Conan O'Brien / Don Henley
March 10, 2001


I'm stuck for a way to open this review, so I decided to plug some of my
favourite websites. I don't actually know how to make the links, but I'm
sure that you all won't mind typing in the addresses and getting ever so
closer to developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

www.theonion.com -- The funniest news parody site possibly ever. I probably
don't need to plug it, since it's so damn popular, but if you haven't been
GO NOW...well, read the review first. Then go.

www.swanbomb.com -- A downright bizarre webpage. The webmaster is
(supposedly) a 20-something girl from Virginia who rants about everything
from pro wrestling to Jewel. I personally find a lot of it funny, but
that's because I am twisted. If you have a REALLY disturbed sense of
humour, this is the place to go. Extra points for the cool design.

www.x-entertainment.com -- A pop culture site that features many
ridiculously extensive articles about such things as old cartoon shows,
classic Nintendo games, cheesy 80's movies, and all sorts of wacky stuff.
It's all tongue-in-cheek, so these guys aren't REALLY that nerdy. I think.

www.jumptheshark.com -- The concept here is that people write in give their
opinion on when various TV shows started to go downhill. That moment is
called "jumping the shark," since the Fonz did that very stunt on an episode
of Happy Days. I think that also might've been the one where the
Fonz worries that he's losing his cool.

www.mightybigtv.com -- Extensive and funny reviews of a few dozen popular TV
shows. If you miss an episode of one of your favourite shows, you can get
instantly caught up here. The message boards are also famed throughout the
entire Internet; Aaron Sorkin (creator of The West Wing) even posts
there. I also notice that they won't have an SNL reviewer...hmm...

www.pwtorch.com -- Since quite a few of you seem to be wrestling fans, this
is the best site for wrestling news and commentary on the Internet. Several
new stories are posted every day, and it's all quite interesting.

www.wordsmith.org -- A grammar site that allows you to find anagrams for
various words. An anagram for Mark Polishuk is "Hi, OK rump Salk." This is
a helpful greeting if you ever meet the discoverer of the polio vaccine and
want to compliment his shapely ass.

www.interference.com -- A great U2 site, with news, mp3s, and a HUGE message
board section. If you ever go into the boards, my tag is PopFly. Wow, I
just used the phrase "my tag is..." How lame am I?

www.voy.com/16069 -- Of course, the new address for the Jordan Davidson SNL
Message Board. This is included as a service to the people who aren't
message board regulars and only read these reviews at
saturday-night-live.com

SHOW OVERVIEW
Conan O'Brien, former SNL writer, makes his return to the show after seven
years. He is now the only former SNL writer (who was only a writer) to ever
return to host the show. This record will no doubt stand until T. Sean
Shannon lets his natural charisma break free and becomes the biggest star in
the history of Hollywood. Don't look at me like that, it could happen.
Anyway, Conan hosts the hilarious Late Night with Conan O'Brien talk
show, which worked out pretty well for NBC since it saved them the trouble
of changing the name of the program. Conan's presence will likely mean that
tonight's SNL will be a bit stilted towards his type of dry, slightly
cerebral and otherwise just silly humour. In other words, yay.

The musical guest is Don Henley, former member of the Eagles. Now, this
will probably get me some angry e-mail, but....

MARK'S NOT AT ALL RIPPING OFF HIGH FIDELITY LIST OF THE TOP FIVE MOST
OVERRATED BANDS OF ALL TIME
1. Nirvana
2. The Sex Pistols
3. Led Zeppelin
4. The Eagles
5. The Rolling Stones

The Eagles to me always seemed the very definition of a one-hit wonder band,
but it's just that their one hit was "Hotel California," one of the biggest
hits of all time. Then again, their greatest hits album was one of (if not
the) highest selling ever, so they probably had a few more songs that I'm
not down with, ma homie. But the Eagles are really beside the point, since
Don Henley himself is the musical guest. Since his solo career has been
mostly comprised of such adult contemporary crap, maybe it's better just to
recall his days as an Eagle. Also, he's supposed to be one of the most
egotistical people in music (and that's saying something), so overall, I'm
not looking forward to Donny boy.

