Lucy Liu / Jay-Z
December 16, 2000


**** WILL FERRELL GREATEST MOMENTS ****

This season, I would like to honor a man who I feel has been one of the best SNL performers of all time. Will Ferrell is likely in his last season, and I feel that he may be the most versatile SNL castmember of all time. He can do comedic roles, slapstick, and even play the straight man if he is asked to. Last season, I ranked all SNL castmembers by their value to their respective cast, their contributions, and how much they "carried" a cast all by themselves. Only Eddie Murphy (1980-83) ranked higher in how much he meant to his cast.

With each episode review this season, I am including one of my favorite Will Ferrell SNL moments (in no particular order):

8. Ellen DeGeneres Commentary - March 16, 1996. Host: John Goodman

This one took balls.

Out of all the things he has done on SNL, this was probably the one that was the most questionable. He was not playing a character, he was not in costume, and he was not very likeable. He was doing a commentary on Weekend Update and, basically, just talked about Ellen DeGeneres and her recent coming out of the closet. And then he threw up. All over. And kept vomiting every time he thought about lesbians.

Here is the commentary:

Will: Like everyone in the country, I saw the historic episode of Ellen and, of course, I loved it. I don't know what it is, but when a first class comedian spoofs gay people, it always makes me laugh. Hey, let's face it. Gays are funny. I love Billy Crystal on Soap, and that Harvey Fierstein impression of a homosexual couldn't be more dead-on. Heck, even I do a funny gay guy around the office. You know, Judy Garland, fresh cut flowers, interior decorating, it's all in good fun, why not? I'm no homophobe. So Ellen DeGeneres, I salute you. There's no controversy here, she's just a damn good comedian who's able to get laughs pretending she's a lesbian. And if that's wrong, then that's MY kind of wrong.

Norm MacDonald: Well, Will, now, she's not exactly pretending.

Will: How's that?

Norm: I mean, she wasn't on the cover of Time magazine for pretending she was gay. She really is gay.

Will: Ellen DeGeneres is gay? The REAL Ellen DeGeneres?

Norm: Yes, she's a lesbian.

Will: (gets a real sick look on his face) Oh my God. I'm gonna be sick.

At this point, Will puts his hand up to his mouth and starts vomiting. (It's that "hose up the sleeve trick" that always looks so fake). But Will really sells it, his face turns bright red and he really looks like he is nauseated.

Norm: Hey, are you okay there, buddy? Will, are you all right?

Will: No, I'm NOT.

Norm: It's not a big deal. Will, it's okay. She just has sex with women, that's all.

Will: God, WHY did you put that dirty, sickening image in my mind? Oh no, here it comes again..

Will vomits all over the desk again, chunky orange puke that splashes all over Norm's desk and notes.

Norm: (laughing) Good God, she's just a lesbian!

Will Just STOP IT! Please STO...

More puke, this time aimed towards Norm's lap. As Will is puking, he falls off his chair and ends his segment. Will's part ends there, but Norm still has two more jokes to do. The first one bombs because there is puke all over the Update desk, so Norm pulls out his tape recorder and says: "Note to self... never ever following a vomit spewing guy with a joke." He then picks up a handful of the vomit and EATS IT. Truly a proud day in SNL history.

This was not the funniest Will Ferrell moment ever, or the most memorable, it just took the most balls to do.

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[OVERVIEW]
I don't know too much about Lucy Liu but I always got the impression she kind of had a stick up her butt. You know, uptight, humorless, etc. We'll see if that changes but I'm not really expecting much tonight. If she proves me otherwise, I will be the first to praise her. As I said last week, she is probably the first Asian female to ever host, which is a big deal. I always thought Tia Carrere would be first. Oh well. On with the show!

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[COLD OPENING]Bush/Gore at Chi-Chi's
Will Ferrell's Bush impression has been getting funnier and funnier, and this was the sketch that I feel cemented his status among the best SNL presidential impressions. His giggle, his squint, his overuse of the word "cool", and his mispronounced words are always funny. I particularly liked how he butchered "jalapenos" and how he kept calling the waiter "Louise" instead of Luis. This was a great idea, moving Bush/Gore out of the debates and into a real life situation. I also had to laugh when Bush got Gore to eat the hot pepper, giggling to himself while waiting for Gore to react. It was very similar to one of my favorite scenes in DUMB AND DUMBER. Hot peppers are always good for a laugh.

