Dan Aykroyd / Beyonce
May 17, 2003

By Bob Barron

Wow- it's been quite a year for me, the world of sports and Saturday Night Live. Last year my review was marred by the death of one of my heroes the British Bulldog. This year that hasn't happened so my heart is very much into this. So for the next 50 pages (I'm serious, no I'm serious) it will be a nice look back.

We'll begin by looking back at those who past on this year. I had to write a bit too many tributes then I would've liked but all these people found someway to touch me in their lives and gave me a nice creative kick in the bum that causes me to churn out these reviews.

So In Memoriam 2003:

Jam Master Jay: Run-DMC did so much for rap and music in general and a lot of it was because Jam Master Jay was behind the turntable rocking the beat. He will be missed greatly.
Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizzel 1965-2002

Maurice Gibb: As a huge BeeGees fan who is listening to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack as I type this- I'd just like to send my condolences on the death on Maurice Gibb. The Bee Gees were a great band and pretty much made an overrated John Travolta movie famous and also provided for a great joke in Wayne's World while at the same making it a great movie. It's a shame he's not stayin' alive.

Curt Hennig: I don't really know what to say to begin because Curt Hennig was one of my favourites ever since I started watching wrestling. I can remember going so crazy when he announced he would team with Savage at Survivor Series 92 and with Bulldog off in WCW he became my favourite WWF wrestler. The gum swat, those vignettes, the thing with the towel just made me such huge fan of the guy as he was just so damn cool. I remember when he sent Flair packing, threw Michaels on the car and my friends and I all agreed that the perfectplex was the coolest move ever. I was at MSG when they announced he was coming back and I remember hearing the crowd explode as I was so excited that I would see perfection again. Sadly his last run did not work out as well as I may have hoped but it was still a blast getting to see him one last time. His death today shocked the hell out of me as God has taken another one of my childhood heroes away from me. I hope Hennig is up in heaven right now- having fun with Owen, Davey and the rest of the gang.
RIP Curt- you will be missed

Mr. Rogers: First off I have to pay respects to Mr. Rogers who died a few weeks ago. He was a childhood hero to me and I remember when I was young and I wrote him a letter and he actually wrote back. He showed people that you didn't need loud noises and crazy stuff to keep a child entertained. I'm glad his enduring legacy will live on reruns or else I would hate to know children would grow up without his calming influence and wonderful songs.
You'll be missed Mr. Rogers and you'll always be my neighbour.

Sports Year in Review-

Okay- This is going to cover how my sports teams did over the course of the SNL season.

Toronto Maple Leafs: One of the reasons I chose to go to school in Toronto was because I love the Leafs and was looking forward to attending hockey games. At the beginning of the season they were awful and I was beginning to wonder whether I picked the right city to live in. The Eddie naysayers were beginning to look quite bright and I resigned myself to the fact that I had to go to a bunch of hockey games this year and see my team get destroyed. On November 9th the Leafs had a disgusting loss to St. Louis and fell to five games below .500. I was fed up. Mogilny was the only one showing up and Eddie was trying his best but was surrounded by a horrible defence. I said this to my team:

Leafs- What the fuck guys? Seriously- WHAT. THE FUCK. I spent a lot of money to see this team play this year and I'm getting a bit pissed off. Pat Quinn promised us everything would be just fine and it's not. DO SOMETHING HERE GUYS! They're basically ruining my Hockey Night in Canada. I just wish they would do something here- my patience is wearing. The funny thing- I expected the Devils to completely bomb.

I don't like to curse at all my reviews but they had reached my breaking point. That night ended up being the lowest point in the Leafs season. For the next month they went 10-3. They continued to play well and immediately entrenched themselves into the 4-6 part of the Eastern Conference because Team Bankruptcy was running away with the division. Alexander Mogilny had a terrific season and made Leaf fans like me forget his miserable first year. The biggest surprise though- was Eddie Belfour. Many people thought the Leafs made a huge downgrade in goalie when they traded Curtis Joseph and signed Eddie Belfour to replace him. I was sceptical- Eddie was awful his last year in Dallas and seemed more interested in getting into wacky fights with cops then winning Stanley Cups. Belfour ended up being the Leafs saviour. He kept them in many games and was always there for us when the defence was shaky. One night the guy made 50 saves. Late in the season with the Leafs early season slump completely behind them- management knew they had to make a playoff push. When the Rangers were able to snag Alexi Kovalev for not too much- Leaf fans were furious. They had seen their team miss out on big deals before and this was another in a long line of 'what could've been.' The fans immense backlash let the organisation know they were sick of 35 years with no Stanley Cup and wanted a change NOW. By the time the trading deadline had passed- the fans knew that his year- the Toronto Maple Leafs were dead serious about winning a cup.

Owen Nolan was acquired a few weeks before the deadline. There was some scepticism about injuries and they had to give up popular Alyn McCauley but in his first game Nolan had two goals and the critics were silenced. Nolan would end up becoming a great acquisition for Toronto until the playoffs- when he scored 0 goals.

Glen Wesley was acquired right before the trading deadline and his acquisition was designed to bolster the Leafs defence which had been perceived as weak. Wesley played pretty well in his first few games but then went down to a broken foot and was never as effective.

Phil Housley was also acquired to shore up the defensive corps and be another body in case it was needed. He also brought to the team veteran leadership. He only played a few games in the playoffs and was a complete disaster.

Doug Gilmour- In broadcasting class when this came on the wire- the whole class shrieked. Doug Gilmour, one of the most popular Leafs of all time and a Mr. April/May if there ever was one, was back in the blue and white. This is it people thought. This has to be sign from God that 35 years of nothing will finally bring us something. Doug Gilmour got hurt in his first game and never played again. He is thinking of coming back next year after he rehabilitates his injured knee.

The Leafs played decently down the stretch and went into the playoffs ready to face the very dangerous and very expensive Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers has not been the same since blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals to the Devils as they had not made it out of round 1 in the last two years. The Flyers acquired high scoring Tony Amonte from Phoenix who was in the midst of a disappointing season. They had a great goalie of their own in Roman Ceckmanek who was on his way to winning the Jennings trophy with Martin Brodeuer. On a cold April night- the series that would be called a classic began.

Game 1 was a game dominated by the Flyers- they injured Nik Antroprov and played a tough physical game. Toronto blew a 3-1 lead in the second period but was able to hang on and with 5 minutes left Mikael Reneberg scored and the Leafs won 5-3.

Game 2 was not pretty. Phil Housley was horrible on defence and the Flyers again dominated Toronto but this time they were able to score more goals then them. Eddie Belfour made 32 saves but it just wasn't enough. With the Flyers having dominated two games- many people thought this would be a very short series.

The first period of Game 3, which I would be lucky to attend, confirmed many people's suspicions. The Flyers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and was pounding the Leafs the whole first period. Reichel got a goal to close out the first but the Flyers were using their momentum from Game 2 to kick some butt. But then something happened. The Leafs came out and gave the Flyers a 20 minute asskicking. Was this the same team I had witnessed play a pathetic and error prone first period? Three goals later they had a lead going into the third period. Philly got a goal early in the third and we were going to Overtime.

Overtime is something I cannot stand. The sudden death nature of it makes every play to be a nerve wrecking. The Leafs and Flyers both had some pretty good chances but nothing that would give me a heart attack. A second overtime had to be commenced. And my nerves grew. I was growing nervous by the second. The Flyers and the Leafs both had some good chances but in the second overtime it looked the Flyers would take it. Alexander Mogilny, our biggest offensive threat, had gone down with injury. I was shrieking for him to get up and he did- but was taken off the ice. This did not phase Toronto. Mere minutes later a pass from behind the net by Sundin to Kaberle meant the Leafs had a 2-1 lead.

The Leafs and Flyers decide to play a game of can you top this with a Game 4 that pushed both teams to limits they didn't know they had. After letting in two shaky goals, Eddie Belfour settled down and ended up MAKING 72 SAVES. The Leafs scored immediately in the third period for almost a complete hockey game- the game was scoreless. Belfour made some of the most spectacular saves ever seen in a hockey game and Roman Ceckmanek was on other end denying Leaf fans a chance to go up 3-1. You had to wonder what the epic goal would like. What player would finally solve the mystique of Roman and Eddie. What goal would be played on the highlight reel for years to come. THIS is the goal that finally solved a legendary game. The goal ended up being scored by Mark Recchi. It was a dinky little wrister that barely made it. Eddie saved much worse yet allowed this one in- it was a disappointing ending to a terrific game.

In Game 5 the Flyers meant business. The Leafs got a goal two minutes in but after that it was all Flyers. They punished them in every way possible and once again the Leafs got the hell kicked out of them. Monday's game would be the game that either set the stage for another classic or the Flyers final nail in their coffin.

Game 6 was finally the Leafs chance to shine. After a shaky start in the first period Robert Reichel scored a beautiful goal and Toronto took a 1-0 lead. For the rest of the game they played very conservative hockey. They didn't want to give an inch to Philly and didn't want to take chances. They took out Jeremy Roenick to cheers from the crowd. Well no one ever accused TO fans of being overly nice. Roenick would end up getting the last laugh by scoring the tying goal. For the third time in three games in TO- we were going to overtime.

The Leafs showed they were not prepared to die. Ceckmanek faced a barrage of shots as every minute the Air Canada Centre was echoing with groans and gasps at each missed chance the Leafs had. You kept waiting to hear the siren to go off and the blue flags to be waving around but Ceckmenek and the goal posts were determined to make sure the Leafs had to earn their victory. How many chances can one team have without converting seemed to be the running gag. A penalty was called in Toronto for having too many men on the ice. For two agonising minutes Leaf fans had to face their biggest threat. For once the Toronto defence came through. We were headed to a second overtime. Overtime 2 was just like Overtime one. Travis Green heard my pleas for a Game 6 and connected. Less then 24 hours later the two teams would play again,

With Game 7 on tap- the series had officially been declared a classic. Three multiple overtime games in the city that breathed hockey was good enough for Don Cherry and Barry Melrose I guess. Despite both players being insanely tired- Game 7 was going to be the game to end all games. The game that would blow the others away. That's how the series is booked right? Three amazing games and the fourth and deciding one is the one that pushes the series to limits it never knew it had. The winner would meet the Ottawa Senators. For the Leafs it would be t he fourth year in a row a meeting like that would occur. The previous three had ended with the blue and white advancing- crushing the spirits of Canada's capital and killing off a once thriving fanbase. For Philadelphia am eeting with Ottawa would be all about revenge. Revenge for last year's embarrassing exit. How would this game play out? What magic would occur?

The only magic was that Toronto absolutely sucked. Philly just pounded them the whole game and Eddie Belfour was left hung out to dry. The Flyers had shaken off a loss that many people thought was impossible. And they did it by pounding the heck of Toronto and getting a convincing 6-1 win. Toronto had managed to escape with three wins in the hotly contested series. But as it's supposed to be in sports- the better team won. Every game Philly won (with the exception of Game 4) was an all out assault. Every game Toronto won was a victory that they squeaked out thanks to a timely play. Game 7 was where TO's luck finally ran out. Travis Green's goal in Game 6 was all they could muster. Coming back and doing it again the next night was impossible. The Leafs left everything on the ice in Toronto. But Game 7 was in Philadelphia- and the gas was way below E.

In the end this season for the Leafs was one of disappointment. A season of doom and gloom had been replaced with Toronto hailing two new saviours of the franchise. The organisation finally doing the right thing and shelling out big money for star players made the city think that the cards were set in place for a Stanley Cup run. But getting all these new players did not make them a better hockey team then the Philadelphia Flyers- and that's what mattered in the end. The city of Toronto had to wait one more year that they had waited long enough for.

Atlanta Braves: As the 28th season of SNL began- the Braves had a 2-1 series lead on the San Francisco Giants. After a disastrous Game 1 by Tom Glavine- the Braves used what had worked for the past twelve years- they're pitching. Greg Maddux and Kevin Milwood pitched two excellent back to back games and the ball in Game 4 was given to Tom Glavine looking to avenge his horrible performance and lead the Braves to the second round.

Game 4 ended up being Glavine's last ever game for the Atlanta Braves. He didn't make it out of the second inning. In his last game with the team that made him a superstar- Glavine gave up seven runs, seven hits, and five walks. In his career as a Brave Tom Glavine recorded 2,054 strikeouts. In his last game- he managed only one. The Braves got rocked that day and Glavine was completely to blame. Game 5 was the do or die game.

Kevin Milwood was set to take the hill for the Braves in what would end up being his last game as a Brave. He pitched very well. The Braves offence just could not get it going. My proudest moment of Game 5 was the hit that cost us the game. Instead of being a gutless coward and intentionally walking Barry Bonds- Kevin Milwood acted like a man and PITCHED to the man. He didn't let Bonds saunter to first base. He stood up to him. Did we lose because of it? Possibly. But I appreciate seeing my Braves stand up to the opposing team and have confidence in themselves. We may have lost the game and the series but I blame it on one man- Tom Glavine.

The offseason meant many potential changes for the Tomahawk Team. Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, the cornerstones of the rotation, were free agents and Kevin Milwood was due for arbitration. With AOL not opening up the wallet- Braves fans figured they could possibly be in for a long offseason.

Goodbye Bullpen: The 2002 Atlanta Braves bullpen was the best part of the team. Chris Hammond, Tim Spooneyburger, Mike Remingler and John Smoltz were an intimidating quartet of ballplayers that meant the Braves never blew a lead. Come 2003- three of those players would be gone. Hammond and Remingler were allowed to go elsewhere as the Braves simply did not have enough money to pay up. Spooneyburger was traded. Only John Smoltz remained. 2003 was already looking to be bleak.

Tom Glavine in a Mets uniform: Tom Glavine had spent his entire career with the Braves. He won a World Series ring and a Cy Young award during his time in Atlanta. His contract was up and the Braves were giving him the opportunity to retire as a Brave. Go out having played with one time for an illustrious Hall of Fame career. Tom Glavine showed his true colours this offseason. He stabbed his team and the fans in the back. Glavine showed what a greedy money grubbing bastard he was and how little respect for a team that had given him the chance to become a household name. Glavine gave Braves fans, the same people who bought his jerseys and had faith in him everytime he stepped on the mound, a big slap in the face. He signed with the New York Mets- the Braves main rival. The Lakers to our Celtics. What Tom Glavine did was absolutely despicable. The man completely screws up in the 2002 playoffs, demands way too much money and jumps to the enemy. At least Benedict Arnold went out on top. This offseason Braves fans learned what kind of a man Tom Glavine really is. They learned how little he thinks of people who support him and caused him to become a star. Tom Glavine spat in my face this offseason. Currently the Mets are in last place, the Braves are in first. Karma's a bitch eh Tom?

