Eli Manning / Rihanna
May 5, 2012


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

**** = Great

*** = Average

** = Meh

* = How'd this get past dress?


Cold Opening - FOX & Friends

• Nice to see the show open with a sketch starring three of the newer castmembers. This is exactly what SNL needs to be doing more often nowadays: transitioning the focus of the show from the Old Guard in the cast to the New Guard who will be the future of SNL.

• A very strong cold opening, and Taran, Vanessa, and Bobby each did a great job. It was Bobby in particular who stole this sketch. He had some hilarious lines, especially the Tupac hologram bit.

• I always get a kick out of the quickly-scrolled list of fact corrections at the end of these. Tonight had a few good ones, particularly “Kirk Cameron is not the voice of Siri” and “John Wilkes Boothe was not wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he shot President Lincoln, nor were the Lincolns attending a staging of The Vagina Monologues.”

• I liked the way Taran messed with Vanessa while they were all saying LFNY together.

Stars: ****


Monologue - Eli Manning

• A fairly forgettable monologue, and not exactly the most original premise either. To me, this felt like a hybrid of Robert DeNiro’s monologue from last season and Marisa Tomei’s 1994 monologue.

• The Times Square bit was one genuinely funny moment.

Stars: **½


Commercial - Amazon Mother’s Day Ad

• Pretty funny commercial. This was also interesting, because usually when you see this type of “someone gets caught having an *ahem* intimate moment with themselves” humor used in comedy, it’s mostly done with men getting caught. Having women used in this situation instead made it interesting and different.

• Funniest parts were the kid singing into the “microphone” that Kristen had been pleasuring herself with, Vanessa yelling “Get the f**k out of here!” when her kids walked in on her pleasuring herself in the bathtub, the bit with Nasim humping a vibrating washing machine while wearing a dog collar and having a picture of Joel McHale next to her (which is something I cannot believe I just typed), and the ending with the blurred-out nude shot of Kristen from behind as she was posing for a picture with her kids.

Stars: ***½


Sketch - EA Sports Motion Capture

• Really obvious premise. Is it just me, or has SNL been doing A LOT of sketches like this recently where they’re taping a promo for something but one person can’t pose for the camera the correct way? This type of sketch seems to be becoming the latest crutch for the writers.

• Eli’s goofy poses were very hit-and-miss; some of them were funny, some were just plain weak. And I just KNEW that one of the poses Eli would do was going to be “the Tebow” long before he actually did it. Talk about predictable. The funniest pose from Eli was the grenade-throwing bit.

• I enjoyed seeing the return of Taran’s Tebow impression. His appearance here was great, especially him saying “Thy will be done” and Jason just responding “Let’s leave it at the door, Tim...”

• Some of the ladies in the studio audience sounded excited to see Jay when he walked on. Too bad this ended up being his only appearance all night...

• Also, it sounded like something went wrong with the music during Jay’s part. You could hear what sounded like the music rewinding on tape or something after Jay did his pose. What happened?

• I got a good laugh from Kenan as Ray Lewis showing up in just a regular football uniform because he refused to wear “them funky-ass pajamas”, as he put it.

• I’m surprised this is the first time anyone on SNL has ever done an impression of Troy Polamalu.

Stars: **½


Sketch - Text Message Evidence

• For one terrifying moment, I thought this was going to be the return of Fred’s court stenographer character. Never have I been more happy to be wrong about something.

• This sketch was just a thinly-veiled excuse to have Eli Manning repeat a whole bunch of ridiculous words and make a whole bunch of silly faces, nothing more. I wouldn’t complain too much if it was funny, but this was some juvenile grade school-level crap. Did a 10-year old write this sketch?

• This also suffered from being way too damn long. It felt like this sketch went on forever.

• I only laughed a few times, mostly at the constant “You out? You up?” texts (it just sounded funny because of the way Sudeikis read that in a completely straight deadpan voice). Oh, and the internet browsing history bit at the end was okay, especially Bill’s eagerness to hear the entire list even after Eli confessed to the murder. The rest of the sketch just bored me.

Stars: **


Commercial - Little Brothers

• Ah, trying to do an Eli Manning version of Peyton’s classic United Way parody from 2007, I see.

• This wasn’t too bad, but obviously came nowhere close to being as hilarious as Peyton’s United Way ad.

• Some of Eli’s ways of torturing big brothers were funny, but it felt like this didn’t go as far as it should’ve. It seemed like this was going to get more and more outrageous as it went along, but they seemed to hold back for some reason.

• The ending with Eli and the kids pointing & laughing at the camera was stupid and lame as hell.

