John Goodman / Ja Rule
November 3, 2001


NON-TESTICULAR MAIL SACK
"Ok, sorry if this isn't you, hope this address still works. Just reading over your web page, you've got some funny shit on that page man, almost as good as the real thing. Your top 50 lists are hillarious! Some of the best moments of the show are included.
(don't know if anyone told you or not but when Kevin Spacey was doing the Matthau impression he was auditioning for Obi-Wan. One of his many that night. Who could forget his portrayal of Cristopher Walken as Han Solo? or Jack Lemmon as Chewbacca? Can you tell that episode was my favorite? As you said, instant classic, there have been others to come close, but I think that one was the best one I've ever seen. But I digress.)
So, if you are the dude in charge of the SNL website, cudos. I thouroughly enjoyed surfing your site. Keep up the good work!"
-- Molly Mayer

"Darrell Hammond's Jesse Jackson impression has to be on that list. It's the best Jackson ever done on SNL and it's from a white guy! Give him his props won't you."-- Christiaan Ingram

"so im reading the top fifty impressions and was a bit confused not to see my favorite. Will Ferrell doing Neil Diamond. The "storytellers" sketch in which he among other things, admits that he was "driving, and had been drinking heavily, sure enough we hit a small child, which inspired me to write "sweet caroline." I have never laughed so had at an Impression before. His rambeling explanations for his hit songs such as "Cracklin' Rose" (his intense hatred for immigrents,) is hilarious and one of my favorite lines of all time came from this episode: "Hey man leave me out of this." "I WILL LEAVE YOU IN!" please disregard the misspellings, what i lack in brains i make up for in good looks. ok thats not true either.
~Charming, attractive, E. S. Linawlth 18 yrs. Female"

This is my yearly response to people that write me about the SNL Top 50 Impressions list that I wrote two years ago (it's located here <http://www.saturday-night-live.com/snl/misc-stuff/documents/50-impressions.html>). I will again reiterate that the list reflected mostly on sketches which I had seen at the time, and thus my opinion was a little biased. To answers questions on an individual basis...

* I don't run www.saturday-night-live.com The webmaster is Sean Bradley. You'd be surprised at how often this gets confused. Maybe someday I should start a website and then see if Sean gets e-mail complimenting him on it.
* I hadn't seen the Jesse Jackson impression at the time of the list, and therefore didn't rank it. Did Darrell even start doing it before 2000?
* In retrospect, the only reason Will's Neil Diamond impression didn't make the list is because I had really no idea what Neil Diamond looked or sounded like. "Neil Diamond" had always been an abstract concept to me, not unlike the space-time continuum, since I had heard the name but never heard any recognizable songs or seen the man's face. Also, if any other charming and attractive women send me e-mails, feel free to send pictures as well.

Mark's Libido: Nude photos.

Aw, Libido! Why'd you have to go and spoil it for the rest of me? Sheesh.

"Did you never happen to notice that In the yoga sketch with Will ferell from the toby mcgiuire episode that he looks kinda like the " It's" man form monty python? just an obbservation." -- Jenny Maurer

Jenny's e-mail made my spell-checker explode. HA HA, jusst kiding, Genny. Will's thankfully short-lived Terrance Maddox character and his impression of the Unabomber also looks kind of like the Its guy (Michael Palin). I chalk it up to the fact that Will Ferrell is actually the illegitimate son of Michael Palin.

"Hi! well i just wanted to let you know that i enjoy reading your reviews, but how in the world do you come up with all the simpsons quotes?! i mean, sure i've seen every episode quite a few times, but screw remembering every line...i can barely remember my own phone #! Kudos!"-- NABeautifulGirl

Ah, isn't that always the case? The beautiful girls are always not available. Boo-urns. Anyway, my knowledge of Simpsons quotes is fueled from a) my not having a life and b) a little help from www.snpp.com But only a little. Also, NABeautifulGirl wrote this e-mail in a very lovely Lucida handwriting font, so good for her.