The pitching rotation is different- Thankfully Greg Maddux showed what kind of a man he is and resigned with Atlanta for one year. We would not be so lucky involving Kevin Milwood. The Braves simply could not afford him and he was dealt for lightly regarded Johnny Estrada. Estrada is currently in Richmond while Kevin Milwood recently threw a no-hitter. Sadly Ted Turner did not have enough money to buy back the Atlanta Braves. The Braves responded to this by adding three new names to their pitching staff. Russ Ortiz was a solid pitcher in San Fransisco who had come off two very good seasons. Paul Byrd was the ace of the Royals staff and the only one there with a winning record. The strangest acquisition was Mike Hampton. After a career with the Astros and Mets he became one of the best pitchers in the game. Hampton ended up in baseball hell for two years playing for the Colorado Rockies. His ERA was the worst in baseball and clearly he needed to get out of Colorado. Leo Mazzone became the man with the job of fixing Mike Hampton and he was traded during the offseason to the Braves. Ortiz and Hampton have been pretty good to start the season while Maddux survived an early season slump and has turned into the Maddux of old.

The Braves started of 2003 just like they did 2002- by playing piss poor baseball and ending up in last place. But recently they've become unbeatable and are back where they belong. Despite a horrific offseason that saw too many changes for this Braves fan liking- the Braves are still where they belong: First place.

New Orleans Saints: As the 28th season of Saturday Night Live began the Saints were off to a great start. They were 4-1 and had already defeated NFL heavyweights like the Bucs, Packers and Steelers. But they're one loss showcased a dangerous trend that would continue throughout the year and eventually cost them a trip to the playoffs. They're first loss came against the Detroit Lions. Yea- I have no idea to explain that one either. By the end of SNL's first three months- the Saints looked like they were in the drivers seat for a successful NFL season. On October 20th they knocked off the 49ers, they're former division rivals that had caused them so much pain and heartbreak in the past. By the end of October the Saints were 6-2. Deuce McAllister was having a breakout season for the Saints and the Ricky Williams deal looked like it had paid off. Towards the end of November, the Saints magic season was starting to wear off. They dropped two straight games- losing by a touchdown to Atlanta and losing another close game to Cleveland. They're record had dropped to 7-4 and fans were becoming concerned that the Saints could be starting to collapse like they did the year before.

On the first day of December, the Saints had a HUGE game against Tampa Bay. Tampa was coming in on a four game winning streak and was the hottest team in the league. The division and their standings in the playoffs was at stake. Sweeping Tampa Bay would also give them an edge in the tiebreakers and would be a big help in their quest to win the division. After a slow start- the Saints took over and controlled the tempo of the game. Despite Aaron Brooks having a bruised throwing arm and struggling throughout- the Saints defence was able to completely immobilise Michael Pittman and Mike Alsott. They forced Brad Johnson to rely on his passing for most of the game and the Bucs were lost without being able to use one of their offensive weapons. The Saints stayed focused the whole second half and never lost the lead after taking it early in the third quarter. The Saints held off a late Buccaneer's rally and ended up winning the game 23-20. For one week the Saints showed their fans they were not going to have a repeat of last year's debacle. Two weeks later the Saints had a season ending debacle.

The Saints were 9-4 going into the home stretch of the NFL season needing only a win to ensure they were in the playoffs for the most part. They're final three games were v. teams who would end up going a combined 15-33. The NFL had dealt the Saints a very easy road to the playoffs. First up: The Minnesota Vikings a team that was seemingly unable to win on the road. The game was a high scoring affair that saw both teams go back and forth and trade the lead. The Saints offence was in high gear despite Deuce McAllister only rushing for 69 yards. Late in the fourth quarter the Saints grabbed the lead back on a 17 yard pass from Aaron Brooks to Deuce McAllister. As the game was winding down it looks the Saints had punched their playoff ticket. With 5 seconds left in the game- Dante Culpepper was able to find Randy Moss to cut the Saints lead to one. The game had come down to one final two point conversion. If the Vikings did not convert this then the Saints would be back in the playoffs. Culpepper fumbled the initial snap but shortly recovered and noticed he had a nice route to the end zone. Culpepper found his way and the Saints had blown a chance to clinch a playoff berth. While the loss was a crushing blow to the team they figured they didn't have much to worry about. The Cincinnati Bengals were the next team on the schedule. They had won one game all year.

The game against the Bengals was a pretty nondescript football game. Going into the fourth quarter the Saints were not playing well. Aaron Brooks and Deuce McAllister were both playing poorly but luckily their opponents were the Bengals and they could afford to play like crap. The Saints had a six point lead going into the fourth quarter but four minutes in the Bengals got a touchdown. But since they're the Bengals- they missed the extra point and the game remained tied. Could the Bengals pull off the impossible? Could the Saints really play that poorly? How could a team that had beaten the Bucs twice and had also defeated San Francisco, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Baltimore lose to a team that had won only ONE game. The Saints offence was unable to get it together for most of the fourth quarter and the Bengals played their usual. It didn't seem like either team wanted a win. But with less then two minutes to go- the team that had won one game all season had a lead. The Saints backs were against the wall and once again Aaron Brooks was unable to get it together. The Saints had lost two in a row.

Compounding the Saints problems was the rise of the New York Giants. The Giants had been a .500 team most of the year and looked to be headed to an early exit. They soon started piling up wins and now actually were on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. The final weekend of the regular season saw the Falcons, Saints and Giants all vying for two playoff spots. A Giants loss would put the Saints in. A Giants win would screw them royally. The Giants upset Philadelphia 10-7 and were in the playoffs. Now two teams were vying for one playoff spot. The Saints had to beat Carolina while the Falcons had to lose to Cleveland in order for them to make the playoffs.

What was Aaron Brooks thinking as he prepared for one of the biggest games of his career v. Carolina? "Well I was completely awful the last game we played- let's see if I can top that!" He threw 31 passes, completed only 12. He also had two interceptions just for fun. Why Jake Dellhome didn't go in is a mystery to me. I think he would've been able to throw a game that wouldn't be a complete debacle. Deuce McAllister tried his hardest- he had one of his best games in a long time but the crappiness of Brooks' QB play was too hard to overcome. The Saints fell behind right before halftime. They were never able to regain the lead and their offence was never able to get anything going. They ended up losing 10-6 and missing the playoffs for the second straight year. Like last year, the Saints also had a late season debacle but this one was far worse. Needing only one win in three games and playing three non-playoff teams- the Saints lost all three. Their offence completely crapped out on them and Aaron Brooks play was at times borderline disgraceful.

The most mystifying stat of the Saints season? They were 2-0 against the Super Bowl champs but 0-2 versus the worst teams in the league.

Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks were determined to not have the same season they had last year where they blew a 2-0 lead against Detroit and lost four straight. The Canucks had a terrific first line and this was their year to prove themselves. Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi were poised to have breakout seasons and the team hoped that Dan Cloutier could forget the fact that he completely choked after giving up a goal to Niklas Lidstrom. The Canucks were poised for a breakout year

The first month of their season did not go as well. They were 3-4-4 after starting the season 2-0. In their last game in October they got clobbered 5-1 by Colorado. That game proved to be a wakeup call and Vancouver completely turned around its season.

The month of November turned out to be the best month in franchise history. The Canucks went 12-1, capped off by a ten game winning streak. Bertuzzi and Naslund combined for 34 points that month and Vancouver established itself as one of the NHL's elite teams by knocking off Colorado, Detroit, Minnesota (twice) and St Louis. They were living up to the hype and making sure that they didn't get stuck as one of the lower seeds like the previous two seasons.

They took a bit of a dive in December going 7-6-1. They posted some impressive wins over Colorado, New Jersey and Anaheim and Naslund and Bertuzzi continued to score like crazy. The Canucks first line of Naslund, Bertuzzi and Morrison was playing terrific hockey and leading the team to victory.

January was more of the same from the Canucks. They had some inexcusable losses to Columbus and San Jose but managed to get a tough win on Ottawa and kicked Detroit's ass later in the month. They went 7-5-2 but January was merely a prelude to the terrific hockey that Canuck fans got in February.

February saw the Canucks go on another winning streak like they had in November. They went 9-1-2. The team had an unbeaten streak of 14 games which became a new team record. Half of the games were on the road which made the streak more impressive. They defeated Colorado, Detroit and St. Louis on the streak- the first two on the road. The Canucks were starting to become the talk of the NHL and Naslund and Bertuzzi were being talked about as being Hart Trophy candidates. They combined for 29 points in the month of February. The Canucks went 5-1 in games decided by one goal which showed that they were championship material.

The Canucks had a very average March going 7-5-3 but they were starting to lose their lead in the Northwest division. After a slow start, Colorado had been playing their usual amazing hockey and they were starting to gain ground on Vancouver. Vancouver had tough losses to Toronto, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Dallas. It didn't look good that they couldn't defeat three of the NHL's best teams. Vancouver had two games left in the month of April- all they had to do was get two points and they had won the division.

The 81st game of the season saw them blow a 3-1 lead against Phoenix and they had to settle for a tie. Meanwhile, Colorado pulled off a miracle. Facing the loss of the division title- Milan Hedjuk scored the game winning goal with ten seconds left in overtime to defeat LA. Colorado was not dead yet and eventually would win their final game of the year against St. Louis to take the division crown. All Vancouver had to do was get a point v. LA. The game was scoreless going late into the third period but sadly- Los Angeles scored a goal and ended up winning the game 2-0. Colorado clinched the division and Vancouver had to settle for the fourth seed and had a playoff meeting with St. Louis- one of the NHL's deepest teams. Colorado got to play Minnesota, a team with little playoff experience that had no big names but a very smart coach.

Game 1 was four days after they choked away the division title and many hockey analysts and Canucks fans wondered if that would affect the team at all. It did. Vancouver played its worst game of the year- a truly disgusting game that was a slap in the face to every Canuck fan. Dan Cloutier was awful in goal as he hadn't shaken off his lack of confidence in playoff games. Vancouver started off the game playing very unfocused hockey and had a lot of giveaways. St. Louis got two quick early goals and Vancouver was never able to recover. The team couldn't get anything going and Cloutier wasn't much help in goal. Marc Crawford summed up this walking disgrace for a hockey game by saying ,"Anybody in the rink, anybody in the entire province of British Columbia, anybody across anywhere in Canada or the United States can look at that game and say that team was awful, they weren't ready."

Game 2 was the most important game in a long time in Vancouver history. They had to prove they were able to shake off whatever was bothering them in Game 1 or else this series would be quick and painful and Vancouver would suffer their third straight first round exit. Vancouver scored their first goal of the series three minutes into the game. Cloutier had shaken off his playoff demons and had a great game in goal- he saved 11 shots in period 3. St. Louis scored with 55 seconds left in the game to cut it to 2-1 but Vancouver was able to hold on for the final 55 and win the hockey game. They broke their 5 game playoff losing streak and their 8 year drought of not winning a playoff game at home. Things were starting to look up as they headed to St. Louis.

Game 3 saw Vancouver's offence sputter at the gate. St. Louis was playing without Al Macinnis, their top defensemen but it didn't really matter. The Canucks were held to only 14 shots and only mustered one goal. Three games into the playoffs and the first line had yet to get anything going. Cloutier played alright in goal but the defence of the Blues and the offence of Dough Weight was just too much. St. Louis had a 2-1 lead.

Game 4 began just the way it should've if you're a Canucks fan. Markus Naslund scored 11 minutes in on and Todd Bertuzzi had an assist. But that was the only good thing for Canucks fans to celebrate. Chris Osgood ended up making 32 saves and prevented Vancouver from getting any offence going. Dan Cloutier had another shaky game in goal as he was only able to make 16 saves. Martin Rucinsky scored two goals in the third period to put the game away. Vancouver was down 3-1 and it's pathetic offence showed no signs of life. The Big Line would have to step up but no one knew if they had it in them.

Game 5 was a do or die situation. Todd Bertuzzi had guaranteed victory and Canuck fans that he better deliver on his promise. Bertuzzi responded by scoring the game winning goal. The second period may have been the most important period of the year for Vancouver. They scored three goals and each goal was scored by a member of the Big Three. The third period saw St. Louis come back and it looked Vancouver was about to blow their lead and lose the series. But Sami Salo scored a spectacular goal off a faceoff with 49 seconds left to put the game away. Vancouver was safe for now.

Game 6 saw the Big Three continue to produce. They played a part in three of the four goals with Naslund and Brendan Morrison actually scoring. They had a 4-1 lead going into the third period but almost blew it again. St. Louis scored two powerplay goals early in the third period to cut the deficit to one. St. Louis outshot Vancouver 13-2 in the third period but Dan Cloutier was able to stay strong and hold on for a very tough victory. After getting their butts killed in three of the first four games- the Canucks had forced a Game 7 back home.

Game 7 saw Al MacInnis try to channel Knicks great Willis Reed and inspire the Blues by playing while hurt. It didn't work as he was hurt soon after the game started. St. Louis got a goal right as the game started and everyone was bracing for the Canucks to collapse like in Game 1. The Sedin twins tied the game midway through the first. Morrison and Naslund added two goals midway in the second and the Canucks never looked back. On his birthday, Cloutier was excellent in goal saving 33 shots. St. Louis didn't even attempt a third period comeback. Trevor Linden made sure of that by scoring a shorthanded goal 28 seconds into the third. Vancouver had rallied from a 3-1 deficit for the first time in 11 years, and made it to the second round for the first time since 1995. Their opponents were the Minnesota Wild- a team that had also rallied from a 3-1 deficit to upset the Colorado Avalanche.

Game 1 against Minnesota did start out very well. A close scoreless game ended late in the first when Sergei Zholtok scored on a powerplay. A frustrated Vancouver took another penalty (this would be the story of the series) but Ed Jovonaski saved them by scoring a shorthand goal to tie it up. The rest of the second period was a back and forth hockey game with the Canucks pounding Manny Fernandez with shot after shot but he saved them all. Cloutier played well at the other end but was overshadowed by his counterpart. Early in the third period Wes Walz broke the stalemate with a goal. Six minutes later he seemed to put the Canucks away with another goal. The Wild had a two goal lead midway through the third period and with Fernandez having a good game- it looked like the Wild would be taking this one. Naslund gave Vancouver fans some hope by netting a goal with nine minutes left but for the rest of the game Vancouver was unable to score. But with only ONE second left and Cloutier on the bench- Vancouver pulled off a miracle. Matt Cooke was able to get a goal just as the game ended. The goal gave Vancouver tons of confidence and hurt the psyche of the Wild. The late goal obviously hurt the Wild who did not look like the same team in OT. They got a penalty in overtime and Vancouver capitalised on it. Minnesota native Trent Klatt got a powerplay goal for his team and Vancouver was able to take Game 1 by pulling off a miracle comeback.

