Rev. Al Sharpton / Pink
December 6, 2003

By Travis McElroy

Howdy kids. I'm writing this week with a sad and broken heart (and a bit inebriated, too). You see, last night was the big SEC Championship Game, between my beloved Georgia Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers. Only problem is I had a show to do last night, and so I taped the game, and resolved NOT to listen, watch, or catch any scores until I could watch the whole game. On a side note, I don't know how many sports fans there are on this site, but don't you just hate taping a sports event, because even if you take all those precautions, how can you affect the outcome of the game when you watch it AFTER the fact? Anyways, long story short, I did hear the game (accidentally) on radio, was quite disappointed at the outcome, and have since decided to burn my VCR. So a friend of mine taped the SNL show, and (even though I might not be in a laughing mood) without further ado here's the review...

Okay, once again, my grading scale is as follows: it seems people still use either a "A-F" scale, or a "1-10" scale. However, personally, I feel that's a bit limiting...so here's my scale: 1-100 (easy enough). As an example (with apologies to American Bandstand): "it's got a good comic rhythm and you can laugh to it, I give it an 84". Also, I'll annotate the host with an asterick (*). Okay, let's rock!

OPENING - President of NBC
Jimmy Fallon
Okay, I understand what Jimmy is doing. I've never seen the current president of NBC (hell, I thought it was still Brandon Tartikoff, though I just did the research and see he's dead now, whoops...). Anyways, funny premise to give equal programming time to the other Democratic Presidential candidates (since Al Sharpton was hosting the show tonight). I liked letting General Clark be a guest on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and one of the lesser known candidates (Howard Dean?) having to eat a camel rectum on Fear Factor. Good one joke bit, and Jimmy's over the top hand/arm gestures were hysterical. And when the camera gave the extreme close-up on the tagline (Duh, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night")...I thought I actually saw his colon.
Grade -- 94

OPENING CREDITS
Okay, I'm gonna keep the same thoughts as last time. So some cast changes have been made in the past 2 years...let's see who's still on the show: Rachel Dratch (good), Jimmy Fallon (good), Tina Fey (awesome, where are those glasses that I love?), Will Forte (who? new guy...well, new to ME...we'll see if he's good), Darrell Hammond (good), Seth Meyers (great, I remember him having real promise 2 years ago), Chris Parnell (good)...and that means NO MORE TRACY MORGAN!!!!! Whoo hooo, I can die in peace now...now let's see if the other useless cast member is still there. Amy Poehler (great, she's a quirky hottie), Jeff Richards (still around? he must have had something other than Drunk Girl to offer), Maya Rudolph (okay), Horatio Sanz (yup, UCM #2 still there). Featuring: Fred Armisen, Finesse Mitchell, Kenan Thompson (from Nickeloden's Kenan & Kel fame...oh brother).
Musical Guest: Pink (ring ring...hello, Pink? Yeah, this is fame calling...your 15 minutes are up) Once again, good thing it's on tape, and I have my remote handy...
Starring: Reverend Al Sharpton
No Grade, but I do like the video montages

MONOLOGUE
Al Sharpton(*)
I'm honestly gonna try to do this open-minded and without bias. So Al comes out and he's trying to look more presidential...and then a blast from the past and it's...oh crap, Tracy Morgan (dude, don't you have your own show now? Wasn't it enough to suck 7 seasons on SNL, do you have to come back and guest-suck? By the way, I caught your new show, and your friends and family are funnier than you, although they weren't even trying to be funny...hey, there's an idea...don't TRY to be funny...) Anyways, it was mildly amusing to see the old, pimped-out Al Sharpton, and I gotta admit the man can dance (Al, not Tracy). I didn't know he used to tour with James Brown, so that gives him some cool points.
Grade -- 70 (80 if Tracy had stayed away)

COMMERCIAL PARODY - Mom Jeans
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch
I didn't get the joke. Yes, that's the way soccer moms look in their jeans. I didn't see this as a parody, but the potential for an actual product. Thinking of Amy and Tina being moms kinda bums me out, though...
Grade -- 77

