-joke fake ad that got old fast.
• The increasingly-absurd college bowl names weren’t even that funny. SNL used a similar premise before in a much better way, in that “Chicken of the Sea” sketch when Jessica Simpson hosted.
Sketch - Joann's Announcement
• Strange sketch, to say the least. While I’m as tired of the overused “man in drag” gimmick as much as the next person, this sketch at first seemed like it was actually going in a promising “funny oddball sketch” direction. However, I ended up being underwhelmed by this.
• There were a few funny bizarre little gags like Paul randomly popping up from behind the couch and the line about Barkley screaming Lynda Carter’s name during sex, but ultimately, the sketch went absolutely nowhere and didn’t contain that many overall laughs. The ending was particularly bad. I’m still wondering what the hell the punchline of this sketch was supposed to be.
• I did love the incongruous casting decision to have Paul of all guys play Barkley’s boyfriend, simply because the extreme size difference between those two is absolutely priceless. Paul Brittain may be the tiniest male castmember since David Spade.
Commercial - Charles Barkley Post Game Translator
• Pretty funny fake ad, and it made good use of Barkley’s persona.
• I particularly liked the bit about Dwyane Wade.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Rep. Michele Bachmann, Nicholas Fehn, Drunk Uncle
• Best jokes: Wal-Mart, Darth Vader stunt double
• The Michele Bachmann commentary was only okay. Nothing really special or noteworthy but not bad, either; especially considering I usually can’t stand Kristen’s Weekend Update commentaries. Her Bachmann impression happens to be something I’ve always enjoyed from her; she does a good job with it. I just wish the writers gave her some better material for this commentary.
• The return of fucking Nicholas Fehn after I assumed this wretched character was thankfully retired long ago??? No, just... no. HAY-ULL no!
• If Fred really had to bring back an old Weekend Update character of his that hasn’t been done in ages, why couldn’t he have picked one that’s actually... you know, FUNNY? One that we would actually WANT to see return? Like his deaf comedian character or something...
• It was obvious the first time Drunk Uncle appeared that he’d be back, but I didn’t think it would be THIS soon. Didn’t he just appear 2-3 episodes ago? I can already see this character’s gonna be the new “Aunt Linda” (remember back in the 2006-07 season when it seemed like Aunt Linda would appear every other week?). While I still think Bobby does a decent job in his performance as Drunk Uncle, this character has already gotten old. It feels like they’ve done all they can with him, and they’re ALREADY starting to have him repeat some of the exact same jokes (i.e. him randomly grumbling “Immigraaaaaants!” again, when it was much funnier last time he said it).
• Anyway, my only laugh in tonight’s Drunk Uncle commentary came from the line “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Not in MY house...” There was just something about Bobby’s delivery of that line that made me laugh.
Sketch - Lord Wyndemere
• We’re more than halfway through the episode at this point, and Jason Sudeikis is just now making his first appearance of the whole night. What’s up with that?
• I didn’t mind seeing this sketch return. While this wasn’t quite as good as the first installment, it was still pretty funny and it’s good to see Paul getting another major recurring character. Dude’s getting better and better.
• However, there were still a few too many similarities to the first installment, and I want them to shake this up more if they’re going to keep using this character.
• Jason continues to steal the sketch with his ability to seamlessly shift from “silly/giddy/giggly” mode to “angry/yelling/spitting-mad” mode at the drop of a hat. I also noticed that Andy’s deadpan facial reactions to him were funnier this time compared to the first installment.
• Seeing Barkley getting into the act along with Jason was also funny, if only for the ridiculous yet endearing image of Charles Barkley carrying Paul Brittain in his arms. The writers sure are getting a lot of mileage this week out of the huge size difference between Barkley and Brittain.
Sketch - The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards
• Okay, first off, SNL already used this exact same title in a sketch from Lindsay Lohan’s 2004 episode, where Horatio Sanz was the one playing Ron Jeremy instead of Moynihan. Coincidence or just plain laziness on the writers’ part? I’m gonna go ahead and guess it’s the latter.
