Eric McCormack / Jay-Z
November 2, 2002

By Mike LeBlanc

PRE-SHOW THOUGHTS: I'm afraid I'm pressed for time
this week so it's going to be a short and dirty
critique. Show 4, Season 28. Shows 1 & 2? Below
average. Show 3? Above average. Show 4? Average
average but nothing to be ashamed of, I guess.

COLD OPENING: Hammond none too convincingly plays
Mayor Rudy G., America's most beloved Republican,
shilling for lesser party members, like Heinrich
Himmler (of Montana!). Pretty funny, but I thought
there was an iron law about not saying "Live from New
York ..." on videotape. Otherwise, a decent enough
opening.

THE MONOLOGUE: The host claims not to be gay. Audience
members claim not to be gay. Kattan claims not to be
gay. Unfortunately, this week's monologue IS totally
gay, boobies song and all. All this strenuous gay
denial gives me a sudden longing for Terry Sweeney --
and I'm not gay, either. Honest.

THE BACHELOR: Predictable re-hash of a similar sketch
from the recent past parodying a similar show but,
with fine work all around by the performers, it's
funny enough. Maya gets to smooch, and Rachel gets to
hot tub, with the hunky hetero host. And Amy once
again gets to play Amber, the hypoglycemic, flatulent
amputee, a potentially interesting character that
deserves a fresher setting.

PARTY GAME: Cute "Will & Grace" homage with an
energetic performance by Dratch who not only chews the
scenery but destroys it. Hmm ... First, it was
Himmler, now it's Felix Mendelssohn. Maybe tonight's
theme is: Germany Uber Alles!

NEGATIVE ADS: Funny, to-the-point, all-too-accurate.

CNN MORNING SHOW - Tina Fey appears in a sketch! Why?
To smooch the hunky hetero host, of course. I guess
one of the perks of the show is to write and perform
sketches that allow the sexy cast to scud right up to
the sexy hosts and engage in physical contact. I know
that when Lorne asks ME to host, I'll be writing Tina
into a sketch or two myself. But I hope I come up with
a funnier one than this. Still, the image of Tina
(completely convincing in her role) as a blonde and
excellent work by Parnell, Poehler and Dratch make
this highly watchable.

MUSICAL GUEST - JAY-Z WITH LENNY KRAVITZ IN A HEAVY D
PRODUCTION: The self-proclaimed "Michael Corleone on
the microphone" has a new album coming out called "The
Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse" and though he
claims his invisible rhyme book leaves other MCs
shook, rhymes like "Life is like guns and
roses/Bittersweet like friends and foes-es" leave me
neither shaken nor stirred. Still, I prefer this
offbeat combo to lugubrious Springsteen/Faith
Hill-type acts. Black guys shilling for Michelob
Light? What? No malt liquor?

WEEKEND UPDATE: The immortal team of Tina and Jimmy
(who go together like Tabitha and Timmy) make eye
contact this week, interact amusingly, and have a few
decent jokes here and there -- but must tolerate
intrusions by cast members with unfunny material.
Jimmy finds Horatio funnier than I do, I'm sorry to
say. Also, Jimmy's "Most German Invention" joke
continues tonight's theme.

BULLHORN: This is bull all right. Perhaps Lorne should
have "dropped the cow" on this one earlier as it seems
to run a little long. On the other hand, I like the
cut of Will Forte's jib.

MORNING CREW: Fallon does a fine, funny job with
material that is almost but not quite good enough for
him. Accurate recreation of a radio station studio and
I know more than one "on-air talent" who owns that
Hawaiian shirt. Highlight for me: the subtle cameo by
Lester of Willie Tyler and Lester. Dean Edwards, I
imagine, was unavailable for the part.

JOHN HANCOCK PARODY AD: "The average price for sex in
a Waffle House parking lot is $10" says this parody
ad, which is apparently what they are paying the
writers to turn out sausage like this. Well-produced
and acted, however.

JAY-Z AND BEYONC KNOWLES: Interesting homage to the
late, great Tupac. "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" borrows from
his "Me and My Girlfriend" song. Rhymes include: "The
new Bobby and Whitney/ Only time we don't speak is
during 'Sex and the City'" and that foxxy Child of
Destiny, BeyoncÈ, sings "Down to ride to the very end,
me and my boyfriend." Sweet.

JACKASS THE MUSICAL: A disorganized mess but I highly
enjoyed the late hit by the giant panda bear.

REGGIE THE KID'S TALL TALE: I picture Lorne, wearing
his white suit and holding a glass of white wine,
saying to Tracy (or whomever), "The show needs
texture. I'll bring you a Pepsi if you'll bring me a
sketch we can bury late in the show that takes place
on one cheap set. Just be sure it has no hard laughs
in it but plenty of impenetrable ghetto slang. White
boys who have never been out of the suburbs will eat
it up."

Well, I rather enjoy these little sketches. They're
writerly and quietly amusing in their quirky,
character-driven way. They smack of the Scotch
Boutique and Solomon and Pudge. Rudolph, a better
actor than Morgan, always does right by them. She's a
tower of strength.

GOOD NIGHTS: Credits cut off again but not before it's
revealed that in addition to the forty or fifty
thousand regular writers (only three of whom are
women?), Al Franken also wrote a sketch. Thanks, Al.

POST-SHOW THOUGHTS: My post-show thoughts and prayers
are with Dean Edwards who, at this rate, will soon be
loitering in a Waffle House parking lot, trading sex
for pancakes.