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Saturday Night Live: Dane Cook/James Blunt

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 4th 2005 1:05PM

Dane CookSo I went out drinking last night. Had too much, don't really remember much of the evening. I got lost coming home and I have the worst hangover ever right now. But it was okay because the entire time I knew I'd wake up this morning and watch last night's SNL with Dane Cook. I heart Dane Cook. He's hilarious, so this is going to be the best episode ever. There is no way that this episode can be bad, right? Wrong.

Rockefeller Tree Re-Lighting - This opened the show and spoofed how politically correct things are getting. In an effort to offend no one and include everyone, Harry Connick Jr. (Jason Sudeikis), Megan Mullally (Kristen Wiig), and Al Roker (Kenan) invited the NBC Peacock Singers to belt out some holiday tunes. Essentially they changed around lyrics of Christmas carols and for the most part it just wasn't funny. Near the end I'm not sure I even understood what they were talking about - anyone else notice how the words got confusing? It had a few funny lines, especially when baby Jesus got dubbed as "random infant, religiously neutral" in their rendition of Silent Night, Holy Night.

Dane's Monologue - If you've never seen Dane Cook perform his stand-up before, then you're missing out. He's absolutely fantastic. If you have, then this was nothing special because it was 90% old material off his two albums "Harmful if Swallowed" and "Retaliation." I was surprised that the censors let his bit about flicking cashews off his wang make the cut. I'm not complaining because it's of his funniest creations and it was a great way to end his set.

West Bedford High School Morning Assembly - Whoever wrote this sketch needs to be dragged down the street and shot. Not only was it far too long but I don't think I laughed once. The high school drama club performed the morning announcements with short plays, interpretive dance, and musical poetry. Dane, Amy Poehler, and Seth Myers were a three man team who ran most of the sketch. The first thing they did was act out some scene about a father who hates his son only to inform us that there was a job fair on Thursday afternoon. See? Even writing about it doesn't make it sound funny.

Taco Town Commercial - Thank god, I love this one. This is probably the second or third time they've played this commercial spoofing Taco Bell and all the ridiculous creations they come up with. It features all three of the new guys (Sudeikis, Samberg, and Hader) eating at this restaurant which sells a taco wrapped in a tortilla, smeared with guacamole, wrapped in a another corn tortilla, filled with scrambled eggs, wrapped in a pizza, wrapped in a blueberry pancake, and then it's all deep fried. I'm probably forgetting some of the ingredients but you get the idea.

The Jay Feely Story - For those of you that missed the NY Giants game last weekend, Jay Feely missed three potential game winning field goals and the Giants ended up losing. This sketch looked at the flight home. Dane played Feely and the rest of the team hates him, but their faith is renewed after the pilot collapses and Feely lands the plane. But then he drives it into a lake so I suppose the team hates him again. Really disappointing, it hurt to watch that. The best part was when it was over and we found out that Alec Baldwin is hosting next week.

The $800 Wool Sweater - This sketch was the saving grace of the show. Dane comes to holiday party wearing a wool turtleneck sweater. The neck is huge but he wears it anyway because he wants to impress a girl. The party's host, played by Seth Myers, informs us that it's 65 degrees right now and he has no idea why Dane chose to wear the sweater. Eventually Dane gets in a fight with it and starts stretching it out with his arms while scratching his back with a fireplace poker. Hilarious to watch, reminded me of old Matt Foley sketches when Dane jumped on the table. Plus he yells out, "It's like a wookie is raping me!"  Good stuff.

SNL Digital Short - Andy Samberg is sitting on a doorstep and Will Forte is consoling him. I think maybe someone died or his girlfriend broke up with him, doesn't really matter. So Will is telling him it's going to be okay and the entire time both of them are chomping down on lettuce as if it were an apple. Ends up being a commercial for the lettuce growers of America because lettuce is there for you even when the going gets rough. This could have been a lot funnier, but I did like the idea.

Target Employees - Kristen Wiig and Dane both play Target cashiers ringing up customers. Dane has a mullet and an obsession with Felicia Rashad. He claims he even made a Claire Huxtable snowman once. Kristen keeps admiring the things people are buying and walks away to go find them. I understand that they were trying to say something about the incompetence of many department store cashiers and that it gets even worse for the holidays, but man was this bad.

Weekend Update - As usual this was pretty good. I enjoyed Tina'a reference to the George Harrison hit "I've Got My Mind Set on You" when she talked about Bush and the Iraq plan because "it's gonna take time, to do it, to do it, to do it..." You get the idea. Rachel Dratch dressed up in a fat suit for one pre-recorded bit and it was hilarious because they completely exploited the stereotype that black men love big booty. I really liked the report on the tower in Buenos Aires being covered with a giant pink condom for world AIDS Day and to match it, the US covered the Grand Canyon in a giant dental dam.