• The names of the pornstars was just one lame cliche after another. But the montage of the castmembers playing the pornstars/crew members was pretty funny. My favorites were Barkley in the woods (just because of his hilarious facial expressions), the picture of Kenan as the unhappy clean-up guy, and the picture of Paul as a smiling producer in prison.
• Hey, Seth in a sketch! I know there are some people on this Voy board who will find him playing the role of “glory hole designer” quite fitting...
• Nasim makes her only appearance of the whole night in a pre-taped scene. This is the SECOND episode this season where Nasim made zero appearances in the live portion of the show. I am telling you people, the woman has been absolutely invisible this season. It can’t be said enough. Nasim’s supposed to be a repertory castmember now, and the writers seem to treat her as a complete afterthought, as if she’s still a featured player. Say what you will about Vanessa Bayer or Abby Elliott, but at least they’re consistently IN sketches this season. It may not be many sketches, but it’s still better than the raw deal Nasim’s been getting.
• Oh, and also, why does Nasim always play old ladies nowadays? Before, she used to be typecast as little kids; now they’ve gone to the opposite end of the extreme by having her play nothing but old people all the time (the Comments Section sketch, the Bridal Shower sketch, Steve Buscemi’s monologue, etc.). Strange.
Digital Short - Convoluted Jerry
• Oh, for crying out loud...
• This embarrassing mess of a Digital Short gave me some very unwanted flashbacks to that terrible Rain short from earlier this season. In fact, it seems like Andy was actually playing the same character from that short, doesn’t it? The blonde wig and mustache he wore in tonight’s short looked the same to me, as well as the hokey singing voice he used. Why in the world would he turn that into a recurring character? I swear, sometimes it seems like Andy’s not even TRYING anymore with these Digital Shorts. It’s sad.
• My only laugh in this whole thing came from the “Is that a Hitler mustache?” newspaper review. I guess that at least makes this slightly better than the Rain short, where I didn’t laugh a single time. But still... yeah, this was mostly awful.
Sketch - The Mayan Calendar
• Not much to say about this sketch overall. This wasn’t really bad, just forgettable. In fact, I can barely even remember any of the lines from this sketch.
• Kenan made me laugh the most as the disgruntled carver.
• The “talking calendar” ending was drawn-out a little too long and felt kinda forced. Also, was that Paul doing the voice of the calendar?
• Inside the NBA
• Lord Wyndemere
• most of Weekend Update
• Digital Short
• ESPN Bowl Madness
Best Performer of the Night:
• Charles Barkley / Paul Brittain
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (White People Problems, Joann, Update, Adult Video Awards, Mayan Calendar)
ELLIOTT: 2 sketches (White People Problems, Adult Video Awards)
HADER: 5 sketches (Chantix, Inside the NBA, Lord Wyndemere, Adult Video Awards, Mayan Calendar)
MEYERS: 2 sketches (Update, Adult Video Awards)
MOYNIHAN: 4 sketches (Update, Lord Wyndemere, Adult Video Awards, Mayan Calendar)
PEDRAD: 1 sketch (Adult Video Awards)
SAMBERG: 5 sketches (Rick Santorum, Lord Wyndemere, Adult Video Awards, Digital Short, Mayan Calendar)
SUDEIKIS: 2 sketches (Lord Wyndemere, Adult Video Awards)
THOMPSON: 5 sketches (Inside the NBA, White People Problems, Joann, Adult Video Awards, Mayan Calendar)
WIIG: 5 sketches (Chantix, White People Problems, Joann, Update, Adult Video Awards)
BAYER: 3 sketches (White People Problems, Joann, Adult Video Awards)
BRITTAIN: 3 sketches (Joann, Lord Wyndemere, Adult Video Awards)
KILLAM: 2 sketches (White People Problems, Adult Video Awards)
PHAROAH: 3 sketches (Inside the NBA, White People Problems, Adult Video Awards)
CHARLES BARKLEY: 9 sketches (Monologue, Inside the NBA, White People Problems, Joann, Translator, Lord Wyndemere, White People Problems, Digital Short, Mayan Calendar)