A ROLLER COASTER RIDE WITH MICHAEL JACKSON
Amy Poehler, Al Sharpton(*), Chris Parnell, Horatio Sanz, Rachel Dratch
So Amy plays Jacko, good makeup and costume. Al plays Johnnie Cochran (who I believe one comic said "if you're a celebrity who gets in trouble and you hire Johnnie Cochran for your defense, then you just plead guilty"). I don't know about y'all, but I am absolutely fed up with stories about Jacko. Who the HELL cares??? This sketch tried to portray Jacko as a completely out-of-touch space cadet who doesn't grasp the full ramifications of the events surrounding him. (which actually might not be that far from the truth) Rachel plays Elizabeth Taylor and cries too much. The only funny line was Jacko turning back to Horatio (who didn't utter one word in the bit) and saying "hello stranger."
Grade -- 62

BRIAN FELLOW'S SAFARI PLANET
Tracy Morgan, Al Sharpton(*), Chris Parnell, Tina Fey
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Dear God, why me? Why Tracy? Why?
In this old bit, we get to meet Brian Fellow's brother, Ryan. I must say Al does a good job at underplaying the "I'm Ryan Fellow" line. Chris comes on with a baby seal, which Brian asks about seals "going clubbing with Eskimos." Chris has a funny response about how clubbing seals and going clubbing is NOT the same thing. Tina comes in with a bat. A couple of jokes at how manly she looks. Then Brian and Ryan decide they want Frosty The Snowman to be on the show. He can't do it because he's a "man." Which just goes to show you, even imaginary snow creatures don't want to be involved with this crap.
Grade -- 68

UPCOMING SHOW
December 13: Elijah Wood and Jet. Okay, obviously Elijah will be plugging Return of the King, which needs NO additional advertisement...I mean, seriously, even tribal natives in Pango-Pango know this movie is coming out. Since they had Tracy on this week, it wouldn't surprise me to see Chris Kattan come back and cameo as Gollum. Never heard of Jet...but I heard their music is really...fast...(get it Jet...fast...oh well)
Grade -- 88 (I think Elijah will be funny as hell)

WE THREE KINGS
Al Sharpton(*), Tracy Morgan, Kenan Thompson, Jimmy Fallon, Jeff Richards
The 3 Wisemen ride camels on their way to the manger. At first I was please to see Tracy not go over the top. He had a nice character voice, but as soon as the cops pulled them over, it was back to TRACY again. Jimmy was hysterical as the Roman cop, flashing his torch in their face and giving the same lines that modern day cops do...with the same I-think-you're-full-of-shit attitude. "Why did you pull us over?" "Your right saddlebag is busted" "No it's not" "Oh yeah, it's not, my mistake...I'll need to see some ID" Jeff is the guardian angel who is covered in (as he is reluctant to tell the cops) angel dust. The cop is going to arrest all 4 of them, when they take off. The voiceover declares the Three Kings are still at-large and people with any information should call VVV-IIXI.
Grade -- 93 (a great premise that not even Tracy could screw up)

MUSICAL GUEST - Pink
I think she must've had a cold, cause her voice sounded so strained...OR perhaps that's the way she REALLY sounds when you strip away all the sound-studio production crap. Hmmm...that must be the secret to producing a pop star. Find somebody who can't sing, but think that they can...over-produce the hell out of it, and they'll be star. Now, if only we could find a way to lure pop-star-wannabes...I got it, what if we had a contest where they went head-to-head and were trashed by a snooty British guy with no talent...
Anyways, her song was "I'm Trouble"...and she has gained a few pounds, so the only trouble I think she caused was to her low-rider pants. I kept watching the performance to see if her pants were going to indeed fall off...we did get a crack shot, though.
Grade -- 70

WEEKEND UPDATE
Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey
Both Jimmy and Tina are funny in sketches, but I think W.U. is where they shine.
Opening joke: "Michael Jackson will only be able to spend $1 Million a month. He put down the boy he was molesting and said are you're kidding me?" (we know how I feel about Jacko jokes). Bush joke about going BACK to the moon...after officials had talked him out of his original plan to go Back to the Future. Paltrow and boyfriend are expecting a baby, also Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have been putting it in the wrong place all the time. The Tokyo Zoo believes Shuan Shuan and Ling Ling will mate because it's well known that Shuan Shuan is a slut...and the meeting was brokered by their friend Pimp Pimp. Hillary Clinton is accusing Bush of saying he will decrease troops in Iraq as a campaign ploy...Bush said "that's what my crazy moon plan is for". Slavery Museum being built in Fredricksburg, VA this week...for the punchline, tune in next week when we have a different host.
Because certain cities are refusing to show this episode because they fear other candidates will want equal broadcast time, Jimmy and Tina are free to say what they think about them:

Des Moines, IA - Snoozeville, USA
Sacremento, CA - More like Suck-remento
Portland, ME - The Fart Capital of the World
Memphis/Nashville, TN - Y'all Come Back Now, Ya Queers
Oklahoma - Never heard of it
Boston, MA - They just...hate black people
Rochester, MN - You guys are NERDS!

