Jack Black / John Mayer
October 4, 2003

By Joey MacQueen

Since I'm tired of writing them, and people are sick of reading them, I'm throwing away my pre-review crap. It's too boring to write, and even more boring to read.

OVERVIEW: I was disappointed to hear original premiere host candidate The Rock was replaced with Jack Black, but not for long. I liked Jack before this SNL, so let's hope I like him more by the end of the show. As for John Mayer, he's a "take him or leave him" kind of guy to me, but he's popular. We'll see what happens, even though I don't review musical guests.

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Arnold's Campaign Plan

I don't know... is it just me, or could there have been a better opener? I saw Darrell do this at the Emmys (not the same thing, but the impersonation of Arnold), and it wasn't spectacular then. But, I give SNL props for doing a political sketch, days before the California election. Otherwise, a few laughs. But you basically got the idea after the second joke. GRADE: C+

New Opener

Well, this is basically an updated version of the one used for David Spade, Adam Sandler, Phil Hartman, etc. But it was still better than last year's... well... actually, it was the best since that aforementioned opening.

Jack Black Monologue

Okay, did I miss that memo on Jack Black becoming a "megastar"? He's a star... but he's no Denzel or Julia or even Mike Myers. Either way, this was a hilarious opener. When he started singing, I groaned, but it actually was funny. Especially with the off-the-bat dissing to new cast members Finesse and Kenan. And poor Kyle Gass (Black's Tenacious D partner) just can't get in on his good looks, eh? I thought that was Will Ferrell, but I had my doubts. I didn't think he would need to make a cameo for nothing! At least wait, to promote "Elf" in a few weeks. At this rate, he'll be hosting to promote "Elf". Anyway, good monologue! GRADE: A-

Huggie Thongs

Okay, is it that hard to write a quality commercial? No one wants to see a poor baby in a diaper thong. The idea is just so wrong. And unfunny, if it wasn't bad enough. GRADE: D-

Queer Eye for the Straight Gal

This was okay. Could've been better as the original concept, with the cast members impersonating the real guys. But, there was some funny stuff here. Hopefully not a recurring sketch. Tina Fey was the funniest part of the sketch, really. GRADE: C

The Wade Robeson Project

This oddly sounds familiar. Is it a real show? If so, then there's problems on TV. Seth Meyers should get new material. He's never funny in any of these type shows. Finesse Mitchell debuts... nothing spectacular. Seems like an okay recurring sketch. As for the dancers, nothing funny, except for Jack of course. This should've closed the show, since the last sketch usually sucks. GRADE: C

Italian Cooking

These four are interesting. It's an "under the radar" type recurring sketch. It's not something I look forward to, but when I see it, I'm impressed. Fred Armisen has a great character here, but that doesn't say a whole lot for a guy who appears once or twice a show at best. Chris Parnell's addition is good. They needed a different character, and this was a decent replacement (anything is better than Tracy last year). As for Jack Black, he was funny here, but was better in the majority of the other skits. GRADE: B

TV Funhouse: Yankee Superheroes

Hey... remember when TV Funhouse was funny? Me neither. It has been a while. I'm not a sports fan, so I guess most of this will fly over my head, but it still wasn't edgy or risque, like his older SNL toons. I wish he would just take a year off, to develop new ideas. GRADE: D

Weekend Update

Hey... remember when Weekend Update was funny? It's seriously gone to their heads, that mild fame they got last year for Update. It went from "they aren't too bad" to "they're the best anchors for Update yet" to "okay, can someone please replace them?". I think its just a lack of trying on their part. When I'm more impressed by the guests than their jokes, it's not a good thing. Jeff Richards, as I realized tonight, is shaping up to be a replacement for Darrell Hammond. He has some great impersonations, ranging from Burt Bacharach to David Letterman to Rush Limbaugh, now. No, he's not amazing, up to Darrell's standards, but he's starting. Just please shoot Drunk Girl. It's not funny. Finesse Mitchell is apparently Tracy's replacement? He takes the Update commentaries that Tracy did, and makes them equal to Tracy's. No, that's not a great thing, but I admit I laughed. I see good things for him, if he can get past this first season as a featured player. The highlight of the night was Maya as Wanda Sykes and Kenan Thompson as Bill Cosby. I thought Maya did a great job as the shrill-voiced Wanda Sykes. Sure, Wanda is funny, and her show is funny. Just, her voice can make nails on a chalkboard be music to one's ears. Enough about that, how about that Cosby impersonation from Kenan? I'm liking this guy already. Never watched "All That", but I'm sure he'll be better on SNL. I hope to see this again. Helped by that Emmy skit alone, Update receives a GRADE of B.

Shelley Long Was On "Cheers"!

Amy is still funny in her third year, but let's hope she tones down the annoying characters she plays. Is there any actress more annoying on the planet than the tragically unfunny Shelley Long? "Cheers" got better when she left. Enough about that, an average sketch. Jack tries hard to make good material great, and he does well. And am I the only person who really doesn't like the "Cheers" theme? It's okay... not great. Just like this sketch! GRADE: C

Wine Tasting

One joke... yes. Funny? Yes! I just liked it, and that's hypocritical, since I hate the one-joke SNL sketch. Much like the "beating" Seth took from DeNiro last year, he takes his fair share of wine and saliva from Jack, when Jack keeps spitting the wine all over Seth. The funniest part came when Seth went to the other side, and Jack had to spin around to hit Seth. I don't know if it was improvised by Seth or not, but it was still funny. Again, Jack makes a sketch even better than it is. GRADE: B

The Death of Telemarketing

Jack does another musical sketch (he did an all-musical skit last time he hosted, too, unlike his monologue and other part musical skit tonight). This one is good, because who doesn't hate telemarketers? Will Forte appears in a cameo? This is only his second appearance, and it's another singing part. Too bad for Will. The last sketch, again saved by Mr. Jack Black. So bad for the writers and cast. So sad. GRADE: B-

Player of the Night: Jack Black
Skit of the Night: Jack's Monologue
Worst Sketch: Huggies Thongs

OVERALL: C+

It's too bad. I really liked this on first viewing, but now that I review it, the sketches are less funny. Jack Black saves the show, really, and I can't say The Rock would've did any better. And it looks like SNL's not-hot streak will continue next week, when Justin Timberlake performs as musical guest, and get this... host. Seriously, don't you need to know the general basics at least, of acting or singing to do either? Looks like SNL is running out of hosts. Anyway, I'll be back then, with a guaranteed low grade for the show. I'm Joey MacQueen and I am outta here!