Coma for a Day - What if you were in a coma for a day? Dane Cook was after he broke his toe. When he wakes up, his wife has left him, remarried, sold his car, and she broke all his records. A lot can happen in 24 hours. They even had a funeral for him. And it turns out the coma was medically induced because Dane had been harassing the nurses and the doctor didn't like that. Dane tries to attack his ex-wife's new husband and he falls over. When he wakes back up 15 minutes later, his ex-wife announces she's pregnant with the doctor's baby. This was an amusing premise but it just didn't come off too well.

Fight Back with Victor Ramos - This was the episode's token "fake talk show on a cable access network." Dane and Horatio play martial arts experts who worry about the safety of NYC so they interview Amy Poehler who I believe worked for the subway. For once Horatio didn't break character and start laughing in the middle of the sketch because this was by far the unfunniest thing ever. I wanted to stick knitting needles in my eyes.

Musical Guest James Blunt - He played two songs, but he's kind of whiny. Reminded me of Jason Mraz crossed with Jack Johnson. Am I the only one who's never heard of him though? With a name like James Blunt I really thought he was a new up and coming rapper before I saw him.

Overall, I'll give the episode a four out of ten. There was just way too much garbage which is terrible because Dane Cook had a lot more to offer I think. Hopefully Alec Baldwin will be better next week because whenever he hosts, the episode is usually an instant classic.

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Dane Cook is a great comic, in my opinion. I've been a fan of his for a while, and while I haven't seen his SNL episode (no cable at college unfortunately), SNL has been in decline for quite sometime, so anything that was blatantly humorless can't be that much of a surprise, can it?

I think for a stand up comedian to go on SNL (They did, at one point, offer him a job) and work with a sketch cast, it's like being the neighbor's kid walking into a room of brothers and sisters. You're the outsider, and you've got comedy in your blood at that. Most actors aren't tied into comedy the way stand ups are, and it's a whole different kind of comedy. It's easy for actors to blend in, and do the material they're given...stand ups have a different take on what's going to be funny, they have more intuition, and since their job is to use their personality, and they don't play fictional characters on a frequent basis, it's easier for them to look at the material and evaluate what they think is going to be genuinely funny.

December 26 2005 at 12:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's hard to believe that more people have not heard of Dane Cook. He's #5 on the Charts, he has played small roles in a variety of movies, he is on every late night talk show known to man, he has two Albums out, he is the only comedian I know who stays 5 hours after a show to meet all the fans at the venue, he answers every email he gets, even when they pour in by the thousands, and last but not least, he's amazingly funny and original. If you don't think he's funny, you are smoking a steaming pile of bull crazy.

December 16 2005 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just because I seem to be one of the very few, I would like to say that I absolutely adore BOTH Dane Cook and James Blunt. Very different acts who don't really complement each other, but both made the episode of SNL one of the best I've ever seen. Yes, the sweater sketch was the best, and the monologue was really a "best of" of sorts, but still awesome. It was a good introduction of Dane Cook and James Blunt to those who had not yet heard of them.

December 16 2005 at 4:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

JAMES BLUNT WAS AMAZING! The songs actually had a meaning for once...

December 12 2005 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

James Blunt is amazing. I have been a fan for a while, ever since he wasnt even known about in the US. Take care!

December 12 2005 at 3:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i disagree about the Target sketch. every time Kristen Wiig pronounced 'candles' and 'candrils' i started laughing out loud.