The next few jokes weren't all that funny...Justin from American Idol, 1 Million pennies, Monkey hospital, Linda Tripp getting married "I now pronounce you Man and...THAT" Let's jump ahead to the Paris Hilton interview. Glad to see that it wasn't some lame impersonation of Paris, but it was actually her. Jimmy said they agreed to not talk about the sex-tape scandle, so starts off asking questions about the hotel chain...and comes to find out there is a Hilton in Paris...a "Paris Hilton", so you know where this is going...

"Is it hard to get into the Paris Hilton?"
"Does the Paris Hilton allow double occupancy?"
"Is the Paris Hilton roomy"? "It might be for you, Jimmy, but most people find it very comfortable"
"I'm a VIP can I use the back entrance to the Paris Hilton?"
"Can I check-in at the Paris Hilton? I'm only gonna be able to stay there like a minute and a half, 2 minutes top"
Grade (Fallon, Fey) -- 92
Grade (Fallon, Hilton) -- 100 (I'm not a big fan of Paris (and I've even seen some of the sex-tape), but it was tres cool for her to be able to poke fun at herself. Okay, W.U. over...here comes the sucking...)

OLD MOVIE
Maya Rudolph, Al Sharpton(*), Tracy Morgan, Finesse Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz
This sketch takes place in 1930's Hollywood. Jimmy plays a B-rated producer filming a typical black-sploitation flic of the era. The sterotype jokes are there: "eating fried chicken and watermelon." And a bad rendition of Amos & Andy's famous bit of sneaking through a dark, scary house...Al realizes what's going on and causes Jimmy to yell cut. He then steps forward and announces that this was a silly skit, but racism still exists...A couple of funny lines in the bit, but on the whole I found it preachy (no pun intended...Reverend). Also, apparently nobody could deliver a line without reading the cue card...so we have horrible acting, mixed with a crappy premise...that's the sure formula for comedy, right? NOT!
Grade -- 55

REVEREND AL SHARPTON'S CASA DE SUSHI
Al Sharpton(*), Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kenan Thompson, Will Forte, Horatio Sanz
So Al hates raw fish, but he'll sell it to you and charge you money, cause Presidential campaigns don't fund themselves. The backup singers did a bad take-off on the song "California", and what the hell was Horatio doing? He sounded good as Harvey Fierstein, but completely out of place and crashed through a table ala Chris Farley.
Grade -- 50 (going downhill fast...I'm finding myself having to get up and run for ten minutes between each sketch just to not pass out from boredom)

HANGING OUT WITH THE OTHER CANDIDATES
Chris Parnell, Jeff Richards, Jimmy Fallon, Will Forte, Seth Myers, Darrell Hammond
Nice transition, where the candidates are watching Al on TV and complaining that they don't get their time. Chris (as Joe Leiberman) complains that he knows a few humorous anecdotes and does a comically bad Chris Tucker impression. Apparently Will plays a candidate (Senator Edwards) who is known as a flaming kiss-ass, and Jimmy portrays General Clark. Great line when challenged about never serving in public office: "I didn't serve in the public office because I was too busy serving my country in uniform, not flying down some ski slope with a bunch of pot-smoking goldbrickers." Seth (finally) appears as John Carey, great mannerisms. Darrell (as Dick Gephardt) says "why Al Sharpton, why not me, I'm the one with the most experience here" Jeff (as Howard Dean) replies: "you're right, Dick, none of us have lost HALF as many elections as you." Chris comes back with "you're like David Spade in a Hollywood comedy, it makes sense on paper, but the people just aren't going for it." I like it when SNL pokes fun at former castmembers. Well acted bit and nice expansion of story off of the cold opening.
Grade -- 87

