*** Stooge's Look-Back Sketch Review of the Week ***
Since this is my final year of doing SNL reviews after 14 long consecutive seasons, I'll be starting each of my reviews this season with a special "look back" on one of my all-time favorite sketches from the seasons that I've reviewed, by re-posting the original review I wrote for the selected sketch back when it originally aired.
Tonight, our final look back will be at an epic, show-stopping, season-ending sketch from the Will Ferrell/Green Day episode (May 16, 2009). Here's the original review I wrote for the sketch:
Miscellaneous - Goodnight Saigon
• When this started, I was surprised to see that it took place on the main home base stage. I knew we were in for quite an interesting sketch, but little did I know how interesting it would be.
• I think this is the only time they actually wrote a sketch to take advantage of this current home base stage by basing the sketch at Grand Central Station (which the home base stage is modeled after). Perhaps that’s a sign that this is the last episode with this stage and they’ll build a new stage for next season.
• These random song interludes by Ferrell are great. And, wow, they used literally the entire cast, even including Seth! Seeing Seth dressed up in costume with the rest of the cast reminded me of the days when he was regularly in sketches.
• Hey, there’s Tom Hanks again! Awesome! And Amy again, too! Nice! And… umm …uh, Maya again… (Stooge angrily grits his teeth together) and she’s, of course, singing… ugh, moving on… Hey, is that Anne Hathaway??! Wow, where’d she come from? Very nice to see her. And Paul Rudd!! What in the world is going on??? And even musical guest Green Day is getting involved in the action! And Norm again! You know this is big when even Norm participates in it. And hey, it’s Elisabeth Moss standing next to Fred! And… is that… oh my god, Artie Lange?!! No way! Awesome! Now there's someone I never thought I’d ever see on SNL! And we even got to see him standing next to Bobby Moynihan for a few seconds, which is absolutely hilarious because everyone always says how much Bobby physically resembles Artie Lange. Bobby looks so much smaller in comparison, though.
• Seriously, all I could say after this sketch ended was “Wow!!!” This was friggin EPIC and a classic. I remember being disappointed when last season ended with some forgettable Baby sketch featuring only Wiig and Steve Carell. So I was hoping for something more special in final sketch this season and something involving the entire cast, and boy did we get it and more! This has to be one of the best season ending sketches of all-time. My other favorite one has always been the 93-94 finale with all the recurring characters on the home base stage singing “So Long, Farewell” for Phil Hartman’s swan song.
***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - A Message from Solange & Jay-Z
• I figured the show would do something about this news story. And they way they approached this epitomizes one of the problems I have with SNL's cold openings in recent years. Instead of parodying a current event with yet another boring and lazy "A message from..." or a press conference opening, why not be more fun and creative by, say, having the cold opening take place at the time of the current event being parodied and do a creative spin on what happened. That's just one example. SNL used to show that type of creativity with their current events cold openings more often, particularly in the 80s and early 90s.
• The part showing the TMZ footage with the audio re-dubbed was easily the best part of this cold opening and is EXACTLY the kind of thing I was talking about above with how SNL should show more creativity with current events parodies. If the entire cold opening had been in the same vein of that TMZ part, this whole thing would've been much funnier.
• The embarrassing footage of Bobby's character in the elevator was very funny as well.
• Any momentum that this cold opening started to gain died with the Beyonce portion featuring Maya Rudolph's impression. I was already prepared for several Maya appearances throughout tonight's episode and I didn't initially groan when she first showed up in this cold opening, but her performance ended up really annoying the heck out of me. And is it just me, or was her Beyonce impression a lot different tonight than how it used to be? While her impression was never all that accurate to begin with, I prefer her more low-key, toned-down take on Beyonce from the past compared to tonight where she just played her in typical hammy over-the-top Maya Rudolph fashion.
• Sasheer's third episode in a row saying LFNY, which may be a record for a first-year featured player.
Monologue - Andy Samberg
• It's funny how short and normal-looking Andy's hair is nowadays, compared to his trademark crazy shaggy hairstyle from his earlier seasons where he could almost be mistaken for a teenager, like here and here.
• The Justin Timberlake picture was actually funny and may be the first time in SNL history where a celebrity made their cameo appearance in the form of a still photo. I might be wrong about that, though.
• I saw the joke about Andy only appearing in "6 live sketches" coming from a mile away, because he already used that joke in Adam Levine's monologue last season.
• I knew Seth wouldn't make it through the second half of this season without doing a cameo. Blah. I hate the trend of recently-departed cast members making their first cameo just months after they left. What's the point? I have more to say about that later in this review. Anyway, can't say I was thrilled to see Seth here tonight, but he didn't hurt this monologue or anything. But really, was there any reason why a current cast member like Taran, Kenan, or Bobby couldn't have done what Seth did here?
• The premise of Andy trying to break Bill Hader's impression record by debuting a whole bunch of new impressions on the spot in rapid-fire succession was very fun and made this easily one of the more enjoyable monologues of the season.
• Seeing Andy do a Paul Giamatti impression reminded me of a dress rehearsal sketch I read about that was cut from the episode that Maya Rudolph hosted in 2012, in which Andy played Paul Giamatti in some kind of bizarre-sounding variation of "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals".
• We all knew as soon as Andy mentioned that Bill Hader "isn't here to defend himself" that Hader was eventually going to show up, but I can't complain because... well, because he's Bill freaking Hader, people! And I was happy to finally hear his Samberg impression for myself after reading about it many times before (I think I remember reading that he did it in a recent Comedy Central roast).
• Nice random Martin Short walk-on at the end, though they certainly could've utilized him more.
Sketch - Camp Wicawabe, 1990
• Uh... was there any particular reason why this was set in 1990? The beginning of this sketch stating it takes place in 1990 had me expecting a whole bunch of old-school references and early 90s clothing & hairstyles, yet none of that ended up happening. There was absolutely nothing about this sketch that couldn't have been set in modern times.
