Robert DeNiro / Norah Jones
December 7, 2002

By Ryan M.

Alright! So SNL is back new, and it's time to review! Hm. That rhymed. But was it too cheesy of a rhyme?

So I got the new Austin Powers in Goldmember DVD. Absolutely smashing. Mike Meyers makes reference to Second City in the commentary, so listen for that. Just a quick reference, but a reference nonetheless. Hilarity, that Mike Meyers. Quite the improvisor, too. They have a sketch or two of him on a Second City double-CD set that only comes with this big huge book that talks of the backstage and history of Second City. Kind of a behind-the-scenes look that spans the 40+ years of the Second City theatre. Ok, plug time is over. At least for now.

Ah, Christmas time is upon us. Time for people to play Christmas carols, which begin way too early, and people to be killed and severely maimed trying to buy loved ones gifts. Just remember that if you don't get the gift you want. You know the whole "it's the thought that counts" saying? Yeah, when people risk their lives for you in that kind of way, they're definitely thinking of you. When people leave for shopping, they get war-like send-offs, as if they were in the military. I've seen people leave their houses with protective armor on. You think I'm kidding...and I am...but it's about that bad.

One more thing real quick before kicking into the review: I go to see Star Wars: Episode II on an IMAX screen (which, by the way, was quite awesome). Before the movie started, an announcement came on over the speakers that said, "Some of you may experience motion sickness during the movie. If this happens, place your hand over your eyes for a few seconds, and the feeling should go away." That's honestly what the guy said. So now we have to tell people to cover their eyes if they experience motion sickness from a movie? They don't know to either close their eyes, look away, or cover their eyes when they feel like that? Folks, we have stupid, stupid lawsuits to thank for this. Those people are like rashes in society. They're annoying, and everyone else wants to get rid of them.

PRE-SHOW THOUGHTS:

 

I,Äôm writing the pre-show thoughts before the show! Could it be? Yes, it could be, and it is, so close that mouth that,Äôs open in surprise right now. Robert DeNiro is hosting this bout of SNL. Should be interesting to watch, although admittedly, Al Gore next weekend might be a smidgen more interesting. But Robert DeNiro, you,Äôre only separated by a smidgen, so they,Äôs not much room that could fit in between. I,Äôm just hoping good ol,Äô Bobby doesn,Äôt fall prey to the ,Äúlet,Äôs-have-him-be-the-same-character-in-almost-every-sketch-that-he-is-in-his-movies,Äù syndrome. And we,Äôll see if he is in a sketch where he plays himself (monologue excluded, for obvious reasons). He did have some very funny guest appearances, most notably the ,ÄúJoe Pesci Show,Äù cameo. Let,Äôs see if he also makes fun of Jimmy Fallon again tonight, as he did in his second cameo on the show. As for Norah Jones, don't really know what kind of style she is or anything. Haven't really heard too much about her. Though it could be one of those deals where you know the song, but not the singer. Kind of like most 80's songs were for me for a long time. So on with the show.

 

OPENER: A teacher wouldn't read these names in class

 

Well, I see they establish a classy show right away. Kinda surprising DeNiro went along with this. He just seems like the type of guy that would reject doing something like this. So it's kind of cool in one way, 'cause he's going along with it, but then again, he's pulling out the ol' "dirty name" routine. Though it was pretty fun to hear him say those names.

 

MONOLOGUE: You askin' ME to host? You askin' ME?

 

Quite a short little monologue. Kind of going along with the bad-ass attitude that the characters he plays has. I guess a short monologue gets a short review.

 

COMMERCIAL: WARNING: This product may contain fat and high cholesterol. May not be suitable for people over 250 pounds.

 

Ah, you see what I was typing in the opening remarks? Coincidence? I think not. This commercial was reminiscent of Happy Fun Ball. And I also wouldn't doubt it if they started airing those disclaimers in their commercials. People suing cigarette companies for not knowing it would give them cancer, people suing McDonald's 'cause their food made them fat...what's next? People suing shoe companies 'cause their shoelaces came untied and tripped them? Uh-oh...I just gave some people an idea. A funny sketch, though, basically saying what a lot of people are saying to those kinds of people who sue like that: "What the hell are you thinking?"