"My name is Ken Hayashi. I live and go to college in Upstate New York, near the Canadian border. I've read almost every single one of your SNL episode reviews on saturday-night-live.com, and I'm impressed with what you've written over the past few seasons. My tastes in music are the same as yours. It's nice to see that there's someone out there who's big follower of U2, R.E.M., and Smashing Pumpkins. I agree that most rap music today does suck, and that teen pop is out of control. Just to get it out of my system, my favorite U2 song is "Beautiful Day." The music video kicks ass. And my favorite R.E.M. song is "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" Anyway, as for SNL, I agree with Norm MacDonald when he said "the show has gotten really bad." The writing is poor, and they need to stop letting teen-oriented stars host these episodes. I don't know if you agree with me. Speaking of Norm, my favorite Weekend Update anchor of all time is Dennis Miller. Kevin Nealon had his moments, Norm was overrated, and Colin Quinn just didn't have the right personality. Anyway, you can email me back when you have the time. I'd like to hear what you think. Thanks for your time!
P.S. Keep up the good work! But I was hoping if you could go back to using letter grades in your reviews."
-- Ken Hayashi

Letter grades? GAH! Then I won't have a new gimmick for this year's reviews. You can see the bind I'm in. My take on teen hosts is the same on my general feeling about hosts; if they're funny, they're fine. If they're not funny, they have no business hosting. My favourite Update anchor(s) are probably Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin, just because of their great chemistry. Frankly, every Update anchor has had their moments except for Brian Doyle-Murray and the horrid Brad Hall. The basic premise of the sketch almost assures that it can be at least okay. Also, I'm not really that big a fan of R.E.M.; I have their 'Monster' album (which is very good), but they usually just fall in the "meh" category for me. Their performance on SNL two years ago was great, however. I got turned off the Pumpkins completely after the lineup kept changing, and Billy Corgan suddenly became incapable of writing more than four good songs per album and also became the most pretentious man alive.

"Hey, I was just going through old S-N-L.com reviews, and I always see yours, and your are pretty funny. I got to the 4/15/00 episode review, and I you mentioned "that this might become a recurring sketch" about the tennis skit, and it already was recurring. =) Did you ever see the Kevin Spacey or Sting episodes from 1997? Mrs. Attebury was in those, and the Kevin Spacey one was actually funny. I know for sure that Comedy Central airs it."-- CoolGuy2000

I saw the Spacey one, but Ana's character didn't ring a bell with me during the Maguire episode, probably because Mark McKinney was her husband in the first one, and Will Ferrell was her husband in the second. Who was her husband in the Sting episode? Who are these people? I'd really like to know.

"Hey Mark! Who won that Fantasy baseball league that you were in with the other SNL reviewers?"-- D. Fledermaus

I'm glad you asked, D! In case you're curious, here are the completed standings.

Eees So Reel (Me): 110 points out of a possible 135
The Urban Shockers (Liz Hackett): 94 points
Toronto Injun-Braves (Bob Barron): 90 points
Sydney United (Adam Grunstein): 89.5 points
Twinkies (Kevin Paul): 79.5 points
Vince & Elton Unite! (Jordan Davidson): 68.5 points
Russian Rapper (Some friend of Jordan's): 61 points
Bongo Bongo Bongo (Charlie G): 58.5 points
Eees Not So Reel (Will Roy): 24 points

If I may put on my sexist hat for a minute, everyone but me got beaten by a girl. Liz was Tatum O'Neal to everyone else's Bad News Bears. This just goes to show you, I am the unquestioned king of baseball.

Okay, that last e-mail was quite fake. But nevertheless, thanks to everyone for writing me. The feedback and compliments are much appreciated. It makes me feel like somebody out there cares. Sniffle.

