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Saturday Night Live: Christopher Walken/Panic! At the Disco - VIDEOS

by Annie Wu, posted Apr 6th 2008 1:20PM
Christopher Walken(S33E09) The weird thing about Christopher Walken's legendary Saturday Night Live performances is that they all suck. Seriously, think about it. His delivery is jaunty and weird, and when he's not awkwardly staring into the middle distance, he's just glaring directly at the cue cards. All these elements combined should throw him in the realm of the crappiest hosts.

... And yet he consistently pulls it off and makes even the worst sketches absolutely brilliant. How is that? Walken is just inherently awesome, I suppose. It's really the only logical explanation. This episode in particular was very poorly written; I'm sure most of the sketches look absolutely pathetic transcribed on paper. However, Walken's aforementioned jaunty awesomeness made it one of the best episodes of the season. He's done it again, folks. I expect a second "SNL: Best of Christopher Walken" DVD is in the works.

"Cold Open": Darrell Hammond and Amy Poehler brought back the Clintons to quickly address the tax returns situation. This was probably the fastest, most straight-forward Cold Open in a long time. It was mildly amusing, but I took the brevity as a sign that there was a lot of Christopher Walken goodness coming up and they were saving all the best material for him.



Monologue: This was a crappy monologue, but Walken made it hilarious. I remember the last time he hosted, he had to sing alongside Jimmy Fallon, and even that sort of worked out. It's actually kind of nice how Walken has a character carved out on SNL, like a more absent-minded, kooky version of himself. Even Alec Baldwin doesn't have that.

"Annuale": I can't remember the last time a commercial featuring another host got used in someone else's episode. Maybe it was okay because it was Tina Fey. Anyway, this was still funny, just because women getting angry on their periods is a universally hilarious concept.

"Grease": Oh, man. In 9th grade, I was in a production of Grease and I distinctly remember the director forcing us to change many of the phrases in "Greased Lightning". It kind of butchered the song and I think I prefer the SNL version of the song. "Have you ever seen a dragon?" is so much better than whatever "draggin' wagon" crap we got stuck with. Anyway, this was a decent sketch.

"Eric": Was this episode's substitute for "The Continental"? Walken plays creepy obsessives very well, as demonstrated by that final tongue-in-ear moment. Speaking of creeps, I was super-surprised that there was no Continental. Wowee-wow-wow. The Continental is to Christopher Walken as Mr. Schweaty is to Alec Baldwin.

"SNL Digital Shorts: Laser Cats in 3D": This was a fairly weak SNL Digital Short. The best part of this short was -- no, not Chris Dodd's totally random cameo -- the tiny, tiny puppy duking it out with the laser cat. Also, I actually had 3D glasses on-hand (pathetic, I know) and the action sequence wasn't particularly exciting, not that I thought they had made the video expecting anyone to be lame enough to have 3-D glasses all the time.



"Surprise!": Ladies and gentlemen, this is why Kristen Wiig is absolutely fantastic. Her voices and facial expressions carry this damn show. It's further proof that strong actors can do wonders for simple or weak sketches. The way that she kept turning her head right before dropping out the window was perfect.



"Weekend Update": The design snob in me is dying from all those news graphics. Has no one in the "WU" graphics department ever studied typography? Seriously, come on.



"Walken Reunion": This was an interesting idea, and it was fun to see the various Walken impressions. I was really thrown by Fred Armisen's voice, though. He's usually been a pretty strong impressionist, but his Walken was just terribly weak. It sounded almost nothing like the real thing. I'm pretty sure even my Walken sounds better, and all I do is drop my voice a little lower and quote "The Continental" a lot. Who do you think did the best?



"Indoor Gardening Tips from A Man Who's Very Scared of Plants": This is another example of one of those sketches that must look absolutely terrible on paper. I mean, Walken played a guy who can't trust grass because his googly-eyes won't stick. It shouldn't have worked, but it totally did. Bless Christopher Walken.

"Top Chef": Ahh, it just wouldn't be Top Chef with high-strung chefs with faux-hawks. Perfect. This sketch was actually kind of adorable, just because of Walken. He should consider keeping those frosted faux-hawk tips. It's hip!

Panic! At the Disco: Why are these guys still around? Seriously. Their second song wasn't even new. At least they weren't quite as obnoxious as usual... But maybe I'm only saying that because my TV was on mute half the time they were on.

Next time: Ashton Kutcher and Gnarls Barkley. Umm... How... cool...

How would you rate this episode?
1 - Awful! Needed much more cowbell.102 (16.2%)
256 (8.9%)
3109 (17.3%)
4148 (23.5%)
5 - Awesome!214 (34.0%)

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Deb

I have watched SNL for years...this was really bad comedy. I can't believe anyone would think the skits were funny or even interesting. Drove me crazy to see Walkens continually staring at the cue cards too. Are you sure the writers are back on board???

April 07 2008 at 8:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nickmagoo

maybe walken was tired of the continental...there is such a thing as beating a dead horse...of course, the show is kind of like a clydesdale on life support anyway...