• Not sure what to say about this sketch. It wasn't bad, but I wasn't crazy about anything in it either, and I can't ignore the fact that it was a thinly-veiled "talk show" sketch that I can picture becoming recurring, and a new recurring "talk show" sketch is the LAST thing the show needs right now. Then again, since this sketch takes place at a summer camp, I guess they can't really do it again other than in season finales, right?
• The joke with Kyle's character got old FAST. If they make this sketch recurring, they're going to have to add more to Kyle's character because I've already gotten tired of it, and that pains me to say as a huge Kyle Mooney fan. Also, I'm starting to notice that SNL seems to like sticking Kyle in little kid roles - he's played a lot over the season. I remember in my review of Tina Fey's monologue in the season premiere (where she introduced the newbies), I predicted that John Milhiser would actually be the one who gets typecast as little kids (because of his short stature and youthful-looking face)... funny that it ended up happening to Kyle instead.
Digital Short - When Will the Bass Drop?
• I still wish the Lonely Island had kept their word on "Lazy Sunday 2" being their final Digital Short. Well, you can still say it was their final Digital Short with Andy as a cast member.
• This short was pretty funny, although not as outstanding as you'd expect for Lonely Island's return. Then again, it's not like their YOLO short from last season was anything classic, either.
• This had a simple premise that was made funny in typical Lonely Island fashion. The cutaways to the wild people in the crowd (especially Bobby's facial expressions), the various things they showed Andy doing behind the turntables like playing Jenga, and the heart attack fake-out were all good.
• Loved Kyle's brief appearance, and it was interesting seeing him and Andy standing next to each other because Kyle is, in some ways, the Andy Samberg of this current cast. Speaking of which, where the heck was our Lonely Island/Good Neighbor collaboration tonight??? It would've been epic seeing a supershort that combined their unique styles.
• The over-the-top reactions from the crowd after the bass finally dropped were okay, but reminded me a little too much of the part in the "Everyone's a Critic" Digital Short where they showed everyone at the auction committing suicide in gruesome bloody ways. This even reused the "Don't open your eyes!" Indiana Jones reference, only it was Taran playing him this time instead of Bill Hader.
• Segments like this make me relieved that this was the final SNL episode that I had to take notes during, because it was very difficult for me to write down the names of all the cast members who appeared in this Digital Short while watching it, considering there were SO MANY cast members in this who were shown in quick blink-and-miss-it cutaways and it was a pain for me to write down all their names while trying to pay attention to the short at the same time. This is one of the reasons why I'm looking forward to now being able to watch SNL without having to worry about taking notes or thinking about what I'm going to say about the show in my review.
• This short ended up being the only appearance of the night for half of the featured players, meaning they made no live appearances at all. That sucks, considering this may have been the last episode for some of them. If tonight ends up being John Milhiser's last episode (which, unfortunately, seems the most likely), then that means his final live appearance on the show was in his THIRD-TO-LAST EPISODE, and even that was just a bit role in the Oliver Twist sketch where he had only one line. This is just sad. I sure hope SNL gives Milhiser another chance with a second season, because as I said in last week's review, he's shown too much talent and potential in his pre-SNL videos to end up a one-season wonder. If he DOES get dropped from the cast this summer, then he's going to go down in history as one of the most underused cast members of all-time, right down there with Dan Vitale, Dean Edwards, Yvonne Hudson, etc.
• On a similar note, some people are saying that Mike O'Brien also hasn't made a live appearance in weeks, which isn't true. Remember, in last week's Heshy sketch, Mike played Nasim's son in a quick cutaway. It was such a useless nothing role, though, that I can't blame anyone for forgetting it.
Sketch - Confident Hunchback
• Am I the only one who noticed that this sketch had huge shades of Andy's "Rude Buddha" sketch from Lindsay Lohan's 2012 episode? Even the opening title sequences of both sketches were done in a very similar style. I wonder if both sketches were written by the same person. I expected to see lots of people on the boards making a comparison between both sketches, but surprisingly, I have yet to see anyone else who caught the similarities. Maybe everyone blocked that whole Lindsay Lohan episode out of their memories. Can't say I blame them (I feel like I'm saying that an awful lot tonight).
• I remember being one of the only reviewers on this board who liked that Rude Buddha sketch (though that was really only because almost everything else in that episode was so terrible that it made Rude Buddha look like a gem to me by comparison), so I was expecting to enjoy this Confident Hunchback sketch as well. Boy, did I end up being disappointed.
• Andy's usually always good at playing overly-cocky roles like this, and while he did perform well here, the sketch itself just fell flat. While Andy's "comin' in hot" entrance with him being lowered down by a rope was funny, everything that followed just came and went with nothing really working or standing out. And I rarely complain about a sketch being too short, but it felt like they should've taken the concept further and done more with it.
Weekend Update - Strong & Jost, featuring Bruce Chandling, Nicolas Cage & Paul Rudd
• Best jokes: Prom night, Daytime dance party
• I was happy to see Kyle trying out another Bruce Chandling commentary after a Mother's Day-themed one got cut after dress last week. While I remember finding his appearance in the season premiere underwhelming compared to his much-funnier YouTube appearances, I felt that his commentary tonight was a vast improvement over his season premiere one. Everything about this character & Kyle's performance just worked better tonight, especially the part with him suddenly getting depressed. When he did the depressed bit in the season premiere commentary, it just came off awkward in a non-funny way and I felt it hurt the commentary, whereas tonight, it had me cracking up a lot, especially the "Grim Reaper's knocking at the door and I kinda wanna answer it" line, which is my kind of dark humor.
• I had a feeling we might see the return of "Get in the Cage" tonight. I remember getting tired of that segment the last few times Andy did it towards the end of his SNL tenure, but the long hiatus must've done it some good, because I didn't mind tonight's segment. There were a couple of funny lines like the N.O.D./never on-demand one, and Andy's bizarrely-applied wig alone had me laughing. Was it intentional to make it look like he has an alien forehead?
