Monday, December 19, 2011

Still Living

With Christmas near, maybe most regular names were busy, so SNL got Jimmy Fallon to come back and host.  I didn't love Fallon when he was on the show, but this turned out to be one of the best episodes in years.

It helped that they had some star power.  SNL has created more names than any other show, and a bunch of old friends (most, like Fallon, presently working on other TV shows) dropped in to help out: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Tracy Morgan, Chris Kattan, Rachel Dratch and Horatio Sanz.  Jude Law also stopped by to plug his Sherlock Holmes film.

They reprised some bits, such as the Christmas song with Fallon, Sanz, Kattan and Morgan, and had a joke-off on "Weekend Update" as former anchors Fey, Poehler and Fallon joined Seth Meyers.  These were fine, but the overall level of new sketches was surprisingly good--maybe no classics, but generally imaginative and almost no duds.

There were two separate bits mocking the theatre, and both scored.  One, featuring Fred Armisen, was an ad for an off-Broadway one-man show where we go on a journey through this nobody's life.  The sketch properly showed how there's nothing worse than these self-indulgent, amateurish, interminable theatrical experiences. The other was an odd but enjoyable bit about a cheap production of War Horse that went in all sorts of unusual directions.

Other nice bits:  Fallon as Beethoven the conductor introducing his band like a modern performer would (it reminded me vaguely of the old Bonzo Dog Band's "The Intro And The Outro"); Jesus Christ visiting Tim Tebow et al in the locker room; Michael Buble (who was the musical guest) doing an album of Christmas duets with Sting, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and other impressions the cast could do; the recurring Hoda Kotb/Kathie Lee Gifford Today Show where Kathie Lee is a drunk who insults Hoda, with Fallon coming on as Regis.

Sometimes I wonder what's the point of watching SNL--it's just a tired shell.  But then they pull themselves together and make it worthwhile.

5 Comments:

Blogger New England Guy said...

Good show for the amount I could stay up for but my son gave up & went to bed because he didn't get the Nomar references in Bawston sketch.

(On a related issue, he's doing a 9th grade history paper on the Spanish Inquisition and he came to questioning why everybody my age keeps telling him that no one expects them.*)

*I sent him to Youtube eventually and he agreed it was "kinda funny"

5:22 AM, December 19, 2011  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I even liked the "Don't ask me to sing" skit, with Fallon adding "Don't ask me to dance."

I have never seen one of these one-man shows (except when they are impersonating a famous person, like Twain or LBJ). I've seen ads for the "Caveman" show for years - are they really that bad?

8:27 AM, December 19, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

It's not things like the Caveman show. I haven't seen that, but good or bad it sounds like a professionally done comic monologue.

I'm talking about a self-indulgent piece where someone goes on and on about his life with little insight and less talent. There's plenty of low-budget theatre out there that's worse than the worst movies, because you feel like you're stuck there (the actor can see if you walk out) and you're watching someone fail live.

1:48 AM, December 20, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"other impressions the cast could do."

Wicked.

1:50 AM, December 20, 2011  
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