Queen Latifah / Ms. Dynamite
March 8, 2003

By Max Rieper

Queen Latifah is the first black female host since
Oprah in 1986 I believe, so SNL ain't exactly
employing affirmative action. She has a comedic
background ("Living Single" was surprisingly funny)
and a certain charisma that is sure to rub off.

"Clinton vs. Dole"

This just seemed to drag on. I think Darrell Hammond
is going to make a living out of giving the thumbs up
like Clinton. And when I say living, I mean he'll be
at the Iowa State Fair signing autographs. Don't get
me wrong, he's talented, but its not the kind of
talent that translates into a film career. Don't
believe me? Just look at Dana Carvey's wonderful film
career.

Clinton's monologue was mildly amusing, we all know
what an ego maniac he can be. What's even more amusing
is that he stands a much better chance at beating Bush
than any of the supposed Democratic front runners. I
think we all saw Dan Aykroyd's first line coming ten
miles away. "Bill, you ignorant slut." Ha ha. Funny.
Not really. I'm surprised Dan could make the cameo,
what with his film career (Blues Brothers 2000) and TV
career (Soul Man). Who's fallen further, Chevy Chase
or Dan Aykroyd? Okay, Chevy by a long shot, but only
because Dan Aykroyd was never huge.

I hate when LFNY comes from a monotone voice over.
Where's the energy?

Grade: C

"Monologue"

Queen Latifah is much more attractive that I remember.
No Halle Berry, but for a larger girl, she's got a
cute mug. The Kingdom of Latifah was hilarious. It
took me a second to get "fer" in Nellyville. DJ Jazzy
Jeff calling a lot was damn funny. Maya's part was
pretty useless. Sir Mix a Lot was HILARIOUS! He likes
big butts, and he cannot lie. Overall, much funnier
than I expected, probably the best monologue of the
year.

Grade: A-

Bud Light commercials are getting increasingly
retarded.

"Baby K on BET"

Oh geez, didn't Baby K bomb enough on WU that we
wouldn't see him ever again? The backup dancer in his
video was damn hot. Maya's character wasn't really
that funny. Good to see Dean getting some work, but
the material wasn't that great. The nap was kinda
cute. Baby K pouring out milk for his homies was
pretty funny. Dean saying he makes a mistake with his
pants sometimes was pretty funny. The rap itself was
pretty lame, but not a bad rap. This sketch was
funnier than I expected, not too bad. But I think it's
a one shot thing, a repeat of Baby K. would be too
much. 

Grade: B-

"Live with Regis and Kelly"

Amy looks a lot like Kelly Ripa. Damn good impression.
Gelman made this sketch - I think that's the first
time I've ever said that about a Chris Kattan
character. I love how Kelly says she doesn't know the
older references Regis makes. Amy seemed to enjoy
making Darrell laugh by groping him - reminds me of
how Will Ferrell loved to make Rachel Dratch laugh in
the lovahs sketches. Queen Latifah looked a LOT like
Frenchie! I liked how she clutched her breasts. She
did a great job of overacting the way the American
Idol contestants did. I have liked the Regis sketches,
ever since Carvey did them, this goes right up with
the best of em.

Grade: B+

"Who Farted?"

HILARIOUS! Of course everyone would blame the fat guy,
but us skinny guys can provide some pretty lethal
doses! I loved the mind bending twist...short sketch,
but very funny.

Grade: A (the first A I have given this season!)

"Behind the Music: The Cherylettes"

Starts out REAL slow, the dances they came up with
were pretty lame. Maya's character wasn't very funny -
just nuts. Robot National Anthem? I don't remember
that one. Amy's character saying "I miss the money and
the sex" was pretty funny, but no one in the audience
laughed. Weak.

Grade: C-

"I'm a Celebrity Who Farted?"

Good impersonations all around, except for Kattan as
Kathy Griffin, but that was still funny just because
it's a guy (although arguably so) playing a woman.
"Juicy Busey" is HILARIOUS. I'd rank the
impersonations as:

1. Jimmy Fallon as Gilbert Gottfried
2. Jeff Richards as Gary Busey
3. Rachel Dratch as Paula Poundstone
4. Darrell Hammond as Danny Aiello
5. Chris Kattan as Kathy Griffin

Good stuff, not as funny as the first fart sketch.

Grade: B+

"Weekend Update"

"We don't need anyone's permission" - pretty funny!
"what real leaders sound like" - mildly amusing
"painting stolen in jail" - dumb, took awhile for
people to get it
"Seinfeld's baby" - I thought it was funny, but the
audience didn't
"Khalid Sheikh Mohammed" - I like Horatio's
impressions because they are so inaccurate. The "time
to make the donuts" reference was hilarious; I hate
when they have to explain jokes (the Bull from Night
Court reference); overall very funny
"Hooters Airlines" - saw it coming a mile away, still
pretty funny
"Aretha Franklin balloon" - I don't get it
"elderly health care" - dumb
"Kevin Bacon" - funny
"influential women" - funny
"fattest city" - only Jimmy's charisma could carry
that joke; I thought they were going to do "Bad Joke
of the Week" when the door knocked, but it was just
Dustin Hoffman
"Dustin Hoffman" - wow, what a great impression!
Richards is finally showing some good impressions
(Louie Anderson, Busey, Hoffman)
"longest marriage" - dumb
"Chazz Palmenteri" - not very funny
"Trevor the Broadway Guy" - pretty funny, the audience
didn't like it too much; Parnell has a decent voice
"Lord of the Dance" - pretty funny
"Vagina Auction" - stupid, no one laughed
"Ice penis" - hilarious!

