Eric McCormack / Jay-Z
November 2, 2002

By Carson Mills

So you want some pre-review self-indulgent ramblings, eh?
Ok, here we go.
Favorite sports team: Edmonton Oilers
Most recent CD purchase: The Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady
Last Movie I saw: Jackass

Everyone happy? Good. Now on to why we are all here...

COLD OPENING - Darrell Hammond, Chris Parnell, Seth Meyers, Will Forte
Hammond's Giuliani is a welcome surprise and I like that this cold opening seems like an actual scene instead of the TV show format. The bit about Heinrich Hemler was super funny, most people I watched this with didn't get the joke, but I loved how Giuliani called Heinrich Hemler his hero. The gag with the soundbites was funny, too. It made for an interesting yet, unfortunately, not very enthusiastic "Live from New York..." The jokes mentioned were great while the other jokes were more lacking. Hit and miss, but this skit was mostly hit. And when it did hit it, hit pretty hard.
Rating: 7.1

MONOLOGUE - Eric McCormick, Chris Kattan
Everyone complains that none of the hosts have done a "real" monologue this season, but since when has this been anything new. This edition was the standard "question and answer" format and was definately reminiscent of the Lucy Lawless episode. The joke that has these flaming homosexuals denounced their homosexuality was pretty funny. Having Kattan come out was a pretty nice touch, too. I don't think that there is any question as of Chris Kattan's sexuality. What's in question is whether or not he is an actual comedian or not. Eric's song was funny, but certaintly did not do anything to denounce his homosexuality. All in all, a funny, yet standard, monologue, that gave me a definite feeling of "haven't I seen this kind of monologue a zillion times before?" It's a relatively sure fire premise, but I'm sure the writers can do better than this.
Rating: 6.9

THE BACHELOR - Rachel Dratch, Eric McCormick, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Chris Kattan
Of course, Amy Poehler's One-legged Amber character. The character who actually sounds really funny on paper, but always seems lame and severely forced on camera. The rankness of the character is funny, as is the fact that she is always appearing on these stupid reality TV shows. Unfortunately, the writers could only come up with a funny premise for a character and a funny situation to put her in. What's missing is funny and well-written dialogue (granted, I did smile at the "at least I have two self-respects" line). The skit is only in its third incarnation and it already smacks of staleness. Only Maya Rudolph's typical bimbo character, Eric's pornographer look and a dash of Chris Kattan could muster anything considered to be comedy. Also, the farts seem a little unnecessary. The character is so repulsive that I think the writers could come up with a few new grotesque things to work with. Luckily, the ad for ABC's new sitcoms was hysterical. I actually hear that "Life With Bonnie" is really funny. Who knows. When your living in dorms you really don't get to see much TV. Despite, the lameness of the character, this skit did a good job of parodying the overdramatization of these silly shows.
Rating: 4.0

ACTOR GAME - Eric McCormick, Rachel Dractch, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, Seth Meyers
Wow, the writers must have watched the entire 98-99 season as inspiration for this show. This skit certaintly brought back memories of a similar skit with Bill Murray and Molly Shannon a couple years back. Oh well, this one was actually funnier. Everybody knows someone who has an extremely short fuse in games like this, so it was nice to see SNL do really hyperbolic version of it. I found Rachel's extended tirade to be hysterical. I didn't find it to be "tacked on" at all. It just went way, way over the top. A lot of people don't find Rachel Dratch to be terribly convincing, but I feel that given the right role she can be quite hilarious. Her anger in this skit was a nice juxtaposition to her slight frame. Had it been a guy in her role (with the exception of Ferrel, of course)the joke would not have been quite as ridiculous. McCormick's acting kind of sucked here and the skit seemed really slow at first but those are only minor quibbles. Actually, this is one of those rare skits that ends exactly when it's supposed to. Extra props to the audience who picked up their cue to applaud. "Who the balls put Felix Mendelson?!"
Rating: 7.6

CAMPAIGN ADS 1, 2 and 3
I decided to review all the ads together. These started out subtle, but funny. I don't think the audience got the joke in the first installment. These are actually great ads to watch again on tape because I can read the newspaper headlines. I don't think the audience was given enough time to read them, but they were actually hysterical. Unfortunately the next two ads veered into sitcom territory. You know, where describing what exactly is happening becomes so convoluted that it must be inherently funny to hear ("phone her to tell her to stop telling us to phone him" cue laugh track). Fortunately, the newspaper headlines got more and more ridiculous and kept this simple little premise afloat.
Rating: 5.4

AMERICAN MORNING - Tina Fey, Eric McCormick, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Chris Parnell
A well-intentioned parody of how news programs have increasingly strayed from news and have resorted to innocuous chit-chat and establishing a "rapport" or "chemistry". It's a pretty fair thing to parody, but unfortunately this skit was both redundant AND repetitive. I get what the joke is, but you don't have to beat me over the head. Like most overlong sketches, this started quite promisingly, with Tina's out of no where "are we in love?", to the breaking news that flashed at the bottom of the screen. This skit could have been mildly improved upon if the characters had gotten engaged and married, had kids, had an affair, went to counseling, gotten divorced and had hooked up with someone else all within the course of one show. But, alas, no. The writers can't go THAT far. Pussies.