MUSICAL GUEST - Pink
Well, the outfit changed, but the result is the same...strained voice and off-key singing. She even spit onstage...classy. I guess the second song is "If God Is A DJ"? I dunno, I wasn't paying attention, I was too busy counting the tattoos on her and her band. I wonder if there is a tattoo requirement to join the group...like the auditions consisted of "So, how many gawdy out-of-place tattoos do you have? Five? Just Five? Well keep on walking sister...if you wanna ROCK OUT you gotta have at least SEVEN!"
Grade -- 83 (The music actually had a good beat, if she was on-key, this score would've been higher)

THE LATOYA JACKSON SHOW
Maya Rudolph, Al Sharpton(*), Kenan Thompson, Fred Armisen
Maya is the idiotic Latoya, Al plays the abrasive father Joseph. Well acted, and Al got his chance to espouse Michael's innocence (as Joe, of course). Kenan was hilarious as Shaka Khan who was so fat and out-of-shape that she couldn't catch her breath to sing or answer a single question. Latoya: "Now, I'm gonna do sometime that I think is really fun...not pose nude, who said that?" She calls Michael and he hangs up, how screwed up do you have to be for Michael to think you're weird? "Super duper suprise for you...please put your hands together for Michael Jackson........'s impersonator from Belgium." Fred plays the impersonator and had decent moonwalk moves.
Grade -- 82 (Even though this was about the Jackson's it didn't focus on Michael...good. And Kenan was very funny and real...pay attention Tracy...)

THE REVEREND TAKES A RIDE
Horatio Sanz, Maya Rudolph, Al Sharpton(*), Fred Armisen
I don't know what the hell the point was to this bit. Horatio had a good character as the replacement driver for Sharpton and his assistant. His outlandish stories weren't as funny as Al's attempts to respond. At one point I could swear that Maya was holding his lines in her lap, because Al stared directly at them, under the guise of reviewing "paperwork." After dropping off Al and Maya, Fred jumps in the car as a transvestite prostitute...why?
Grade -- 60 (I thought SNL was a comedy show...I could be mistaken)

COMMERCIAL PARODY - Cryogenix
Chris Parnell, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, Jeff Richards
Okay, normal beginning...if you have a severe medical condition and want to freeze your body so that it will be available in the future once medicine finds a cure...the answer is Cryogenix. The funny part is when the patients explain why they are going to go through a process that "drains your blood and replaces it with liquid nitrogen, and severs your head and places it into vaccuum chamber". Amy suffers from lactose-intolerance, Seth is going bald, Jeff has chronic halitosis, Maya wants a better weight-loss pill in the future, and Chris says "if it's good enough for Ted Williams, it's good enough for me." I guess the joke is the extreme means people will go to in order to solve a minor, temporary problem.
Grade -- 72 (well acted, not too terribly funny)

THE GHOST OF JOHNNY CASH
Darrell Hammond
Darrell does a fantastic impersonation of the Man In Black. Great voice and mannerisms. Apparently even though Johnny's dead, he has a new CD box-set coming out. He sings one continuous song that incorporates rhythms from some of his more famous songs. The lines don't rhyme, and it's hard to follow the story. It's neat to see this idea because I had thought of a similar sketch concept that had all these popular, dead singers in heaven, fighting over time in the recording studio. Like John Lennon and Tupac Shakur playing rock-scissors-paper to decide who gets time. I figured that must be the only way that all these records are being released post-humously. However, this sketch didn't go so well, so after seeing it, I might just shelve that idea. Only funny parts of this bit was Johnny saying "I'm dead, some of you might not have heard about it, cause John Ritter died the same day, but I understand, I loved Three's Company", and Cash leg-wrestling Jesus in order to gain admission into the Pearly Gates.
Grade -- 75 (I'll go easy on him, since I think this is the last bit before closing)

SUMMARY
Well, I think it's official...Al Sharpton has the warmth and personality of a sack of frozen potatoes. I'm assuming the point of Lorne bringing him in to host was so he could connect to the American audience, and improve his chance of winning the Democratic nomination. Well, I can safely say that he didn't connect and won't win the nomination...which is good, because do you really want to hear "Now give it up for the hardest working man in politics...President/Reverend Al Sharpton." Plus, I'm sure him being a minister would violate some sort of Separation Of Church and State ruling. Anyways, very sub-par performance from most of the cast...but I guess when you have the pressure of creating new content every week, it's hard to bring your A-material each time. I just wish the cast would allow themselves to act/react and even improvise off each other, it would certainly enhance the believibility of the sketches.
Show Grade -- My calculator comes up with 76.5...but we'll round up and make it an even 77.