I'm watching the show with my friend Dave and my cousin Diana, both of whom
will be making the occasional comment.

[COLD OPENING] Wake Me When Cheney Is Dead
While President Dubya subsists on 14 hours of sleep daily, I have learned to
get by with about 5. University workloads tend to do that to a person.
Perhaps Lorne Michaels was also asleep when he approved this sketch; it
wasn't exactly the most interesting political sketch ever aired. As much
press as SNL gets for the Will as Bush bits, they are REALLY starting to
drag. This one had its moments, but overall couldn't quite cut the mustard.
It cut through the relish quite easily, just barely eclipsed the ketchup,
but the mustard proved to be impenetrable. B-

[MONOLOGUE] The Best of Conan O'Brien, Now Available From Broadway
Video

I guess since SNL couldn't get Steve Martin to host the 500th show next
week, they decided to pay tribute by having Conan do one of Steve's famed
"walking" monologues. Even the paramedics left Dick Cheney to follow Conan
on his magical mystery tour of the NBC studios. The cool thing was I was on
a tour of those same studios last May, so those hallways looked quite
familiar. I even got to see that same desk where Max Weinberg
was...uh...doing an extended solo, shall we say. The girl was pretty cute,
as well; tramps like her, baby they're born to run. This was a pretty good
monologue, but I guess that was to be expected given Conan's experience in
that field. A-

[COMMERCIAL] The SUBstitute...Get It? Ha Ha!...Ah, I've Got Nothing.
Subshack, baby, Subshack/That's where it's at/Subshack, baby, Subshack/I
looked at the customers, they were as big as whales...oh sorry, I got
carried away by my musical muse for a second. This was a good spoof of
those dumbass Subway ads, where they take credit for one nerdy man's
incredible weight loss. I guess the exercise had nothing to do with it,
just the subs. Uh huh. Jimmy, Ana and Tracy looked funny in the "young
Monica" fatsuits. B

[SKEHTCH] Is It 'Zahzoo' Or 'Zahzu?'
Only the second Bahston Teens sketch of the year, which is surprising
considering how often othuh newer charactuhs have been on. SNL is being
smaht, since they know this is one of the bettah recurring skits, so they're
keeping it fresh. This was an okay skit, but the Ben Affleck cameo was
kinda pointless, even though Diana sez... she wants to marry him.
Horatio's charactuh wasn't as funny as usual. I don't even think he said
his cehtchphrase ("Awesome!"). Nomah Gahciapehha is currently injahed with
a bad wrist, so you fantasy bahlplayahs might wanna keep that in mind. I
guess Conan in this sketch was like Matthew McConaghey in Dazed and
Confused
; he keeps getting oldah, but the girls stay the same age. It
wouldn't work out between him and Denise anyway, since dere's about an
18-inch size difference. Dat'd just be awkwehd. Funny story: my younger
brothah tried to use my beginner's drivah's license to buy beer for himself;
unfortunately, the clerk at the liquah store was a girl I've gone to school
with since thuhd grade. She just laughed in his face. Ah, youngah
brothahs. B

[SKETCH] Note To Self: Never Mention Moleculo's Name In A Library
Remember that sketch back in 1982, when Brad Hall, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tim
Kazurinsky and Piscopo were a team of superheroes with lame powers (being a
human stapler, predicting the weather, seeing three seconds into the future,
etc.)? I think Moleculo is in the same league. I can't imagine how many
villains would be intimidated by a guy with the powers of a molecule. This
was an okay enough sketch; it was predictable (like when Moleculo was in
Mexico), but predictable in a funny way. Also not as funny as some past
recent superhero sketches (such as the Rock as Superman last year). Dave
sez...
Jimmy Fallon played Jimmy Olsen, or at least his facsimile. B

[SKETCH] Where's Lars?
A multi-impression sketch, hurt somewhat by the fact that most of the
impressions were people I had only vaguely heard of. Horatio as Rico Suave,
Conan as Right Said Fred and Tracy as the guy from Cameo were the funniest
ones. The guy from Cameo was another example of being funny in a
predictable way; the glasses and water just made it funnier when he once
again said "Word up." The weakest impression was probably Jimmy: not only
are the Pet Shop Boys still fairly popular, but he got his character's name
wrong.