Game 2 would be the game that would show people if Minnesota was able to recover from losing a heartbreaker to the Canucks. The first period was very even straight down the middle hockey. Both teams had 8 shots and neither was able to beat the respective goalie. Vancouver was trying to establish a physical presence to offset the Wild but it wasn't working and was not getting them any goals. Early in the second the man who seemed to major in breaking Vancouver fans hearts- Marian Gaborik- netted the first goal as Cloutier continued to be a bit shaky in goal. Ed Jovanaski, arguably the playoff MVP for Vancouver, was able to score late in the second and they went into the third period tied at one all. Game 2 ended up becoming Game 1 revisited. Just like in Game 1- The Wild were able to get two quick goals and before anyone knew what was happening- it was 3-1 Minnesota. Could Vancouver pull off another miracle comeback? Dwayne Roloson seemed intent on making sure that did not happen by making 11 saves in the third period. With just over two minutes to go Mattias Ohlund was able to solve the puzzle that was Roloson and scored to make it a one goal game. The GM Place was buzzing- could it really happen again? It was not to be however. Minnesota was able to hold on for the final two minutes despite the Canucks doing everything they could to tie it up. Minnesota headed back home having avenged a crushing loss.

Game 3 saw the refs keep the whistles close to their mouths. At the end of Game 2 there had been a little scrum between the two teams and the referees were intent on that not happening again. Seven seconds into the game- Brad May and Matt Johnson got into a fight. Minnesota seemed to be the team losing its focus in this game as they took two more penalties in the first period. Vancouver capitalised on the second one and had a 1-0 lead on a goal by Morrison. Vancouver seemed to lose its focus after that as they started drawing the penalties. Minnesota made sure to capitalise on that and got a goal by Filip Kuba to tie it up. The second period saw Minnesota and Vancouver continue to trade penalties as each team seemed to lose its head and just be intent on kicking some ass instead of winning a hockey game. The powerplays of each time continued to take advantage with Jovanoski and Gaborik netting powerplay goals. In the middle of the second period James Marshall was sent to the penalty box for roughing up Daniel Sedin. Sedin got his revenge by netting a powerplay goal of his own. All 5 goals had been scored with the man advantage. Apparently the penalty killing lines had taken the night off. Despite taking two more penalties in the third period- Vancouver was able to hang on to the game and reclaim home ice advantage.

Game 4 played out just like Game 1 did- with the game going into overtime and the Canucks getting the win. Marian Gaborik continued to be the hero for the Wild as he scored late in the first. Not much happened in period 2. Manny Fernandez made sure Vancouver didn't score and Cloutier did his best not to blow it. Vancouver took two penalties which wasn't too bright but it did come back to haunt them. Matt Cooke was finally able to tie the game in the early in the second bur Gaborik AGAIN scored and gave the Wild the lead back, I had never heard of Gaborik or Wes Walz before this series started but I know I have a deep psychological hatred for both players after this series. I think they must hate all the rain in Vancouver cause they did a very good job of making Canuck fans cry. Vancouver was not daunted by the Wild's one goal lead and like in Game 1 and Game 2 they netted a late goal as Jovanoski continued to be the MVP for the Canucks as he just kept scoring and playing terrific defence at the same time. Just like in Game 1 the game was headed into overtime. Cloutier was playing his A game here as he stopped a Darby Hendrickson breakway early on. The Wild soon lost their focus as Filip Kuba took a very stupid penalty that cost his team the game. Kuba got charged with a double minor for highsticking Bertuzzi and Vancouver had its best chance to score. A little over three minutes later- they did just that and Vancouver now had a commanding 3-1 lead with two home games left.

Game 5 started out innocently enough. Minnesota and Vancouver both got goals in the first period but were able to convert on the numerous powerplay chances that each team had. Early in the second period Cliff Ronning was able to take advantage of a Vancouver penalty and made it a 2-1 game. Then it all fell apart. Jason Marshall, Andrew Brunette and Gaborik all scored in the span of five minutes. The Canucks responded by getting really frustrated and taking stupid penalties. Naslund drew another high sticking call and Cloutier racked up two penalties at the end of the second period. By then it was 6-2 Minnesota. They were easily having their way with the Canucks and this was causing fans to flashback to Game 1 v. St. Louis. Cloutier was yanked after period 2. He only had 15 saves. This game proved to be a confidence killer for him- just like Game 3 v. Detroit last year. Wes Walz scored his obligatory goal late in the third while shorthanded to cement the rout. Luckily Vancouver had two more games where they could defeat the Wild.

Game 6 turned into a repeat of Game 5. The first period saw Vancouver pound Minnesota with shot after shot but Roloson was fantastic and made sure the game was kept scoring. Sadly the Canuck faithful had to rely on Dan Cloutier who is anything but Mr. Reliable. Minnesota got a goal early in the second off the powerplay. Vancouver responded to this by taking another penalty. Minnesota responded to that response by scoring another powerplay goal. So of course the Canucks took another penalty less then a minute later. Luckily they were able to kill that one off. In the third Darcy Hendrickson made it a 3-0 game. Jovanaski tried to get a comeback going with a powerplay goal but Dan Cloutier apparently doesn't believe in leads and let in another goal. Vancouver responded by taking another penalty and getting Minnesota scored. Watching my team completely get its ass kicked and basically lose their focus was one of the saddest sights I've seen. Luckily they had one more game to not screw up.

Game 7 was a do or die situation. Many people were sceptical with Crawford's decision to start Cloutier but I backed him on the decision and kept saying all day 'In Clouts I Trust'. After again pounding Minnesota with shots- Vancouver was unable to score in the first period. Midway through the second- it looked Vancouver was ready to go to Round 3. Todd Bertuzzi and Mattias Ohlund both scored goals and if Cloutier could keep his composure- Anaheim would be booking a plane ticket to Vancouver. Cloutier completely lost his focus. He let in a goal late in the second and going into the third it was 2-1 Canucks. ::Cue ominous music::. Cloutier completely fell apart in period three. He allowed three goals and completely choked it away for Vancouver. The Canucks were unable to solve Roloson and Cloutier;s continued existence on the other end of the rink made the Wild able to win this game.

In the end Vancouver somehow blew a 3-1 lead as they lost their focus and forgot why they had been doing so well. Whenever the Wild started to do well Vancouver would clamp up and panic and take stupid penalties. This was not the great Vancouver team that fans had witnessed all season. While the Canucks had a terrific regular season- the way they excited the playoffs will always overshadow it.

 

The Best of the..Mailbag!!!!!

Each week I posted any email I got related to my reviews. People often would ask if these letters were real- or if I just made them up. Trust me- every letter is 100% real. And now the best of the mailbag.

Ryan O'Toole wrote me a long letter about what to expect in Canada-

Ryan O'Toole (know he doesn't live in Ireland) writes-
I liked your bit about Canada; it was kinda humorous to hear you speak of our Hockey and Tim Horton's, that's great.
I don't mean this offensively, of course, but I always enjoy hearing an American talk about Canada. Generally, not too many Americans know much about Canada, understandably, because we're not as big an influence on you as you are on us. Americans and Canadians have a lot in common, but we also have a lot of differences, which you'll find out.
Anyways
Just a few notes, call me your travel guide if you wish, but I'm just a friendly Canadian boy trying to help a friend from down south.
We have ESPN, and I think ESPN2. We also have TSN (The Sports Network), based from Toronto, mainly, which is owned or incorporated somehow with ESPN.
You're right, we don't have the Republican Party, sorry. We kinda have a different system, some would argue is better and some would argue is worse.
Tim Horton's is great, but fatty. Starbucks is good, if you prefer the "tastes like home" feeling once in awhile. Not as much of them as in the States, but Toronto has quite a few I do believe.
We have MTV, on cable/digital cable, as well as MTV Canada. But more widely known is MM (Much Music), as well as MMM (Much More Music).
Now, the wrestling video option would be best asked in terms of Mississauga, not Canada as a whole, because Canada is huge, just not very populated, but I'm sure some Toronto or Mississauga stores will have some good videos of Wrestling.
Anyways, I'm hope you have fun in Ontario, Canada, Mississauga (how ever you want to put it). And you're right: Toronto Maple Leafs games are great, and I hope you enjoy "Hockey Night in Canada", as I am doing right now. Second period is underway, so I must go.
Oh, and enjoy our climate, from New York you'll know, mostly, what to expect. If you were from Texas you'd be bundled up all year round. But just don't be surprised when you see people walking in shorts in March (or February).

Sorry if you didn't feel the need to read this, I was just waiting for 2nd period to start and I read your review.

The day of the season premiere the Yankees were eliminated in the playoffs. I of course had to bring that up and in my review of the Sara Michelle Gellar episode- one fan was not amused-

Chryssy246@aol.com writes-

well hello there. hahahahahha, oh im sorry, am i laughing in your face? your precious braves lost too!!! i guess another dynasty has come to an end. oh wait a minute, it came to an end last year when they didnt even make it to the world series! wow, i guess i should make up a song about them losing too. nah, i can be mature about this, i dont need to make up a song, everyone knows how old they are and how much they suck. sorry, no october baseball 4 you either. hahaha...........
a dedicated yankee fan,
chrissy
Hello to you. Yes the Braves did lose and I commented on it at the beginning. I still consider the Braves dynasty to still be going on- the year they don't win the East is the year I consider the dynasty finally dead and buried. You mention last year they didn't make it to the World Series and in your definition that's the end of a dynasty. Well then what do you call 2000 where the Cardinals mounted them and fucked them in the ass for three straight games? See I'm a Braves fan and I will freely admit to stuff like that. Being mature about something includes capitalizing words at the proper time and putting apostrophes where needed. i.e.- I'm not im, don't not dont. If you wanna make up a song go ahead.

The John McCain episode set a record for most letters in the mailbag. After complaining about my back troubles I actually had someone write in with tips on how to take care of it.

sgoldenberg@onebox.com writes-

Do you have hot water bottle? It would help a lot with back pai. You
just use very warm water from the tap - you have running water in your
dorn bathroom, right, or do you have to take the Walk of Shame from
Jimmy's CD? Please get help & get better! SAra
I also got TWO letters about my Kattan hate. One was the usual idiocy that his fanbase puts out but another one was actually GASP! well written.

Lisa L. writes-

You don't have to be so rude and ignorant about Chris Kattan. He is a funny, and talented actor. Don't say why doesn't he leave the show already. Don't dis good acting when you could never achieve it.

Rebecca Dancyzk writes-
i know what you are probably going to say... but oh
well....
I and and a LOT of other people... not just two, do
not like it when people express their hatred towards
other people... PLEASE keep it inside... i am a chris
kattan fan also... he IS pretty funny, you may think
differently, but dont put us down...
please...
A lot of our kattan fans dont post reviews their...
mostly because we are busy on the forum... but if we
did... honestly, we would have you out numbered by
about a thousand...honestly.
So, if you feel to diss ANYONE for that matter, please
dont tell everyone else, and keep it inside yourself
thank you
It only took me two weeks to start pimping Seth for the Update slot. It also only took two weeks for someone to tell me why that may not be the best idea-

Howler1234@aol.com writes-

Hi!
I agree with most of the opinions in your reviews, except for one in your SMG/Faith Hill review. You said that they should replace Jimmy Fallon with Seth Meyers, and I don't agree. Yes, I am a Jimmy fan, but I'm not just going to be and teenybopper and whine about how cool Jimmy is. I like Seth too, but he doesn't have the same chemistry with Tina that Jimmy has. He also couldn't do any more rants if he were an anchor, because that spot is filled by Tina. If he stays as a correspondent, he can rant and talk about the Red Sox all he wants. I don't expect you to necessarily listen to my opinion, and I definitely don't expect your opinion to change, because I've gathered that most reviewers are very opinionated and therefore stubborn sometimes. :-) I just wanted to get my opinion out, because I'd say something in a review, but I'm so damn unorganized I can never get a review sent in on time.
L.K.
PS--The Braves are awesome! It sucks that they lost.

The Eric McCormack episode saw Sara Meeker write in with a letter praising my reviewing style.

Sara Meeker writes-

hey,
kick ass reviews man i'd like to thank you on your non-idiocy which i have found in other reviewers. your unbiased opinion is most appreciated its nice to listen to a review where the person isn't like "jimmy is great!" just cause he's hot and also visa versa where the guys are just like jealous. i am myself a jimmy fan (has nothing to do with the fact that he ain't ugly...i personally prefer seth HES a hottie and hes funnier!) there is one exception that i would let ANYONE make fun of and that would be sanz. has he ever played ANYTHING but the sanz character? i just don't get why the hell he's on! if anyone agrees with me let me know. i would like to know i'm not the only person who can spot a jackass when i see
him
with much admiration ;),
sarah
p.s. i hope no one is "offended" by my haratio hatred, if u are actually im sorry i just dont care...

The next week- the Dale Harris News Organization wrote me to tell me that I sucked.

Dale Harris News Organization writes-
Why do you have to have ten pages of crap before the review? Sports update? Mailbag? Can't you just write the review without useless stuff? I want to read about SNL, not wrestling.
The week after that- SNLJamie wrote in to defend me from the villainous Dale Harris News Organization.
This is in reference to the Dale Harris News Organization so please put this in your mailbag.
Hey Dale. Can I call you Dale. Well too bad I just did. Bob does good episode reviews. No I dont care for the sports report or the wresting report but like he said you can just scroll down. Dont you people ever think. Duh. Bob is also a cool guy. I met him and we are friends. So before you criticsize others think about yourself first. Have a nice day. :)
The Al Gore episode had someone writing me an email where they actually admitted they were a Boston Bruins fan. I don't know why a person would want to do that but here ya go-

Jessica Almeda writes-

Hello Bob!
I'm an amatuer reviewer but i skim through yours often. This is the
first
time I've sent you an email and it's because of this one line, "As much
as I
enjoy Seth, the fact that he is a Boston Bruins fan made me enjoy
seeing him
get slapped around like a little bitch and had me enjoying this skit a
lot."
What's wrong with the Bruins?! I just happen to be from Boston and am
an avid fan of any Boston related teams ( it's an obligation;) ). I don't
follow hockey as much as you clearly do but come on, so far as I've
seen
they've had a decent season! At least give them that.
Besides that minor comment, great review. :)
~Jessica Almeida

I called Phish a group of dorks in my Gore review and I wondered how they had such a big fanbase. Someone responded

Alejandro Tamargo writes-
Hey Man. I'm a Phish phan, and the only explanation I can give you as
to
why so many of us like these dorks is, you either get it or you don't.
Phish
Phans are just like Trekkies. Either you're obsessive about it, or you
sit
there and wonder "Why the hell are all these freaks so obsessive about
this?" There's nothing else I can say. Funny episode though. I
thought
it was the funniest in years.
Alex

In my Jeff Gordon review I went off on Jimmy and Horatio for laughing and ruining a skit. A fellow SNL fan chimed in with their thoughts-

ecfroggy04@aol.com writes-
Hey there, Bob, it's your fellow reviewer Sarah here...
I've just got to comment on you that I agree with you 150 percent on
the Jimmy and Horatio rant there. I wrote one of those and got a lot of
flak for it from Jimmy's fans. You said it perfectly. I also have to
agree wholeheartedly on the "Terrye Funck Hour". I read other reviews
that gave it almost full credit, saing they'd like to see it again. It
looks like we're some of the few who didn't like it, I suppose.
Anyway, thank you for the lovely Jimmy and Horatio speech.
Sarah
P.S. I don't like Avril because of herself as well as her music. There
you go. But whatever floats your boat or finds your lost remote, I
say.