C-ya next time!

 

 

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Howdy kids. I'm writing this week with a sad and broken heart (and a bit inebriated, too). You see, last night was the big SEC Championship Game, between my beloved Georgia Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers. Only problem is I had a show to do last night, and so I taped the game, and resolved NOT to listen, watch, or catch any scores until I could watch the whole game. On a side note, I don't know how many sports fans there are on this site, but don't you just hate taping a sports event, because even if you take all those precautions, how can you affect the outcome of the game when you watch it AFTER the fact? Anyways, long story short, I did hear the game (accidentally) on radio, was quite disappointed at the outcome, and have since decided to burn my VCR. So a friend of mine taped the SNL show, and (even though I might not be in a laughing mood) without further ado here's the review...

Okay, once again, my grading scale is as follows: it seems people still use either a "A-F" scale, or a "1-10" scale. However, personally, I feel that's a bit limiting...so here's my scale: 1-100 (easy enough). As an example (with apologies to American Bandstand): "it's got a good comic rhythm and you can laugh to it, I give it an 84". Also, I'll annotate the host with an asterick (*). Okay, let's rock!

OPENING - President of NBC
Jimmy Fallon
Okay, I understand what Jimmy is doing. I've never seen the current president of NBC (hell, I thought it was still Brandon Tartikoff, though I just did the research and see he's dead now, whoops...). Anyways, funny premise to give equal programming time to the other Democratic Presidential candidates (since Al Sharpton was hosting the show tonight). I liked letting General Clark be a guest on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and one of the lesser known candidates (Howard Dean?) having to eat a camel rectum on Fear Factor. Good one joke bit, and Jimmy's over the top hand/arm gestures were hysterical. And when the camera gave the extreme close-up on the tagline (Duh, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night")...I thought I actually saw his colon.
Grade -- 94

OPENING CREDITS
Okay, I'm gonna keep the same thoughts as last time. So some cast changes have been made in the past 2 years...let's see who's still on the show: Rachel Dratch (good), Jimmy Fallon (good), Tina Fey (awesome, where are those glasses that I love?), Will Forte (who? new guy...well, new to ME...we'll see if he's good), Darrell Hammond (good), Seth Meyers (great, I remember him having real promise 2 years ago), Chris Parnell (good)...and that means NO MORE TRACY MORGAN!!!!! Whoo hooo, I can die in peace now...now let's see if the other useless cast member is still there. Amy Poehler (great, she's a quirky hottie), Jeff Richards (still around? he must have had something other than Drunk Girl to offer), Maya Rudolph (okay), Horatio Sanz (yup, UCM #2 still there). Featuring: Fred Armisen, Finesse Mitchell, Kenan Thompson (from Nickeloden's Kenan & Kel fame...oh brother).
Musical Guest: Pink (ring ring...hello, Pink? Yeah, this is fame calling...your 15 minutes are up) Once again, good thing it's on tape, and I have my remote handy...
Starring: Reverend Al Sharpton
No Grade, but I do like the video montages

MONOLOGUE
Al Sharpton(*)
I'm honestly gonna try to do this open-minded and without bias. So Al comes out and he's trying to look more presidential...and then a blast from the past and it's...oh crap, Tracy Morgan (dude, don't you have your own show now? Wasn't it enough to suck 7 seasons on SNL, do you have to come back and guest-suck? By the way, I caught your new show, and your friends and family are funnier than you, although they weren't even trying to be funny...hey, there's an idea...don't TRY to be funny...) Anyways, it was mildly amusing to see the old, pimped-out Al Sharpton, and I gotta admit the man can dance (Al, not Tracy). I didn't know he used to tour with James Brown, so that gives him some cool points.
Grade -- 70 (80 if Tracy had stayed away)

COMMERCIAL PARODY - Mom Jeans
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch
I didn't get the joke. Yes, that's the way soccer moms look in their jeans. I didn't see this as a parody, but the potential for an actual product. Thinking of Amy and Tina being moms kinda bums me out, though...
Grade -- 77