Mayor Quimby: Now, Mr. Larry White!
Barry White: Actually, it's Barry White.
Mayor Quimby: Well, it says here 'Larry.'
Barry White: I think I know my own name.
Mayor Quimby: Yeah? Well, we'll just see.

As for my two cents on this Napster thing, the record companies are, to
quote President Dubya, major league a-holes. I don't think libraries
severely cut into book sales, so why should Napster cut into music sales?
Maybe the real reason that record sales are down overall is because about
70% of the music produced today BLOWS. B

[MUSICAL GUEST] I'm Gonna Fly Like An Eagle...
No idea what this song is called, but I'll bet it's from the album that
Henley released last year. I can't be thankful enough that it's not "Taking
You Home," a song I loathe with the heat of a thousand suns.

Voice of Reason: What are you, a super-villain?

Shut up, Voice of Reason. Don was apparently competing in a "dress like
Bono" contest before the show, thus his attire. Oddly enough, the members
of his back-up band all looked like they were about half his age. Way to
stay hip, Donny boy. This song was alright. C+

[WEEKEND UPDATE] Maybe Jimmy and Tina Had A Bus To Catch
Somebody call the Sorenson Record Book, since this was the world's shortest
Update (I'll assume they get SNL in Grenville, New Mexico). No
correspondants, no videos, no nothing. Just news stories and not a lot of
them. At least the ones they had were pretty funny. One of my favourite
parts of Update is the pictures they find of people. For example, that
picture they always used to use of Bill Clinton giving the thumbs up and
looking like a goof was funny in itself. In this Update, the shots they
used of Melanie C and O.J. Simpson were better than the jokes themselves.
The face that Tina made whilst delviering the punchline of the angina joke
was incredibly cute; in the words of Wayne Campbell, she will be mine. Oh
yes, she will be mine. B

[SKETCH] Taint Misbehavin'
This sketch was a logistical mess, but it was terribly funny. There were so
many small bits that made it so funny: the "good" McDonald's an hour away,
Bruce Jenner on the Actor's Studio, Will's character not wearing a shirt for
some reason, the Hill Street Blues cereal, Pervis Ellison being amongst the
taintless, Parnell's breakdown at the end and Horatio's overall acting in
the sketch. I also knew what a taint was beforehand, though, so maybe I'm
just cracked up. This was a case where the sketch was funny enough that
Will's obligatory walk-on at the end wasn't necessary. Also, if they were
going to mention a random basketball player to be among the untainted, why
not Dale Ellis? I've picked up a trend in the SNL writing staff. There is
one writer who writes these weird, Monty Python-esque sketches that are just
silly as hell. The Ray Romano/WWII sketch, blind Sarah Michelle
Gellar/farmer sketch, the Dr. Will/Tim Meadows doing the robot sketch from
last year and now this (there have been a couple of others, but they escape
me at the moment). I wish there was some way to identify the writers of the
specific sketches; anyone have any info on that? A

[TV FUNHOUSE] Wow, The Animation Has Really Improved
I thought this was a sly bit of social commentary. Sure, it's not a
cartoon, but it was still funny. It was both long and short at the same
time; a bit long for the relative lack of jokes, and a bit short since I
felt that Horatio or Tracy could've added something at the end. Tracy
could've said something like "The NBA is White-tastic!" {See, I could write
for this show} Isn't taking a video camera into a sports arena illegal,
since the cable stations have the official copyrights of the game? We
should have news about Smiegel being arrested any day now. B

[SKETCH] The Biggest Bitch In A Band Since Courtney Love
Deandra Wells was 498th on the list, just ahead of the woman who sings the
Maaco jingle and Lucinda Williams. I still can't get over what a bad
musical performance that was. Anyway, Deandra and her band of some renown
are for some reason revived as recurring characters. Here's a new rule that
SNL really should follow: if a character's first appearance is in a sketch
that you don't put on until after 12:45, don't bring it back. If it wasn't
good enough for an earlier slot the first time, it won't be any more
deserving the second time. This was a thoroughly unremarkable sketch,
except for the fact that Anthony Michael Hall continues to get ripped by his
former show. Dave sez...Ana Gasteyer is really a good singer. C-