• Seeing Paul Rudd sitting next to Andy made me remember how some people said earlier this season when Rudd hosted that he resembled Andy Samberg in several sketches. Personally, I don't see it. Andy WISHES he looked like Paul Rudd... but then again, so do a lot of men.
• Oh, and really, SNL? Two weeks in a row of an Update guest calling Colin "Seth"? It wasn't even funny when they did it LAST week, and made even less sense this week - Colin's been given enough time behind the desk to establish a persona beyond being known as just a Seth Meyers stand-in... not that he's succeeded in doing it, of course.
• No "Have a great summer" sign-off at the end? Did they forget this is the season finale?
Sketch - The Vogelchecks
• No. Just n-- Nah, don't want to use that in my final review... though it would've been fitting, considering the very first time I ever used my "No. Just... no." catchphrase was when reviewing the Vogelchecks installment from Paul Rudd's 2010 episode.
• But really, what is there to say about this dreadful debacle? Words cannot express how loudly I groaned the second Andy said the name "Vogelchecks" at the beginning, then I said to myself "Oh, great, so you mean those two are here tonight as well?" (referring to Armisen and Wiig). This is where tonight's cameos really got out of hand and started bugging me. It would be one thing if the cameos tonight were from former cast members who haven't shown up in a long time. But when an episode has a plethora of cameos from cast members who were JUST ON THE SHOW, where's the novelty? If they're going for a Betty White episode-type thing, they're failing miserably. For starters, 1) the former cast cameos for the Betty White episode were already announced long in advance so we were prepared for it, 2) the cameos throughout Betty's episode ended up working and helped give the episode a very fun high-energy vibe, and 3) even with the plethora of cameos in Betty's episode, they didn't take away much airtime from the then-current cast. Tonight, on the other hand, it felt like we barely even saw most of the current cast, especially those poor featured players. I can't understand why Lorne would do this. I mean, this current cast is already insanely overcrowded and it's been difficult for most to get a consistent amount of airtime all season, even some of the VETERANS... Tonight is the season finale and is likely to be the final episode for a few cast members... so instead of giving the cast one last chance this season to put themselves out there, Lorne instead throws an endless amount of former cast cameos into the episode, which results in half of the current cast being put on the backburner all night. Makes no damn sense. Does Lorne have ANY idea what he's even doing anymore?
• Getting back on-topic, I still can't believe it's Bill Hader who writes this Vogelchecks nonsense. I like and respect him too much to accept that fact.
• As for what caused Fred to start cracking up suddenly, I think he accidentally hit Bill on the face as he was moving his hands to emphasize his point during his little "That's what makes us Vogelchecks" speech. We couldn't see Bill actually getting hit because the camera was on a close-up of just Fred at the time, but when the camera cut to a farther-away shot afterwards, notice that Bill's holding the side of his own face with a smirk as if he had just gotten hit there by Fred's hand.
• Strange how this is the second segment tonight showing a character having a heart attack.
• Between all the things Charlize Theron did to her in that cat adoption sketch last week, and now Maya Rudolph giving her mouth-to-mouth and groping her boobs in this sketch tonight, Kate McKinnon must feel like she's living in heaven on the show.
• The worse and worse this sketch kept getting as it progressed, the more I wondered to myself what would be the lesser of three evils: sitting through this colossal laughless waste of time, sitting through a reprisal of The Californians, or sitting through the return of Garth & Kat. What answer did I come up with? Suicide.
Sketch - Waking Up with Kimye
• Can't say I'm excited to see this back, though at least this might be the last time we see it, considering Nasim's possible departure and writer Michael Che's definite departure. However, they sure didn't throw in any hints that this was the final installment of the sketch, which worries me.
• At least they changed up the house band scenes by replacing the Kardashian family with just Taran's Bruce Jenner. I remember Taran gave a hilarious performance as him before in that pre-taped Kardashian Fairytale Divorce sketch from a few seasons ago, and he was great once again in this sketch and provided most of my few laughs.
• Only other thing I really laughed at was Nasim/Kim's "leave" when asked what do people in Italy always say to her.
• I was hoping Andy would help save this, but he was just given a dull straight role that didn't allow him to be funny.
Digital Short - Hugs
• I figured earlier tonight that there must've been a second Digital Short coming, because there's no way they'd go through the night without a trademark Lonely Island music video.
• This was the usual well-done and entertaining music video from Lonely Island, but it wasn't really all that laugh-out-loud funny. Maybe it wasn't supposed to be, but I guess my expectations were a bit high. I was surprised I wasn't laughing more than I did.
• How long ago was this video filmed? Andy's hair noticeably looked longer and shaggier than its looked recently.
Mini-Sketch - Legolas from 'The Hobbit' Tries to Order at Taco Bell
• Oddly enough, Bill Hader did the voice-over at the beginning and end of this. I know they're basically letting the former cast members take over the whole night, but I don't think they'd go so far as to have Hader record a little voice-over intro to a new sketch when they have both Beck Bennett and Steve Higgins available. That makes me wonder if this was a sketch that originally got cut after dress years ago when Andy and Bill were both still in the cast, and they just re-used Bill's old voice-over that was recorded back then.
• The title of this sketch instantly made me think of that Andre the Giant sketch from the Jason Segel episode a few seasons ago. This sketch ended up being in a similar vein, but was funny in its own right and got just the right amount of laughs.
• I could already tell what Jay's closing line ("white people...") was going to be as soon as the camera cut to him at the end.
Sketch - Blizzard Man
• I know some people are happy to see this again, but I can't really say I'm all that thrilled. These Blizzard Man sketches are always the same thing every single time and I feel it only really worked in the first installment. That being said, these sketches are harmless enough and it's had a long hiatus since its last appearance, which made it a little more tolerable tonight.
