Before we get to the review, something’s been bothering me a little bit since the season started. Mainly, my inability to tell which New Cast Member is which (and thank you Casey Killingsworth for constantly reminding me of my errors). So in an effort to educate myself—and others—as to which is which, I now present these Cliff Notes:
Beck Bennett = Tall & reasonably athletic looking (In a “Stan Smith” kind of way), Sizeable Jawline, Brown Eyes, Sandy Hair, AT&T Guy/Baby Man.
John Milheiser = Short, Normal Jawline, Brown Eyes, Dark but cropped hair, Played Jon Cryer
Kyle Mooney = Average Height, Normal Jawline, Brown Eyes, “Bedhead” hair, could be easily mistaken for Fred Armisen if/when he gets a haircut & more “hipster” looking glasses.
Mike O’Brien = Tall & Gawky, Blue Eyes, Bad Teeth, is now the go-to “Weird” guy in the cast.
Noel Wells = Woman…duh.
Brooks Wheelan = Skinny, Blue Eyed, Brown Hair (sometimes with blonde tips), Tattoos, Can Easily pass for Stefon’s Brother/Cousin.
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s get to what we came here for…Simply put, I like Paul Rudd.
A lot of us like him, he’s done a number of memorable things in his career, and who hasn’t enjoyed the “Mac & Me” joke he pulls on Conan every so often? All in all, he seems like a good guy and a good actor…so why is it that whenever he hosts SNL, it just so HAPPENS that something—shall we say—“bigger” comes along that would eclipse Paul’s potential to really put himself out there as a host? In 2008; despite his best efforts, he was all but eclipsed by Beyoncé, a surprise appearance by one Mr. Timberlake, and sketches that responded to the (then) vote on Proposition 8 in California (AKA the “Anti-Gay Marriage Bill” that has since been overturned—thankfully.). Then again, to be fair, it was Paul’s first time, so maybe he could be given a second chance to show off his skills on his own merits. Cut to 2010, Paul has his second chance…Unfortunately, there just happens to have been Another Paul in the picture. Yes, Paul Brittan was struggling as a featured player and being Bob Newhart’s Nephew, but despite everything………….Ahh, Just Kidding! You know I’m talking about Paul McCartney. Nothing personal against his performance on that show (Especially with his mini-tribute to John Lennon to close things out), but once again, Rudd had to blend in with the rest of the crowd while Macca did his thing.
Cut to 2013. Paul Rudd returns for a 3rd time, and despite a Tween-baiting boy band being on board this time around, it looks like that Paul might FINALLY get a chance to show SNL what he’s made of……….Which is something I would say with confidence if it weren’t for a certain movie he’s gonna be co-starring in this Christmas alongside one of the biggest SNL Alums EVER (Among certain OTHER, More Important News items this week). But as always, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s see how long we can go in the show without a touch of Scotchy Scotch Scotch…SOUND OF MUSIC:
I know what you’re thinking…you’re thinking that the entire S-N-L.com message board collectively thought “No…NO…NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” at the sight of Kristen Wiig’s “Dooneese” showing up. To which I say, get over it! I’ve always believed a couple of things; One is that absence makes the heart grow fonder (It Has been a little over a year), and two is that as long as the scenario is different, give it a chance. Having said that, despite mixing things up a little (I.e Wiig Grabbing Everybody, not just the man), and despite the Dooneese character actually working somewhat well here (Especially while singing “Climb Every Mountain”), it was pretty much the same schtick Minus Lawrence Welk… (*WATCHES THE END*) God Damn It! Oh well, at least Fred was thankfully brief here. And despite how unnecessary their cameos were, I have a feeling that this is going to set the pace for the evening.SCORE:
7 out of 10 Cue Cards Carrie Underwood needed to act (Seriously, Carrie Underwood as Maria?!)MONOLOGUE:
Well, THAT didn’t take long, did it? Although I gotta say, I’m Glad Ferrell & Co. did it out of character. Not that it would’ve been a bad thing if it was in character, but there’s only so much commitment to a bit that should be done before it runs itself into the ground…even if it’s part of a major publicity blitz for the movie. Be that as it may, the one factor that is going to divide the crowd is One Direction’s participation in it. On the one hand, I F***ing hate boy bands and/or tween media—and I’m thankfully NOT the only one who does. But to be fair, the boys’ harmonies mix pretty well with the rest of the Channel 4 News Team (Speaking of which, it’s been TOO Long since you last appeared at Studio 8H, David Koechner...Welcome home, if only for a little while). As far as actual comedy goes, it takes a backseat to the fact that the friggin cast of “Anchorman” is on stage together (Yeah, I know, SNL found a way to lose Paul Rudd in the shuffle for the 3rd time [which I’m glad Paul himself has acknowledged]…But who cares? It’s the Friggin cast of “Anchorman”!).SCORE:
7 out of 10 of the times it works every time (Had to minus 2 points for use of “One Direction” and 1 point for not quite hitting the harmonies 100% of the time).POLITICS NATION:
Ok Internet, NOW you can say “No…NO…NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” The one good thing I can say about this was that it was shorter than the previous instalments. Otherwise, what can be said about the Sharpton sketches that haven’t already been said before? Kenan has limited vocal range, the one joke is that he mispronounces words Norm Crosby style, and the fact that Kenan is bigger than the Real Al Sharpton actually does a Disservice to the Real Al Sharpton (Which is VERY Rare to do). Paul did very little to contribute; and on another note, he kinda reminded me of House Minority leader Eric Cantor with the Gray suit & Glasses. I guess this could be rationalized by saying that with the Cameo-fueled blitz we have, it’s OK to get away with ONE bad sketch…as long as there isn’t another bad one coming…….Right?SCORE:
2 out of 10 Prison shows MSNBC airs on the Weekends after “Melissa Harris-Perry”ONE DIRECTION’S #1 FAN
: Why do I have a feeling that this is something Andy Samberg would do if he were still on the show? (Paul kinda looked like him a little, didn’t he?) Regardless, this was handled pretty well with very minimal “Stranger Danger” subtext (Despite a Very uncomfortable laugh at the “When I Say One D- You say Rection!” joke). This is gonna sound weird, but I honestly don’t see Paul Rudd with a bunch of girls when I watch this. Rather, I see Paul Pretending he’s a Girl but he happens to be in an adult body. How else can you explain the girls he’s speaking to NOT recoiling in horror when a stranger is approaching them? I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder as to how you’d interpret the sketch; as for whether it was actually funny or not, I’m just going to say it was Awkward…of course, One Direction being showcased instantly loses points with me, but at least Paul’s professionalism made up for it…barely.SCORE:
7 out of 10 Pairs of Earplugs I need to avoid screaming fangirls.DINER DIVORCE:
Well, when one uses a Fleetwood Mac song, I better remember as much as I can before the inevitable hulu cut (Late hours can totally mess up your memory sometimes). From what I recall, this was just OK. The song choice they went with was a little overbearing after a while, but it did help lay some of the jokes down a little. Vanessa’s part was OK, but I’m especially glad Paul is FINALLY given a chance to perform properly without any extra gimmicks and/or Al Sharpton (Sorry, I’m still hung up on that, How is it funny again?).SCORE:
7 out of 10 Blue Plate Specials.UPDATE:
Seth’s best: Walmart Black Friday Sale, Staten Island Obesity, and Christmas Tinner.
Cecily’s best: Student Test Scores, Bad Sex Story Award.
Commentaries: I grow very weary of the Bar mitzvah boy…and I’M Jewish…but it could be worse, it could be Garth & Kat… (*WATCHES THE REST CAUTIOUSLY KNOWING FRED & WIIG ARE IN THE BUILDING*)…Phew, That was a close one! Moving on, I saw the first Jebidiah Atkinson piece during the Lady Gaga show, and it was a pretty solid character—somehow it reminded me of “The Onion: Our Dumb Century” for some reason, but I digress. After seeing Round 2 (And despite mis-placed cards & Ad Libbing the rest), I think I may have found my NEW Favorite Update Character (Sorry, Drunk Uncle). I have a feeling that they can only get away with saying these things because of the kind of character being shown. If it were a modern day character, there would probably be a bigger backlash. But since it’s a 19th century man, somehow that makes it OK (ESPECIALLY With the Brian Griffin slam…Sidebar: He’ll be back, ever see “Star Trek III”?). Back to Jacob for a second, I think this might have been the first time they openly mention that Seth will be leaving us soon…Thanks for reminding us.
