SNL: Kristen Wiig, The XX – More SMH Than SNL

 Saturday Night Live - Season 42

The Dave Chappelle guest host show was going to be a hard act to follow and Kristen Wiig, with musical guest The XX, were tasked to deliver. Sadly this episode was more SMH than SNL. It says a lot when one of the funnier sketches was cut for time…

Alec Baldwin came back for what will obviously be a standard act for SNL throughout Trump’s presidency.  Or at least as long as the president elect can still be found funny…

The cold open was amusing but, like the rest of the skits this week, felt a tad flat. Perhaps having Trump on his own, without McKinnon’s Hillary is not as entertaining.  It could also be that the stark reality of the recent election results caught the writers off guard.

The theme of a delusional Trump and McKinnon’s distressed Kellyanne Conway and Trump Googling ISIS was funny, but perhaps a bit too close to the mark.

It was a crowd pleaser (Jason Sudeikis popped in as Mitt Romney for some topical humor) and the punch line for the skit was Trump’s backing away from all his campaign pledges. The open does end on a scary note; Trump asks for reassurance that Pence will “do everything.”

Wiig’s monologue was fairly humorous and included the usual cameo appearances that seem to be included with every SNL alumni hosting. Steve Martin and Will Forte slid in for a bar or two of Kristen’s Thanksgiving song.

The punchline was Kristen getting everything muddled up about the upcoming holiday. Once again, the opening monologue was amusing – especially the ukulele, “personal” guitar  and stool schtick – but otherwise it was merely functional.

(H0wever there was one highpoint. The 10 kinds of meat “like they’d murdered a zoo” was brilliant.)

The most relevant and spot on skit was a pre-recorded segment. “The Bubble” may well be taking the mickey out of all the horrified liberals who still cannot believe the election results, but it also pointed out the huge disparity between the left and the right.

“Secret Word” was the first live skit and featured an audio cameo by Bill Hader, another SNL alumni and Wiig’s co-star from The Skeleton Twins. Wiig definitely ruled in this one. Although she never quite surpassed the “warm up” exercises her character recited.

Next up was a sketch that was more clever than funny.  “Anderson Cooper 360” was amusing but then hit sublime when the punchline was delivered…The panel and Anderson Cooper are all “Westworld” robots.

The pre-recorded Target commercial was a return to the old days of SNL when their fake adverts seemed so real. It was, though, not that amusing. A bit of a misfire that was followed by the “QVC Audition” skit which was was more annoying than funny. It says something when the most noticeable part of the sketch is the fluttering backdrop of the house next door.

Even the pairing of McKinnon and Wiig for another standard SNL feature “Whiskers R We” was not up to its usual standard of belly laughs.  Although Kate struggling  to remain in character was funny when  Kristen’s character struggled to find that nipple.

And while referencing a SNL cast member working overtime to hold back those unwelcome laughs…The funniest bit of the “Surprise Lady: Thanksgiving” was Leslie Jones struggling to stop laughing at Wiig’s antics in the sketch.

“Weekend Update” was spot on this week. It was all politics and very on point. Michael Che and Colin Yost were spot on and Pete Davidson was brilliant.  Davidson’s Staten Island as the herpes of boroughs was hysterical. Although his best bit was the Kanye West crack…

“If it isn’t over a sick beat, we don’t wanna listen to anything Kanye West has to say…Every again”

Keenan Thompson earned huge yucks with the cockroach pie gag.

“Macy’s Parade Balloons” sketch was, along with Surprise Lady, the best sketch of the show.  The balloons terrorizing the family watching the parade from a brilliant vantage point was hysterical.  (Bobby Moynihan’s clown, however was terrifying.)

The best bit of the sketch was Madeline (Wiig) dropping Kristen Chenoweth and Woody riding Pennywise the clown across the screen.

All in all this episode was a hard sell. Dave Chappelle killing it the  previous week left Wiig with a tough act to follow. Each skit  did have at least one thing that stood out, rather than an entire sketch that tickled the funny bone.

Major kudos to Kristen Wiig for her closing remarks:

“Please stand with Standing Rock”

Amen, Kristen, amen.


Saturday Night Live Christmas Show Amy Adams and Dr Evil (Recap/Review)

Saturday Night Live Christmas Show Amy Adams and Dr Evil (Recap/Review)

Saturday Night Live and its Christmas show featured Amy Adams and opened with surprise guest Dr. Evil, aka Mike Myers, yet another SNL alumni stepping in for the show’s 40th. Although this cold open was reminiscent of the good old days when this “out of the box” comedy series really was funny and did not have to try so hard to get laughs. Apart from the waves of nostalgia that washed over older viewers of the show, while humming the “theme tune” to Wayne’s World, it was nice to see Myers could still milk his Dr. Evil persona even without Mini Me by his character’s side.

The Skeleton Twins: We Are Family (Review and Trailer)

The Skeleton Twins: We Are Family (Review and Trailer)

The Skeleton Twins being released on digital HD seems a good a time as any to look at the Saturday Night Live alum picture with its “we are family” message.Starring Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, the film was directed by Craig Johnson (in his second feature film in the driver’s seat), who also co-wrote the screenplay with Mark Heyman (Black Swan, Cha Cha de los Chans), the film stars the two former SNL entertainers as estranged siblings who avoid death at roughly the same time and attempt to reconnect afterward.

Bill Hader SNL and the Lost Art of Autocue Reading

Bill Hader SNL and the Lost Art of Autocue Reading

Having not watched SNL between 1982 and 2014, it was a surprise to learn that Bill Hader, a very talented comic actor, was not only a regular on the show but the man was also nominated for an Emmy for his work on Saturday Night Life impressive stuff but what is not impressive on the show is the apparent lost art of auto cue reading. Or cue card reading, or auto prompt, what ever title it given the lines of dialogue to be read by regulars and guests on a live comedy show. As this is the 40th season of the long running comedy series it does not seem too much to ask for the participants to have mastered the ability to read and emote.

Ryan Reynolds two flops on the same weekend?

Ryan Reynolds two flops on the same weekend?

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