• I do wish they could have at least changed the scenery instead of it being at the same-old recording studio once again. The installment of this sketch when Jeremy Piven hosted in 2007 actually took place in a different setting and had Kenan playing a (slightly) different role than the same-old record producer character he usually plays in these.
• I have to admit that as cheesy and hokey as Blizzard Man's raps always are, there's something very catchy-sounding about them. However, is it just me, or were his raps shorter than usual this time?
• As I always say, "newspaper headline" endings are usually always a weak cop-out and fall flat. This sketch's ending was no exception.
Sketch - Bvlgari
• Not a great choice to close out the season, as these ex-porn stars sketches no longer have the magic they once had and I was hoping that my final sketch review would be on something more exciting than this standard recurring bit.
• There were still a few funny lines here and there, but these sketches used to have so much more to laugh out loud at. These last few installments have noticeably been getting less and less funny with each subsequent appearance, and if that downhill slide continues, it's soon going to get to the point where I forget why I loved the first installment so much.
• The studio audience never seems to care for the bit in these sketches where Vanessa and Cecily say to each other "Hey, remember (insert random vague thing here)?" and then act it out. The audience never seems to know what to make of those parts.
• Maybe it's just me, but Kristen seemed kinda uncomfortable playing this role and she didn't seem to get fully in-character (which is usually unheard of for her).
• Was the part with Vanessa pronouncing elegance as "elegnace" a reference to that "Classy Sexy Elegnace" CD sketch from last season's Kristen Wiig episode?
• the Bruce Chandling commentary on Weekend Update
• The Vogelchecks
• Confident Hunchback
• most of Waking Up with Kimye
• the Cecily/Colin portions of Weekend Update
Best Performer of the Night:
• Andy Samberg
CAST MEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
BAYER: 3 sketches (Digital Short #1, Blizzard Man, Bvlgari)
BRYANT: 3 sketches (Camp Wicawabe, Digital Short #1, Hunchback)
KILLAM: 4 sketches (Digital Short #1, Hunchback, Vogelchecks, Kimye)
MCKINNON: 3 sketches (Camp Wicawabe, Hunchback, Vogelchecks)
MOYNIHAN: 3 sketches (Solange & Jay-Z, Digital Short #1, Taco Bell)
PEDRAD: 3 sketches (Digital Short #1, Hunchback, Kimye)
PHAROAH: 4 sketches (Solange & Jay-Z, Digital Short #1, Kimye, Taco Bell)
STRONG: 4 sketches (Camp Wicawabe, Hunchback, Update, Bvlgari)
THOMPSON: 3 sketches (Solange & Jay-Z, Digital Short #1, Blizzard Man)
BENNETT: 3 sketches (Digital Short #1, Hunchback, Blizzard Man)
JOST: 1 sketch (Update)
MILHISER: 1 sketch (Digital Short #1)
MOONEY: 3 sketches (Camp Wicawabe, Digital Short #1, Update)
O'BRIEN: 1 sketch (Digital Short #1)
WELLS: 1 sketch (Digital Short #1)
WHEELAN: 1 sketch (Digital Short #1)
ZAMATA: 2 sketches (Solange & Jay-Z, Digital Short #1)
ANDY SAMBERG: 11 sketches (Monologue, Camp Wicawabe, Digital Short #1, Hunchback, Update, Vogelchecks, Kimye, Digital Short #2, Taco Bell, Blizzard Man, Bvlgari)
2013-14 YEAR IN REVIEW
As usual, I'll start this off with going episode-by-episode and listing the best/worst sketch and best performer. Unlike my last few "year in reviews", however, I won't do a "final verdict" for each episode (where I state "good episode" or "forgettable episode" or "terrible episode", etc.) because a majority of the episodes this season unfortunately can be classified as "forgettable" and a lot of them blend together too much, so doing a final verdict for each episode would end up being too redundant. Instead, I'll replace it with listing which cast members appeared in the most and least amount of sketches each episode. For the "cast members in the LEAST amount of sketches" category, I'm only counting the repertory players because featured players typically don't appear much anyway (especially this current batch of featured players).
Tina Fey / Arcade Fire
BEST PERFORMER: Aaron Paul
BEST SEGMENT: Girls
WORST SEGMENT: Cinema Classics
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Taran Killam, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson (5 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Jay Pharoah (1 sketch)
BEST PERFORMER: Taran Killam
BEST SEGMENT: We Did Stop
WORST SEGMENT: Cheer Squad Abduction
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Vanessa Bayer (7 sketches)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Nasim Pedrad, Cecily Strong (3 sketches each)
Bruce Willis / Katy Perry
BEST PERFORMER: Bobby Moynihan
BEST SEGMENT: Sigma
WORST SEGMENT: The Lady Gaga Show
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Taran Killam, Kenan Thompson (7 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Aidy Bryant, Nasim Pedrad (3 sketches each)
Edward Norton / Janelle Monae
BEST PERFORMER: Edward Norton / Aidy Bryant
BEST SEGMENT: The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders
WORST SEGMENT: Restaurant Virgins
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan (6 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Vanessa Bayer (2 sketches)
Kerry Washington / Eminem
BEST PERFORMER: Kerry Washington / Jay Pharoah
BEST SEGMENT: Cartoon Catchphrase
WORST SEGMENT: Principal Frye
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Vanessa Bayer, Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah, Kenan Thompson (5 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Bobby Moynihan (2 sketches)