Stars: ***


Sketch - WXPD News New York

• Lots of Sudeikis so far in tonight’s episode. A welcome contrast to the last few episodes where it felt like he was going through the motions and barely appeared in any sketches.

• Yeeeaaaahhhh, this sketch has pretty much run its course and has become played-out. Most of the usual gags in these Herb Welch bits were met with silence tonight; the studio audience didn’t really seem into this installment at all. And it felt like there wasn’t much effort or enthusiasm put into this by most of the performers. Bill didn’t even crack up like he usually does in these Herb Welch sketches, not that I’m complaining.

• Not even the video package bit could add much life to this.

• My only laughs came from Herb “trying to press 2 for English” in response to Nasim’s character, and the bit with Herb eagerly wanting to interview Vanessa’s character.

• For the billionth time, please friggin STOP with the stupid “Herb dies and then comes back to life” endings. Why do they keep doing that?

Stars: **


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Patricia Krentcil, Admiral General Aladeen and Martin Scorsese

• Best jokes: none

• I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Update jokes that completely bombed with the audience tonight. Why did that make me happy, you ask? Because this proves it’s not just the internet fans who are unhappy with the current state of Weekend Update. Looks like even the studio audience has had it with Seth Meyers’ lame-ass milquetoast crap that passes for “comedy”. Words cannot express the ire I have towards that man nowadays.

• Oddly, this was Kristen’s first live appearance of the whole night. I can’t remember the last time she made her first appearance this late into an episode.

• Kristen being cast as the overly-tanned mom who’s been in the news lately was an obvious given. However, I had been hoping that Kate McKinnon would be given this impression, considering Kate actually looks more like that lady. But I knew there was no way this role was NOT going to be automatically handed to Wiig.

• As for her commentary, the bread/toast bit at the end was funny and perfectly-timed (Kristen pulled off that gag flawlessly, you gotta give her credit), but the rest of the commentary was pretty much a waste of time and suffered from weak writing. Barely any genuine laughs here overall. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that Seth seemed to be laughing during this commentary even more than the studio audience was. Whenever the camera was on a close-up of Kristen, you could hear Seth right next to her hysterically laughing his ass off during her lines, as if he’s never seen this commentary before. In fact, I’ve noticed that he usually always does this whenever Kristen appears on Update. But hey, I understand - after all, who can’t get enough of that zany & wacky Kristen Wiig, right?????

• Personally, my problem with most of Kristen’s Weekend Update commentaries in general is that they’re very underwritten. It’s as if the writers think that just throwing Kristen out there as some crazy lady in the news or as some crazy fictional character is supposed to be funny enough and that the jokes will automatically write themselves. Newsflash, SNL: it don’t work that way.

• Sacha Baron Cohen as The Dictator! Now we’re talkin’. I was kinda hoping he’d actually cameo next week, though, since it would’ve been awesome to have a Sacha Baron Cohen cameo in a Will Ferrell-hosted episode. But still, I can’t complain at all. I enjoyed his whole commentary tonight, although to be honest, it did feel like Cohen was forced to tame down his usual offensive humor. Still, I was amused throughout this entire commentary and I had forgotten what it’s like to actually laugh during Weekend Update. And a surprise appearance by Scorsese didn’t hurt, either.

Stars: *½


Sketch - What Is This?

• Huh? A gameshow sketch that’s NOT hosted by Bill Hader? There’s something I never thought I’d ever see happen again!

• Well, well, well... look who’s suddenly trying to prove her worth so she won’t get fired over the summer. In all seriousness, it was a refreshing change of pace to see Abby actually starring in a sketch playing an original character. I cannot believe that it took this girl FOUR SEASONS to finally get her first non-celebrity impression lead role in a live sketch. That is insane.

• Abby did a fine job in this sketch, proving that the writers need to be a little more open to giving her opportunities more often. Although I can’t help but wonder if this was too little, too late to save her SNL future.

• In addition to how refreshing it is to see Abby with the lead role, it’s equally refreshing to see an actual premise-based sketch, which has become a rarity in recent years.

• The execution of this was just okay for the most part; not as good as it should’ve been. The sketch seemed to die down and peter off towards the end. The last two minutes of this pretty much bombed with the audience. Speaking of which, I’m noticing that the audience has been unusually silent during many parts of tonight’s show in general.

Stars: ***


Sketch - Helga Lately

• Wow, two consecutive sketches tonight that stars a female castmember who ISN’T Kristen Wiig? Plus, the fact that Kristen didn't make her first appearance tonight until Weekend Update? Yep, you can definitely tell SNL is gearing up to prepare for the post-Wiig era. The phasing-out of Kristen Wiig has officially begun, ladies and gentlemen.