SELF-INDULGENCE CORNER
I got this idea a few months back to start a campaign to get my name mentioned on SNL. If you support the idea of having myself (and by proxy, the entire SNL on-line community), then be sure to either e-mail SNL via their official website <http://www.nbc.com/snl> and demand to hear Mark Polishuk's name on Saturday Night Live. If you are a reviewer yourself, cut-and-paste the following line in each of your reviews (preferably near the top): I WANT TO HEAR THE NAME 'MARK POLISHUK' ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, SO IF YOU ARE ASSOCIATED WITH NBC, MAKE IT HAPPEN! Together, we can all make this happen! Go forth, my minions! E-mail, e-mail! Make me famous!

RANDOM SHOUT-OUT REDUX
Two weeks ago, I made mention of a fellow SNL reviewer who wanted to have his name mentioned in one of my reviews. In a very embarrassing oversight on my part, I spelled his name wrong. I'm quite sorry about it, so let me once again give credit to Jake Shuler.

SHOW OVERVIEW
John Goodman has more SNL hosting gigs than most people have had hot meals.

Voice of Reason: Most people have had less than 12 hot meals over their entire lifetimes?

Shut up, Voice of Reason. Big John -- as his friends playfully call him; since I review his performance on late-night sketch comedy shows, I feel that qualifies me as a friend. God, I'm so lonely -- took a year off from hosting last season, which marks the first year he's missed since 1988-89 (the year before Roseanne started). This just in from the Hindsight is 20/20 Department; Goodman has traditionally hosted a show in the second half of the season. If some rift in the space-time continuum has caused his popularity to grow a year earlier than it did in real life, Goodman could've hosted the May 13th SNL instead of Wayne Gretzky and spared us all from watching that wooden spectacle. Poor Wayne. He was so witty on ProStars; what happened? Then again, perhaps I shouldn't put too much stock in a cartoon show that also featured Bo Jackson with the strength to throw around cars. A case could be made that Gretzky should've stuck to hockey, but I think we'd all agree that the entertainment world and society in general would've been the worse if ProStars had never existed. In any case, Gretzky could certainly whip John Goodman at hockey, and thus I segue back into the original point of the paragraph. The "Goodman show" was getting a little stale every year, so let's hope that the year off freshens things up like a summer's day or a woman's period.

It is a sign of my total and complete disdain for rap music that I can not name one "song" by Ja Rule. I'm sure he's got a couple of "songs" that I've heard before, but it's probably better that I don't know. That way, I can just generally dislike Mr. Rule for his "musical" genre, rather than develop a hatred for specific actions. It's sort of like how I dislike, say, Ramiro Mendoza because he plays for the Yankees, but I HATE Derek Jeter because he's such an arrogant, pretty boy, punk ass bitch. Fun fact: he is the first rapper to perform during a John Goodman show. The majority of Goodman musical guests are in the folk/blues rock vein (Neil Young, Tom Petty, Paula Cole, Jewel, Everclear, Tragically Hip, Pretenders, Garth Brooks, Faith No More, k.d. Lang) and Mary J. Blige is RnB. Another fun fact is that Ja is short for Janice.

[COLD OPENING] "People Die All The Time, Just Like That. Why, You Could Wake Up Dead Tomorrow....Well, Good Night!"
Ha ha, they're making fun of the imminent terrorist attacks! Oh that wacky SNL! Darrell Hammond gets another forum for a political impression, and since I'm not exactly down with my John Ashcroft (I'm much more into that totally awesome Colin Powell, and the new Tom Daschle album is pretty bitchin') I'll give Darrell an NA for accuracy. A notable fact is that Ana, not unlike the late great man of 1000 faces, Lon Chaney, didn't use any makeup for her role in this sketch. She just scrunched her face up to create the persona of that old, old political reporter that always shows up at these press conferences. She could've retired years ago, but my theory is that she likes the punch and pie. From the good impression to the bad impression; Seth Meyers looked nothing like sportscaster Brian Williams from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. What's that? There's more than one Brian Williams in the world? Well, I just refuse to believe that. I thought Canada was the centre of the universe, eh? On that note, congratulations to Mike Weir for winning the PGA Tour Championship. I'll give this sketch a paranoia out of a trio of noia.