WU has really sucked lately, and it bounces back in a
big way this week. And they didn't even need
unnecessary cameos this week to be good!

Grade: B

Miss Dynamite

Never heard of her, but she is pretty talented. And
easy on the eyes. My my my she's a looker. I like laid
back reggae like this, but I hope not all of her songs
are about her, the lyrics were pretty lame. She
reminds me a bit of Nelly Futado. I expect good things
from Miss Dynamite in the future.

I'm really worried "View from the Top" is one of those
movies where all the funny parts are in the trailers
(see "Not Another Teen Movie").

"Give up the Ham"

"I'm gonna eat it!" was pretty funny. I got the
impression early on this would be a weird sketch. I
love when Tracy Morgan plays women. He's hilarious -
I'm looking forward to his NBC show this fall. "Give
up the Ham" was pretty lame, but Will Forte looks
pretty funny in every sketch he's in. I wonder who
wrote this sketch? I also wonder if they really did
get free beer. An absurd sketch, which I usually like,
but it just wasn't that funny.

Grade: C+

"TV Funhouse: The X Presidents"

My favorite TV Funhouse now that Ace and Gary don't
make appearances anymore. Is Bill ever going to join
them? W's speech was pretty funny ("Gobbledy gook").
George and Barbara getting it on is pushing it pretty
far, borderline offensive (and I'm a Democrat!). The
"No-Balls" Prize was pretty funny. The propaganda
cartoons were pretty funny, because those cartoons
were really produced during WW II! It went downhill
from there. The Spongebob Square Pants - Powder Puff
Girls sequence was just retarded. Good start, poor
finish, except for the last exchange - "Don't mind
him, he wasn't elected" "Neither was I!"

Grade: B-

>From ESPN.com's Bill Simmons: I liked the upcoming
Benicio del Toro-Tommy Lee Jones movie "The Hunted"
the first time I saw it, when it was called "First
Blood"

"Profiles in Jazz"

Darrell Hammond looks like George C. Scott. Starts
slow, but Alberta Jones' songs are hilarious! Queen
Latifah sounded just like some of the jazz singers of
the 20s. Fred Armisen's character (his first
appearance of the night!) was funny. "Let's Make
Whoopee in my Butt" should be on Queen Latifah's next
album.

Grade: B

"Walgreens"

Just kinda dragged on. Will Forte was pretty funny, he
seemed to be proud of his herpes - who isn't? He
should have followed it up by saying he was going to
look at porn. Just a lame sketch, with a premise that
wasn't that great.

Grade: C-

"Mr. Rogers Tribute"

Very classy and very touching. I, too loved watching
Mr. Rogers as a kid and considered him to be a good
friend. I watched him a few times in college in
between classes, and its riveting how fascinated he
was at everything. A lot of TV hosts act like they are
interested in everything, but with Mr. Rogers its
real. He really was fascinated by the world, and saw
everything as special. He will be missed.

Grade: A

Lots of Dean, Maya, and Tracy, as its common for the
minority cast members to get more face time with a
minority host. Darrell Hammond bounced back strong
after being under-utilized the last few weeks. Four
impressions from him - Clinton, Aiello, Regis, and
Jack Perkins. Jimmy was again absent from any
sketches, he's as good as gone. Less Kattan this week
was a good move, he was pretty darn funny as Gelman.
The women were prominently featured, which is good,
this is probably the best female cast in quite some
time - maybe ever? Jeff Richards did pretty well
today, Baby K was better than I thought it would be,
and his Dustin Hoffman was great. Where was Seth
Myers?

I really think this was the best SNL of the year. I
was expecting a pretty good performance from Queen,
and she slam-dunked it. I never caught her reading cue
cards, and they wrote material tailored to her very
well. Lots of musical numbers, but aside from the
Cherylettes, they were pretty funny.

Ranking the SNLs

1. Queen Latifah
2. Al Gore
3. Christopher Walken
4. Nia Vardalos
5. John McCain
6. Jennifer Garner
7. Matthew McConaughey
8. Ray Liotta
9. Robert DeNiro
10. Matt Damon
11. Sarah Michelle Gellar
12. Brittany Murphy
13. Jeff Gordon
14. Eric McCormack

Salma is hosting next week, and I predict it will be
tough to write material for her. I assume she is
plugging "Frida" and/or her directorial debut "The
Maldonaldo Miracle" both independent features I'm sure
the average teenager has never heard of. Plus, she has
little comedic background, and English is her second
language. Here's hoping she'll surprise me.

Congrats to the Kansas Jayhawks, the outright 2003 Big
12 Champions.