The next week I had another reader commenting on my Jimmy hatred-

Melissa Turquist writes-
First time writer, long time reader. Just wanted to write saying I like your reviews. I agree with you on a lotta stuff. Like, Jimmy should really stop cracking up on screen. The man has sold out, and become horrible. Sometimes I feel like walking out of the living room like Patricia Heaton walked out of the AMA's on the Osbournes. It's just annoying. I just wish he'd leave SNL soon....him and Kattan(AKA Assclown) have overstayed their welcomes. I, as well, take a big liking to Seth Meyers. He is GOD! :) I'm trying so hard not to be like a "Jimmy Fan Girl" about Seth but sometimes, I can't help it! *contains self* I don't mind Rachel however. Have you ever seen her on Conan? She's hilarious! One final note, I'm so glad Parnell is back and doing well on SNL. Well, thanks for being something interesting to read online!

-Mel

Chad Ruffner wrote me and asked me questions about my SNL favorites I might as well post my answer-

Chad Ruffner writes-

Hi Bob,
Since you started watching SNL
regularly, what would you say was the single best
episode? Also, what would you say was the single
worst ep?
Later,
Chad

Favourite: Kevin Spacey/Beck with special guests John Cleese and Michael Palin. An absolutely insanely awesome show with ***** skits left and right. Norm's first appearance as David Letterman, the cold opening, the monologue, the Star Wars audition tapes- everything in this episode is great with only the last skit not being fucking awesome. If they ever rerun this show on wherever they rerun SNL these days- do yourself a favour and watch it. It is that damn good.
Least Favourite: Alan Cumming/Jlo. An absolutely pitiful episode that I didn't even watch the whole thing- it was that damn bad. Every skit was just insanely bad and dragged like there was a new law in that things must drag. The mini movie with Ben Stiller is the worst skit I have ever seen. The whole show is one pathetic piece of garbage that almost caused me to give up on SNL completely. Yes- it was THAT bad.

Chad sent me another Best/Worst question a week later-

Chad Ruffner writes-

Hi Bob,
Continuing on my "Best/Worst"
Thread from Last Week: What, In Your Opinion, Is/Was
the Best Recurring Sketch, Past or Present. And what
Is/Was The Worst Recurring Sketch, Past/Present?
Later,
Chad

Best Recurring Sketch: That's a good question. I could go all obscure and name something like Perspectives but since they only did that thrice I won't. I also assume you're not counting Weekend Updates so I won't say Norm. Roxbury Guys had a couple misses (the first one and the Baldwin one come to mind) and I haven't seen every Wayne's World so I can't put that either. I think I'll pick Celebrity Jeopardy. I can't recall one version that wasn't excellent and I consider the 10.23.99 Celebrity Jeopardy to be the greatest skit I have ever seen.
Worst Recurring Skit: That's an easy one- Dog Show. There has NEVER been a Dog Show that was better then DUD and most of the time Dog Show hovered in the negative star area as the skits would just drag on and on with little humour in them. I was thinking of Pretty Living but I think Dog Show was much worse since I think there was one funny Pretty Living once.

Never diss Norm Macdonald in the mailbag. It just causes me to go off on you. Well someone went off on Norm and the results were not pretty-

Phillip Dickey writes-
What's with your deal for Norm McDonald? He's the biggest jackass/
douche bag that ever was on SNL and ever will be. He's untalented and
well... you saw how long "Norm" was on the air... on ABC! You must be
kidding me. He was not only the worst update anchor, he was an awful
cast member.
Signed.
Dick Jackey

I don't know who this Norm McDonald character is that you refer to but I am a fan of Norm Macdonald. I could see why you made the mistake since Norm haters tend to be really, really dumb. Norm was a jackass- that's what made him so funny. He wasn't afraid to target anyone and everyone. I love Tina and all but she's too cautious. Norm would go out there and make fun of the bombing of an abortion clinic and not think anything of it. Watching Norm on Update- you never know what he was going to do next. The guy also seemed to be one of those people who tried his hardest when the crowd wasn't into him. And when Norm was on- He was ON. Also- it's funny how you mock how long 'Norm' lasted on the air. The show lasted three seasons- including two seasons where it was very successful on the air. The show was a proven ratings draw when it aired at 9:30 after Drew Carey on Wednesdays. Sadly- ABC abandoned its TGIF lineup and thought Norm and Two Guys, a Girl, and a DVD were successful enough to carry its own night which everyone with a brain knew it wasn't. I think if ABC had kept Norm in the 9:30 pm timeslot after Drew it would've been successful enough to survive when Drew Carey started losing its lustre. Also- the fact that you pointed out that it was on ABC adds absolutely nothing to your argument. In fact ABC was doing pretty well while Norm was on the air. I'd also thought you'd like to know that ABC's worst year ever was the year after they cancelled Norm. Norm is the greatest Weekend Update anchor of all time and the greatest cast member of all time.

Mote Norm Madness-
Chad Ruffner writes-

Hi Bob,
I was wondering If you happen to know
why Norm MacDonald was replaced by Colin Quinn as
Weekend Update Anchor In The Middle of The 1997-1998
Season? Did It have anything to do with his eventual
firing by that NBC Exec who thought he wasn't funny?
Later,
Chad

Okay- here we go. First of all- Norm was not FIRED by SNL. He was fired from Weekend Update but was let out of his contract by Lorne Michaels on his own wishes.
The West Coast President of NBC Don Ohelemeyer had it in for Norm and Weekend Update producer James Downey from the very start. He just didn't like Norm's style of humour and reportedly didn't like the numerous cracks at OJ Simpson. In early January Norm was called by Ohelemeyer and him and Downey were fired from Update and replaced by Colin Quinn. Ohlemeyer thought not many people would care and it would be swept under the bridge.
He was wrong.
Norm went on Howard Stern and David Letterman that week and told the story of his firing as people were in shock. Letterman even leaned over to Norm during the commercial break and asked if this was all a work.
NBC also got exposed for being a ratings obsessed soulless corporation. Conan O'Brien told stories of getting cancelled but then getting uncancelled when NBC had nothing to replace him with. He was told to never book guests who when they are on- the ratings dropped a smidge. It was a huge black eye for NBC and it completely backfired. Warren Littlefield, president of NBC, was kicked over the Seinfeld when he visited. Why? Cause of the Norm firing. Poor Colin Quinn was put in an uncomfortable position and caught in the crossfire.
Norm really didn't want to stay on the air as anymore. He didn't think he was good in skits and really had no interest in staying. Lorne Michaels sympathised with him realising he had gotten screwed and let him out of his contract. I cried that day.
So the bottom line-
Norm was fired from Weekend Update by the NBC West Coast President but was voluntarily let out of his contract by Lorne.

Someone was shocked that I actually liked Amy's Avril-

Seth (hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm) writes-

I love reading your reviews and thoroughly enjoy reading them,but the Avril thing that Amy did was supposed to be making fun of her in a mean spirited way,at least that's what I got out of it. That is why I loved it,because it was making fun of what a ridiculous personality she is and what an awful singer she is.(With the "Im with youuuuuuuuuuuu" thing at the end).The impression certainly was dead-on.

Chad Ruffner chimes in with another best/worst question-

Hi Bob,

I was wondering who your least favorite SNL Cast Member Is, past or present, and why?
Just curious.
Chad

Janeane Garafalo. She only was on the show for half a season and spent that half bitching and complaining and refusing to do skits. She kept running to the media about how SNL was a boys club and all that. Thank God she only lasted half a season- I couldn't take anymore of her.

A hockey/Avril hater chimed in one week later. That will always get you in the best of the mailbag.

IWasLikeEMILIOO@ aol.com writes-
Oh gosh bob, Avril? Her music? ewwwy! Come on!
-Angie
PS I finally saw my first hockey game (Tampa bay VS Capitals) It was awesome! You gotta love the "everyone is screamin' and drinking" atmosphere!
Someone wrote in praising Phish. Now that's quite alright but what he wrote at the end is criminal!

ChiTex33@aol.com writes-
I recently read your review of the above mentioned episode of SNL. 

People enjoy Phish because they are the most original, exciting, and
interesting band around right now. No one else even comes close. 
Anything most people would routinely hear on the radio, on MTV, etc. sucks,
and so do the huge bands like U2, Dave Matthews, etc. 

If you really don't understand the "dorks," and yes, they are musical
geeks, check them out live, you would understand.

By the way, most people would say the same about you for putting a
"sports report" (especially mainly about hockey, which nobody cares about)
at the beginning of a review of an SNL episode.

Food for thought...  

At that ends my look back at the mailbag. Now I tend to go off on tangents or say funny things. Since I have an inflated ego we'll call this part-

The Best of Barron-
Jimmy Fallon shooting a gecko is almost as funny as that scene in the movie Addicted to Love where the old lady tells Meg Ryan that her tits are as hard as a rock.

In keeping with the times that this album was "inspired" by 9.11 (Translation: Hey New Yorkers: Still feeling blue- by my CD and be happy!) I believe this song was about that time on 9.11 when there were explosions in Afghanistan and no one knew WTF was going on.

Seth Meyers always delivers on Weekend Update. I'm like praying that one day Jimmy is replaced by the awesome power of Seth Meyers.
Jess of fallonfey.com: But then I'd be screwed.

On Safety Patrol skit-You know what SNL should of done to stay on the safe side- cut this skit.

I know most of the audience was too busy pretending like they were at an Islanders game to care

What I'm about to tell you with is something I've grappled with my entire life. People say you're born with it or that's it genetic but I've never been so sure. Sure sometimes hanging out the with the guys it was kinda weird but I was always to keep my secret and no one ever knew the truth until now. God this is going to be so tough. I, Bob Barron am a fan of country music.

You would think after the greatness that was "Subway Fred" that SNL would learn that Tracy and Maya should only be teamed up for special occasions like say- the world ending. This was not a special occasion.

I thought this year they weren't allowed to be funny because Will Ferrell when he left took all the humour away

I guess Dean Edwards got killed in a gang shootout this week so he couldn't provide any coke for Rachel

I'm wondering if the post Update slot is now the spot that is meant to appeal to the 17 year old Canadian hockey fan demographic since the past two shows have had ****+ skits following Update.

Writer: Okay so like Rachel Dratch is going to a bikini wax and she has like a lot of hair in her cooter and she's in her underwear and she's really hair down there and this bikini waxer is like pulling the hair and it hurts! A lot.
Lorne: (on the phone) What- Will Ferrell won't come back to the show? (gets off the phone) Umm yea- whatever- sounds good.

Speaking of Felicity (well I wasn't but I'm reviewing Update where Jimmy made a joke about Felicity)- I got a couple complaitns I have to voice about the show and it's star Keri Russell. Note- I don't have ovaries so I haven't like watched the show but here's what I've gathered-
1) The name- Felicity? Who names their kid Felicity? I mean honestly- what the fuck. What a stupid name.
2) She goes to college across the country against her parents wishes. Do her parents-
a) tell her to go fuck herself
or
b) basically say: Okay felicity- since we gave you such a horrible name- you can do whatever you want.
Yea whatever. Those are my two complaints about Felicity. I have one more Felicity point to make though-
Have you ever gone to fallonfey.com and gone: Ummm how come there aren't any autographs of celebrities up there? I mean I can only read the cut David Arquette joke so many times. Well fallonfey.com does have autographs of celebrities and you have got to see Kerri Russell's- it's almost as bad and offensive as naming your kid Felicity.

Amy cutting up the beats and kicking it old school was delish and had me busting a move old school breakdance spinaroonie style, can you dig? This skit was f to the u to the n to the n to the y despite the fact yo that it once again wasn't a monologue that kept it real and seemed like it was selling out and abandoning the street roots- whasupwit dat yo. On the Sunny D side of things, Dean Edwards my brother of colour was spinning the beats Jam master Jay RIP style and I was feeling that homes. Like I said this was bling blingin' and ching chingin' and I was all up in its area, word to your mother- peace out- I'M OUTTA HERE!

Why was Kelly Rowland talking about her boob???

Dean Edwards: Will Forte's hazing is having a bear do him in the ass while mine is having to have Chris Kattan's balls in my face?
Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton: A dis is an outtarage

Someone told me they thought it was going to be the Christmas Song but it ended up just being a bear doing Will Forte in the ass.
Brian Kinney: Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Al Gore was funny. There were two things I'd never thought I'd ever type- that and the words Dean Edwards next to cast.

Idiot Boyfriend is a waste of good recording tape that maybe could've been used to finish Norm's long awaited comedy album.

Sure you two fucking jackass are having your little fun cracking each other up but you guys need to know something:
YOU ARE ON LIVE TELEVISION ACROSS THE WORLD. ACT PROFESSIONAL.
There are people who would give everything they owned to have the jobs that Jimmy and Horatio do and to go out there and have such little respect for everything just pisses a loyal viewer like me off. I like watching people who go out there, have fun and are funny while doing it while at the same time acting professional. Jimmy and Horatio must have bad self esteem issues if the only way they think they can get a rise out of an audience is by going out there and cracking each other up. I was crazy happy when Molly left and if this keeps up I will not shed a tear if you either of you get hit by a bus because you're too busy thinking of ways to crack up on the air.

As a Dean-a-holic and Dean-a-maniac I was getting worried he never made it straight outta Compton.

Even though he was really gay and said heaven to mergatory a lot- Snagglepuss did have some good advice in terms of the exiting stage left stuff.

What in the blue heck was assclown doing in a skit??? Was Dean Edwards getting beaten by the cops?? Was Seth Meyers busy watching hockey?? Was Jeff Richards busy trying to find a chick to score with? Was Tracy Morgan busy trying to explain to someone why he still has a job? Was Darrell Hammond busy looking for his id card????

The joke was beaten into the ground like it was Rodney King meeting the LAPD.

Lesbians
Cast- McConaghey, Rudolph, Dratch
Thoughts- One of my ideas was at the end of every SNL to show a classic old school skit from back in the day. I figured this way it would eliminate the crappy 10 minute to 1 skit at the end and would also appease old school fans and would probably open up a new door for new school fans. I never really got to propose this idea to Lorne though so it never saw the light of day. The only reason I'm bringing this up is because if they did implement my classic skit idea then maybe horrible rubbish like this would not make it on my TV. DUD

Okay- I'll admit it. I didn't know what a cunnilingus was. Then I figured- hey- why not ask the one person who is guaranteed to know- the owner of fallonfey.com

I'd give Kattan credit but I don't think it's too hard for him to play an effeminate homosexual.

I know the premise of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and Three's Company was two girls and one guy but I think a show where Tina, Seth and Dean were roommates and Don Knotts was their wacky landlord would rule all. I mean the sexual tension and the malt liquor (Dean IS on the show) would flow like wine.