December 11 2005 at 3:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

personally, i laughed many times, sometimes so hard i cried. i'd never heard of dane cook before this, but he was great. going skit by skit... Rockefeller Tree Re-Lighting - i liked this a lot. could it have been done better? yeah, probably, but i definitely laughed. i hate the non-offensive ideal in society these days, and this was a nice jab at that. Monologue - great. i haven't usually like the recent monologues, as they are most often bragging, whiney, or just plain lame. this season some of them have been better, such as the jon heder monologue and now dane cook's. i mean come on people, this is comedy. you're supposed to laugh. there's no rules. standup is fine. plus, it's funny. dane cook is playing to his strengths. i agree that he sounded a bit like a college frat boy, but that has an audience. he's not for everyone, but don't say the show isn't offending anyone, because first of all, offending people is only second to being funny, and second of all, dane cook was definitely risqu鮍 Morning Announcements - great idea, but could've been done better. i liked it, but it could definitely be improved. someone brought up an interesting point that it could be a series. they could improve it each time, making it a funnier skit. Taco Town - very funny but overplayed. they obviously didn't have enough material. they've been replaying the Morgan Stanley, Woomba, and Taco Town recently. this detracts from them each time. Jay Feely - as a football fan and an athlete, i can appreciate this. a great idea, and i thought they pulled it off pretty well. in typical SNL fashion, they had the absurd model of the airplane flying on strings. a nice touch. Wool Sweater - this was a really funny skit. completely outrageous; don't look too far into it. although you could say it's not a typical situation, who cares? did you ever think that maybe it was from dane's perspective? maybe it seems worse to him, because he's the one who's wearing the sweater. the whole jumping on the table thing was great, and just the way tried to act normal in a completely outrageous situation was great. Lettuce - awesome. this skit hit home for me. i have always thought lettuce was inherently funny, and this was just great. i love the new guys/girl, and i thought andy samberg provided a great performance, along with of course will forte. i loved how they took a very serious situation and made it completely absurd, similarly to the wool sweater skit. this skit made me laugh for the better part of a day, and i still laugh when i think of it. in the end, lettuce was spewing out of samberg's mouth all onto the stoop, and that cracked me up. btw, if anyone knows of an online video of this skit, please tell me. anyways... Target - i thought this skit was funny. cook sniffing the bra was definitely the high point. i have had experiences, not only in target, but in other stores, too, with off-center clerks, and i thought that although they exaggerated the steriotype here, they maintained a level of reality that was great. for instance, one clerk constatly running off and another not being "certified" to check the prices on items. Update - funny as always, although i agree horatio was dreadful when he was an anchor. Coma for a Day - yet another absurdly funny skit. whether it was based on something or not, it parodied many things, such as the doctor being unreasonable and somewhat crazy. my advice is to stop bitching about the plot of these skits and watch them for their comedic value. most SNL skits are not plot-driven. Victor Ramos - i hate to keep bringing up times when horatio is painfully lame, because i think he's very funny most of the time, but victor ramos skits are just bad. at least this one was shorter than most others, if my memory serves. James Blunt - i didn't realize that he was joking at all, i'll be sure to look out for that if they replay this episode, which i certainly hope they do. to me though, he was incredibly annoying, since i did not realize he was joking. i know there was more skits, but i'm not quite sure what they were. all i know is that i personally thought this was an overall great episode, the best i've seen of the post-original cast years. stop comparing SNL to its original years. it will probably never be that good, but that isn't to say it's not funny. is mad tv funny? hell no. but do they compare it so the first five years of SNL? no. listen to jim belushi: "People tell me all the time, 'You weren't as good as your brother.' Well, who is?" honestly, that group of actors and writers was just incredible, and an impossible act to follow. i think, however, that snl's on the rebound. most of the 80's and 90's were deadful, save murphy, piscopo, carvey, myers, farley, and a few others. now it's a lot better.

December 08 2005 at 11:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Dude

James Blunt was funny as hell... I didn't realize he wasn't joking until halfway through his song. He reminded me of the guy singing on the stairway in Animal House. I REALLY cracked up during his second song while he sat at the piano and made those really sincere looks on his face while doing a Monty Python Female Singing voice impression... I mean, is that how that guy really sings? They should have done an American Idol spoof skit and had him sing, THAT would have been funny.

December 06 2005 at 3:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't think it was half as bad as you made it sound. So it wasn't great. Please, remind me when it last was. Yes, SNL is in a decline and all that jazz, but that was the best episode all season. While others have had their moments, the first two were curshed by the lack of Tina Fey and the fact that they had Horatio (shudder) replacing her, making the only constatanly funny part of the show unwatchable. The monolouge was excessive, and I'm not tneirely fond of the stand-up during it thing, but at least it was pretty funny. I'm a little connfused as to how Dane Cook is suddenly EVERYWHERE, but oh well at that. I also wasn't aware James Blunt was popular in America. When I was given his cd last July by my British friend, no one knew who he was. However, I'm not fond of him. His voice irks me, but at least he's not, like, Korn. There were quite a few moments this episode that made me giggle, and that's a lot more than I can say to mst of the other stuff that's been going on. This episode sort of depends on your sense of humor more than anything (as opposed to most recent episodes where it's just not funny to anyone with half a brain). I wouldn't have called the sweater sketch that much of a high point, but I was pretty amused by the morning announcements one, though that was probably because I do sit through high school morning announcements each day, which are getting progressively more horrendous, but anyway.

December 05 2005 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked the sweater skit but I think the premise was flawed. Why did he buy a $800 sweater? It seemed like they were playing off the premise that if his girlfriend bought it and he was wearing it to make her happy. But he paid for it himself and she didn't like it. I just think it was disconnected and fell slightly short. Dane's performance was dead on and I loved how the table didn't break the first time so he jumped on it a second time. Classic! The opening skit (tree lighting) I also thought was great and well written. I think this is the (overall) the best episode of the season and they should look at the things that went right and build off of those. Cleaning house would be helpful, yes.

December 05 2005 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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