[OPENING] Rudy Giuliani makes a World Series bet
Darrell Hammond does a decent Mayor Giuliani; he got his impression down peg right. However, the gifts from the Braves to the Yankees and vice-versa sounds like a Weekend Update joke (told by Norm) a few years earlier; I believe it went: "If NY wins, Atlanta will send us peaches; if NY wins, we'll send Atlanta crack". The line didn't make it into this sketch, but it must have set the stage for it. Why no appearance by Hillary Clinton (Ana Gasteyer), possibly endorsing Pizza Hut?
[MONOLOGUE] Norm Macdonald
NORM RULES!!! After March 1998, I didn't think he would ever set foot back on NBC property again. However, this show (and the 25th anniversary) proved everyone wrong; thank god Don Olhmeyer stepped down. I enjoyed how Norm reminded everyone that he was on the show as the old WU anchor and how he assured the people screaming his name that "Norm" was his name. His speech held some truth, though: How can he go, in a year and a half, from being not funny enough to be funny enough to host the show? The only answer? The show has gotten really bad! He tied it up nicely by saying, "OK, folks, we got a bad show for you tonight." Of course, the highlight was his line: "How did I get so God damn funny?", a line which will be bleeped out in future broadcasts. NORM!!! (Yes, that is his name)
[SKETCH] Martha Stewart Living promo
The return of Martha Stewart. Personally, her Halloween promo 2 years ago was better, but I liked this one regardless. Having her show off her newfound riches was a pretty clever idea.
[SKETCH] Great Moments in Yankee History
Norm as Lou Gehrig. Pretty good for what seemed like a 10-second sketch. I wonder if Gehrig was really like Norm? I doubt it. Anyway, the best line here was: "I have a disease so rare . . . they named it after me!" I love Norm's delivery.
[SKETCH] Celebrity Jeopardy
Ahhh. The return of Jeopardy! At last! I think that Jimmy Fallon has become a regular in this sketch right next to Darrell Hammond, whose Sean Connery is as great as ever. Norm was, of course, hilarious as Burt Reynolds (I mean, Turd Ferguson), in and out of the cowboy hat. Jimmy's French Stewart was good, but didn't hold as much interest as Sean or Turd. Sean fooling around with Alex's mother and Turd asking Alex (after he buzzed in) "Yeah, what do you want?" were classic moments. The original Jeopardy elements are still clever (Threve, Apetit, V becoming Suck it Trebek). I'm still waiting for the day when someone will pick something from Potent Potables.
[SKETCH] NBC Crosstalk: How Thin is Too Thin?
Rachel Dratch's face had a decent debut in this sketch. Her Ally McBeal passed for the real thing; good luck, Rachel. Chris Parnell was good as the biased reporter, and Cheri and Ana shone the most with their physicality.
[SKETCH] Larry King's News and Views
I loveed this sketch every time Norm did it on SNL and it was even better now. Norm's prolonged stare was excellent. The switcher needs to be a bit more alert, though. However, technical aspects aside, the sketch was great. Some good ones: "The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the Equator" and "One of the greatest figures of the 20th century has got to be Robert Urich."
[CARTOON] Fun with Real Audio
Robert Smigel did OK with this, but the politico opening is getting somewhat old and hard to follow. Mixing Charlton Heston's NRA involvement with Planet of the Apes and 10 Commandments was a funny idea.
[SKETCH] Larry King's News and Views
Woo-hoo! More Larry King quotes . . . and a prolonged sip of coffee. Great line: "Family update, folks: As I hold my new son, Chance King, it reminds me of how much more I love him than my other children." And, of course, after the last prolonged stare, "That's the end."
[WEEKEND UPDATE] Colin Quinn
After quickly hiding his bottle of water at the beginning, Colin pulled off the usual barrage of Yankees and Clinton-Lewinsky jokes that have made him a snooze since he replaced Norm. However, I give him credit for trying and not appearing in anything else. Cheri was good as Marla Maples and her best line: "Call me when you have a closetful of these suits in a Zaire house". Where was Norm?
[MUSICAL GUEST] Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg
Didn't really watch.
[SKETCH] The McMulluns argue at Halloween
Norm as a toothbrush? He was pretty good, but Cheri was excellent in this sketch at essentially playing 2 different characters. I have to admit, I kind of did wonder what those cheerful lame people who give out candy do in between trick-or-treaters.
[SKETCH] Michael Jackson drowns his sorrows
Norm didn't have much of a role here, but he was still good. Bringing in the "real Norm" (George Wendt) would have been cool, but oh well. Tim's Michael Jackson is still very good, but nothing will top Chris Rock's from so many years before. Jimmy's Howard Stern was not as strong as it once was on Spade's show, but is still useable. The best line was when Michael Jackson said that he tattooed his arm with his love's name and Norm looked and read: "Macaulay".
[MUSICAL GUEST] Dr. Dre featuring Eminem
I caught some of this because that Guilty Conscience song or whatever is pretty good; obviously, they did not do this. Eminem did pretty good for his first time on the show, and I liked how Norm asked if the 2 guys were ready before announcing them. In both numbers, I saw how he stood in the audience as Bill Murray had done last year. Lucky audience members.
[SKETCH] Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio
Will had a good character here; I guess that would explain his absence; he was busy perfecting the looks and voice for this. Norm didn't really do a good Clint Eastwood, so the sketch kinda cruised by simply on half-funny lines and the like. Will was responsible for saving most of it.
[COMMERCIAL] Chess for Girls
The 2 seconds exposed of this before the real commercial break came looked promising, but I had seen it before. We need new commercials!
OVERALL: I hope Norm comes back again, but where was he at the end of the show? His bumper picture was up there for a good minute; did they have to coax him to join the end crowd onstage, since he never usually did that before? Oh well. I have to commend him for not mentioning Dirty Work, The Norm Show, or Man on the Moon; we now know he isn't a cheap plugger. It was good to see him back, but the absences of Bob Dole and Letterman were felt. Norm gave it his best, and it shone through: LONG LIVE NORM! NORM RULES!
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