[SKETCH] Kattan Plays David Byrne...No, Wait, Marc Rich
Why couldn't have this been the cold opener? It was about as funny, and
Kattan opening the show would've been a nice change from Will. I think
Kattan borrowed his suit from David Byrne. The comment about the Democratic
Party was a bit inaccurate, since they have all sorts of strong candidates
for 2004. What about Hillar...uh, no. Tom Daschle...uh, who? Al Go...HA
HA HA. Then again, they'll be going against Dubya, so a trained yak would
probably take the presidency. Should that happen, expect increased trade
with Nepal. B-

[MUSICAL GUEST] "Taking You Home" Wasn't Played! YES!
This song is called "Heart of the Matter," and is surprisingly not about
Vice-President Cheney. This wasn't as good as the first tune. The studio
audience gave Henley a remarkably good ovation, which is a bit surprising.
Am I the only one that doens't like him? D

[SKETCH] Crimson Tide
I wish it was the turn of the 20th century, so everybody could talk like
this. Conan has quite the theatrical voice, so it made the dialogue sound
even funnier. This is, for the record, the second sketch of the night that
featured Conan shirtless. I think Conan went to the Will Ferrell school of
fitness (or, to be fair, the Mark Polishuk school of fitness). This sketch
was pretty funny, with the only slow part coming during the 65 round fight
(though that was the point, I guess). When it comes to Irish boxers, James
"Gentleman Masher" Corcoran isn't quite in the same league as, say...Brad
Pitt's character in Snatch. Was that Jerry Minor as the black boxer
who just pounded the crap out of Conan? B+

PERFORMERS OF THE NIGHT: Tracy Morgan, Horatio Sanz, Max Weinberg (that
chick did seem fairly orgasmic)
BEST SKETCHES OF THE NIGHT: Taint Sketch, Conan's Monologue
WORST SKETCH OF THE NIGHT: Deandra Wells
BUSIEST CAST MEMBERS: Chris Parnell, Horatio Sanz (6 sketches each). Jimmy
Fallon, Will Ferrell, Tracy Morgan (5 sketches each).
CAST MEMBERS WITH THE TIME TO WASH LORNE'S HAIR: Darrell Hammond, Jerry
Minor, Maya Rudolph (2 sketches each).
MISTAKES: There was an idiot in the crowd that kept yelling his devotion to
Conan all damn night long. Where's a swarthy security guard with a taser
when you need one?

STARTING LINE-UP
"I'll be on the job 24/7...that's 24 hours a week, 7 months a year."--
George W. Bush (Will Ferrell), on his health

"I've never seen a television studio before."-- Tracy Morgan

"Eventually, I became too sexy for my gym membership."-- Right Said Fred
(Conan O'Brien)

"When asked how Cheney's angina was, Bush replied 'Boys don't have
anginas!'"-- Tina Fey

"Where did you get your medical degree from, a box of, uh, Hill Street Blues
cereal?"
"Was there a Hill Street Blues cereal?"
"I don't know."-- Ted Braawn and the doctor (Horatio Sanz and Conan O'Brien)
in the taint skit

"The woman Lionel Ritchie called an abusive, soul-sucking bitch..."-- Lynda
Lopez (Maya Rudolph), introducing Deandra Wells

AFTERSHUKS
A funny, but overall pretty average show. Thumbs up on that Taint sketch,
though. Conan did a good job hosting; he didn't exactly stretch himself
with the acting, but perhaps that was a wise move on SNL's part to keep him
within his limitations. Don Henley was pretty average, which prevents the
show from getting an overall B+. Just a B it is, then.

Next week is the 500th episode of SNL...I guess. If you count certain
"special" shows like the SNL film festival, this is technically show #504 or
something. Nevertheless, SNL decided to celebrate the special occasion by
getting Aerosmith, one of the show's most popular musical guests and...Julia
Stiles. She wouldn't have been my first choice for such a landmark show,
but that's a topic for next week. Anyway, until next week, adieu.

Mark Polishuk...the POLISHUKULAR MAN!


Episode Review written by Mark Polishuk


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