A ROLLER COASTER RIDE WITH MICHAEL JACKSON
Amy Poehler, Al Sharpton(*), Chris Parnell, Horatio Sanz, Rachel Dratch
So Amy plays Jacko, good makeup and costume. Al plays Johnnie Cochran (who I believe one comic said "if you're a celebrity who gets in trouble and you hire Johnnie Cochran for your defense, then you just plead guilty"). I don't know about y'all, but I am absolutely fed up with stories about Jacko. Who the HELL cares??? This sketch tried to portray Jacko as a completely out-of-touch space cadet who doesn't grasp the full ramifications of the events surrounding him. (which actually might not be that far from the truth) Rachel plays Elizabeth Taylor and cries too much. The only funny line was Jacko turning back to Horatio (who didn't utter one word in the bit) and saying "hello stranger."
Grade -- 62

BRIAN FELLOW'S SAFARI PLANET
Tracy Morgan, Al Sharpton(*), Chris Parnell, Tina Fey
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Dear God, why me? Why Tracy? Why?
In this old bit, we get to meet Brian Fellow's brother, Ryan. I must say Al does a good job at underplaying the "I'm Ryan Fellow" line. Chris comes on with a baby seal, which Brian asks about seals "going clubbing with Eskimos." Chris has a funny response about how clubbing seals and going clubbing is NOT the same thing. Tina comes in with a bat. A couple of jokes at how manly she looks. Then Brian and Ryan decide they want Frosty The Snowman to be on the show. He can't do it because he's a "man." Which just goes to show you, even imaginary snow creatures don't want to be involved with this crap.
Grade -- 68

UPCOMING SHOW
December 13: Elijah Wood and Jet. Okay, obviously Elijah will be plugging Return of the King, which needs NO additional advertisement...I mean, seriously, even tribal natives in Pango-Pango know this movie is coming out. Since they had Tracy on this week, it wouldn't surprise me to see Chris Kattan come back and cameo as Gollum. Never heard of Jet...but I heard their music is really...fast...(get it Jet...fast...oh well)
Grade -- 88 (I think Elijah will be funny as hell)

WE THREE KINGS
Al Sharpton(*), Tracy Morgan, Kenan Thompson, Jimmy Fallon, Jeff Richards
The 3 Wisemen ride camels on their way to the manger. At first I was please to see Tracy not go over the top. He had a nice character voice, but as soon as the cops pulled them over, it was back to TRACY again. Jimmy was hysterical as the Roman cop, flashing his torch in their face and giving the same lines that modern day cops do...with the same I-think-you're-full-of-shit attitude. "Why did you pull us over?" "Your right saddlebag is busted" "No it's not" "Oh yeah, it's not, my mistake...I'll need to see some ID" Jeff is the guardian angel who is covered in (as he is reluctant to tell the cops) angel dust. The cop is going to arrest all 4 of them, when they take off. The voiceover declares the Three Kings are still at-large and people with any information should call VVV-IIXI.
Grade -- 93 (a great premise that not even Tracy could screw up)

MUSICAL GUEST - Pink
I think she must've had a cold, cause her voice sounded so strained...OR perhaps that's the way she REALLY sounds when you strip away all the sound-studio production crap. Hmmm...that must be the secret to producing a pop star. Find somebody who can't sing, but think that they can...over-produce the hell out of it, and they'll be star. Now, if only we could find a way to lure pop-star-wannabes...I got it, what if we had a contest where they went head-to-head and were trashed by a snooty British guy with no talent...
Anyways, her song was "I'm Trouble"...and she has gained a few pounds, so the only trouble I think she caused was to her low-rider pants. I kept watching the performance to see if her pants were going to indeed fall off...we did get a crack shot, though.
Grade -- 70

WEEKEND UPDATE
Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey
Both Jimmy and Tina are funny in sketches, but I think W.U. is where they shine.
Opening joke: "Michael Jackson will only be able to spend $1 Million a month. He put down the boy he was molesting and said are you're kidding me?" (we know how I feel about Jacko jokes). Bush joke about going BACK to the moon...after officials had talked him out of his original plan to go Back to the Future. Paltrow and boyfriend are expecting a baby, also Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have been putting it in the wrong place all the time. The Tokyo Zoo believes Shuan Shuan and Ling Ling will mate because it's well known that Shuan Shuan is a slut...and the meeting was brokered by their friend Pimp Pimp. Hillary Clinton is accusing Bush of saying he will decrease troops in Iraq as a campaign ploy...Bush said "that's what my crazy moon plan is for". Slavery Museum being built in Fredricksburg, VA this week...for the punchline, tune in next week when we have a different host.
Because certain cities are refusing to show this episode because they fear other candidates will want equal broadcast time, Jimmy and Tina are free to say what they think about them:

Des Moines, IA - Snoozeville, USA
Sacremento, CA - More like Suck-remento
Portland, ME - The Fart Capital of the World
Memphis/Nashville, TN - Y'all Come Back Now, Ya Queers
Oklahoma - Never heard of it
Boston, MA - They just...hate black people
Rochester, MN - You guys are NERDS!