BEST PERFORMER: Jay Pharoah
BEST SEGMENT: Jebidiah Atkinson on Weekend Update
WORST SEGMENT: Monologue
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Aidy Bryant, Taran Killam (7 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Nasim Pedrad (3 sketches)
Josh Hutcherson / HAIM
BEST PERFORMER: Taran Killam
BEST SEGMENT: 80s Romance
WORST SEGMENT: Best Buy Firing
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Aidy Bryant (7 sketches)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Nasim Pedrad (2 sketches)
Paul Rudd / One Direction
BEST PERFORMER: Taran Killam
BEST SEGMENT: Bill Brasky
WORST SEGMENT: The Sound of Music
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Taran Killam, Cecily Strong (6 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon (2 sketches each)
John Goodman / Kings of Leon
BEST PERFORMER: Kate McKinnon
BEST SEGMENT: Too Hot
WORST SEGMENT: Three Wise Guys
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Kenan Thompson (8 sketches)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Vanessa Bayer (1 sketch)
Jimmy Fallon / Justin Timberlake
BEST PERFORMER: Jimmy Fallon
BEST SEGMENT: (Do It On My) Twin Bed
WORST SEGMENT: Gay Ebenezer Scrooge
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong (6 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Vanessa Bayer, Nasim Pedrad (2 sketches each)
BEST PERFORMER: Drake
BEST SEGMENT: Hip Hop Classics - Before They Were Stars
WORST SEGMENT: Rahat
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Vanessa Bayer (6 sketches)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Aidy Bryant, Bobby Moynihan, Cecily Strong (2 sketches each)
Jonah Hill / Bastille
BEST PERFORMER: Beck Bennett
BEST SEGMENT: "me"
WORST SEGMENT: Couples Quiz
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Taran Killam, Cecily Strong (5 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Aidy Bryant (1 sketch)
Melissa McCarthy / Imagine Dragons
BEST PERFORMER: Taran Killam / Kyle Mooney
BEST SEGMENT: Super Champions with Kyle
WORST SEGMENT: Art Exhibit
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Kenan Thompson, Kyle Mooney (5 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Kate McKinnon, Nasim Pedrad, Jay Pharoah (2 sketches each)
Jim Parsons / Beck
BEST PERFORMER: Kate McKinnon
BEST SEGMENT: Auditions for 12 Years A Slave
WORST SEGMENT: Elevator
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Kenan Thompson (7 sketches)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Nasim Pedrad (1 sketch)
Lena Dunham / The National
BEST PERFORMER: Taran Killam / Jay Pharoah
BEST SEGMENT: Will Smith Concert
WORST SEGMENT: Putin's Best Friends From Growing Up on Weekend Update
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Taran Killam, Cecily Strong (5 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Nasim Pedrad (2 sketches each)
Louis C.K. / Sam Smith
BEST PERFORMER: Aidy Bryant
BEST SEGMENT: Monologue
WORST SEGMENT: Private Eyes
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Aidy Bryant (6 sketches)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Vanessa Bayer, Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Nasim Pedrad, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson (2 sketches each)
Anna Kendrick / Pharrell Williams
BEST PERFORMER: Taran Killam
BEST SEGMENT: Flirty
WORST SEGMENT: Audition
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Vanessa Bayer, Bobby Moynihan (7 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Nasim Pedrad (2 sketches)
Seth Rogen / Ed Sheeran
BEST PERFORMER: James Franco
BEST SEGMENT: Monster Pals
WORST SEGMENT: Engagement Party
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Beck Bennett (5 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Jay Pharoah (1 sketch)
Andrew Garfield / Coldplay
BEST PERFORMER: Kate McKinnon / Taran Killam
BEST SEGMENT: The Beygency
WORST SEGMENT: Oliver Twist
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Taran Killam (7 sketches)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Vanessa Bayer (1 sketch)
Charlize Theron / The Black Keys
BEST PERFORMER: Kate McKinnon
BEST SEGMENT: Dragon Babies
WORST SEGMENT: Monologue
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong (5 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Jay Pharoah (1 sketch)
Andy Samberg / St. Vincent
BEST PERFORMER: Andy Samberg
BEST SEGMENT: Monologue
WORST SEGMENT: The Vogelchecks
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE MOST: Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah, Cecily Strong (4 sketches each)
CAST MEMBER WHO APPEARED THE LEAST: Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Nasim Pedrad, Kenan Thompson (3 sketches each)
1. Kerry Washington / Eminem
2. Tina Fey / Arcade Fire
3. Lena Dunham / The National
1. John Goodman / Kings of Leon
2. Bruce Willis / Katy Perry
Best Live Sketches
1. Cartoon Catchphrase
2. Bill Brasky
3. New Cast Member or Arcade Fire?
4. 80s Romance (a.k.a. the Outfield "Your Love" sketch)
5. Wedding Toast
Worst Live Sketches
1. Art Exhibit (a.k.a. Danny Trans)
2. Cheer Squad Abduction
3. Three Wise Guys
4. The Vogelchecks
5. Private Eyes
Best Short Films
1. (Do It On My) Twin Bed
3. The Beygency
4. Auditions for 12 Years A Slave
5. (tie) Ice Cream / Chris Fitzpatrick for ASB President
Worst Short Films
1. Dongs All Over The World
2. White Christmas
1. Jimmy Fallon
2. Kerry Washington
3. (tie) Edward Norton / Drake
none (There weren't really any hosts this season that can be called "bad". Even the hosts who some people were dreading beforehand like Lena Dunham, Jim Parsons, Lady Gaga, and Andrew Garfield all ended up doing decent jobs.)