Rating: 2.9

WEEKEND UPDATE - Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Jeff Richards
Man, fuck Weekend Update. This segment has absolutely gone to hell. At best, the jokes are mildly amusing, but nothing new. It's nothing I haven't heard before. Britney's has this, Christina has this, but way skankier. Hasbeen actors suck. Famous guy who is notorious for "blank" does something, anchor refers to said guy's notorious "blank". It's a format and I'm getting bored with it. And it's obvious that Norm Macdonald has been writing Jimmy's jokes for him. Unfortunately, they were fresh when Norm was delivering them and Norm delivered them better. 
I started to laugh again when Horatio came out as Gene Shalit. Sadly, my "this is so funny" laugh progressed into my "this sucks and is falling apart" laugh. The end of the piece was just sad. And update never recovered after that. At least before that the jokes were innocuous and it appeared to be just another tame and lame Weekend Update, but after Horatio all the ryhthm was gone. Then that fucking Rapping Baby K by Jeff Richards came out and took a shit in my mouth. This was a new frontier in awfulness. Jeff, I like you, but if you keep doing ass like this, your going to fucking blow it. Jimmy and Tina, I like you, but if you guys don't get your asses together by next week, Ohlmeyer better get ready to make some more cuts. But this time it will be merited.
Rating: 1.9

BULL HORN COURT - Chris Parnell, Amy Poehler, Eric McCormick, Will Forte, Seth Meyers, Horatio Sanz
Repetitive? Yes. Stupid? Yes. Funny? Well, yeah, actually it was kinda funny. In fact, this one had me giggling the hardest of anything tonight. If weeks one and two were a showcase for Fred Armisen, then shows 3 and 4 are certaintly giving Will Forte a chance to catch up. His voice cracks me up. Actually, the bull horn wasn't what made this skit so funny, it was all Forte (Ok, so maybe Eric's facial expression cracked me up a bit, too). When he thanked McCormick for blowing his bull horn for a shorter period a was busting up. I think that Forte has the ability to make me laugh the same way Tracy Morgan makes me laugh. Through the intonation of his voice. Either guy could say something not funny, but their voice alone makes me chuckle. This skit, actually, wasn't that wonderful, it was one joke that went too long and, thusly, lost steam. The fact that Forte let McCormick off because he "liked the cut of his jib" was hilarious. Forte and Armisen have proved them to be the funniest featured players since...well, it's been a while, anyways. 
Rating: 6.9

RADIO SHOW - Jimmy Fallon, Eric McCormick
Basically this was a skit for Jimmy Fallon to strut his stuff. A nice parody of those super lame radio Shock Jocks. You just know those guys are sitting in the studio by themselves. Honestly, Jimmy was quite good here. He did a great job of imitating the perverted yet extremely lame yammering of radio shows. I especially enjoyed his super cheesy East Indian impression. Although this was a great display of Fallon's actual talent, it wasn't actually the funniest skit. In fact, it was about as funny as those actual drive by radio shows. The premise wasn't strong enough for the skit to have any chance at being a classic. It's aim was low so, therefore, it was a success. This skit was "funny-smile" not "funny-laugh". Props to Jimmy Fallon, though for actually recovering after an embarassing "Update"
Rating: 5.1

JOHN HANCOCK - Eric McCormick, Rachel Dratch
Honestly, I forgot that this was even in the show. It was just so...blah. Ok, let's see. Insurance companies like to scare people into buying the policies, but...I don't know, it just kind of sucked. It wasn't so awful that I refused to watch and it was certaintly short. It just never made any impression at all to me. Innocuous usually means average, but in my mind, it's a bad thing.
Rating: 4.0

JACKASS: THE MUSICAL - Eric McCormick, Seth Meyers, Jeff Richards, Darrell Hammond, Rachel Dratch
Such a great premise, but a bit of a let down. It was obvious that whoever wrote this had watched the movie because they were referencing many things specific to the movie. As for the movie, it my not be worthy of calling "film" but it certaintly was entertaining, disgusting and hilarious. As for this skit, well, it may not be entertaining, disgusting or hilarious, but it certaintly can be called a "skit". I laughed at Jeff Richards impression of Chris "Party Boy" Pontius, and the premise was strong enough to hold a skit that was only mildly amusing at best. But, jeez, does Seth Meyers have a bad voice. Instead of Jackass I would reccomend CKY. Much dirtier.
Rating: 5.0

REGGIE'S TELLING STORIES - Tracy Morgan, Maya Rudolph
What the fuck? I love you, Tracy, but...man. The Subway Fred skit last year might have been interesting but it certaintly wasn't comedy. At least the skit with Tracy and Maya from the Sarah Michelle Gellar episode had some semblence of a punckline. Maybe these skits are sweet or something, but, I don't know, they just seem to stop the show dead in its tracks. Obviously, these are not meant to be piss your pants hilarious, but I don't even think they succeed on the level of the "scratch your soul patch and smile wryly" style comedy. At least Tracy talks funny. I can always count on that.
Rating: 2.0

OVERVIEW
Skit Average - 4.9
The first absolute stinker of an episode (Even the Sarah Michelle Gellar episode had some exceptional pieces). Nothing here was really deserving of repeat viewings. Even the best skits dragged at certain points. Eric McCormick was a pretty standard host, not great, but not George Foreman either. What the real problem this week was writing. Too many times does the show squander a strong premise. There was too much wasted potential tonight. By the way, Jay-Z was pretty good tonight, although I can't stand Lenny Kravitz. I think that J-Hova may be the best mainstream rapper behind only Eminem and Outkast.

MVP: Will Forte
I would have chosen Rachel Dratch, but Forte had a better track record. He was only featured prominantly once and he rocked. Rachel was all over the show, meaning that she was involved with too much crap.

Worst Performer: Amy Poehler
Dammit, I actually like Amy Poehler, but she was not bringing the funny tonight. That Amber character is pretty played out and and she was a drag to watch in already bad skits like American Morning. Tina Fey's track record was worse, but her stuff suffered more from writing. I know they were in the same skit but Tina didn't suck in it. She was average in a skit that sucked, wheras Amy sucked in a skit that sucked.

Anyways, that's how you write a review. You better recognize.