"I'm President? Oh man, this is gonna be cool!"

Grade: A

 

[MONOLOGUE]Lucy Liu
I really didn't think Lucy Liu would be very funny, as she always gave off the impression of being uptight. But she really impressed me. She was very funny and likeable just being herself. She even waved to her dad in the front row, how sweet. As I pointed out in my review last week, she is the first Asian female to ever host (I don't know if she is the first cross-eyed person to host, though, she didn't mention that.) The Asian stereotypes were all funny, especially the "eating dog" one. I noticed that Lucy didn't even look like herself in most of the clips, she must be a pretty decent actress. I did notice that they didn't dispel the "Asian females can't drive" stereotype. That one, of course, is true.

Grade: A-

 

[COMMERCIAL]William Shatner for Priceline
A great idea, but went on way too long. Darrell's impression sounded more like Regis Philbin than William Shatner anyway.

"Now you can name your own price for shares of Priceline.com, and most folks are naming them around a buck seventy-eight."

Grade: C-

 

[SKETCH]TRL with Gemini's Twin
I really don't watch MTV or TRL much at all, so I'm probably not the best one to rate this. I couldn't really care less about Carson Daly. Of course, I am in favor of any sketch featuring Maya Rudolph in hotpants. As I pointed out last time Gemini's Twin appeared, I think Ana Gasteyer looks too old to fit in with the other two. She's a little out of place. The real highlight of this sketch was Lucy Liu, as she was a decent singer and had a perfect amount of attitude. The "minivan" line cracked me up. All three of them did a good job, and could probably pass for a real singing group. A really well done effort.

Grade: A-

P.S. I just watched this sketch on tape after I wrote this review, and wanted to point out again how good Lucy Liu was.

 

[SKETCH]Celebrity Jeopardy
Damn, that was a good Robin Williams impression. It probably would have been funnier if Jimmy was dressed in a "Mork" outfit, because Robin isn't quite that hyper anymore. I guess being off drugs will do that. I would like to get on my Jimmy Fallon soapbox here yet again and point out how talented and funny he is. Since he is so popular among female fans and gets squeals of delight everytime he opens his mouth, I think his talent gets underestimated. He should be off Weekend Update and doing as many impressions as possible. The only impressionist I have seen with so much natural talent was a young Jim Carrey (before he came to Hollywood). Catherine Zeta-Jones was kind of boring, not much for her to do. Although I did appreciate that they had Lucy Liu playing a non-Asian role. A lot of sketch comedy won't allow people to play outside their race (Darrell Hammond as Jesse Jackson is one of the few exceptions). Darrell Hammond is just phoning in his Connery impression by now, he doesn't have to try anymore.

I always have mixed feelings about Jeopardy sketches. I don't like how they have moved away from the original format. They used to be more subtly funny, and now they have gotten more and more outrageous. I also think they have done this sketch to death. But then every time it is on, someone shows up with a great new impression (usually Jimmy Fallon) and I laugh my ass off. Celebrity Jeopardy is always funny. There, I said it.

Grade: A

P.S. Sean Connery smacked Alex Trebek in the head at the end. This marked the second time in the show that Darrell Hammond smacked Will Ferrell (he did it in the cold opening.) I wonder if that's a record for two actors in the same show.

 

[SKETCH]Pretty Living
1. No!!!!
2. Please STOP with the Molly Shannon beaver shots.

Seriously, among all the SNL reviewers, this is probably the least popular recurring character and least popular recurring sketch. At least do something NEW with her sometime in the near future, like perhaps a snuff film? Or better yet, don't do anything with her again.

Grade: F

 

[SKETCH]Jaret's Room
This was a decent attempt to start a new recurring character, but just wasn't that funny. Jimmy Fallon can coast by on his charisma, but for Jaret's Room to take off, it will need to get better. Horatio Sanz wasn't very good as the stoner buddy, I think he overacts horribly and it really ruins some of his comedic potential. Think how funny Jim Breuer would have been in this role as the stoner. Also, Horatio does this really annoying laugh where he sticks his tongue out, and it's just kind of irritating (He does the same thing when he plays Jasper Hahn.) I have started to sour on Horatio this season, I don't think he's ever going to be a big star like SNL hoped. Chris Parnell showed up and did nothing, I wish SNL would start using him more this season. Lucy Liu, once again, did a good job playing against her normal roles.