The next few jokes weren't all that funny...Justin from American Idol, 1 Million pennies, Monkey hospital, Linda Tripp getting married "I now pronounce you Man and...THAT" Let's jump ahead to the Paris Hilton interview. Glad to see that it wasn't some lame impersonation of Paris, but it was actually her. Jimmy said they agreed to not talk about the sex-tape scandle, so starts off asking questions about the hotel chain...and comes to find out there is a Hilton in Paris...a "Paris Hilton", so you know where this is going...

"Is it hard to get into the Paris Hilton?"
"Does the Paris Hilton allow double occupancy?"
"Is the Paris Hilton roomy"? "It might be for you, Jimmy, but most people find it very comfortable"
"I'm a VIP can I use the back entrance to the Paris Hilton?"
"Can I check-in at the Paris Hilton? I'm only gonna be able to stay there like a minute and a half, 2 minutes top"
Grade (Fallon, Fey) -- 92
Grade (Fallon, Hilton) -- 100 (I'm not a big fan of Paris (and I've even seen some of the sex-tape), but it was tres cool for her to be able to poke fun at herself. Okay, W.U. over...here comes the sucking...)

OLD MOVIE
Maya Rudolph, Al Sharpton(*), Tracy Morgan, Finesse Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz
This sketch takes place in 1930's Hollywood. Jimmy plays a B-rated producer filming a typical black-sploitation flic of the era. The sterotype jokes are there: "eating fried chicken and watermelon." And a bad rendition of Amos & Andy's famous bit of sneaking through a dark, scary house...Al realizes what's going on and causes Jimmy to yell cut. He then steps forward and announces that this was a silly skit, but racism still exists...A couple of funny lines in the bit, but on the whole I found it preachy (no pun intended...Reverend). Also, apparently nobody could deliver a line without reading the cue card...so we have horrible acting, mixed with a crappy premise...that's the sure formula for comedy, right? NOT!
Grade -- 55

REVEREND AL SHARPTON'S CASA DE SUSHI
Al Sharpton(*), Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kenan Thompson, Will Forte, Horatio Sanz
So Al hates raw fish, but he'll sell it to you and charge you money, cause Presidential campaigns don't fund themselves. The backup singers did a bad take-off on the song "California", and what the hell was Horatio doing? He sounded good as Harvey Fierstein, but completely out of place and crashed through a table ala Chris Farley.
Grade -- 50 (going downhill fast...I'm finding myself having to get up and run for ten minutes between each sketch just to not pass out from boredom)

HANGING OUT WITH THE OTHER CANDIDATES
Chris Parnell, Jeff Richards, Jimmy Fallon, Will Forte, Seth Myers, Darrell Hammond
Nice transition, where the candidates are watching Al on TV and complaining that they don't get their time. Chris (as Joe Leiberman) complains that he knows a few humorous anecdotes and does a comically bad Chris Tucker impression. Apparently Will plays a candidate (Senator Edwards) who is known as a flaming kiss-ass, and Jimmy portrays General Clark. Great line when challenged about never serving in public office: "I didn't serve in the public office because I was too busy serving my country in uniform, not flying down some ski slope with a bunch of pot-smoking goldbrickers." Seth (finally) appears as John Carey, great mannerisms. Darrell (as Dick Gephardt) says "why Al Sharpton, why not me, I'm the one with the most experience here" Jeff (as Howard Dean) replies: "you're right, Dick, none of us have lost HALF as many elections as you." Chris comes back with "you're like David Spade in a Hollywood comedy, it makes sense on paper, but the people just aren't going for ! it." I like it when SNL pokes fun at former castmembers. Well acted bit and nice expansion of story off of the cold opening.
Grade -- 87