CECILYWATCH: Seriously, Stop giggling at your jokes. You’re going to be on your own soon, you gotta shape up!SCORE:
7 out of 10 Melissa Harris-Perry’s (Yes, I used her Twice this week. What can I say, I like her show.)MICHAELANGELO’S DAVID:
Must……Resist…..Simpsons……Joke…..Must……Resist…..Simpsons……Joke…..Ah, Screw It!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfUJRdHSukA
I was going to use Family Guy’s joke, but…well…you know…Brian & everything….also the clip is not online. Anyway, Now that we got that out of the way, I’m honestly surprised it’s taken SNL 39 Years to do a joke like this (And no, “E. Buzz Miller” doesn’t count). For the most part, this was pretty lame--Though I do give Jay Credit for injecting a little life into it. Otherwise, who hasn’t made fun of David’s junk before in the past 500 years?SCORE:
4 out of 10 weeks the statue is on loan at The Met.WHITE CHRISTMAS (No, not THAT one):
Here’s another Movie Trailer Parody that I’m sure people are going to be highly mixed towards (I.e. “She’s got a D***”). I think we’ve all seen Tyler Perry movies (and/or trailers) long enough to know how the formula works, so on that merit, they do capture the style pretty well. For those who haven’t, you’re not really missing that much other than a “Lather, Rinse, Repeat” formula. Paul still (scarily) reminds me of Andy Samberg in his White Madea get-up, Mike O’Brien continues to be Tall, Gawky & Awkward, and the rest of the trailer just hinges on the one joke of this being a White Tyler Perry movie. Nothing too special here.SCORE:
6 out of 10 more “Madea” sequels until Tyler Perry buys his own Island.SKINNY SANTA:
Thanks to my Cliff notes, that’s Milheiser as the head elf, Mooney is another elf, and Wells is a very cute lady elf (duh!). Now that that’s out of the way, Paul did his best and Kate picked up some of the slack, but it was the elves that had the “best” lines. Unfortunately, one or two good lines doesn’t make up for how preachy it got toward the end. If you’re going to make Santa a Lean, Mean, Douchebag, keep him a douchebag, but don’t get preachy—it kinda contradicts the whole thing. I don’t see this being a part of any Christmas Clip show any time soon.SCORE:
4 out of 10 Peppermint Protein Shakes.PAST LOVERS:
Careful, Cecily, you’re turning me on… (*SLAP*) Thanks, I deserve that. Paul continues to make his presence known, only this time he’s trading the Straight role for something that’s funny…ish Unfortunately he was the Only “Funny” part of the thing (and Bobby, too, but his part was all too brief). Everything else was played up kinda Pseudo-seriously. Premise was pretty straightforward otherwise, and it might’ve helped if Paul wasn’t the only one making the jokes.SCORE:
5 out of 10 Free Sodas with a Purchase of a Medium Pie at Papa John’sBILL BRASKY RETURNS:
I’ll be honest, when the “Brasky” sketches first came out, I disregarded them as just another 12:50 sketch…Then again, I was only 11 when I first saw it, so my comprehension of “Adult” humor had not quite developed yet (Despite enjoying/understanding Norm MacDonald’s “Updates”). But eventually, thanks to hindsight, I grew to enjoy the Brasky sketches thanks—in part—to appreciating non-sequitur style comedy. This was no exception, but unfortunately it just didn’t feel quite the same. Maybe if they waited for John Goodman to show up next week, it would’ve been perfect. My favorite lines included:
*Kissing Coma Patients
*Making Love to a Box of Kleenex
*Urine Stream/Uncooked steak
*The True Meaning of Kwanzaa
*The fact that this all takes place at a Chuck E. Cheese…that SOMEHOW has a Bar.
As to why there was very little reaction from the audience, you’re guess is as good as mine…………..
To Bill Brasky… (BILL BRASKY!!!)SCORE:
8 out of 10 Tall Tales & LegendsFINAL SCORE: 64 out of 110 (58.1% WATCHABLE)FINAL THOUGHTS:
Despite early hope/fear for a Cameo filled Bonanza, this was surprisingly average (Ferrell & Co. Notwithstanding). On the plus side, Paul actually managed to step into the spotlight more than once this time. Maybe when he hosts his inevitable 4th time, I REALLY Hope he can do it 100% on his own merits, and not because an SNL alum (or anything else bigger for that matter) happens to be there. For the few times he scored, he did pretty well.NEXT WEEK:
Speaking of one of the biggest SNL Alums Ever (In terms of Host/Cast/Weight [sorry] or otherwise), John Goodman makes his triumphant return to 8H at about 75 lbs. lighter than when we saw him last. Should be interesting to see how he interacts with a cast he has Zero connection with.AND FINALLY:
No further words are necessary, other than these…http://youtu.be/844oPFWG6Lg?t=26s
Good Night, Good Luck, and Godspeed Madiba…