Saturday Night Live: Steve Martin & Prince
I suppose by now I should have been prepared for this. Prepared to be let down... again. You wait for something and build it up in your mind and when you finally get it, it's so far from what you imagined you feel like you've been duped (although I think the technical term for that now is "James Frey-ed"). Am I painting a clear picture? Talk about a disappointment. This feels worse than finding out Santa Claus doesn't exist while at the same moment receiving a call from your doctor confirming your gonorrhea diagnosis.
Cold Open - See, now this was misleading, because I thought this was hilarious. It was a pre-taped segment where Steve Martin was on a date with Kelly Ripa. It seems her and Steve have been involved for a while and that she had plans to leave her husband for him. So Steve pops some Viagra. Subsequently, his ETB ("estimated time to boner") clock pops up. Suddenly he receives a call informing him that Alec Baldwin is going to host SNL tonight and break Steve's hosting record. He rushes to the NBC building, sneaks inside Baldwin's dressing room, strangles him, wraps him in some carpet, and chucks the body out a window where it lands on the Rockefeller ice rink. Favorite part? Steve rushes by Lorne with the body while Lorne stresses about not being able to find Baldwin. He tells Will Forte to get Tom Hanks on the phone. At this point, Steve punched Lorne. Doesn't that sound funny? Too bad they couldn't keep it up.
Steve's Monologue - Nothing special here, except for the very end. Steve tried to tell some story about the first time he hosted but he couldn't really remember anything about the story. Was it about Chevy or Belushi? Did it happen in December or April? You get the idea. It was nice that he called out Maya on to the stage to welcome her back but as soon as he did that, his ETB clock went off and Steve Jr. said hello. He then rushed Maya off the stage. I laughed. Briefly.
DeBeers Spoof Commercial - You know all those cheesy "A Diamond is Forever" commercials? Yeah, this was one of those but the gift in question was a generic teddy bear holding a heart. How sweet. The only thing I found funny about this was when they told me where I could purchase such an item: "Available almost anywhere... including where you buy milk."
Oprah - Well they didn't waste any time getting Maya involved. Steve came on as author Stone Freeman defending his lie of a book "Skating at the Bottom of the Ocean." I think the reason I found this so bland because it sounded just like Oprah's actual interview with James Frey. Seriously, like word for word save for a few embellishments. Stone did say that the book was 100% true with a margin of error of plus or minus 100%. How come no response to Chapppelle's interview from Friday? They couldn't play around with that?
Get Out of Debt - This was an infomercial. Steve and Amy Poehler were a married couple who were finding it impossible to pay their bills. Chris Parnell came on as the author of "Don't Buy Stuff You Can't Afford." That was the joke... not sure what else to say about this.
Hamas Welcomes Steve Martin - Apparently, for the right price, anyone can buy Steve Martin's stand-up comedian services. So he's over there in the middle of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict speaking with some Hamas officials (Armisen, Myers, and Hader) about what to include in his routine. The sketch was horribly unfunny, but the one thing I noticed was how smooth Martin was in his delivery during this sketch. Even though the sketch was terrible he sounded great and that was just a nice change to hear that from a host.
SNL Digital Short #1 - I'm not sure I understood this or if it went right over my head. Was this a spoof of something? Martin and Will Forte were two businessmen who bumped into each other. They had a short conversation but they had it while holding their faces as close together as possible without mutual lip touching. I don't get it.
Quick Zoom Theatre - Simple idea. Let's make fun of soap operas and other crappy programs that quickly zoom in on someone's face when they're delivering unimportant news. Fred was a patient of Dr. Steve and Maya was a nurse. They pretty much just kept zooming in on all three of them regardless of what was being said. Not good.
Weekend Update - Was it just me, or was this the shortest WU ever? There were only about a dozen jokes covering what you'd expect (the state of the union, Greenspan's departure, Alito's confirmation) and no walk-ons. I did laugh when they mentioned Britney's upcoming role on Will and Grace while noting that Federline will be a janitor... just not on the show.
Superbowl XL Music Warm-Up - This year Aaron Neville, Aretha Franklin, and Dr. John (should I know who he is?) will be singing the national anthem at the Superbowl. But what happens when the three of them warm up together? They all get hungry. Aaron wants gumbo, Aretha wants biscuits, and Dr. John wants Popeye's Fried Chicken. As usual, I thought Horatio was great as Aaron Neville... but that was the only saving grace of what was otherwise a lousy sketch. But they did use the word "titties" and that's always funny no matter what the context is.
Steve Wants a Raise - In between sketches, Steve goes to see Lorne in his office (he was playing Snood by the way) and demands a raise. He made $5,000 when he first hosted and he'd like $5,500 now, especially since Lorne makes $12 million per show. However, Lorne threatens to have Jimmy Fallon and a brain-damaged Alec Baldwin continue hosting the show if Martin doesn't get back out there.
The Prince Show - I suppose they were obligated to do this, since Prince was the musical guest and Maya was back, and she plays Prince's co-host, Beyonce Knowles. But the real Prince wasn't even involved in the sketch. What the hell? I'm sure Prince is some kind of weirdo, but there had to have been something that could have been done to make him walk on for this sketch. Steve Martin played Prince's personal French Chef. Boooooooooo.
NBC Nightly News on FOX with Brian Williams 3000 - It is what it sounds like: a future news cast covering President Bush's "State of the Galaxy" address in 2145. This was similar to the Oprah sketch because I didn't feel like they wrote it. It was direct lines from Bush's actual state of the union from a few nights ago, with a few words changed worth very few laughs. They still hadn't caught Osama. That was funny. As was the two-headed Hillary ClinTRON.
SNL Digital Short #2 - "The Tangent." This was leftover from the Scarlett Johansson episode. Fred Armisen bumps into Kristen Wiig on the street and she asks about that new restaurant he ate at the other night. He starts to tell her but goes off on every possible tangent talking about absolutely anything other than the restaurant. She walks away and a film executive walks by (Bill Hader). He's amazed and drags Fred in to see the CEO. Mind you, Fred is still gibbering like crazy throughout the whole video. He gets a movie deal, stars in a film with Scarlett Johansson, goes on TRL, gets interviewed on NBC Nightly News, but then finds out his movie bombed. So they throw him back on the street and he immediately finishes his month long tangent to say that the restaurant was pretty good. A plus for this. Really funny and poignant way of pointing out how so much crap makes it to the bigscreen.
Ted the Ungnarly Surfer - By far the worst sketch of the night. Steve was this old guy taking surfing lessons with a bunch of young people and none of them liked him. Whoever wrote this should be injured, don't really care how.
Naturally Crafting - This would have been the worst sketch of the night, but Steve's ridiculous ponytail saved it for me. Rachel Dratch was the host of this crafting show and Steve was her guest. But she kept hinting that she wanted to sleep with him. Only until she put on a thick wool body sweater did Steve respond to her advances. And that's all she wrote. Oh, and not forget about Prince. Never was really a fan, but I loved the first song he did. That guy can play guitar. If anyone would like to comment on his performance, please do.
As I said, can't say that I was very pleased. There were some positive things though; a direction that I like if you will. There was more reliance on pre-taped segments. Between the cold open and the two digital shorts, I was pleased even though I didn't understand the first digital short. Plus there was less reliance on WU to eat up the middle of the show for 10 minutes. WU was noticeably shorter and I can only attribute that to wondering what must have happened in the dress rehearsal. They finally cut a ton of the unfunny stuff and I support that... even though what was left wasn't too funny either. Next new episode is in a few weeks with Natalie Portman and Fall Out Boy.