MUSICAL GUEST - Pink
Well, the outfit changed, but the result is the same...strained voice and off-key singing. She even spit onstage...classy. I guess the second song is "If God Is A DJ"? I dunno, I wasn't paying attention, I was too busy counting the tattoos on her and her band. I wonder if there is a tattoo requirement to join the group...like the auditions consisted of "So, how many gawdy out-of-place tattoos do you have? Five? Just Five? Well keep on walking sister...if you wanna ROCK OUT you gotta have at least SEVEN!"
Grade -- 83 (The music actually had a good beat, if she was on-key, this score would've been higher)

THE LATOYA JACKSON SHOW
Maya Rudolph, Al Sharpton(*), Kenan Thompson, Fred Armisen
Maya is the idiotic Latoya, Al plays the abrasive father Joseph. Well acted, and Al got his chance to espouse Michael's innocence (as Joe, of course). Kenan was hilarious as Shaka Khan who was so fat and out-of-shape that she couldn't catch her breath to sing or answer a single question. Latoya: "Now, I'm gonna do sometime that I think is really fun...not pose nude, who said that?" She calls Michael and he hangs up, how screwed up do you have to be for Michael to think you're weird? "Super duper suprise for you...please put your hands together for Michael Jackson........'s impersonator from Belgium." Fred plays the impersonator and had decent moonwalk moves.
Grade -- 82 (Even though this was about the Jackson's it didn't focus on Michael...good. And Kenan was very funny and real...pay attention Tracy...)

THE REVEREND TAKES A RIDE
Horatio Sanz, Maya Rudolph, Al Sharpton(*), Fred Armisen
I don't know what the hell the point was to this bit. Horatio had a good character as the replacement driver for Sharpton and his assistant. His outlandish stories weren't as funny as Al's attempts to respond. At one point I could swear that Maya was holding his lines in her lap, because Al stared directly at them, under the guise of reviewing "paperwork." After dropping off Al and Maya, Fred jumps in the car as a transvestite prostitute...why?
Grade -- 60 (I thought SNL was a comedy show...I could be mistaken)

COMMERCIAL PARODY - Cryogenix
Chris Parnell, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, Jeff Richards
Okay, normal beginning...if you have a severe medical condition and want to freeze your body so that it will be available in the future once medicine finds a cure...the answer is Cryogenix. The funny part is when the patients explain why they are going to go through a process that "drains your blood and replaces it with liquid nitrogen, and severs your head and places it into vaccuum chamber". Amy suffers from lactose-intolerance, Seth is going bald, Jeff has chronic halitosis, Maya wants a better weight-loss pill in the future, and Chris says "if it's good enough for Ted Williams, it's good enough for me." I guess the joke is the extreme means people will go to in order to solve a minor, temporary problem.
Grade -- 72 (well acted, not too terribly funny)

THE GHOST OF JOHNNY CASH
Darrell Hammond
Darrell does a fantastic impersonation of the Man In Black. Great voice and mannerisms. Apparently even though Johnny's dead, he has a new CD box-set coming out. He sings one continuous song that incorporates rhythms from some of his more famous songs. The lines don't rhyme, and it's hard to follow the story. It's neat to see this idea because I had thought of a similar sketch concept that had all these popular, dead singers in heaven, fighting over time in the recording studio. Like John Lennon and Tupac Shakur playing rock-scissors-paper to decide who gets time. I figured that must be the only way that all these records are being released post-humously. However, this sketch didn't go so well, so after seeing it, I might just shelve that idea. Only funny parts of this bit was Johnny saying "I'm dead, some of you might not have heard about it, cause John Ritter died the same day, but I understand, I loved Three's Company", and Cash leg-wrestling Jesus in order to ga! in admission into the Pearly Gates.
Grade -- 75 (I'll go easy on him, since I think this is the last bit before closing)

SUMMARY
Well, I think it's official...Al Sharpton has the warmth and personality of a sack of frozen potatoes. I'm assuming the point of Lorne bringing him in to host was so he could connect to the American audience, and improve his chance of winning the Democratic nomination. Well, I can safely say that he didn't connect and won't win the nomination...which is good, because do you really want to hear "Now give it up for the hardest working man in politics...President/Reverend Al Sharpton." Plus, I'm sure him being a minister would violate some sort of Separation Of Church and State ruling. Anyways, very sub-par performance from most of the cast...but I guess when you have the pressure of creating new content every week, it's hard to bring your A-material each time. I just wish the cast would allow themselves to act/react and even improvise off each other, it would certainly enhance the believibility of the sketches.
Show Grade -- My calculator comes up with 76.5...but we'll round up and make it an even 77.

C-ya next time!