Jaret's Room will probably return, but will have to be funnier in the future.

Grade: C+

 

[THE FAKE NEWS]Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, James Madison, New Year's baby
Jimmy never cares about his hair, does he? I saw him in person last year and it was the same way, hair scattered every which direction. Just an observation. Tina's joke about Colin Powell was a little too true to be funny. Bush: "Please black people, don't hate me."
For some reason, Rachel's James Madison really cracked me up. I've always been a big Dratch fan, and her look when clicking the pencil had me laughing. Please use her more, SNL. Hilary Clinton's new book is called "Why I throw things." Ha ha ha! The Baby New Year thing was a decent idea. Tina and Jimmy sure got a kick out of it. At least Chris Kattan has found some decent roles for himself lately. Although I have a 9 month old baby and I can guarantee you that she wouldn't lay that still to be changed.

Any joke making fun of the WNBA is fine by me. Same with any joke making fun of Alex Rodriguez, since I am from Seattle and he just left the Mariners to go to the Rangers. Although he'll have to do a lot worse to catch up to the king of the ex-Mariner a**hole/pedophiles, Ken Griffey.

Jimmy ended Update with some of his trademark great song parodies. He's just awesome.

Grade: B

 

[MUSICAL GUEST]Jay-Zee
Rap music sucks.

 

[SKETCH]Christmas Ornaments
A pretty forgettable sketch except for two things: 1. The terrible kid actors who had to keep looking at the director for their cues. 2. The dog who screwed up and didn't bite the star like he was supposed to. As the rules goes: Don't ever work with children or animals on live TV.

Lucy Liu's character was sweet.

Grade: C

 

[SKETCH]Robert Goulet with Jay-Zee
This sketch is a little too bizarre even for me. Besides, the rap guys obviously didn't know their lines and Will was trying to cover for them. There were rumors that two swear words popped up in this sketch. Will Ferrell did NOT say the "f" word, he said "fluck." But Jay-Zee DID say the "s" word when he burned himself. He burns himself, says "sh*t", and Will turns around and breaks character for a second. I know this because on the West Coast feed, it was bleeped out. So only people on the East Coast got to hear it, but there was a little curse word dropped in there. Oh yeah, the sketch kind of sucked. As the rule goes: Don't ever work with children or animals or rap singers on live TV.

Grade: C

 

[MUSICAL GUEST]Jay-Zee
If you find a melody, let us know.

 

[SKETCH]Christmas Song
Gee, the exact same sketch as last week. At least they did it a little better this time around. If they do it every week for the next 7 weeks, maybe they will work their way up to an A. It wasn't bad at all this week, but I can't give a good grade for recycled material.

Tracy Morgan standing still and dancing was the funniest thing he has done in two years.

Grade: C+

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[SUMMARY]

Lucy Liu was a great host. She is very funny, likeable and sweet. Nothing like most of the characters she plays in movies or on TV. So I take it all back, I like her now and find her very talented. Sorry for my doubts, Lucy.

Now the show kind of sucked. It started off strong, but fizzled badly afterwards. Jimmy Fallon got a lot of airtime, which is always good.

Chris Parnell and Rachel Dratch are criminally underused so far this season. Dratch I can understand, since she is unproven and kind of an acquired taste. But personally I would dump Molly Shannon ASAP and move Rachel in for some new blood. But to not use Chris Parnell is idiotic. He is the best straight man on the show and has a terrific comic side as well. Parnell and Fallon should be leading this show into its next generation.

That's it for 2000, next up is Charlie Sheen. I've always found him to be hilarious, I bet he has a hell of a sense of humor. They couldn't get a better host, especially because you know they will have sketches making fun of his questionable past.

 

For a personal plug... visit my webpage at http://members.aol.com/MLanza1974. The highlight of my page is a journal of a 3 week trip my wife and I took across the country in 1996. It's a fun site.


Episode Review written by Mario Lanza


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