Why did Maya have to take off her shirt? You have Salma Hayek who is Mexican so all she needs is the threat of a deportation and you got a one hour Girls Gone Wild tape. You have Christina Agulera who is a walking $2 whore. And yet Maya Rudolph, the one who personifies the Michael Jackson song 'Black or White' gets to show off the skin. To quote the Undertaker "I'm not feeling it."

Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Lisa does an experiment on whether her brother is dumber then a hamster? Well one of the experiments has her putting out a cupcake and everytime you touch the cupcake you get shocked. Bart keeps touching the cupcake each time knowing a bad result will occur. That's how I feel about SNL continuing to parade Parnell out there. It sucks, he sucks at it, get over it and move on.

I didn't know Tabasco sauce was exclusive to black people. I also didn't know Maya Rudolph was black.

The thing with Parnell and Forte had its moments and was alright and was sort of a weird mis-mash. We have Forte who seems to always rock out on WU and we have Parnell, who like Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Hernandez and the server for fallonfey.com on Sundays, seems to strike out a lot on WU.

SNL Year in Review

October 5th: SNL tries to move on without Will Ferrellto mixed results
Matt Damon/Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

SNL had its first episode since May 1995 where Will Ferrell was not in the cast and many were wondering if SNL would be able to survive without him. Too many people overstated Will's presence and I always felt the man was horribly overrated. He was a great cast member but he was nothing his last year and the show did just fine without him.

I actually enjoyed the Damon show and didn't find myself missing Will Ferrell in the least. There were a few clunkers but for the most part this was a solid show that showed me they could move on without Will Ferrell.

October 12th- Okay- now panic
Sarah Michelle Gellar/Faith Hill

I liked the Sarah Michelle Gellar episode. I was the only one. The show began with them debuting a new George W. Bush and it was met to disastrous results. Parnell couldn't decide whether he wanted to do his own impression or just copy Will's voice. I would've preferred if he made this decision before the skit started but I guess he decided to test out both on the show. The show started out horribly which did not help the crowd. The dead crowd really hurt the show and caused every skit to seemingly fall flat.

Now I liked this show. They did a lot of ballsy skits on the potential war in Iraq which I enjoyed and I thought Faith Hill was a very good musical guest. But most people, including the audience at 8H and Lorne Michaels did not agree with me.

Apparently Lorne basically told the cast he was unhappy with the first two shows. I thought that was an unfair thing to do since it was my opinion that they had put on two good shows and were trying their hardest but Lorne's yelling led to

October 19th- Don't worry- everything is going to be just fine
John McCain/White Stripes

With John McCain being a politician and this being the third show in a row- a lot of people were expecting another clunker. Plus- apparently Will Ferrell leaving had zapped the show of all of its humour. People were continually overstating Ferrell's presence on the show and thinking SNL was going off the deep end. Most people had forgotten that one of the best shows of last season (Jon Stewart/India.Arie.) had occurred without Will Ferrell and that SNL could do good shows without him. Tonight was one of those nights.

After a bit of a slow start the show kicked into high gear with Hardball and never looked back. McCain and Hammond really had some great chemistry as both truly shined in Hardball and in a parody of Meet the Press. After Weekend Update they had John McCain truly shine in the skit 'McCain sings Babs'. It was John McCain attacking Barbara Streisand and they pulled it off with results that blew me away. From my review-

McCain sings Babs
Cast- McCain
Thoughts- I love John McCain. He is the man for doing this skit. He totally went out there and gave a big fuck you to every stupid celebrity who goes on tv and acts like the democratic candidates are their best friends when they're secretly going out there and fucking them in the ass by trying to censor entertainment like that spineless little twat Joe Lieberman. It's like: Hey Alec Baldwin- Bill O'Reilly offered you your big chance to go on tv and explain yourself but apparently you realised what a big dumbass you are and sent one of your stupid brothers instead. John McCain so rocked in this skit I suggested to the owner of fallonfey.com that they should start up a site called- www.johnmcainistheman.com. I was gonna give this skit ***** but I really don't feel comfortable giving a skit 5 just because I agree with the editorial view of this skit but I must give props to whomever wrote this (me thinks Jim Downey) and once again have to add to my long list of reasons why John McCain so totally reeks of awesomeness.
****3/4

The John McCain show was a consistently good show with the only real clunker being the Lifetime parody movie. It showed people they would be doing just fine without Will Ferrell. You could still find good shows and great comedy at Saturday Night Live.

December 7th- Robert DeNiro disappoints many
Robert DeNiro/Norah Jones

When it was announced that Robert DeNiro was going to be hosting SNL- many people figured we were in for a terrific show considering his acting pedigree and the fact that it's Robert Freaking DeNiro. DeNiro ended up disappointing everyone. He was ill-prepared to host the show and kept stumbling over his lines. It became painfully obvious that he hadn't memorised his lines very well and was reading the cue cards to keep up. I liked the show but a lot of the skits were mediocre and opinion on this show was that it sucked. DeNiro's horrible job as host had stained the show and caused many viewers to ignore some of the actual humour that was in the show.

January 11th- Ouch
Jeff Gordon/Avril Lavigne

The Jeff Gordon/Avril Lavigne show was not really looked on with much anticipation. Athletes had poor track records when it came to hosting and no one really took Satan the race car driver seriously. After John McCain and Al Gore both delivered thumbs up shows there was some optimism that maybe just maybe the Jeff Gordon show could shock us all.

It sucked.

The only saving graces were the Joe Millionaire parodies and the two songs sung by Avril. Skits such as the Terry Funk hour, Broken down Aquarium and Stripper Pole were painful to watch. In the end I gave this show a thumbs in a middle- but only because of Avril Lavigne.

February 8th- Ouch part II
Matthew McConaughey/The Dixie Chicks

SNL presented its worst episode in a long time on February 8th as the very painful McConaughey episode aired. SNL was in the midst of a mini-slump since the New Year began. They had done two shows that were thumbs in the middle but this show officially put them in the slump pile. The show began on a bad note with a lame opening about the UN. The worst Jarrett's Room ever (and that's saying something) was on this show as well. The show was starting to look up after Weekend Update but then it just died. With the exception of the Dixie Chicks, nothing after Update was above 1/2*. Of course the Canucks had to have the night off that night so there was nothing I could do to ease the pain.

February 22nd- Cameo-palooza!
Christopher Walken/Foo Fighters

SNL was in a major league slump. Their last thumbs up show had been all the way back in December. SNL fans had hope- if anyone could get them out of this slump it was Walken who seems to always put on a good show. The show ended up being the best of the season. It began with the skit of the year- a terrific edition of Hardball that officially established it, in my eyes, as one of SNL's best recurring characters of its era. Pranksters, a skit that saw Walken's character take his love for pranking too far, aired after the monologue and was another terrific skit. It seemed like SNL was out of the slump. The show just kept on delivering as it went along. African American archives, Colonel Angus and then a memorable Weekend Update. When people first heard that Will Ferrell was going to be on Late Night with Conan O'Brien- they were buzzing that maybe this could mean an SNL cameo. But before we got to Will- Steve Martin joined us for a hilarious cameo. After Martin left and Fallon and Fey kept bombing with each joke, there were more cameos to come. Will Ferrell and Britney Spears then showed up to deliver a commentary on how their love life was going. Now I didn't want Ferrell to come back but I was okay with it since the crowd did seem to like it. The 2.22.03 WU was one of the worst joke wise but probably will be one of the most memorable of all time.

Will Ferrell wasn't just content with his little cameo on Weekend Update as they had to bring back the Lovers. I thought it was absolutely deplorable that Ferrell was allowed to waltz in there and take away airtime from people who really could use it all so he could do his stupid recurring character that was never funny in the first place. Them putting the Lovers skit on the air was my only problem with the Walken episode. It's funny how people thought Will took all the humour when he left but when he came back he was in the worst skit that night.

After the awfulness of the Lovers I needed something to make me start loving this episode again. His name was Jim Carrey. In the middle of the Foo Fighters performance he came on stage and played foot guitar- showing amazing flexibility and bringing the house down. It was such a random out of nowhere moment that it made you appreciate what can happen on Saturday Night Live.

By the end of the night- Christopher Walken had saved SNL from a slump and possibly saved their season.

March 15th- Parnell's Bush finally hits ****
Salma Hayek/Christina Agulera

I had been riding Parnell all year since I thought his impression of George Bush was horrible and I was hoping SNL would just give it up and be done with it. None of the Bush skits made me think otherwise until finally- they were able to do one right. Putting Tina, Seth, Amy and Dean in the same skit was a smart move as they easily offset the suckiness of Parnell's Bush. Instead of having Bush go out there and do a monologue- they let Parnell's character play off everyone else and the result ended up being comedy gold.

The cliff notes version of the SNL season

10.5.02 Matt Damon/Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Avg. skit: **.7

A pretty mediocre way to start season 28 as every skit was in the **-*** range it seemed. The musical guest sucked but there was some funny stuff here like Dr. Phil, Update and Damon's Tyson impression.

10.12.02 Sarah Michelle Gellar/Faith Hill Avg. skit: **.55

A show that while not that great, was unfairly ripped apart by many because of the dead crowd. The political humour in this episode was fantastic as every skit they did about the War on Iraq elicited a big laugh from me. Faith was also a really great musical guest. The rest of the show was mostly drek but this episode had enough good to make it a thumbs up.

10.19.02 Senator John McCain/The White Stripes Avg. skit: ***

SNL had its first truly awesome show here. McCain was a great host and the fact that had he had no experience acting did not hurt the show in the least. Meet the Press, Hardball and McCain sings Babs were three great skits. The White Stripes were also good musical guests but this was McCain's show and he ran with it.

11.02.02 Eric McCormack/Jay-Z Avg. skit: **

The first thumbs down of the season and it had to go to a Ryerson alum. Aside from Crazy Court this show had nothing going for it. Weekend Update was not up to its usual standards. The musical guest was much better then I expected but most of the skits fell flat.

11.09.02 Nia Vardalos/Eve Avg. skit: **.5

A pretty funny show that took a bit of a nose dive after Weekend Update was over. Update was fantastic and was much better then the previous weeks disappointment. That's what happens when you bring Seth Meyers back and put him on Weekend Update. Overall this was a solid show that rebounded nicely from the previous weeks poor show.

11.16.02 Brittany Murphy/Nelly/Garrett Morris Avg. skit: **.7

The show started off great and was solid throughout. They did a Jarrett's Room that was actually pretty funny but Gaydar and Leathermen were two recurring characters that didn't work out so well. The show ended on a happy note with Garrett Morris making a cameo in an Astronaut Jones skit. Nelly was all right.

12.7.02 Robert DeNiro//Norah Jones/Harvey Keitel Avg. skit: **.8

This was a show that benefited from most of the skits being around **1/2-***. Despite DeNiro being a pretty bad host- the skits were pretty funny. I still say that Wesley Jamison owns you and you must bow down to his greatness. Norah Jones was alright but was too boring and the rest of the show hovered around that **1/2-*** range.

12.14.02 Al Gore/Phish/Martin Sheen/Allison Janney/Bradley Whitford/Richard Schiff/Al Franken/Tipper Gore Avg. skit: **.6

I thought this show would suck big time- I was wrong. It ended up being a consistently good show with most of the skits being pretty good. Al Gore wasn't really that funny and we didn't need another Jarrett's Room but those are minor complaints. It was fun seeing Stuart Smalley back and Phish was a pretty good musical guest.

1.11.03 Jeff Gordon/Avril Lavigne Avg. skit- **.2

The skits sucked the meat missile but Avril was the best musical guest SNL has had in a long time. I enjoyed the references to wrestlers Mike Sanders, Terry Funk and The Rock but when the skit you can remember is Jimmy and Horatio completely ruining a skit with their idiotic laugher- then you know you have a bad show. Avril and the Joe parodies carried this show.

1.18.03 Ray Liotta/The Donnas Avg. skit: **.3

This show started off pretty poorly but started to pick up and got to be decent by the end. A skit about Rachel Dratch's breasts was actually funny. Weekend Update and Straight Talk were both excellent skits and the Donnas were a pretty good band. There were just a bit too many bad skits for my liking.

2.8.03 Matthew McConaughey/The Dixie Chicks Avg. skit: *.7

Ugh- One funny skit does not a funny show make. Even though the protesters skit was well received (and it was hilarious) the rest of the show was awful- especially after Weekend Update. The show absolutely collapsed after WU and it just seemed like it was an eternal freefall. Having Tracy do Joe Jackson instead of having Dean do Michael Jackson also pissed me off a bit. The Dixie Chicks were pretty good but the rest of the show was awful- with the exception of a solid Weekend Update.

2.15.03 Jennifer Garner/Beck Avg. skit: **.2

Another bad show with another bad cold opening. Parnell's Bush was once again awful as he continued to bomb with the impression. Aside from Beck, who was a great musical guest, there were only two skits above *** the whole show. Again teasing the viewer with Dean doing Michael Jackson and not delivering pissed me off big time. The show was mediocre and all the bad skits hurt it.

2.22.03 Christopher Walken/Foo Fighters/Steve Martin/Will Ferrell/Britney Spears/Jim Carrey Avg. skit: ***.2

The best show of the season bar none. From great skits such as Hardball and Pranksters to surprise cameos featuring the likes of Steve Martin and Jim Carrey- this show had it all. Walken was his usual awesome self as host and the writers were on fire this week. Watching this show I was laughing hysterically and was not a Stifley Stiferson.

3.8.03 Queen Latifah/Ms Dynamite Avg. skit: **.7

A really funny episode here despite the fact that it had a Baby K skit. There wasn't really anything that bad in the episode- it was just a good solid 90 minutes of comedy. Seeing the X-Presidents back and seeing them put on nonsensical skits like Adventures at the A&P made me laugh.

3.15.03 Salma Hayek/Christina Agulera/Edward Norton Avg. skit: **.5

The average skit doesn't do it justice here as I thoroughly enjoyed this show. The best WU of the season was on here and it featured Amy's Avril Lavigne impression. It also had Salma questioning whether Renee Zelwegger has a penis, Will Forte getting destroyed and another hilarious Smigel cartoon.

4.05.03 Bernie Mac/Good Charlotte Avg. skit: **.5

A bit of a disappointment considering Bernie was hosting but this was still a pretty good episode. Brain Busters was really good although the popular recurring character 'Bahston Teens' was really starting to show its age and it bombed.

4.12.03 Ray Romano/Zwan Avg. skit: **.6

Seth and Amy were in a skit together for the first time in a looong time and they delivered with their skit preaching abstinence. The Phone Booth parody and Ray's monologue was also some good stuff. Ray Romano tried to revive the Sweet Sassey Mollsasey character but it just didn't work. Overall a solid good show.

5.03.03 Ashton Kutcher/50 Cent Avg. skit: **.85

This was the Seth Meyers show as he got a chance to shine was hilarious in skits like Jarrett's Room. Ashton was a pretty game host as well. His comedic background helped him out and it turned out to be a very good show.