[MONOLOGUE]"I'm Here, Live In Korea, To Give You A First-Hand Look At How American Cartoons Are Made!"
Wow...Goodman has been on the show so much that he's gotten confused, or maybe just overdosed on the medicine he's taking for his obviously sore throat. This is only his 12th show, like I stated earlier, not his 13th. If this was his 13th show, he'd tie Steve Martin for the overall record and thus cause much celebration and drinking of champan-yuh. I would've mentioned how the pro-Yankees theme was ironic on a night where they lost by thirteen runs, but then Goodman mentioned it himself. I'll say it anyway: THE YANKEES SUCK. GO D-BACKS! Speaking of the D-Backs, I nominate Chris Kattan as the early favourite for the Worst Impression Award as Byung-Hyun Kim. When I think of SNL cast members that can play a Korean guy, Kattan is not the first name that leaps to mind. I guess he was the only choice, however, since the only other semi-realistic possibility could be Maya Rudolph. Or, if they wanted to make it really silly, have Tracy or Horatio do it. Or, if they wanted to make it truly realistic, get Kim himself on the show, since Lord knows that he won't be used again in the Series. I'm calling a Schilling complete game shutout in game seven. In honour of game seven, this monologue gets a seven out of ten, with ten being the minimum number of strikeouts that Schilling will rack up tonight. (BTW, if the Yankees should happen to win the seventh game, simply replace the word 'Schilling' with the word 'Clemens' throughout this paragraph).

[COMMERCIAL] "Go Toothpaste, Go! Move Your Pasty White Butt!" "Come On Shampoo, You Can Do It!...Yay! I Won Your Stupid Bathroom Products Race."
The only word that can sum this sketch up is orgasmatastic. A good spoof of the double-entendre laden Herbal Essence ads, which star Dr. Ruth in a supporting role. Doesn't it kind of sabotage the idea of a sex-themed commercial if the ancient Dr. Ruth shows up?

Barry Rice: Who are the ad wizards that came up with this one?!

The facial expressions on the men (espeically Ferrell) were pretty famil...er, funny. Yeah, that's the ticket. I'm going to assume, hope and pray that the white substance that the men were washing into their hair was indeed shampoo. This sketch merits a 69, which is a clever rating I've used before this season, and will likely use again in the future because I'm both unoriginal and have the maturity level of a ten-year-old. Huh huh, sixty-nine.

[SKETCH] "This Is A Great Day For Me. I Thought I Could Never Teach Again!" "Oh, Things Have Changed. There Will Be No More Mockery Of Your Name, Mr. Glascock."
After a lifetime of being called Polifuck and Polishit by those mean, mean kids at Degrassi Junior High, the plight of those with unfortunate names truly moves me. I'm not ashamed to say I cried, though that wasn't really as much because of the sketch as it was because I twisted my ankle as I was walking down the stairs after returning from the bathroom. Combine that with my burning urine, and it was an overall pretty bad five minutes for me (Editor's Note: Nobody needs to hear about your burning urine). Rachel Dratch once again used this odd, gleeful facial expression that I find inherently funny. Since I first saw it in the season premiere when Rachel was dressed up as a crab in the Little Mermaid sketch, this facial expression is hereby dubbed the Giddy Crab Face. Still not sure why the drug dealers were in this sketch, and even more confounded that a drug-dealer role was not played by Tracy Morgan. This is the third time that Dan Aykroyd has made a cameo during a John Goodman-hosted show, which again begs the question of why Aykroyd doesn't just host an SNL if he's willing to make cameo appearances. His character here for some reason reminded me of this old 70's skit where Aykroyd played an old man that spilled his drool cup all over his nurse. I'm still not sure exactly what a bin ladle is or if you can have half of one, but nevertheless, this sketch gets seven-and-a-half bin ladles out of a possible ten. If you buy ten bin ladles, by the way, Old Sammy will give you an eleventh for free. Can't beat that bargain.

