Whatever your feelings on Saturday Night Live (although I assume if you are here reading a review of SNL you are indeed a fan), there is no denying that it is a part of our culture, both entertainment and current events wise. Very often those two worlds collide and it falls on the shoulders of SNL to toe the line of sensitivity and recognizing that messed up things have happened while still doing their job as a late night variety show. Already this season they’d dealt with “Superstorm” Sandy and then this week, had the unenviable task of being funny the night after a national tragedy. I think we can all agree that the cold open of the New York Children’s Choir singing “Silent Night” was gut wrenchingly simple and perfect.
When Martin Short was announced as host there were plenty of people who pissed and moaned like little babies that SNL had to have an episode that appealed to “old people”. Well call me an old lady if you want, but I loved it. He started off the show in fine fashion, walking through the halls of the studio meeting up with old cast members and hosts, and even a random llama. One does have to wonder if Tom Hanks has a second home next door and just pops on over when he’s bored or something. No complaining from me! Of course when you see all those former cast members it’s easy to get your hopes up that they’ll pop up in the rest of the episode. Sadly, this was not the case but it was still a great episode.
That being said, one of the sketches with a cameo was right off the bat and it was one of the worst of the night. This has happened enough this season that I’m wondering if they’ve made a conscious decision to put weaker sketches up front to see if they perform better. If it is, listen to me now SNL- it’s not working. Even though Alec Baldwin’s Tony Bennett is frighteningly good, and Martin Short as his younger brother, Jerry was funny, the sketch as a whole just fell flat. There was a few laughs but there’s only so many times you can laugh at the same poop joke.
Apparently I’m able to laugh repeatedly at vagina jokes however, because the “Royal Family Doctor” sketch had me rolling. Of course “Her Downton Abbey” started off the chuckle but by the time they got to “Church of Taint Andrews” I was a goner. I had to pause the show to give myself a moment to try and gather my senses and be able to move on. Of course they would put Bill Hader in this one because he is so well known in his ability to keep his composure and not break character. Such an admirable trait he has. Of course who could blame him though? Best sketch of the night, bar none.
This week was yet another slam dunk on the pre-filmed short. I know there were people who were really nervous about what the show would look like without Andy Samberg’s digital shorts but I’ll admit it, I haven’t really missed them. That’s not true, I have missed them but I don’t feel like the show is lacking because they are no longer there. “You’re a Rat Bastard Charlie Brown” was spot on. While Bill Hader’s Al Pacino was fantastic, Martin Short’s Larry David was downright eerie. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Martin Short do Larry David but I’m hoping this wasn’t the last time because damn, that was perfect. I wonder if he’s available for parties?
I was so looking forward to Weekend Update because I thought for sure there would be a Stefon sighting and if not Stefon than surely Drunk Uncle. Nope, it was “Girl you wish you hadn’t started a conversation with at a party”. That’s a fun character with some great lines but I was disappointed. Between that and Vanessa Bayer’s “recently Bar Mitzvah’d boy”, Weekend Update was a bit of a let down minus a few shining spots in the “news” stories.
Of course the sketch that everyone was talking about afterwards (and during for that matter) was “What’s Up With That”. It’s a sketch that if I’m not really liking the host, I’ll usually fast forward through but being Martin Short and a Christmas episode, plus having Carrie Brownstein there, and Samuel L. Jackson… I watched, and I am so glad I did. Of all the Martin Short characters to show up, I was least expecting Jackie Rogers, Jr. A pleasant surprise! I think we can all agree though, Samuel Jackson dropping the f-bomb and Keenan Thompson’s quick “hey now, that costs money” was the highlight. It’s by far the most I’ve ever laughed at that sketch. Well Jason Sudeikis and his red track suit usually illicit a laugh or two but nothing like ill-timed profanity.
Paul McCartney with the guys of Nirvana. That could be one of the coolest statements I’ve written in a long time.
I think the Restoration Hardware sketch was only funny because I know those people. Hell, I’ve been those people. And I can not tell you how badly I’ve coveted that big ass plane propeller they’ve got. Completely impractical and serves zero purpose, but I still want it.
Caleb and Monty were my second favorite sketch of the night. There is nothing not funny about Martin Short screaming in Paul McCartney’s face. Doesn’t matter what he says, it’s going to be funny. When the sketch started I had said to myself “huh, usually they have the big name acts perform three times” so I wasn’t too surprised when the set opened up to the New York Children’s Choir again. It was a great way to end the show.
Speaking of the end of the show, I really wish the local affiliates would just watch the end of SNL and choose to delay their next show a few minutes so we could see the entire goodnights. It’s one of my favorite parts of SNL and there is nothing on Inside Edition that is more interesting. It’s the middle of the night people, cut off the end of an episode of Knight Rider or something. Overall? Easily the best episode of the season. Maybe it’s just because I like when the alumni come back to play, but seriously it was quite enjoyable. A great way to cap off the fall season. The show will return on January 19th with Jennifer Lawrence and The Lumineers and I’ll see you then. Have a great holiday SNL fans!