5.10.03 Adrien Brody/Sean Paul/Wayne Wonder Avg. skit: ***

Despite Adrien Brody not being a good host- they turned in a great show here. The show was highlighted by Robert Smigel's cartoon- which was one of the best skits I've seen and Smigel's greatest cartoon ever. The show also had some good skits like Regis and Kelly, Self Absorbed and Update was its usual solid self.

Best Skit from Each Episode-
Note: This does not include musical guests

Matt Damon Show- Weekend Update
Cast- Damon, Fey, Fallon, Meyers, Fred Armisen
Thoughts- Seth!!!! Weekend Update!!!! Seth on Weekend Update!!! Seth Meyers always delivers on Weekend Update. I'm like praying that one day Jimmy is replaced by the awesome power of Seth Meyers.
Jess of fallonfey.com: But then I'd be screwed.
My girl Tina, who has hugged me on three separate occasions, was looking HOT tonight. The new guy (I don't know who is who) was right- Latins do have the best well you know. The latino was funny, Seth and Damon ROCKED, Tina was bringing the funny and well Jimmy sucked but after 40 episodes I've come to expect that.
As a tribute to the Venezuelan dude here is my review en espanol-
Seth! Actualización Del Fin de semana. Seth Meyers entrega siempre en la actualización del fin de semana. I.m tienen gusto de rogar que una barreta del día es substituida por la energía impresionante de Seth Meyers.
Jess de fallonfey.com: Pero entonces me atornillarían
Mi muchacha Tina, que me ha abrazado en tres ocasiones separadas, parecía caliente esta noche. El nuevo individuo (No sé quién es quién) correcto- Latinos tiene el mejor pozo que usted sabe. El latino era divertido, Seth y Damon oscilado, Tina traía la barreta divertida y bien aspirada pero después de que cuarenta episodios yo hayan venido contar con eso.

Now just in case they speak Portugese in Venezuela here is a version in Portugese-
Seth!!!! Update Do Fim de semana!!!! Seth no update do fim de semana!!! Seth Meyers entrega sempre no update do fim de semana. I.m gostam de praying que um jimmy do dia está substituído pelo poder awesome de Seth Meyers.
Jess de fallonfey.com: Mas a identificação seja parafusada então.
Minha menina Tina, que me abraçou em três ocasiões separadas, estava olhando quente hoje à noite. O guy novo (eu não sei quem é quem) era latins direitos tem o mais melhor poço que você sabe. O latino era engraçado, Seth e Damon balançado, Tina trazia o jimmy engraçado e bom sugado mas depois que quarenta episodes I.ve vêm esperar aquele.
Weekend Update gets **** BTW.

Sarah Michelle Gellar- Message from an Airline
Cast- Parnell, Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Tracy Morgan, Will Forte
Thoughts- Oh. My. God. This skit was like amazingly awesome to the 27th degree. I mean it was great seeing SNL go out there and do something well different. I loved the edginess and the oooooooo should I be laughing at this tone this skit set. It was also interesting how they were also speaking to a lot of Americans while taking a walk on a wild side at the same time. There was just so much about this skit that worked and so many different levels that you can't help but love it and you can't help but go: Whoa. Skits like that make me proud to still be a viewer of SNL. ****1/2

John McCain- McCain sings Babs
Cast- McCain
Thoughts- I love John McCain. He is the man for doing this skit. He totally went out there and gave a big fuck you to every stupid celebrity who goes on tv and acts like the democratic candidates are their best friends when they're secretly going out there and fucking them in the ass by trying to censor entertainment like that spineless little twat Joe Lieberman. It's like: Hey Alec Baldwin- Bill O'Reilly offered you your big chance to go on tv and explain yourself but apparently you realised what a big dumbass you are and sent one of your stupid brothers instead. John McCain so rocked in this skit I suggested to the owner of fallonfey.com that they should start up a site called- www.johnmcainisotheman.com. I was gonna give this skit ***** but I really don't feel comfortable giving a skit 5 just because I agree with the editorial view of this skit but I must give props to whomever wrote this (me thinks Jim Downey) and once again have to add to my long list of reasons why John McCain so totally reeks of awesomeness.
****3/4

Eric McCormack- Crazy Court
Cast- McCormack, Poehler, Parnell, Sanz, Meyers, Forte
Thoughts- WHOA!! For the second week in a row the skit after WU totally rocks the house. I'm wondering if the post Update slot is now the spot that is meant to appeal to the 17 year old Canadian hockey fan demographic since the past two shows have had ****+ skits following Update. Will Forte has a really kick ass voice and I think it totally made this skit, I loved how McCormack was able to make me laugh without saying a word and just having these awesome facial expressions. Every time I heard the bullhorn- I laughed my ass off and it totally woke up from what had been a dying show. Also- mega kudos to my fellow Ram McCormack for having an awesome bad ass hilarious facial expression at the end and I hope the writers keep trying to write for the 17 year old Canadian hockey fan demographic. ****1/4

Nia Vardalos- Weekend Update
Cast- Fallon, Fey, Meyers
Thoughts- So last week I'm like pretty pissed about the Leafs losing and the fact that the commentaries SUCKED and totally ruined a rare Jimmy Fallon is on night. So what does SNL do. They bring back- the man, the myth, the Weekend Update legend-
SETH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The man is back and a not a moment too soon. Seth was on tonight and he once again showed why he is the man and why he should be on WU doing the news. He was hilarious tonight as per his usual. WU had another good joke night as well with of course Jimmy having his usual contractually obligated clunkers. The thing with the machine was also really even though it once again destroyed my fantasy that Tina goes commando under the Update desk.
Speaking of Felicity (well I wasn't but I'm reviewing Update where Jimmy made a joke about Felicity)- I got a couple complaints I have to voice about the show and it's star Keri Russell. Note- I don't have ovaries so I haven't like watched the show but here's what I've gathered-
1) The name- Felicity? Who names their kid Felicity? I mean honestly- what the fuck. What a stupid name.
2) She goes to college across the country against her parents wishes. Do her parents-
a) tell her to go fuck herself
or
b) basically say: Okay felicity- since we gave you such a horrible name- you can do whatever you want.
Yea whatever. Those are my two complaints about Felicity. I have one more Felicity point to make though-
Have you ever gone to fallonfey.com and gone: Ummm how come there aren't any autographs of celebrities up there? I mean I can only read the cut David Arquette joke so many times. Well fallonfey.com does have autographs of celebrities and you have got to see Kerri Russell's- it's almost as bad and offensive as naming your kid Felicity.
Ummmm yea- WU kicked major ass tonight and rocked the Kasbah, who in turn rocked the body that rocked the party which until now especially after Horatio had done his Gene Shalit bit was hella lame. ****1/2

Brittany Murphy- Cold Opening
Cast- Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider
Thoughts- I heard Adam Sandler has been advertising 8 Crazy Nights as featuring the Chanukah song- whoops- gave it away. This of course was not as good as the first Chanukah song but was still absolutely hilarious. As someone who is Jewish, it is good to know there are others out there. I could've easily done without Rob Schneider here has he added nothing. I thought he was going to come in and say: YOU CAN DO EET! but alas. ****1/2

Robert DeNiro- Peter Pan
Cast- DeNiro, Chris Kattan, Poehler, Seth Meyers, Richards
Thoughts- God: I have decided to step down as God. You're new God is Wesley Jamison. Thank you. Yes that's right folks- Wesley Jamison is the man!!! He's so much of a man that Steven William Regal went: Wow- he's a man. Such a man. He's a real, real man's man. This skit was hilarious and reeked of tons of awesomeness. DeNiro just played it so cool that I felt like I was watching Casino, Goodfellas and Godfather: Part II back to back to back. Anywho a few minor flaws with this skit but overall it was pretty awesome and right up there with McCain sings Babs for awesome skits this year. ****1/2

Al Gore- Gore on West Wing
Cast- Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Gore
Thoughts- I'd hate to have to cash in my status as a registered Republican but it must be said: Al Gore was funny. There were two things I'd never thought I'd ever type- that and the words Dean Edwards next to cast. This was a very funny skit and all the West Wing cast members and Gore played off each other very well and Gore's Oval Office antics, I'll say it again, we're very very funny. ***3/4

Jeff Gordon- Joe Millionaire
Cast- Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers
Thoughts- This was a pretty funny commercial parody that I hoped would actually turn out to be an actual skit but alas- it was still very funny. ***1/2

Ray Liotta- Weekend Update
Cast- Fallon, Fey, Tracy Morgan, Forte
Thoughts- Wow. This was one amazing Weekend Update. It was nice and long and every single joke seemed to click- even Jimmy didn't screw up. Tina basically taught Jimmy a lesson in what to do when you screw up by making a fantastic save. The joke off was really good despite Jimmy's earlier screwup and I loved a lot of Tina's jokes especially the Bush joke. Then to completely cap off the rocking that had been going on at the slamoriffic party we get to see the greatness that is TIM CALHOUN!~. Message to Will Forte: Tim Calhoun-good. Falconer-bad. I've commented on it before but I'll bring it up. Will Forte has an absolutely annoying voice that is just so god awful that I would hate to have a conversation with him and that's why I don't seem to like him in skits. But luckily his insanely annoying voice totally works for the character of Tim Calhoun and adds to its charm. Tracy was the only thing I didn't like here as his commentary seemed to run out of gas towards the end. An excellent Update that pretty much hit almost all the right notes. ****1/2

Matthew McConaughey- AntiWar Protest
Cast- McConaghey, Fallon, Parnell, Rudolph, Kattan, Dratch, Sanz, Morgan, Edwards, Armisen
Thoughts- This skit was great and actually gave me some hope that this show wouldn't suck. As someone who lives in a city with frequent anti-war protests- it was refreshing to see SNL spoof the antiwar people rather then spoof the actual war like they did in the Sarah Michelle Gellar episode. Chris Parnell's line about 'not his kind of porn' was the highlight of this great skit. SNL maybe having a season that is receiving lots of criticism but their political humour is top notch. ****

Jennifer Garner- Weekend Update
Cast- Garner, Fey, Fallon, Morgan, Parnell, Richards
Thoughts- Two things I need to get off my chest first before I praise the hell out of Weekend Update.
1) Parnell- stop the raps. It was great the first time, exactly the same the second time and completely dead and boring the third time. It really killed the great flow Update had been going on.
2) Tina- you know I love you- but the laughter I am just not digging. I'm sure you're sitting there going: Whoa- Jimmy was actually funny on Update but as someone who is anti-laughter I find it to be extremely unprofessional. Also- I find it makes the joke less funny when I hear you laugh really loudly. I like a joke better if I don't feel like I'm being told to laugh at it.
Those are just minor quibbles that I had to get off my chest. Jeff Richards was really funny as Burt Bacharach and I think if they keep him doing impressions he'll become a really good player one day. Just don't do Drunk Girl. Even though I thought Dean could've been just fine Tracy's bit was terrific as the technical difficulties thing was a really great touch. The jokes were also really good this week even though there were a couple clunkers. The Parnell rap keeps this from being in th upper echelon if great Updates. ****

Christopher Walken- Hardball
Cast- Christopher Walken, Darrell Hammond, Chris Parnell
Thoughts- Okay SNL- you're officially forgiven for the last two shows. I think this skit officially places Hardball in the upper echelon on SNL skits. I also like how they've been able to do Hardball without Paul Begalia and Al Sharpton- it shows skit diversity and makes me appreciate it that much more. This skit was absolutely perfect- I mean- it involved French mockery which is always a plus in my eyes. Walken was terrific here as I enjoyed his French accent, Parnell played his part very well and Darrell did what he does best. Sit back, make some smart ass remarks and let the skit go. I would again like to applaud Darrell Hammond for 'finding his smile' and once again becoming a terrific part of the show. Last year I thought he was a lost cause- what with his whining on Howard Stern and the Drew Barrymore show but I think his stint in rehab helped pull him together and I have nothing but good things to say about how he has elevated Hardball to perfection. This rating is for you Darrell. I still want you to leave the show but I'm glad unlike Ferrell did- you're making your last year count. Just don't fall back on the wagon. *****

Queen Latifah- X-Presidents
Thoughts- Welcome back Smigel and a big welcome back to the X-Presidents. There was tons of great stuff here- from BUGS BUNNY!~ to Reagan totally zinging Carter on the Nobel Peace Prize joke to the Powerpuff girls getting killed by George Bush- this had it all. A couple of slow parts involving means I can't give it the full monty but I thought the quip at the end was classic. ****

Salma Hayek- Weekend Update
Cast- Hayek, Fey, Fallon, Poehler, Kattan, Armisen
Thoughts- Oh. My. God. I forgive Tina for all her stupid laughing. I forgive Jimmy- for well yea. They did it. Let's start off the roll call of awesomeness. That rant to Americans thing was one of the funniest things they've ever done and even had the cameraman laughing. Then we get FERECITO!~. I know I maybe the only but I find Ferecito and Salma to be hilarious. Salma shaking her groove thang didn't hurt either. All this while Tina and Jimmy were schooling the jokes and bringing the funny. I'll admit that not all the jokes were hilarious but each one got a smile out of my face. And then Amy Poehler is all: Hey- remember why I kick ass? And I'm all: Yea- when you sweated on me back on that awesome May day. Amy was BRILLIANT as my punk princess Avril Lavigne. I couldn't stop laughing at her dead on impression and the tears were starting to form towards the end. Tears of laughter at Amy and tears of joy at seeing Amy go out there and just bring down the house. I thought Kattan's Gollum was much better then the Super Bowl one- especially the stuff on Julianne Moore. All this while some of the jokes should belong on a highlight reel. These jokes were funnier then some of the stuff in Problem Child 2. And this Update joins a club- and YOU KNOW what club that is. *****
And now for all the Ferecito fans I present a translation en espanol-

Oh. Mi Dios. Perdono Tina para todo su reír estúpido. Perdono la barreta para el yea bien. Lo hicieron. Let?s comienza la llamada del rodillo del awesomeness. Ése rant a la cosa de los americanos era uno del they?ve más divertido de las cosas hecho siempre e incluso tenía el cameraman el reír. Entonces conseguimos FERECITO!~. Sé I quizá el único pero encuentro Ferecito y Salma para ser hilarante. Salma que sacudaría su didn?t del thang del surco lastimó cualquiera. Todo el esto mientras que Tina y la barreta enseñaban las bromas y traían el divertido. I?ll admite que no todas las bromas eran hilarantes pero cada consiguió una sonrisa de mi cara. Y entonces el amy Poehler es todo: ¿Hey- recuerde porqué golpeo el asno con el pie? E I?m todo: Yea- cuando usted sudó en mí detrás en ese día impresionante de mayo. El amy era BRILLANTE como mi princesa Avril Lavigne del punk. La parada del couldn?t I que se reía de sus muertos en la impresión y los rasgones comenzaba a formar hacia el extremo. Los rasgones de la risa en el amy y los rasgones de la alegría en ver a amy salen allí y apenas traen abajo la casa. Pensé Kattan?s Gollum era mucho mejor entonces el tazón de fuente estupendo uno especialmente la materia en Julianne Moore. Todo el esto mientras que algunas de las bromas deben pertenecer en un carrete del toque de luz. Estas bromas eran más divertidas entonces algo de la materia en el niño 2 del problema. Y esta actualización ensambla a club y USTED SABE qué club que es. *****