 

SKETCH: So, do you come around here often? I mean, um....sorry....

 

TJ hittin' on a slave...and DeNiro playing TJ. That's quite a different character from others he's played. Is it just me, or is DeNiro kind of delivering his lines kinda haphazardly? Like he can't quite read them or something. And I have noticed he's quite the cue-card watcher. I also wonder if the modern lines in a historical sketch really work. I'm wondering if they could have said those lines using the old-English language they would have used back then. I really enjoy that stuff. They're saying modern phrases and whatnot, yet they say it with the language of that time period. I liked Maya's remarks back to TJ. "When do you get off work?" "Never." I enjoyed the line about the singer thing not being an option, too. Tracy Morgan's thing at the end was quite funny. He's kind of an underestimated performer.

 

SKETCH: I'm Peter friggin' Pan, alright?

 

When the sketch first started out, I was afraid Kattan was going to say they had found Robert DeNiro...but alas, they didn't. Though I think they should have just used his real name, having seen the sketch. Basically that was what they were getting at. If Robert DeNiro did play Peter Pan in a real Broadway production, think that would pull in the numbers? We have analysis data coming in soon as to whether or not it would. The whole flying thing was pretty funny. Though it also would have been cool to see him totally commit to being Peter Pan, flying and all. Kattan enjoying the chaos at the end was a nice touch.

 

SKETCH: "And what do you want for Christmas?" "How about a nice alimony check from you?"

 

Robert DeNiro playing a deadbeat Santa...but of course. Yet she still wanted to work next to him. Kinda weird having DeNiro as the santa, and Maya as the girlfriend. And this is the second sketch where Maya was a love interest to DeNiro. Hmmm...what went on backstage this past week? You have to wonder. They'll be in the tabloids soon after tonight. This kind of makes you wonder...is the real Santa like this? He supplies joy and happiness to people all over the world, and yet can't seem to get along with his wife. How would that be for irony? But I guess he could always get a job at Macy's. Don't think they'll be showing this episode in their store anytime soon.

 

SKETCH: Show us where the missiles are, or we'll give you such a pinch!

 

This was a nice, short sketch. Kind of unexpected. I wonder if they're going to use that sketch to show to the U.N. inspectors-in-training. "Now folks, this is what NOT to do..." Fred Armisen "pops" in for the first time. Will he show up again, or remain in his SNL bunker?

 

SKETCH: Judge Judy...you're now a black man.

 

At first I thought this was like a promo for a "show." But then they did a case. I wish Tracy would have waved around the gun he had talked about in the opening. Have you noticed the plethora of judge shows out now, and how each one is meaner and meaner? I'm waiting for one of them to pull out a gun. Or perhaps Tracy Morgan will go into syndication with this Judge Horace guy. And then we have Horatio as the fat chick. Talks are in with Rob Schneider right now for a sequel to "Hot Chick."

 

MUSICAL GUEST: Ok, we're working on getting Jan Hooks back so you can do the Sweeney Sisters...oops. Sorry. Wrong Nora.

 

I feel like I've heard this song before, and not on the radio. Like maybe in a commercial or in a movie or something. Not sure. Or maybe I thought it was done by a different singer. Anyways, it had a jazzy feel, and jazz is good in my book. Look on page 327: "Good Music"

 

WEEKEND UPDATE

 

Dubya as a doll? Interesting...I figured Clinton would make the better doll. Then when you put him in sexual positions with Barbie, it makes more sense. The joke I liked that the audience didn't really laugh at was the Time's 100 Greatest Women joke. She even pulled out a funny reference at the end, with the Wonder Years thing. Whitney Houston. While I didn't see her interview, I've heard it was a pretty damaging interview. I guess her music wasn't damaging enough. And they used the ol' "sweat-that-seems-to-be-coming-from-the-head" gag. Might feel good under hot lights. And then the crazy old couple, which all led up to the vomit. Kattan's jibberish was amusing. Jimmy Fallon did not throw his pencil! Did he really poke out Kattan a couple weeks ago? Did he read my review, and is now playing it safe? Who knows...but he did make a point to keep the pencil on his desk. Perhaps the wrath of Lorne came down on him. "I keep warning you, Jimmy..." They may have threatened to make him sit out a show or something. Or run laps around the set.