April 07 2008 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Will

I'm so glad it wasn't just me who was bothered by Walken's so-obvious-it-hurts staring at the cue cards. I almost never watch SNL anymore; whenever I give it a shoot, I have to turn it off, it's usually so bad. That said, I enjoyed almost the whole show, the only exception being Panic, though I'm ceratinly not in the right demographic for that type of band. But, I enjoyed most everything else, the Grease skit had me laughing out loud just because I was a teenager when it came out and was a big fan.

It does seem like, though, Walken had no time at all to prepare, almost like he'd never seen the script before. I mean really, this isn't Shakespere, it's pretty simple dialouge and, I wouldn't think, would be that hard to learn for an actor of his caliber.

April 07 2008 at 2:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
superrrguy

I was really looking forward to hearing "needs more cowbell" and especially the continental.

Also, I thought for a second there that Walken was going to do the Larry King bit.

Amy Pohler's Walken made me laugh. The rest of the show blew as alway.

What else is there on Saturdays? I record this and MadTV and skip bits if I'm not laughing in 30 seconds, especially when you can get clips on the web if something skipped was actually funny.

April 06 2008 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul

"I can't remember the last time a commercial featuring another host got used in someone else's episode. Maybe it was okay because it was Tina Fey."

Alec Baldwin's herpes medication commercial from last season aired at least twice.

"The concept of the Walken family reunion sketch was good, but it only served to remind me of how everyone's Walken impression pales in comparison to Jay Mohr's. Anyone remember his Skittles commercial?"

Jay Mohr's Walken pales in comparison to Pollack's. And while I found most of the impressions in last night's episode "lacking", I was impressed with 2: Bill Hader, because he's pretty much the best impressionist out there, and he had it so down that his voice even cracked in the way Walken's does on a couple occasions; and Andy Samberg, just because he's not known for his impressions and I thought it would blow, but it actually was decent.

"Laser Cats sucks -- so much so that I'd rather see The Nuni's instead."

I can't disagree with you more. "Laser Cats 3" may have been the best one yet, as it featured TOTALLY AW3SOME SPECIAL FX!!2!1! I seriously feel bad for anyone who can't just revel in the ridiculous silliness of a short like that. You have to think of it not just as a stupid, goofy digital short; it's a stupid, goofy video that Andy and Bill think is just incredible and desperately want Lorne to like.

Overall, I was very pleased with the Walken episode. The Continental and some singing and dancing would've been nice, but I liked having a different "creepy guy wanting to get some" sketch with Sudeikis, and the "plant guy" sketch was just out-of-this-world funny. Normally, they'd never give the host an entire sketch to themselves, but with Walken they know he can carry it. I even liked the twist on the typical "question and answer" monologue -- and was that John Lutz asking the last question? I always forget that besides PLAYING a writer on "30 Rock", he also still IS a writer for "SNL".

Ashton Kutcher can sometimes be pretty funny (loved his turn on "Miss Guided" a few weeks ago) so hopefully he can get the job done next week.

April 06 2008 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sami

I thought this was one of the best episodes in AGES! Laser Cats, Walken Reunion, and Indoor Gardening Tips were amazing. Who cares if Christopher Walken stares directly at the cue cards? It's part of his "shtick", and it works. PATD, while not at their best, was still pretty great last night. I guess I would have been happier if they had performed 2 new songs instead of only one.

April 06 2008 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ac

Walken has the ability to be laugh out loud funny even when half-assing it. This episode was a clear sign of that. I was waking people up from my reaction to the ear lick. Although it was completely stupid of Seth Myers to not include The Continental. I was in fact annoyed when the Larry King sketch showed up instead of it as the last sketch. (by the way you missed that one, although it sucked so who cares)

April 06 2008 at 6:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

If any other host had the complete lack of inflection and direct reading of the cards that Walken showed last night, he wouldn't be able to star in a high school musical afterwards, much less be praised for his performance. Yes, he has a funny voice, and is very laid back, but it would have been nice if he prepared beforehand AT ALL!!!!! Did he even fucking rehearse beforehand? At least one of his skits had to have been prepared in time for him to memorize the lines.

People need to remember when they give him slack, that he was a fucking actor, at one time. He should be able to memorize at least some of his lines and practice them beforehand.

April 06 2008 at 6:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joey Geraci's comment
Joey Geraci

What is it exactly that you have against Panic at the Disco? You can't handle their awesomeness? While it wasn't the best performance of their songs, it was one of the better SNL performances I've seen in a while, and the band as a whole, rocks! Yes, both songs should have been recent ones, and it was kind of annoying that the lead singer couldn't really hit any of the highs that he does in the record, but I have heard a lot worse (live performances compared to the album version)

April 06 2008 at 6:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jordancda

I loved this episode. I think that whenever Walken hosts the writers come up with sketch ideas based on what words they think will sound hilarious when he says them. Hence the "Garden Tips" sketch. Who didn't laugh every time he said "googly?" I swear they imagined him saying the word "googly" and then wrote a sketch around it.

April 06 2008 at 5:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eugene

I love walken, can't belive it's been 100 episodes already. I thought it was hysterical that he used the gag line which superpower would you rather... is it kevin pollack that tells that joke?

April 06 2008 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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