Best Cold Openings
1. Kerry Washington is Forced to Play Various Black Female Celebrities Due to SNL's Lack of Diversity in the Cast
2. President Obama and Liam Neeson
3. CBC News Toronto: Rob Ford
Worst Cold Openings
1. The Sound of Music
2. Dancing Mascot
3. Halftime Spectacular
1. Louis C.K.
2. Andy Samberg
3. Tina Fey
1. Lady Gaga
2. John Goodman
3. Andrew Garfield
What I WANT the cast to look like next season
• MOYNIHAN (final season)
• Re-demote O'Brien back to the writing staff
• Re-promote Tim Robinson back to the cast
• No new cast members, unless it's one hired for Weekend Update (preferably a stand-up comic with an edgy style). If they instead had to choose within my cast list for a new Update anchor, then pick Beck Bennett and let him do Update in a mock-serious deadpan style, ala Chevy and Nealon
What I predict the cast WILL look like next season
• All of the repertory players returning except for Pedrad
• O'Brien getting re-demoted back to the writing staff
• Hard to predict what will happen to Wheelan... I can see them going either way on him, but I suspect that if they DO drop him from the cast, they'll move him over to the writing staff (which is what he was originally hired for in the first place)
• No new cast members
Well, folks... that wraps it up for the season and for me as a reviewer. (*starts to get a lump in my throat*) But before I give my goodbye speech and sign off for good, I'd like to do something special on a lighter note. You see, for the last few weeks, I've been skimming past all of my reviews from over the years as a trip down memory lane, and suddenly got an idea for a special compilation list I could do that would be fitting for the end of my final review. In all my years of being an SNL reviewer, I don't think I've been known as one to regularly make humorous comments or jokes in my reviews, at least not on a consistent basis. But skimming past my reviews, I was amused to come across a decent number of comments of mines that make me laugh a lot reading it nowadays, so I'd like to present to you a compilation of my funniest comments from over the years; a "Best Of" of sorts, if you will. Now, some of the comments in this compilation were intentional attempts at humor, some were not but come off looking funny in retrospect for varying reasons, some were really embarrassing or corny comments that now have me simultaneously laughing and asking "WTF was I thinking when I wrote that?", and some just crack me up regardless of whether they were intended to be funny or not. Here they all are, in chronological order.
from 11/18/00, my opinion at the time of the recurring "Dog Show" sketches:
This looks like some crap they got from the "All That" show from Nickelodeon.
from 11/18/00, in the first appearance of Molly Shannon's stand-up comedian character Jeannie Darcy:
...but please don't make this character recurring, or I'll be forced to throw tomatoes or likenesses of tomatoes at this stand-up comic.
then a few months later on 2/10/01 when they DID make the character recurring, here was my first response:
My box of tomatoes, please?
from 12/16/00, my pathetically lame attempt at starting my review with some humor:
Hi, I'm Stooge, and if you're sitting down, then stand up, fall on the floor, roll around, and sit back down again. Here's tonight's review...
I was watching MadTV tonight, and they did a sketch very similar to this. Of course, the obvious difference was that their sketch sucked and SNL's didn't.
from 1/20/01, in one of the shortest sketch reviews I've ever written:
I will only sum up this sketch in four words: I hate Molly Shannon!!!!!!!
from 3/10/01, my reaction to the TV Funhouse cartoon "Find the Black People at the Knick Game", which I didn't "get" at the time:
Four words. What the hell? Okay, that's three words, but who gives a flying rat's ass? (......) What the hell is Smigel smoking?
Message to NBC: Don't cut off the goodnights right when the host is in the middle of speaking, dummies!
Goodman's a lucky bastard for getting to carry Amy in that posture with her legs spread apart like that. However, I feel sorry for Dean [Edwards] having to carry Kattan that exact same way. Ugh!
Kattan's bit was just horrible and irritating. At least in his other random Update bits, it's just a 10 second walk-on, but this one went on way too long and stupid.
[I put that quote on this list simply because complaining about how something "went on way too long and stupid" just reads funny. Clearly, I must've made a typo and probably meant to say "went on way too long and was stupid".]
Great to see the return of Dean Edwards' only recurring character: Silent Background Man. Now we know why Dean was kept on the show this season!
Don [Pardo]'s voice sounded funny when he was saying Dean Edwards' name. Maybe he was trying hard not to laugh at the fact that Dean still hasn't gotten fired...
from 10/12/02, in yet ANOTHER joke I made at the expense of Dean Edwards' lack of airtime; this is a comment I made when pointing out how several cast members (none of whom were Dean) played useless non-speaking background characters in a "Merv the Perv" sketch from that night:
Maybe they were all auditioning for the new role of Silent Background Man. I hope this doesn't mean poor Dean really is gonna get the boot. None of them are as good at that role as Dean is, anyway.
from 11/2/02, a comment I made when discussing the high and low points of a "Jackass the Musical" sketch from that night:
Lowlights: Seeing Jeff "Wide-Shoulders" Richards shirtless.
then a little later in my review of that same sketch:
Did Jeff borrow those gold shorts from Mango? Either way, I did NOT need to see him in it.
from 11/2/02, when pointing out how Dean Edwards was absent in two consecutive episodes:
And Dean got the shaft AGAIN??? That's 2 episodes in a row! What, has this guy been demoted to trimming Lorne's fingernails during the live show?
from 12/7/02, in a prediction I made that could not have turned out to be any more incorrect:
Robert DeNiro's finally hosting, and I think it's a given that he'll do a great job.
from 1/11/03, my reaction to the infamous Jimmy Fallon/Horatio Sanz fish-tank repairmen sketch (which has got to be among the top 5 worst sketches I've ever reviewed in all of my 14 years):
GOOD LORD, this sucked horribly! Is SNL now using 1994-95 leftover scripts that were originally written for Farley and Sandler, because that's what this garbage sure looked like.
Any sketch centered around Rachel Dratch's rack has to be good.
They've been letting the featured players shine recently: Jeff Richards in the Jeff Gordon episode, Will Forte in the Ray Liotta episode, and Fred in this episode. Can we expect next week to be Dean's show??????????? Nah!
from 5/17/03, regarding the goodnights:
Wow, Tracy looked really sad about his departure. So sad, that he even held his goodbye sign upside down at first... Oops!!
from 10/23/04, my initial response to the infamous Ashlee Simpson lipsync malfunction:
BUSTED!! And then she just ran off-stage and they had to cut to commercial early... Hi-fucking-larious! I think we just found our official Funniest TV Moment of 2004.
