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October 4, 2015

Saturday Night Live: Brian Williams/Feist

by Annie Wu, posted Nov 4th 2007 12:21PM
Brian Williams(S33E04) From Brian Williams' guest spots and cameos on The Daily Show, I already knew he was a surprisingly funny guy. He has an incredibly dry delivery and that level of newsman integrity paired with any remotely dirty joke is absolutely hilarious. That said, I still was not sure how he would deal with a live show. After all, even the funniest of comedians or most polished of actors can fall flat on their face when pressured with the threat of no edits, no do-overs.

I am very happy to report that Mr. Brian Williams did a spectacular job. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up joining the ranks of hosting gods Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin some day. His performance was crisp and professional, and I'm sure people that only know him from his news program were caught completely off guard. Too bad the writing this week was below average.

Cold Open: I have yet to warm up to Amy Poehler's Hillary Clinton impression. The strength isn't there, and I still feel like she's mimicking someone else's Hillary impression. As for Horatio Sanz's surprise cameo as Bill Richardson, I felt bad that the audience didn't explode into thunderous applause. They do that just about every other time a former player comes back to visit, right? It was good to see Sanz come back and not giggle during a scene. Granted, Jimmy Fallon wasn't present, so maybe that's why. Barack Obama's cameo was all right, too. Not too outrageous or memorable, but it was okay. The rest of the sketch was super-blah. A lot of the jokes were terrible, but not in that "groan out loud" sort of way. I just twitched uncomfortably and kept checking to see if I was still watching professional political satire. Come on, that whole Gravel, straitjacket, Milk Duds thing was sad.

Monologue: With all that talk about maintaining integrity and not ruining his newsman reputation, I expected at least one sketch with Williams in drag. That expectation was not fulfilled. Once again, we were reminded of Williams' beautiful speaking voice. And that confidence! He exuded it. I may have developed a minor infatuation with the guy. Maybe.

"Maybelline for Men": Men in make-up is inherently funny, but I still think they could have pushed it a little further.

"Bronx Beat": I still don't understand the appeal of "Bronx Beat". There are usually one or two lines that will make me crack a smile, but I always feel like I don't enjoy the sketch quite as much as the audience does. This time, it was weaker than usual. It was really, really weird to hear Williams do an accent. I'm not entirely sure why, but it felt strange. And did Williams throw in a Borat reference at the end? Is that what I heard? My brain shut down and refused to believe it, so I can't remember.

"Riley's Way": Williams' performance totally gave this sketch the kick that it needed. I don't think anyone else could have made "That's good wack" sound quite so great. Also, "You can go to Hell, you can lose ten pounds, and you're gay" is quite possibly the most wonderful thing that Williams has ever said. Ever.

"Publishers Clearing House": It's just a fact: Kristen Wiig's shoulders are absolutely hilarious. "Yeeeeoohhh!" Both Williams and Wiig did extremely well. I would have loved to see the two of them work together a bit more during the episode.

"An SNL Digital Short: A Day in the Life of Brian Williams": Cute, but very un-"SNL Digital Short"-y. Remember the days when a pre-taped segment didn't have to be pre-faced with anything? Al Roker and Matt Lauer ("What kind of asshole throws pennies from a building?") were super-adorable. And was that really Bono? If so, that's TOTALLY AWESOME. If not, the sleep deprivation finally got to me.

"Weekend Update": First of all, Poehler's hair looks so much better. She's been having some weird hair days for the past few episodes. Fred Armisen's bit about the writers' strike was a good way to explain the situation to anyone who doesn't know anything about it. Kenan Thompson's nanny moment was fairly unremarkable, apart from the hilarity that is the word "sugarbetes" and the fact that he almost ripped off Seth Meyers' neck.

"Live with Larry King": Hey! Fred Armisen said "Rowling" correctly! Meyers failed to do so during "WU", so I shook my fist at the television for a few moments. No fist-shaking was involved for Armisen. As one of those annoying Harry Potter fans, I love anything that has to do with the series. I'm afraid that SNL's main demographic wouldn't have known enough to appreciate the sketch, though. Like, "booty owl"? Who else would have gotten that apart from Potter fans?

"iPhone": Pretty straightforward. This probably could have worked in a MacGruber-y sort of way, having three different, very quick iPhone commercials throughout the evening.

"Democratic Debate": This started off a little funny and then got real creepy, real fast. I could understand excluding Hillary Clinton, but was there a reason there wasn't someone playling Obama? Was it because the real Obama was already on the show or because Kenan Thompson's not really built like him and no one wanted to do blackface? Not like this sketch needed blackface, because it was weird enough.