Avril is French for April. Since Avril is Canadian and her name is French, I present a translation en francais-
Oh. Mon Dieu. Je pardonne Tina pour tout son rire stupide. Je pardonne le jimmy- pour le yea bon. Ils l'ont fait. Let?s commencent l'appel de roulement de l'awesomeness. Ce rant à la chose d'Américains était un du they?ve de choses le plus drôle jamais fait et a même eu le cameraman rire. Alors nous obtenons FERECITO!~. Je sais I peut-être le seul mais je trouve Ferecito et Salma pour être hilare. Salma secouant son didn?t de thang de cannelure a blessé l'un ou l'autre. Tout ceci tandis que Tina et jimmy instruisaient les plaisanteries et apportaient le drôle. I?ll admettent que non toutes les plaisanteries étaient hilares mais chacune a obtenu un sourire de mon visage. Et alors l'ami Poehler est tout: Hé rappelez-vous pourquoi je donne un coup de pied l'âne? Et I?m tout: Yea- quand vous avez sué sur moi en arrière ce jour impressionnant de mai. L'ami était BRILLANT en tant que ma princesse Avril Lavigne de punk. L'arrêt du couldn?t I riant de ses morts sur l'impression et les larmes commençaient à former vers l'extrémité. Les larmes du rire à l'ami et les larmes de la joie à voir l'ami sortent là et réduisent juste la maison. J'ai pensé Kattan?s Gollum étais bien mieux puis la cuvette superbe un particulièrement la substance sur Julianne Moore. Tout ceci tandis que certaines des plaisanteries devraient appartenir sur une bobine de point culminant. Ces plaisanteries étaient plus drôles puis une partie de la substance dans l'enfant 2 de problème. Et cette mise à jour joint un club et VOUS CONNAISSEZ quel club qui est. *****

Bernie Mac- Brain Busters                                    
Cast- Mac, Fallon, Sanz Thoughts- I thought putting Fallon and Sanz in a skit together was skit comedy disaster but lo and behold they managed to keep it together for the most part and deliver a kick ass skit that had me laughing my ass off. I will have to dock some points for incorrect baseball history however. Jackie Robinson was not the first black baseball player- he was just the first to break the colour barrier that Major League Baseball put up. Before MLB put up the colour barrier there were black people in baseball. Bernie was great here and Jimmy and Horatio did their jobs well and acted professionally and that=sketch comedy and a **** rating. I especially loved the bit with the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers. ****

Ray Romano- CNN Cast- Hammond, Kattan Thoughts- Darrell maybe a depressed, wacky, strange, recovering alcoholic with an addiction to nicotine and a tendency to be a whiny bitch who hogs up airtime that should go to newbies but I will say this- He does a terrific Aaron Brown impression. Now back home I usually just stick to Fox News but they don't get it in Canada so I have to deal with CNN for my news coverage which means dealing with Aaron Brown. The guy does not know how to finish a sentence. It bugs the hell out of me. One thing that really made me enjoy this skit was I am starting to master an Aaron Brown impression of my own so it was really cool seeing Darrell go out there and do one. This skit was great- the ticker at the bottom was gold and Darrell was fantastic. I may pick on him a lot but when he masters an impression- he's like no other. ****1/2

Ashton Kutcher- Monologue
Cast- Ashton Kutcher, Maya Rudolph, Parnell
Thoughts- Well that's something I didn't need to see. In dress Ashton's inner monologue covered up whatever he was saying. I think he was mumbling gibberish or something because I couldn't pick anything out. This was very funny and even included a Kattan gay joke. Parnell was very funny here, Maya did her best not to bring it down and Ashton was great. I mean he has one great co- I mean sense of humour. He has a great sense of humour. ****1/4

Adrien Brody-TV Funhouse
Thoughts- Oh. My. God. Robert Smigel was ON tonight- as this was one of the most hilarious and offensive things I have ever seen. It seemed like Smigel was playing a game of 'can I top this' and the results were spectacular and well worth watching. I just kept shaking my head every 5 seconds not believing what Smigel kept saying. I didn't care for the Dukes of Hazzard spoof but the rest of this cartoon was absolutely hilarious- especially the bit at the end crediting Sean Penn.. One of, if not the best, Robert Smigel cartoon of all time. ****3/4

The Top Ten Skits for the Year are-
(Note: This does not count the season finale, Weekend Updates or any music)

 

1.Hardball (Walken show)
Cast: Hammond, Walken, Parnel
2.McCain sings Babs (McCain)
Cast: John McCain
3.TV Funhouse (Brody)
4.Hardball (McCain)
Cast: McCain, Hammond, Dratch, Morgan
5.Pranksters (Walken)
Cast: Walken, Kattan, Meyers
6.Are You Hot? (Hayek)
7.Darrell as Aaron Brown (Romano)
Cast: Hammond
8.Racial Profiling Airline (Gellar)
Cast: Parnell, Poehler, Rudolph, Morgan, Forte
9.Peter Pan (DeNiro)
Cast: DeNiro, Kattan, Poehler, Richards, Meyers
10.Channukah Song (Murphy)
Cast: Sandler, Schneider

By Cast Member:
Dratch: 1
Fallon: 0
Fey: 0
Hammond: 3
Kattan: 2
Morgan: 2
Parnell: 2
Poehler: 2
Rudolph: 1
Sanz: 0
Armisen: 0
Edwards: 0
Forte: 1
Meyers: 2
Richards: 1

The Top 5 Weekend Updates of the Year are-
1. Salma Hayek Weekend Update *****
2. Nia Vardalos Weekend Update ****1/2
3. Ray Liotta Weekend Update ****1/2
4.John McCaon Weekend Update ****1/4
5.Christopher Walken Weekend Update ****1/4

The Top 5 Musical Performances-

1.Avril Lavigne "Complicated"
2.Avril Lavigne "I'm With You"
3.Foo Fighters "Times Like These (One Way Motorway)
4.Faith Hill "Free"
5.Faith Hill "Cry"

Top 5 Monologues-

1,Ashton Kutcher ****1/4
2.Brittany Murphy ****
3.Ray Romano ****
4.Bernie Mac ***3.4
5.Queen Latifah ***1/4

Rating the Cast

Rachel Dratch: She had some good skits (A lot down there, The one where are boobs were the centrepiece) but then there was the usual Rachel drek that I didn't like. She still hasn't impressed me much and with the decline of Bahston Teens I can't say I find her to be that funny. *1/4

Jimmy Fallon: Jimmy took the biggest drop in quality I think. He seemed to be concentrating on how to make Horatio laugh rather then being the quality cast member he was in his first few years on the air. He didn't do a lot of impressions which also hurt him. Still- there were a lot of good Weekend Updates which will help him. I just hope next year he reverts back to the old Jimmy. **

Tina Fey: Weekend Update was once again awesome. The jokes this year were much better then season 2. If it seemed like the ratings for WU were lower then the year before- it's more because the commentaries weren't that good. Tina didn't branch out into skits that much- her Paula Zahn was pretty bad but she does play a good dog. Overall another great year for Fey who will most likely my favourite cast member for the fourth straight year. ****1/4

Darrell Hammond: Darrell was motivated this year and it showed. Even though his airtime decreased he was funny everytime he was on the air. He turned Hardball into his personal playground playing the straight man to perfection. He may have his problems outside the show but on the show this year- Darrell was the man. If he does come back next year- I hope he gets the same deal as this year. His lack of airtime seemed to make him better this year. He took advantage of each time he got on the air and made a good skit great. If this is his last season then the guy went out with a bang. ****

Chris Kattan: I still hate the guy with a passion. I still find him to be extremely unfunny and a waste of a good dressing room. BUT- I will give the guy credit where credit is due. In his last season the guy created two new characters (Buddy Mills and Gollum) which is something that surprised me. Buddy Mills was okay and Gollum was hit or miss but I was happy that Kattan took the time to come up with new material for himself. I still don't like him but his lack of airtime this season made it hard for me to hate him with a passion. *

Tracy Morgan: Another guy making his swan song. I still don't like Brian Fellows but Astronaut Jones was once again very funny this season. Like Kattan, he debuted a new impression and his Al Sharpton won me over big time. His commentaries on Weekend Update were hit and miss but the guy seemed to elicit the biggest laughs when he just played himself. Tracy had a good last year and I'm glad NBC is rewarding him for his run on SNL. ***

Chris Parnell: Parnell wins the award for most disappointing cast member this season. His George Bush, which was the centrepiece of his skit repertoire, was a huge failure. He couldn't decide whether he was Will Ferrell doing George Bush or whether he was doing his own George Bush. He also was not that good on Update- his raps and the Broadway guy were both unfunny. I think Parnell just had a bit of a slump this year and hopefully he will return to form next year. **

Amy Poehler: A lot of people thought Amy did not have a good first half and I kind of agree. She wasn't in that many skits that I recall except for her rap in the Brittany Murphy monologue. She picked it up in the second half and became a highlight on Update with her role as the prostitute and her awesome impersonation of Avril Lavigne. She also only did one Amber thank God. Amy's impersonation of Paula Abdul was also another highlight of her year. I was glad that Amy had a great second half improvement. ***1/2

Maya Rudolph- It seems like Lorne's big project this year was to make Maya Rudolph a star. It seems like Lorne's biggest mistake this year was to make Maya Rudolph a star. Maya got more airtime then anyone could've conceivably imagined and hoped for. Her skits with Tracy at the end of the show were horrendous and Wake Up Wakefield continued to be too hit and miss. Versace also sucked this year. She also did those skits where she used "that" voice and they also were not that good. Lorne tried to see if he could make her into something big and it failed. Let's hope her push is over. _*

Horatio Sanz: Here's a guy who also didn't have too good a year. He seemed to be most interested in seeing how hard he could laugh whenever he did a skit with Jimmy. His best role was the guidance counsellor in the Wake up Wakefield skits. His Saddam impression was okay but there is not much else I enjoyed about him this season. 3/4*

Fred Armisen: Fred sucked this year. I hope he never is on SNL again and is punched in the stomach twice for his performance.

I'M JUST KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDING!

Fred had a very good first year. He seemed to have a knack for getting all of his characters to become recurring. Ferecito was muy bien and I liked his Gabe character and the drummer in the Buddy Mills skits. I enjoyed his work a lot and look forward to seeing what he has to offer next season.

Dean Edwards: I'm Dean's #1 fan (according to him) so I feel I'm contractually obligated to give him a good rating. Dean was very funny in his limited roles this year. With Tracy gone, I hope Dean is given much more to do next year since whenever he is given the chance to shine (His Don Cheadle, cop #2) he is very funny. I can't give Dean too high a rating because he was never in anything but when he was- he was awesome Too bad SNL didn't exploit his Jackson impression to the heights they could've. **1/2

Will Forte: Will's first year did not go as well as Fred Armisen's as Fred got more screen time. He was awesome on WU though. Tim Calhoun, tax man singer and the guy who likes to boycott were all very humorous with Calhoun being my favourite of the bunch. He also was very good at getting his ass kicked. The Falconer is horrible though. I know some people like it but I just can't stand it. His lack of airtime also hurt him. I don't know if they'll bring him back next year- it wouldn't really affect me either way. **

Seth Meyers: Seth had a great first year but his second season was just fantastic. Seth Meyers showed why he is one of the most talented SNL performers. He just goes out there and does what ever he can to get a laugh- and he usually succeeds. Whether it be a facial expression, body language or any of the slightest thing that will make something funnier- Seth is there and kicking ass. He was the only reason to watch Jarrett's Room, carried Top O' The Morning, did a great Matt Lauer and became my favourite male cast member- DESPITE the fact that he's a Bruins fan. I hope Seth gets elevated to cast member status next season and is given even more airtime so we can watch someone develop into something great. ****

Jeff Richards: Jeff was awful at doing characters (See Drunk Girl) but his impressions of Letterman, Hoffman and Busey were great. It's a shame he wasn't given more of an opportunity to do impressions but Darrell has that part already sewn up. Hopefully next year they will never let him do a character again and just have him do impersonations. This way I will like him a lot more. *1/2

Mailbag!!!!!!!!

Oliver Langdon writes-

Hi Bob,
I was just wondering, do you now how the idea was to end most cold
opens
with LFNYISN came to be?

 

                                                                           
Oliver, 18
                                                                           
Charleston, WV

I'm sorry- I don't know the answer to your question. If I had to take a guess I would say because it's a cool way to open the show. I'm sure the new tell all book about SNL Live from New York has the answer somewhere.

Katie Mordhost writes-

1. What do you eat for breakfast?

2. What's your favorite board game?

3. Do you want to work in comedy?

4. If so, who/what is your inspiration?

5. A (few) favorite cast member(s) of all time:

6. Favorite sketch/ recurring character of all time:

7. Did the chicken or the egg come first? Why?

8. Is the glass half full or half empty?

 

9. Who is your favorite character in the godfather?

10. Who is your favorite super hero of all time?

11. What are your feelings on nougat?

 

12. Which do you prefer: Pens/Pencils, Butter/Margarine,
Boxers/Briefs/Bikinis/Thongs?

13. Do you find people getting hurt funny?

14. Do you sleep with your covers tucked in tight, or loose, or
anywhere on
the bed?

 

15. How do you choose what sketches/recurring characters to put on the
show?

16. Have you ever seen SNL live?

17. Do you have any criteria for choosing favorite cast members?

18. Do you think SNL opened the door for political satire, and
controversial
issues/words to be on tv?

1. I don't really eat breakfast but I do have steak for lunch usually.
2. Monopoly
3.Hmmm- I would love to but I don't think he'd be a good career choice
4.See above
5.Norm Macdonald. Tim Meadows, Dan Aykroyd, Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman
6.Waynes World
7.The egg came first. It had to- to hatch the chicken.
8.Depends on my mood. In hockey- half full. SNL standby- half empty
9.Moe Green
10.Atom Ant
11.I don't like it.
12.Pens, Butter, Hot women wearing thongs
13.Yes
14,Loose
15.Whatever elicits the biggest laughs in dress I would put on.
16.Yes
17.Whomever is the funniest
18.No

CDC1335@aol.com writes-

Dear Bob:

Well, after reading your reviews for the past few years I can
definitively say that I have met my match. I think you're the only person that
I have EVER encountered (besides me of course) who has that rare blend
of astounding wit, a passion for the game of ice hockey and a love and
trivial knowledge of SNL. A New Yorker, I love the Rangers...well,
love them when they're good, which hasn't been since I was a kid, but I
LOVE the game in general. And I'm very excited to see Gigure take my
Ducks all the way!

We could talk SNL and hockey for hours I'm sure...But I would really
love to get all your thoughts and musings about attending a show/dress
rehearsal.

Hope all is going well for you!