It seems that even the CAST is now annoyed by Horatio's unprofessional crack-ups. Is the cast secretly members of this board???
from 2/5/05, in an infamous episode hosted by Paris Hilton:
Hey, Paris... Deion Sanders and Steven Seagal called - they wanted their "great" hosting skills back.
from 10/1/05, in Andy Samberg's very first appearance:
Andy Samberg's first line on SNL has him calling someone a "dick". That's gotta be a first for a newbie. Uh, interesting way of making your debut, I guess...
then a little later that same night, during Samberg and Bill Hader's "Impression-Off" on Weekend Update:
He [Andy] seems like he'll be a funny goofy guy and I think he has potential, even if he has a hairstyle that makes Jimmy Fallon's hair look normal and kempt by comparison.
Rachel [Dratch] as Eva Longoria??? Uh-uh. ABSOLUTELY not buyin' it.
from 12/10/05, in a comment about then-newbie Kristen Wiig that now feels very odd to read in retrospect:
I mean, somebody throw Wiig a bone. Couldn't they have given her something to actually DO tonight?
from 12/17/05, which aired near Christmas:
Wow, no Horatio at all tonight. The holidays are happy, indeed!
from 1/21/06, here's my personal title that I gave one of Horatio Sanz's god-awful "I'm Carol!" sketches:
SKETCH: Carol Needs to Die
from 1/21/06, in a harsh comment that epitomizes how much I hated the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler team-up on Weekend Update:
I liked seeing Tina and Amy getting rocks thrown at them in that Iraqi clip, because the audience should do that to them in EVERY Update as far as I’m concerned.
from 5/20/06, here's ANOTHER personal title that I gave to another one of Horatio's "I'm Carol!" sketches:
SKETCH: That Fat Dumb Bitch Carol
Darrell appearing in a sketch after 12:30? Isn't it past his bedtime?
from 10/7/06, in my review of one of Andy Samberg's "Kuato" sketches:
Overall, this sketch was terrible. If they HAD to do a sketch based on a character from Total Recall, I'd have rather seen one about the chick with three titties.
from 11/18/06, when Tenacious D was announced as the upcoming musical guest:
when’s the last time the show got a funny musical guest like Tenacious D? And no, Ashlee Simpson doesn't count.
from 3/24/07, in a comment that, like my "throw Wiig a bone" comment shown earlier, also feels very odd to read now in retrospect:
Even Hader was laughing a bit, which is very rare for him since he never breaks character.
Only halfway through her first episode, and Casey Wilson has already given us a nice eyeful of her cleavage in two different sketches. Yes, I’m a perv for pointing that out.
from 11/15/08, in my review of the "Everyone's a Critic" Digital Short:
Both new girls [Michaela] Watkins and [Abby] Elliott make their SNL debut in the bloody scene of everybody committing suicide. Wow, what a way to make a first impression!
from 9/26/09, when discussing Jenny Slate's infamous F-bomb from her first night:
I have to wonder if right after Jenny’s slip-up, Lorne sighed deeply and thought to himself “Maybe I shouldn’t have fired Casey and Michaela after all…”
I was wondering who the hell that was as the other Transformer, until he took the mask off and revealed he was Brian Austin Green making a cameo. Ugh. He should’ve kept the mask on.
from 4/10/10, in an episode featuring Justin Bieber as the musical guest making several sketch appearances:
When Seth asked Jason [Sudeikis, during one of his Weekend Update commentaries as The Devil] about having a son, I had a horrible feeling that Justin Bieber would make ANOTHER appearance. Thankfully, I was wrong, although Bieber playing the spawn of Satan would actually be VERY fitting when you think about it.
from 10/2/10, when pointing out during my review of one of Kristen Wiig's "Sexy Shana" sketches that Abby Elliott took over that sketch's "ignored girl" role that used to be played by both Casey Wilson and Jenny Slate:
So every time they do this sketch, whoever plays the “ignored girl” gets fired from SNL at the end of that season. Be afraid, Abby... be VERY afraid (*cue suspenseful music*).
[as it turned out, Abby defied the odds and SOMEHOW made it to another season]
from 12/4/10, in my review of a Blizzard Man sketch featuring Robert DeNiro and P. Diddy:
And now we get DeNiro in drag and simulating anal sex with Diddy? Okay, let’s end this sketch NOW!!!
from 12/18/10, my reaction to the debut of Taran Killam's Brad Pitt impression:
Wow, Taran Killam did a great Tony Danza impression! Too bad he was supposed to be playing Brad Pitt... Hey, maybe if SNL lets Taran play Tony Danza sometime, then he’ll accidentally do a dead-on Brad Pitt!
from 2/5/11, in response to Justin Bieber making several cameos throughout a Dana Carvey-hosted episode:
...now we have to endure this puberty-delayed elf stealing the spotlight on Dana Carvey’s night?!?
In just a single episode, Helen Mirren got to have her boobs groped by Nasim Pedrad and Kristen Wiig, AND 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.
Lorne must have been feeling extra generous this week... both Jay Pharoah AND Paul Brittain each have a big role in the live portion of the show tonight? It’s a miracle!... or is it a sign of the apocalypse???
from 11/5/11, in my review of a "Kings of Catchphrase Comedy" installment:
Oh, and Adam Levine randomly getting attacked by a hawk was a hilarious non-sequitur. Too bad that couldn’t have happened to him during Maroon 5’s musical performances tonight...
from 3/3/12, in my review of Lindsay Lohan's monologue:
Hopefully, there was a security guard with a taser near that unseen audience member who yelled out “AHH!!!!! KRISTEN WIIG!!!!!” when Kristen appeared.
from 3/3/12, my initial response to that utterly bizarre Digital Short with Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig sharing a giant afro:
Three words: WHAT... THE... HAYYULL???