[SKETCH/COMMERCIAL] "This Can't Be Right. This Man Has 104% Body Fat....Hey, No Eating In The Tank!" "Go To Hell."
Poor Wilford Brimley. Men of his generation didn't have to worry about their weight; they were all trying to get as large as possible in a tribute to that old knickerbocker Teddy Roosevelt. But now in this era of eating healthy, he's just a dinosaur. And I'm being serious, his body mass is actually similar to that of a dinosaur, possibly some sort of a diplodocus. Oh, but I kid. Since I'm thirty pounds overweight for my height, I probably shouldn't talk, but then again the entire purpose of the Internet is to mock people from the protection and privacy of your own home. And also, I've never gotten to the point where I have food boners, so Wilford is still ahead of me in the Fat-Ass Sweepsteaks (the spelling was changed by request of the contestants). I've gotten completely away from talking about the sketch, so let's wrap things up by giving it a solid 190 (my ideal weight) out of 220 (my actual weight). Just so nobody worries, I usually lose around fifteen pounds during the school year because I try to avoid buying the expensive food available in the student lounge, so I'll be back around 200 by April.

[SKETCH] "I Like My Beer Cold, My TV Loud, And My Homosexuals Flaming."
There's the Giddy Crab Face again! Any sketch where the lead character has a theme song has to be good (with the glaring exception to this rule being Toonces the driving cat; how that became recurring still confounds me). One joke premise, but since the sketch was reasonably short and the gay stereotypes were all exaggerated enough to be funny, it mostly worked. Why Rachel would hit on John Goodman's character astounds me; unless she's a lot stronger than she looks, the sheer mechanics of it would be fatal. A funny twist would've been to have John dress and act like Roseanne. Oddly enough, this was the LAST sketch that Will Ferrell was in for the night. I can't remember the last time that Will got so little to do in a show. Maybe he was scheduled to do more, but after he got in that leather gear and started dancing with the guy, maybe they got to talking backstage and one thing led to another and...well, I don't need to draw you a diagram. Though if I did, I'd need a lot of brown and pink crayons, nudge nudge wink wink. 148 light loafers out of 200.

[COMMERCIAL] "Baby...Baby....Aww, Lemon."
A funny little commercial about these two "crazy kids" that had a few too many "beverages" one night, and ended up having "sexual intercourse" that almost resulted in "the fertilization of the woman's ovum by the man's sperm." You'd figure both Kurt Warner and Randy Moss would be gone after the first round of most NFL fantasy drafts, but perhaps only five people were in the league. If you think that was a thinly veiled snarky comment about the lack of interest in the SNL Fantasy Football league, then the fact that I'm acknowledging it outright should remove all doubt. If you still have some doubt, then you're obviously an idiot and not worth wasting precious review space discussing. The clueless and awkward dialogue was pretty funny, especially the bit about Kelly's boyfriend going to Michigan. Seth and Amy are both young-looking enough to pull off the college look; not that SNL would've put Darrell and Ana in the roles or anything, but....wow, I guess I didn't have a point after all. I'll assume that these characters were dense enough to have never heard of abortion, which is the obvious solution to the problems. If they can't afford one, do it the old-fashioned way; stick one of those hooked curtain rods up there and pull away. This procedure is affectionately known in the illegal abortion doctor community as a 'yanker.' If you do find a black-market doctor, however, go to that nice Dr. Larch up in Maine, not the butcher that worked on Jack Napier's face after he was dropped into the vat of acid.

Dead Model Voice-Over: Love that Joker!

Since this sketch review has become too disgusting and tasteless for words, I'll cut things off (no pun intended) by giving it twenty-four blue sticks out of thirty.