Best,

Christina

How can you love the Rangers? The team has been going nowhere- well except to the golf course- for six years now and they still haven't figured out that their strategy called 'Let's trade for everyone good' just doesn't work. I kind of like the Ducks. I was very happy that they knocked off Detroit and Minnesota and it's awesome seeing Gigeure single handily make himself a star but they're dead if they run into New Jersey.

I think Mike Myers (a huge Leafs fan) would also have the wit, love for hockey and SNL. Lorne is also a hockey fan- his son plays it. Amy and Seth are the current generation of SNL castmembers who like hockey. Thank you for your kind words- it's nice knowing that I have fans who like hockey.

Attending a dress/live show is awesome- no matter how you slice it. I've cried knowing that I've gotten into dress rehearsals. The little things are so cool. Reading the cue cards, seeing them get in place, seeing them set up and take down skits, hearing Tina say huge cock- it's the little things that make waiting 22 hrs to see the show totally worth it. You also get to see skits that will never make it to air and hear jokes that you were never meant to here. Going to a live show is also an experience. The fact that you're watching something that is being beamed across North America is just such a cool feeling that I can't explain. Seeing as you're a New Yorker- I recommend you do standby sometime. Even if you don't get in- it's still an unforgettable experience.

Wanna be in the mailbag???? Email me at philhartmanrip@yahoo.com

The Trip Report-

When we last left me at SNL- I was #1 in the line, found out Seth Meyers was not vindictive and got into a show that 53 other people got into.

I arrived at the line at 8:45 am and to my shock I found out that I was #1 in the standby line. I was expecting a nice warm summer night to end my run at the standby line. It was 45 degrees and windy. I had on shorts and a hockey jersey on and I had forgotten my sweater. Spending all night outside wearing only a jersey and shorts? Crap. I was also doing a standby first- I was doing standby while sick!

Bryan, the #2 in line arrived at 10 which meant I was alone for 75 minutes and my only friend was a pole. I was DETERMINED to not just see Kattan and Maya in the morning. I mean the other cast members have to go to work too right??? I then saw Maya Rudolph walk in. Two hours later- Chris Kattan came out and hailed a cab.

I have no explanation for that- at least I saw Lenny Pickett.

Later in the afternoon I went to the Riga Royal with the intent of trying to meet Norm Macdonald. He was rumoured to be staying there to promote his new TV show A Minute with Stan Hooper and I would not pass up an opportunity to meet Norm. When I got there I ran into Joe Millionaire a.k.a. Evan Marriot. We talked about his wrestling career which he did not seem too fond of. I saw the kids from the Bernie Mac show but didn't feel like bothering a bunch of kids. Tate Donovan walked by a little later. FOX has some starpower eh? Later I ran into the co-star of Norm's new TV show, Penelope Ann Miller. She informed us that Norm was still up there. The two hour standby rule beckoned however and we had to go back in the line.

I ran into Fred Armisen later. I told him that his Ferecito warmup sucked last night. He seemed taken aback and explained to me how sometimes it sucks and then he got interrupted by me saying:

I'M JUST KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDING!

Fred was amused thank God. The standby line progressed as the hours seemed to tick away and I got colder and colder. Apparently Al Roker forgot that it was May. I saw Rachel Dratch go up but didn't get a chance to talk to her. Most of the night was me and Bryan cracking jokes about a variety of things and subjects.

I ran into John Goodman and he didn't turn out to be a nice jolly fat guy like I expected. In fact he was kinda dickish. I think he had gotten the results of his cholesterol test back.

Later in the night the castmembers started coming down. I saw Darrell Hammond wearing his trademark Yankees hat. He was leaving so I wasn't able to see if he had problems with his ID. Maya Rudolph came down and she actually got some attention. Colour me shocked. Amy Poehler came down. I forgot to tell her that the stripper skit that got cut last week was awesome and that I met Avril Lavigne- no English middle finger though. Wrap your minds around that one. Seth and Jeff came out at the same time. I consoled him over the Celtics losing (I figure I had rubbed the Bruins losing in his face enough) but he took solace in Boston doing well.

Jim Downey!!! cam out later in the night and was the coolest person ever. Me and Bryan re-enacted a scene from Dirty Work with him. We discussed whether Norm would be at the show and we found out he was at rehearsal on Thursday and would probably be there. I told him that Norm made me want to get prison raped. (Dirty Work reference)

His response? Jim Downey: You're a true fan.

I saw Robert Smigel later. I praised his cartoon that he did last week. He informed me that this week's cartoon sucked and would probably be getting cut. I asked him if I should chant: SMIGEL, SMIGEL, SMIGEL to get it on the air. He said: No. Smigel told us that he thinks people from MadTV should go to the dress rehearsals and laugh at all the bad skits so they could completely undermine the show. 

As usual the standby line started to suck around the middle of the night. The fact that it was a cold and windy forty degrees in the month of May did not help matters. I ran into some soap opera stars (the Daytime Emmys were the same night) and got a picture with my girl Sue Simmons. Did I mention I was really cold?

Finally at 7 am with my cold having gotten worse (Well I don't think being outside all night helped) they gave out the tickets. For my last standby show in 50 weeks- I was #1 in line.

I went back to midtown Manhattan a bit earlier then usual as me and Bryan decided to make one last stop at the Riga Royal to try and meet Norm Macdonald. We did not meet Norm but did meet Danny Masterson from that 70s Show.

I went back to 30 Rock to find out if I would get into a show hosted by someone whose last hit movie was a vehicle starring Britney Spears. I had all my good luck stuff with me and then found out that I had gotten into the show. It's a good thing I had gotten there so early. Last week 54 people got in while this week only 53 got in.

Now the moment you've all been waiting for-

WHAT GOT CUT-

Ferecito did the warmup. Again we were denied an I'M JUST KEEEEDING.

Baby K
Cast- Aykroyd, Morgan, Rudolph, Edwards, Richards
Thoughts- Tracy's voice was used here. This skit seemed to go on forever and didn't elicit much of a reaction. Maya did an okay Christina Agulera impression and Dean tried his hardest but in the end it was still Baby K and it still sucked. *

Leatherman
Cast- Aykroyd, Fallon, Poehler, Sanz, Kattan
Thoughts- The usual from Fallon and Sanz. Lots of breaking character and lots of silence from the audience. Amy played a stripper (Again) and was once again kinda funny. Seeing Dan Aykroyd in leather was pretty disturbing though. I never found the leatherman skits to be very funny and this was no exception. At least Jimmy and Horatio got a chance to get their giggles out. _*

Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute
Cast- Aykroyd, Fey, Poehler, Rudolph, Dratch, Morgan
Thoughts- Tina wishing that someone got SARS was pretty funny. It was cool seeing Aykroyd bring back an old character but this wasn't as funny as I'm sure it was in the 1970s. Rachel and Dan didn't seem to have much chemistry. Rachel did have a few funny lines (but it's on the side) which made me enjoy it to an extent but I'm glad they didn't cut it since a lot of SNL fans would've been disappointed. **1/2

Christmas Song
Cast- Sanz, Fallon, Kattan, Morgan
Thoughts- This was the "summer" song as they sang about having fun in the summer. Sanz and Fallon laughed of course and since I give the Christmas Song the same rating each week- I give it the same rating once again. ***1/2

Overall I had a great time doing standby these past few weeks. Since I had met the cast so many times and seen the show so many times I decided to try and make the actual waiting part the most fun part of a weekend at SNL. I think I succeeded because every week I knew that if I didn't get into the show (yea right)- I could still take solace in fact that I had a great time at standby.

Thanks to Jamie, Louis, Bryan, Dean Edwards, Alix, Kelly, John Walsh, Adam Walsh, Amy Poehler, Tony, Seth Meyers, Yoko Dos, Al Roker, the guitar playing hippie, Sisquo, Jim Downey, Sue Simmons, Francesca, Ron Rondon and Moi for an awesome three weeks at Saturday Night Live.

And now what you've been waiting 49 pages to read the actual review of last night's episode of Saturday Night Live.

Hardball
Cast- Dan Aykroyd, Darrell Hammond, Chris Parnell, Tracy Morgan
Thoughts- Hardball was the best recurring character all year so I'm happy it gets to go out in the cold opening spot. This was the usual awesome Hardball even though it took me a little while to get into Dan Aykroyd's character. In dress Darrell seemed to have trouble getting his lines out. Tracy and Parnell were both very funny here and I enjoyed Parnell's character the most. Darrell was his usual great self as Chris Matthews. I'm glad they aired this and cut the Hardball from Ashton Kutcher- this was actually pretty funny and that skit was disappointing. ***3/4

Monologue
Cast- James Belushi, Dan Aykroyd
Thoughts- They cut a lot of this in dress. It took a while for Aykroyd to get to Belushi since he was too busy bombing a joke about playing the viola. This wasn't really that funny and Jim Belushi has a terrible voice so I can't be that praising it that much. It was cool to see Belushi back on the show and he and Aykroyd looked like they were having a lot of fun out there. **1/2

Top O' The Morning To You
Cast- Aykroyd, Fallon, Meyers
Thoughts- In dress Jimmy was cracking up (I don't mind when they do it in dress- it's good to get it out then), Dan almost broke but did Seth Meyers break? Of course not. This was a really funny skit and Seth and Jimmy looked to be having a lot of fun out there. The bit where Jimmy punched him was funny. I didn't like the punching wall segment. Poor Seth- he has a terrific season and is rewarded by getting eggs thrown at him. I hope they continue this recurring character next season- it's been getting better and better. ***1/2

You Guessed itAssclown
Cast- Aykroyd, Chris Kattan, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Armisen, Kattan's dad
Thoughts- Nice to see this get one last go around before Kattan leaves. I love Armisen's character in this skit. It's too bad he's losing one of his recurring characters one season in. Amy was really funny doing her dance moves at the end. Aykroyd was alright- I thought his sob story went on a bit too long but Fred saved it with his ba-dum-chink. A good way to send off this skit which ended up growing on me. ***1/4

Falconer
Cast- John Goodman, Aykroyd, Rudolph, Horatio Sanz, Forte
Thoughts- Ugh. They just DID a Falconer and now we have to sit through another awful Falconer?? I guess this is my punishment for doing something wrong. I laughed when Will Forte made the jokes about quick sand but once again it was the usual Falconer drek that we've become accustomed to. Let's hope Will sticks to Tim Calhoun if he comes back. _*

TV Funhouse
Thoughts- Amy Poehler did a really good J-Lo voice. I wasn't expecting much going in since Robert Smigel told me the cartoon sucked but I was pleasantly surprised. Sure it was a letdown compared to Osama and Saddam but this ended up being pretty good- I liked the part where Robert Duvall asked if he could lick her. This was pretty good even though it couldn't live up to last weeks. **1/2

Versace
Cast- Goodman, Aykroyd, Rudolph, Richards
Thoughts- They cut out Fred Armisen as Gene Simmons. I think it's cause the audience couldn't understand when Maya introduced him and because of it they didn't know who Fred was supposed to be doing. Jeff Richards' Dave Letterman is great- one step below Norm's. Luckily I was able to see Richards waiting to go on or else I would've freaked out thinking Norm would cameo. Maya's impersonation of Versace is still extremely unfunny and didn't help the skit at all and I didn't really like Aykroyd either. I found Goodman to be hilarious as Anna Nicole. I'm glad they didn't overdo it and drag out the impression- it was short and sweet. Richards and Goodman easily saved this skit. ***

Beyonce Knowles featuring Jay-Z
Thoughts- Dan's 'I love Toronto' tshirt causes this to get _* added on. It would've been nice if Beyonce Knowles (Screw this one name crap) had actually sung live instead of using the joys of lip synching. The Jay-Z cameo was pretty cool and Beyonce Knowles shook her ass a lot- which I had a nice view of by the way. What's with Beyonce Knowles only going by Beyonce now. Does she not want people to think she's related to Harry Knowles? The song was nice and catchy, she shook her ass a lot and they were energetic. ***

Weekend Update
Cast- Fey, Fallon, Kattan, Parnell, Richards
Thoughts- If you would like to find out what the cut jokes were- head on over to fallonfey.com. This was an awesome Update. The jokes kicked ass and Chris Kattan got a nice send off. I still hate Drunk Girl and really wish they would stop doing it if Jeff Richards comes back. The jokes were fantastic this week and it was great to see them go out with such a bang. Even though I hate Chris Kattan I thought he got a nice send off. The American Idol joke was hilarious as was the bits on the New York Times. The jokes were AWESOME this week just like the jokes were in Weekend Update all season. Too bad Drunk Girl was cut out- This Update was a lot of fun and could've been *****. A terrific way to end the SNL season. ****1/2

Astronaut Jones
Cast- Aykroyd, Morgan, Rudolph
Thoughts- Good to see Tracy get a nice send off with one of my favourite skits. Astronaut Jones is great since it plays to Tracy's strengths and none of his weaknesses. This wasn't as good as the Brittany Murphy cameo but it's still Astronaut Jones and it still brings the funny. I won't miss Tracy that much but I will always recall Russell and Tate, Astronaut Jones and Dominican Lou whenever I need a fond memory of Tracy Morgan's work on SNL. He was underused on SNL but it seemed as each year went by he became a better used and more popular SNL castmember. Good to see NBC reward Tracy with his own sitcom. He deserves it. ***

Dog Restaurant
Cast- Goodman, Aykroyd, Fey, Parnell, Dratch, Kattan, Hammond, Rudolph, Poehler, Meyers
Thoughts- This was a pretty weird skit that seemed like it was definitely headed to DUDsville. But maybe it was the shock of seeing Darrell Hammond not do an impression but I enjoyed this skit a lot. Seeing Tina and Seth play a couple was also really cool- as was Dean and Amy as a couple. Parnell actually told me about this skit on Friday night and I was like: Kudos to the writers for coming up with this skit and making it work. Usually when they do stuff like this- it sucks. ***1/2

Beyonce Knowles
Thoughts- I would hate it if Beyonce Knowles boyfriend had commitment issues- you know- since she loves him so much. You know watching backstage Dean was like: Awww shit- How do I tell her that I gots dee commitment issues. Anyway I'm very happy that Beyonce Knowles can sing but this bored the heck out of me. She's no Renee Zelwegger though. (Who I met on Thursday- sorry I had to mention it somewhere and this was the best segueway)

Sam Elliot
Cast- Aykroyd
Thoughts- This reminded me of the Wilford Brimley skit from when John Goodman hosted. That skit was funny- just like this one. I have no idea who Aykroyd was impersonating but he did a pretty good job of it. This actually aired very late in dress so I was surprised it made the air. Aykroyd was really funny here and I enjoyed him immensely. Good stuff here. ***1/4

The Bottom Line- Avg. skit was **.8 making this show an easy thumbs up and a very good way to end the season. Aykroyd was a great host and it was cool seeing Belushi and Goodman back on the show. Most of the skits were awesome and I'm glad they cut the crap.

I had a great time writing these reviews and I look forward to writing reviews for you guys next season.