"Nightly News Theme": This was all right, I suppose. Wiig was a nice singing voice, yeah? The final intro was pretty funny, just because Williams looked so bad-ass.

Feist: What can be said about her? Great singing voice. Banjos involved. That is all.

Next time: The Rock and Amy Winehouse. Wow. A match made in heaven, right? The Rock has hosted before and I remember he did a pretty good job. Actually, I am still haunted by the image of the Rock as Mr. Peepers' (Chris Kattan) daddy. And is SNL going to carry on even if the writers' strike is in effect? Or is this just a hopeful plan for an episode? Hmm. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Would you like to see Brian Williams host again?
Absolutely!690 (81.1%)
Sure, why not?136 (16.0%)
No. No. No.25 (2.9%)

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Mistakenly posted my mini-review on the wrong Brian Williams article. So I'll just copy-n-paste it here, because that's what Jesus would do.

I think B.W. did a great job. Perhaps too good.
...Is it just me or have there been a lot of guests lately who are out-performing the cast?

November 05 2007 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
R. Reed

Funniest line in "Bronx Beat" was something like..."she better keep an eye on her daughter or she'll wind up on the pole".

I like Bronx beat.

November 05 2007 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
the greg

if this week was exhibit A of what we'll miss during the strike, nobody'd hurry back to the table. At its best, the comedy was comfortably predictable. But the whole night felt like filler. Even the digital short felt... restrained. Was this episode too in-house? Were the writers witholding their A-material?
The only real surprise of the evening was Mr Williams, who wasn't a comedic genius, but his effortlessness made decent jokes better than they were. Plus, he did a decent Bronx accent.
That's twice I've thought the cast got shown up by the host (the other one, IMHO - Lebron James; why are the non-actor shows funnier? is it me?) And considering we'll be treated to clip shows for the duration, it makes me wonder how much anybody's going to miss this year's cast...

November 05 2007 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Maybelline for Men" was horrible, because it was based on the faulty premise that one of the guys would say "It looks like you're wearing women's makeup."

Who the heck would say WOMEN'S makeup? They'd just say makeup, and then sketch wouldn't have anywhere to go. It's annoying when a joke is dependent on such an awkward set-up.

November 05 2007 at 8:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

decent episode (finally) and brian williams was excellent, witty and with a surprising range. but why he didn't appear on weekend update is a mystery to me - hello, he's a news man!

as for feist - sure she's good, but did she REALLY need 3 banjos, especially seeing as they only plunked one note at a time? not like it was a bluegrass hoedown.

November 05 2007 at 2:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was a great episode. Maybe it's just because I'm into politics, but I loved the opening. I will say though, the Gravel part just made me cringe. That wasn't the least bit funny. But I loved the rest of it.

Brian Williams was much better than I expected. He was great in Bronx Beat (I really like those sketches).

November 05 2007 at 1:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that Brian came through with flying colors.I knew he could be funny,but I was surprised how convincing his characters were.He was the perfect foil for Kristen Wiig in the Publisher;s Clearing House sketch and Wiig demonstarted again how talented she is in that one.The show was uneven but the host made it a memorable one anyhow.

November 04 2007 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought Brian Williams was very good, but no, I don't see him hosting multiple times like Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

The iPod commercial was the best bit of the night.

November 04 2007 at 10:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

I guess I will have to go against the grain and say Williams was absolutely horrible. Yes, the writing was especially bad as well, but ... surprise, surprise, Williams is an awful actor. Really shouldn't have surprised anyone. I don't know what kind of collective insanity has enveloped TV Squad about his performance, but he needs to be barred from coming within 50 feet of the SNL soundstages for the rest of time!

November 04 2007 at 9:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Maria Baricevic

Brian Williams was awesome. He is delightfully and classically funny. The sketches were hilarious to me. No potty-humor was needed, and he's too classy to dress up in drag or use words like "pen-s. I can't remember his name now, but the "correspondent" who talked about the Writer's Guild strike was cleverly hilarious and sarcastically true. I like when SNL is not ridiculous and stupid. Showing the irony in the News brings a message and is intelligently humorous. And, the Nanny was hilarious. I agree, this hilarious comedian could have been on longer and a little more exagerated. When he made the great joke about the Halloween Costumes available to him and other African-American children was "Nurse"?? or "Slave" it seems the Ms. Poehler and her counterpart cut him off and tamed him down. I didn't like that. Anyway, every skit that Brian was in was hilarious, except for the "Publisher's Clearing House" skit, which was stupid.

November 04 2007 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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