[SKETCH] "In Our Mad Pursuit Of A Scoop, We Members Of The Press Sometimes...Make Mistakes. 'Rock Bottom' Would Like To Make The Following Corrections." "Wow, V-8 Juice Isn't One-Eighth Gasoline." "And Ted Koppel Is A Robot!"
This was a little too dragged-out to be a classic, but that was the only flaw. Hilarious spoof of both the CBS election process from last year and of the anthrax coverage. If it turns out that any of these people actually do have anthrax, this sketch is going to seem a lot grimmer in retrospect, but then again Toonces the Driving Cat was all fun and games until we all read that story in the paper about the cat that drove a busload of children off of a bridge in Vermont. Nothing worse than a copycat crime! (rim shot) Darrell's impression of Dan Rather was as good as ever, and he never let it up during the whole sketch. The busiest people of the night were poor Carl and Mabel, who that taskmaster Rather kept ordering around like he was Mr. Burns to their Smithers. Carl and Mabel should rise up and cast off the chains of oppression in order to gain the...uh, non-chains of freedom.

Martin Luther King Jr.: Son, you need to work on your metaphors.

Poor Walter Cronkite has both anthrax, scurvy and gonorrhea; he should've had a V-8. The V-8 might not have helped the anthrax and gonorrhea at all, but at least he would've had some nice refreshing tomato juice before he dies a horrible and lonely death. This sketch gets a V-8 out of V-10, which is the cranberry flavoured version. Mmm...cranberries.

[MUSICAL GUEST]"I Need To Send This Parcel With The Profit Projections To Pete Porter In Pasadena. And It Absolutely Positively Has To Be There Overnight."
This little ditty is called "Always on Time," from Janice Rule's new album, titled 'Pain Is Love.' Either the album contains a Nazareth cover or else Janice is just telling the world that he has gonorrhea like Walter Cronkite. As usual, the only actual melody is provided by a backup vocalist that gets no credit, whereas Janice just leaps around the stage with his shirt off. Also, since when does a rapper need FOUR keyboardists? You couldn't find more layers of sound at a damn Yes concert. This performance gets a point for every keyboardist, but unfortunately they were being rated out of eight keyboardists. Faraway, so close.

[WEEKEND UPDATE] "Souls Aren't Real. They're Just Made Up By Grown-Ups To Scare Little Kids, Like The Bogieman, Or Michael Jackson."
A bit of a mean-spirited Update this week; some of the jokes were enough to make the subjects curl up into the fetal position and suck their respective thumbs. Since I take pleasure in the misfortune of others, however, I found the whole segment quite funny. Notable jokes included the bits about Al Sharpton's suits, Mark Hamill as a porn star -- Cock-Knocker? -- and Will Smith's growing ego, and Tina's mini-rant about the nation being on high alert was also quite funny. But let's put the comedy aside for a moment; the truly memorable fact about this Update was that FALLON COMBED HIS HAIR. The big shriek you heard was the cumulative sound of every 14 year-old girl in the world. Seth Meyers' segment was pretty funny, since as you may know, I like baseball-related humour. His bit didn't capitalize on the true humour of baseball -- citing obscure players like former Dodgers outfielder Danny Heep -- but it was funny nevertheless because it was true. Clemens deserved a good groining with a fungo bat (I'm a bitter Jays fan), Knoblauch can throw about as well as he can reach the top shelf of a cupboard and Paul O'Neill is a whiny bitch that can't even hit two home runs in one game. Triple with an error my ass.

Cosmo Kramer: But Billy, it's just as good!

I also don't agree with Meyers' thesis; if politicians keep encouraging everyone to get back to normal, then we should all return to our normal pattern of hating the Yankees. Ergo, GO D-BACKS! The funniest moment of this year's postseason is unquestionably after game five of the NLDCS, when Tony Womack got the game-winning hit against the Cardinals. He put on a mic to go an on-the-field interview with Fox, when a woman came onto the field to give him a hug.

Fox Announcer Joe Buck: Was that your mother?
Tony Womack: No, that was my wife.

You could almost see Joe Buck stabbing himself in the hand with a pen out of embarrassment. Good times. And who better to celebrate good times (what a great segue) than the new-age Blues Brothers. Back in high school, my school band played a medley of Motown songs during a concert, and my friend Rob and I were chosen to dress in the traditional suits and introduce the number. Since our mikes didn't work, however, all we could do was dance. Needless to say, hilarity ensued. Since Rob and I aren't as fat as the duo of Aykroyd and Goodman, and didn't preface our act with a political rant, however, the originals still take the cake. And a lot of cake, apparently. This thoroughly enteratining Update gets 85 out of 100 slices of sweet, sweet cake.

