Saturday Night Live: 10/14/17 Kumail Nanjiani

SNL Kumail NanjianiWhen the first three hosts of the season were announced, I was obviously fired up for Gosling. But seeing Kumail Nanjiani as the host for the third episode of the 43rd season of SNL was certainly an interesting choice and a super welcome sight. I was excited to see how the stand up and actor would fare in the setting. While the show as a whole was “fine”, Nanjiani was great in his role, bringing an earnest almost innocence to his role as host.

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Saturday Night Live: 10/7/17 Gal Gadot

SNL Gal Gadot

This probably won’t be one for the highlight reels, but with everything going on in the country (and really the world), it’s safe to assume that comedy writing was really hard this week. Luckily we were spared another Trump cold open, and instead Jason Aldean sang the Tom Petty classic “I Won’t Back Down”. It was poignant and apropos for the moment, and served as a nice changeup to open the show.

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Saturday Night Live: 9/30/17 Ryan Gosling

SNL Ryan Gosling

Coming off one of the highest rated, and most critically acclaimed seasons in the show’s history, Saturday Night Live entered its 43rd season last night, poised to build on the adulation and buzz. Early reports have the season premiere as a huge ratings success, but as a whole, the show is still a little uneven, and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, there’s a bit of a Trump Problem (TM).

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Saturday Night Live: Dwayne Johnson 5/20/17

SNL Dwayne Johnson 2

Last night marked the season finale of SNL, and the induction of Dwayne Johnson into the Five-Timers Club. The show started strong with a great cold open and monologue, indicating that a special show with a special energy was in store. It didn’t quite happen, for some reason. The show was good, but not great.

More importantly than putting a period on the show’s 42nd (!) season (and one of the craziest to date) SNL said goodbye to two cast mainstays. Last night marked the final show for Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer. While neither leapt off the screen and dominated the action like, say, a Kate McKinnon and Jason Sudeikis or a Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell, Moynihan and Bayer have been indispensable over last handful of seasons. Both have played the “straight-man” to perfection, while also creating zany, off-the-wall characters that we will always remember. Continue reading “Saturday Night Live: Dwayne Johnson 5/20/17”

Saturday Night Live: Melissa McCarthy 5/13/17

SNL Melissa McCarthy

Last night Melissa McCarthy became the 19th member of the illustrious “Five-Timers Club” joining such luminaries as Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, and Tina Fey as a five-time host of the legendary late-night show. It was a by-the-numbers appearance from McCarthy, and while she is always game and a delight to watch, the show didn’t really stand out as anything special.

The formula seems to be about the same. Step one: get McCarthy to dress up in a crazy outfit. Step two: spray her with, or dump something on her during a sketch. Step three: bring out recurring characters. On their own, all of these things are great. It just feels a tad lazy and predictable. The first appearance from McCarthy as Sean Spicer was incredible. The seventh? It’s impact is a little diminished.

All that said, McCarthy is a national treasure and should be treated as such. It would just be nice to get some new stuff to let said treasure really stretch her legs.

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Saturday Night Live: Chris Pine 5/6/17

SNL Chris Pine.png

Every now and then, a host will grace the stage at 8H and just be down for anything. Let’s call it “Jon Hamm-itis”. The show is always better when it looks like its participants are having fun, and a game host can really take the show to another level. Enter Chris Pine.

It would appear that the show is basically punting on politics outside of the Cold Open and Weekend Update. I think this might be a good move, as it could make stray political sketches more impactful long-term. The effort to shy away from the politics allowed Pine to go crazy with a wide array of fun and whimsical sketches. It might be a personal preference, but I really enjoyed the departure.

Pine quipped during his monologue (before trying to help us understand the difference between all of the Hollywood Chris’s) that it wasn’t the first time he had appeared on SNL. He made a brief cameo at the Weekend Update desk before the first rebooted Star Trek movie came out in 2009. He joked that Lorne Michaels was so impressed that he allowed Pine to make his triumphant return…eight years later. Let’s hope that it doesn’t take eight more years before Pine graces the SNL stage once again. Continue reading “Saturday Night Live: Chris Pine 5/6/17”

Saturday Night Live: Jimmy Fallon 4/15/17

SNL Jimmy FallonApparently with SNL, it’s all about managing expectations (I guess the same is true about life, if you want to get really deep on it). Several times this season I’ve been excited by the host, or to see how different current events are handled by the show, and the delivery has just fallen flat. Coming into last night’s episode, I had low, low expectations.

I think Jimmy Fallon is very ok. He’s charming yet safe, and I never really warmed up to him as a cast member or conquering hero when he returned to host. His classic recurring characters were never my cup of tea. Whether it was “Jaret’s Room”, “Sully and Diane”, or “Barry Gibb”, I always found myself fast forwarding or flipping the channel. His calling card as a cast member was never being able to keep a straight face. It’s a great trait for a late night host, but a pretty terrible one for an SNL cast member.

Having said that, I really liked last night’s episode. And dare I say, I enjoyed Fallon. He started out hot with a Jared Kushner impression, (complete with blazer and flak jacket) and never looked back. I even usually dread the often lazy musical monologue, however Fallon took a detour. Instead of coming up with a song last-minute in the Writer’s Room, he basically covered Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” as he strolled through Studio 8H. It was pretty cool.

The lesson, as always: lower expectations.

Let’s get into it. Continue reading “Saturday Night Live: Jimmy Fallon 4/15/17”