Wow, the new girl [Kate McKinnon] gets her own starring sketch in her debut episode. Congratulations! Meanwhile, Jay Pharoah - who is nowhere to be seen so far tonight - is probably weeping backstage. But, uh, I digress...
from 5/19/12, in response to "The Lawrence Welk Show" and "Secret Word" popping up in Kristen Wiig's final episode as a cast member:
Hey, SNL? How about putting on some of Kristen’s actual GOOD recurring characters to end her tenure with? You know, such as the Two A-Holes and... uh... well, there’s also... uh... I’ll get back to you on that. SPOILER ALERT: I won’t.
from 5/19/12, when the great "Lazy Sunday 2" short was followed immediately by a "Politics Nation with Al Sharpton" sketch:
Well, way to piss all over the great mood the Digital Short just put me in, SNL.
from 2/16/13, here's my rating for one of Fred Armisen's infamous "Regine" sketches, which perfectly sums up the terribleness of those sketches:
Two GD-bombs from Kevin [Hart] in one night? Did Norm MacDonald give him hosting tips before the show?
Kenan Bug-Eyed Reaction Shot #2 tonight... Man, if this keeps up, it's soon gonna get to the point where we can play a weekly drinking game out of it.
Hmm, Kate got to have Charlize Theron rubbing her arm, getting very close to her, and giving her naughty sexual looks all throughout this... Did Kate write this sketch herself? ;)
You know, after what happened with Paul Brittain unfairly getting shafted a few years ago and what's likely to happen with Milhiser after this season ends, I'm starting to think that SNL needs to put up a sign outside their studio that says "Short Guys Need Not Apply".
The worse and worse this sketch [The Vogelchecks] kept getting as it progressed, the more I wondered to myself what would be the lesser of three evils: sitting through this colossal laughless waste of time, sitting through a reprisal of The Californians, or sitting through the return of Garth & Kat. What answer did I come up with? Suicide.
And, well... that's it, everyone. I can't believe we've reached the official end of my reviewing tenure, but here we are. (*starts to get a lump in my throat again*) Typing my goodbyes is going to be more emotional for me than you might expect, but these reviews have been a part of my life for so long... in fact, so long that it's hard for me to believe that there even used to be a time that I DIDN'T review SNL on a weekly basis. It's become a huge part of me, and it's going to feel odd letting it go. I mean, for crying out loud, when I first started as a reviewer, Molly Shannon was still in the cast, just to show you how long its been! I was only 16 years old when I did my very first SNL review, and now I'm about to turn 30 in two months, meaning I was an SNL reviewer for literally almost half of my life. When the next season of SNL starts this fall, I just know it's going to feel weird for me those first few weeks not having to write a review anymore. I can already tell that's going to take some getting used to.
As I said last year when I first announced my decision to retire from reviewing, I won't be disappearing from the boards afterwards. Quite the contrary, in fact. You guys will be seeing more from me. Before, I used to make non-review posts on this board only occasionally, even though I read this board regularly. But now, I'll try to post on a regular basis, throwing in my .02 cents where I see fit and even starting my own threads whenever I feel inspired to.
At this point, I have a surprise announcement to make right now: starting this summer, I'm going to be re-posting my old reviews from 2000-2008 onto both this and the other SNL board. My reviews from 2008-2014 are already archived on the other board (except for the Taylor Swift episode from 2009, as the original review thread for that episode mysteriously disappeared and I unfortunately never got a chance to save my review from that thread before it vanished), so I figured now that I'm going to be retired from reviewing, why not have ALL of my reviews available? However, be warned that I don't have every single one of my reviews from 2000-2008 handy. Some of them unfortunately got lost over the years - mainly a large chunk of the 2000-01 season and most of the first half of the 2005-06 season. I'm using archive.org/web to find my missing reviews, but I haven't had much luck so far. In the meantime, I'll re-post the 2000-2008 reviews that I still have, and I'll be going one-by-one, in chronological order, starting from my very first review ever (Charlize Theron/Paul Simon). By the way, I'll skip the Peyton Manning episode from 2007, because my review of that episode has already been re-posted on the other board a few years ago.
Before I sign off for good as a reviewer, I want to bring up how last year, I explained that the whole reason for my retirement is because I had become burned out on writing reviews and felt that the joy had gone away. I went into that a little further a few months into the season during my review of the Josh Hutcherson episode, where it had REALLY started feeling like a chore for me to continue reviewing and I had been having a difficult time coming up with anything to say about any of the sketches, which is why for the next few months after that, I had used a different, shorter reviewing format where I didn't have to write as much. However, that new format ended up being short-lived, and I soon went back to my old tried-and-true format. And these last few months, the joy I used to have in reviewing slowly came back to me and I was able to come up with plenty of stuff to say about the sketches, just like the good ol' days of my reviewing tenure... in fact, some recent sketch reviews of mine have been some of the longest I've ever written (i.e. "Bikini Beach Party" last week, the "Bass Drop" Digital Short this week). While I still feel this is the perfect time to hang it up as a reviewer, I'm glad that I was able to end my tenure with what I feel was a bang.
The main reason I'm bringing up all of that stuff in the above paragraph is because I want to let you guys know that YOU are the reason and motivation for why I kept going as a reviewer. I honestly first started getting burned out on doing reviews about two years ago somewhere around the middle of the 2011-12 season, and I could've just quit right then and there, but I knew that there were a lot of you guys who enjoy reading my reviews and I didn't want to disappoint anyone by just stopping abruptly with no prior announcement or anything. The positive feedback I usually got from you guys in response to my reviews is what kept me going all the way to the point we've now reached. Thank you so much for that, everyone. And thank you to anyone who ever took the time to read any my reviews from over the years. Thank you to the people on this board who gave me a heartfelt thanks and goodbye these last few days and made me feel honored and appreciated (special thanks to The Doc for the going-away present you gave me in your review - LOVED IT!). And finally, thank you to the undisputed greatest SNL reviewer of all-time: Mark Polishuk, who's the whole reason I started writing SNL reviews in the first place and has been a huge influence on me as a reviewer over the years. All-in-all, thank you EVERYONE for making these 14 years possible. Good night!