[SKETCH] "Most Folk'll Never Lose A Toe/And Then Again Some Folk'll/Like Cletus, The Slack Jawed Yokel"
And in this sketch, Amy's character actually did lose a toe! That a pretty gargantuan coincidence. This was no better than other 'Cops' style skits that SNL has done over the years, though this was technically a spoof of HBO's "America Undercover," which I've never seen. You'd figure that a show with 'undercover' in the title would feature undercover policemen somehow, but then again I'm not the HBO programming genius that cancelled the Larry Sanders Show. Kattan had an early 80's U2-quality mullet going. This sketch could've been saved for when Billy Bob Thornton hosts in two weeks, since he could've played the redneck and that would've eliminated any possible threat of seeing Chris Kattan's testicles. Those whities weren't tighty enough, and being held upside down in the piledriver position makes gravity your enemy, not your friend. That one scene alone made this sketch a creepier case of domestic disturbance than the movie Domestic Disturbance, which I reviewed this week for my school paper. The only thing good about that flick was that Travolta at least didn't plug Scientology. This sketch, on the other hand, gets six of those Travolta bombs that Tina mentioned during Update out of a possible eight bombs.

[MUSICAL GUEST] "Heh Heh Heh...Joke's On Them. I'm Still Alive."
This "song" is called "Livin' It Up," and it's about how Janice lives it up while he's fucking his bitches. What a humanitarian. I also notice that for this performance he's dressed all in white, so maybe Janice Rule is actually the second coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I've found that randomly working the phrase 'our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' is a pretty funny way to freak people out.

Person: Boy, that Joe sure is a nice guy, isn't he?
Me: Yeah, but not as nice as our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Person: Um..

Another good touch is to fall to your knees and outstretch your arms like you're on the cross when you say it, and then get up and continue your conversation like nothing has happened. It's great fun. This "song" gets a Stalag 17 out of Passenger 57.

[SKETCH] "It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The....Blurst Of Times?! You Stupid Monkey!"
Since this sketch is a revival from the 1977 Buck Henry/Sun Ra episode, I feel that I'm not qualified to handle it. As a result, I have used my John Edward-esque psychic powers to communicate with former SNL reviewer Llewellyn McDonald, who killed him after the original cast left in 1980. Llewellyn?

Llewellyn McDonald: What a disgusting display. While it warms my heart to see that Dan Ackroyd's father was given a role in the sketch, it's just all wrong. I tell you, SNL has been all downhill since Chevy left the cast. The girl in this sketch was far too fat; now Laraine Newman, there was 90 pounds of fine-looking woman right there. I don't know what Tom Davis and Al Franken were thinking when they wrote this one; I wish that Garrett Morris made a cameo and killed all the whiteys he saw on stage. I give it a four out of a possible ten.

And this concludes this edition of Bad Conceptual Sketch Reviewing. Since I said it was going to be bad in the title, you can't fault it for being bad in practice. So there! I would normally rate this sketch in bananas, but they became disorganized and I'm waiting for Mr. Taliban to come over and tally me bananas. While I'm waiting, I'll just give this sketch 7/10.

[SKETCH] "Thanks Everybody, But I Couldn't Have Done This Without the Help Of My Brainy Sister Eliza."
There is no literary genre that I prefer to the mystery. Even as a little kid, I devoured Sherlock Holmes stories, Agatha Christie and of course the kid detective books of the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown and the Bobbsey Twins. This personal bias may be the reason that I thought this sketch was the funniest and most creative thing that SNL has done in a while. The opening moments were spookily like Mike McDonald's kid character on BadTV (not a good sign) but once the detective gimmick was established, I had tears coming down my face -- and these were from laughter, not from another tumble down the stairs. The relatively muted crowd response may have been due to this slow start and also because this classic was for some reason stuck in the dreaded post-12:50 position. I urge the writers to PLEASE bring the Newtons come back and give SNL some new recurring characters that are actually funny. Seth and Amy were dead-on in this sketch, and Goodman and Horatio also played their roles perfectly well. This is just about as excited as I get about a sketch that doesn't involve Tina Fey doing an erotic dance with a balloon animal. Just a great concept. The first Sherlock Holmes story was written in 1887, and the movie Without A Clue was released in 1988, so this sketch gets 1887 out of 1988.