• Tonight, Vanessa got to co-star in the cold opening and got to deliver her very first LFNY, Abby got her own sketch, and now Kate gets her own sketch. Uh, Nasim, the ball’s in your court, honey.

• I’m assuming Kate wrote this sketch herself, or at least co-wrote, since it felt like something she would’ve done before she was on SNL. However, with this sketch, I’m slowly starting to see some major Kristen Wiig similarities in her performances... (*cue ominous music*)

• I have to appreciate anything that takes the piss out of Chelsea Handler (I cannot stand that woman), and doing a foreign TV parody of her talk show showed a little more creativity than just doing a straight parody of it. However, the problem with this sketch is that the execution of it failed to live up to the potential. The concept got tired and redundant pretty fast, and went absolutely nowhere.

• For some reason, Kenan in this sketch reminded me of his French comedian character Jean K. Jean.

• Just to show you how predictable Fred Armisen has become these days, I knew as soon as the sketch started that he’d play the Mexican midget guy from Handler’s real show.

• The Kardashians scene really fell flat. This scene just further proved that SNL’s usual stock Kardashian jokes (getting anus-bleachings, marrying black basketball players, Khloe being clueless, etc.) has indeed been milked beyond dry. It’s passé, now, SNL. Either come up with a new angle on your Kardashian parodies or just move on.

Stars: **


Sketch - Miss Drag World

• What in the WORLD did I just watch? What a laughless mess. Ugh. The less said, the better.

• Just to show you how predictable Fred Armisen has become these days, I knew as soon as the sketch started that he’d show up as one of the drag queens. That was an obvious given.

Stars: *


Sketch - TCM presents: Cheech & Chong

• Aaaaand this sketch unfortunately wasn’t any better than the one above. Another terribly dull, unfunny sketch. Talk about ending the show on a weak note.

• The whole joke revolving around Eli’s non-pot smoking character was lame as hell and resulted in absolutely no laughs at all. What was SNL thinking putting something as boring as this on the air, unless they wanted viewers and the studio audience to fall asleep before the show ended.

• Not even the Mitt Romney reveal or Jason’s Robert Osborne getting high at the end could save this. I do appreciate how Jason has been given plenty of airtime tonight, though.

• Just to show you how predictable Fred Armisen has become these days, I knew as soon as the sketch started that he’d be the one to play Cheech. Have I made it painfully obvious enough tonight how much I want Fred to get the hell off the show? That being said, I will give Fred credit for doing a good Cheech impression, but come on - you know he can do that Cheech voice in his sleep. He used that exact same voice in every other Mexican role he’s played throughout his SNL tenure.

• Why wasn’t Bill’s Chong wearing glasses? Didn’t Chong usually wear them in the actual movies? Also, I felt that Bill’s impression could’ve been a little better; he didn’t seem to put too much effort into sounding like Chong.

Stars: *




Episode Highlights:

• FOX & Friends

• Amazon Mother’s Day Ad

• the idea behind What Is This? (even if the execution wasn’t perfect)

• The Dictator commentary on Weekend Update


Episode Lowlights:

• the rest of Weekend Update

• Miss Drag World

• Cheech & Chong

• WXPD News New York


Best Performer of the Night:

• Jason Sudeikis / Vanessa Bayer



ARMISEN: 5 sketches (FOX & Friends, WXPD News, Helga Lately, Drag World, Cheech & Chong)

ELLIOTT: 3 sketches (Text Message, What Is This, Helga Lately)

HADER: 7 sketches (Monologue, Amazon, EA Sports, Text Message, WXPD News, What Is This, Cheech & Chong)

MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)

MOYNIHAN: 3 sketches (FOX & Friends, Monologue, Drag World)

PEDRAD: 4 sketches (Monologue, Amazon, WXPD News, Helga Lately)

SAMBERG: 4 sketches (EA Sports, Little Brothers, WXPD News, Drag World)

SUDEIKIS: 5 sketches (Amazon, EA Sports, Text Message, WXPD News, Cheech & Chong)

THOMPSON: 5 sketches (Monologue, EA Sports, WXPD News, Helga Lately, Drag World)

WIIG: 4 sketches (Amazon, Update, Helga Lately, Drag World)


BAYER: 6 sketches (FOX & Friends, Monologue, Amazon, WXPD News, What Is This, Helga Lately)

KILLAM: 4 sketches (FOX & Friends, Amazon, EA Sports, Helga Lately)

MCKINNON: 2 sketches (Monologue, Helga Lately)

PHAROAH: 1 sketch (EA Sports)


ELI MANNING: 9 sketches (Monologue, EA Sports, Text Message, Little Brothers, WXPD News, What Is This, Helga Lately, Drag World, Cheech & Chong)