 

SKETCH: Does this Menorah go with this dress?

 

I actually caught a pic of this Versace woman...and boy, does she look old! I don't know how old she is, but she looks old. An Ozzy Osbourne impression is always welcome. And it's so easy to do. Just mumble in an English accent and you got it. Amy Poehler did a nice impression of Sharon. They got the hair right, too. She looked quite a bit like her. Was that Dean Edwards as the Santa she sat on? It looked like his eyes. Now we'll see Dean Edwards fan sites all over the Net. Why do these new comedian/comedic actors have to be so damn good-looking? When I get on the show, they'll be like: "Ok, we need you to play an ugly guy in this sketch." And I'll ask, "Ok, what kind of make-up do I need?" Then they'll look me over, and say, "None needed." DeNiro as Roy...now that's a completely different character for him. I guess this makes up for not having him do the whole Peter Pan thing earlier in the show. I'm going to assume by the applause that the real Siegfried had entered. Either that, or they just wanted to applaud some random guy pretending to be Siegfried, which would have been a cruel joke from the audience. Or the guy running the applause sign. Either or. When DeNiro bent Siegfried over, it was pretty clear that DeNiro was NOT about to kiss Siegfried. I'm sure the party afterwards consisted of DeNiro apologizing and explaining to Siegfried why he didn't want to kiss him. 'Course, the next day, Siegfried will have to apologize and explain to Roy why it even looked like they were kissing.

 

SKETCH: You can either buy the car, or see firsthand how much trunk space there is

 

Well, this is kind of a DeNiro-esque character. The audience wasn't really laughing at the slaps, which it kind of seemed like that's what the writers wanted them to laugh at. The thing to learn here is that, if a car salesman starts slapping you, buy a car fully loaded with features. So this sketch was an educational one, you might say. Informing the consumer, if you will. In fact, NBC's gonna run it as a "The More You Know" feature.

 

SKETCH: I had to fight a huge beast that breathed fire and ate people. And then there was the dragon...

 

Now, if SNL was doing a timeline thing, then this sketch is like 7 or 8 years in the future after the Santa sketch. Or maybe they didn't plan it that way. But let's just say they did. Which means Maya is the mom he's referring to. You see how it all comes together, huh? Having DeNiro telling his son a bedtime story was a novel idea. Though I don't think he'll be going to any elementary schools and telling stories anytime soon. It was fun hearing him do a squirrel voice. He'll probably voice an animated feature next. The whole squirrel being run over thing was funny. I remember when my mom ran over a dog. It wasn't on purpose, and it wasn't ours, either. And it didn't die or even seem to be hurt. My mom slowed down and tried to dodge it, but it didn't move. It even got up and ran away. But my parents were against us having pets. Probably because of the mess they cause and how they would be the ones taking care of it. We had a puppy for like 2 weeks, but it howled at night, so we gave it back. A little sad, but it's not like the thing died or anything...we just gave it back. Anyways...let's put this train back on track, shall we?

 

MUSICAL GUEST (again)

 

Not a bad little ditty, I suppose. Better than like the 8 straight weeks of rap they were having on there. Guess they stopped letting Tracy book the musical guests.

 

SKETCH: A bear ate my parents! And destroyed the city!

 

Little reference to an SNL sketch from a year or two ago. This sketch seemed fast...seemed like it should have lasted longer or something. It's like they went right from one joke to the next pretty fast. The hunter having a small gun was a nice touch. Perhaps Late Night's Masturbating Bear could have came in and saved the day. Though I guess they already had a sex joke in there. But that's never stopped them before.

 

Well, that was Robert DeNiro's little stint. Next week is Al Gore. Gonna be very interesting, I tell you. It's gonna be interesting to see if he falls into the thing I mentioned earlier, of having him play the same characters in every sketch that are somehow related to him in real life. Like for instance, if he was Mango's long lost son. Too close to real life, I tell ya. But we'll see what happens. I don't know if I'll be able to get my review in by Sunday evening, as I'll be going home to watch my dad in a play, and I'm going to the cast party afterwards, as I know a lot of people in that community theatre. It'll be good times, reminiscing and such. So anyways, until the next review, I'm Ryan and that's my review to me...or...something like that. I'll have to work on that one.