PERFORMERS OF THE NIGHT: Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler
BEST SKETCHES: Kid Sleuths; CBS Anthrax Update, Weekend Update
WORST SKETCHES: Clairol Hair Commercial
BUSIEST PERFORMERS: Seth Meyers (6 sketches); Chris Kattan, Amy Poehler (5 sketches)
PERFORMERS WITH THE TIME TO SING "I AM SLOWLY GOING CRAZY" BY SHARON, LOIS AND BRAM SO MANY TIMES THAT THEY ACTUALLY WOULD GO CRAZY: Tracy Morgan (1 sketch); Jeff Richards, Maya Rudolph (2 sketches)
PLACES WHERE THE SNL WRITERS COULD EASILY HAVE INSERTED THE NAME 'MARK POLISHUK': One of the actors in the Bad Conceptual Theatre troupe, a cop working with Detective Maroney, one of the gay guys at the par...er, never mind.
NUMBER OF OFF-TOPIC RANTS ABOUT BASEBALL: Two. GO D-BACKS!
MISTAKES: Nothing worth mentioning.

STARTING LINE-UP
"I'm going to get off my horse now, onto a smaller horse. Then onto a large dog, until I'm near enough to the ground to roll off."-- Wilford Brimley (John Goodman)

"I think I'm more nervous than Karen."
"Kelly." -- Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, in the EPT commercial

"I'm so glad I won't get fat."-- Kelly (Amy Poehler) in the EPT commercial

"He may have drank stagnant water from an air conditioner, believing it to be Scotch."-- Dan Rather (Darrell Hammond) on Andy Rooney

"Carl, go down to the kitchen, Mabel, take your clothes off and put these shoes on, also the hat; now, put one leg up on the table, arch your back and listen to this 'cause this is a humdinger."-- Dan Rather (Darrell Hammond)

"Everyone and everything that Boston roots for loses. If Boston rooted for gravity, tomorrow we'd all be three inches off the ground."-- Seth Meyers, during Update

"In order to feel safer on his private plane, John Travolta has hired a bomb-sniffing dog. Unfortunately for Travolta, the dog is about six movies too late."-- Tina Fey, Weekend Update

"I just learned how to masturbate, so I kind of want to get home."-- Bookie Newton (Seth Meyers)

AFTERSHUKS
An excellent episode of SNL, and though we're only in November, the best of the year so far. The least funny thing on the show was the Clairol commercial, and even that was pretty good. It was also the break-out show for Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, who were all over the place tonight. Goodman seemed like he was under the weather (this may be why Dan Ackroyd was called in) but carried off his roles well enough. Janice Rule and his legion of keyboard players sucked as expected, but since it was expected, you could say they lived up to expectations. How about that.

Next week's episode is hosted by -- man, it still feels weird saying this -- Academy Award winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow. In a shamless promotion for her new film Shallow Hal, Gwyneth will attempt to be the first SNL host ever to go the entire show while wearing a fat suit.

John Goodman: Hey!

Okay, a FAKE fat suit. Already scheduled for next week's monologue is a sumo-style fight between fat-suited Gwyneth and normal Horatio Sanz. Gwyneth did a borderline acceptable job during her first hosting gig two years ago, so let's hope she can maybe step things up a bit. The musical guest is Ryan "Don't Call Me Bryan" Adams. I don't know anything about him other than he's a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, so I predict that he'll cut like a knife and feel so right. Until then, adieu. And go Diamondbacks.

Your Lord and Saviour, Mark Polishuk


Episode Review written by Mark Polishuk


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