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'Saturday Night Live' - 'Zach Galifianakis/Vampire Weekend' Recap

by Annie Wu, posted Mar 7th 2010 1:45PM
zach galifianakis vampire weekend
(S35E16) This was definitely one of the weirder installments of 'Saturday Night Live' in a while, but for fans of Zach Galifianakis, it was a real treat. It's very rare that the entire tone of the evening so perfectly fits the host. A lot of hosts, be they athletes or singers or professional actors, use 'SNL' as a platform for showcasing other talents that they have (or think they have) and that can often lead to strange, near unwatchable territory.

Galifianakis knows where's his strong points are and confidently played those up all through the episode. He is not at his best with cue card-heavy parts, but rather when he forces the audience to bask in his glorious, beardy, unsettling presence. So we got a lot of that. A lot. Response to this episode will probably be highly divided (well, more so than other weeks) but, speaking as a long-time fan of Galifianakis, it worked.

Videos as they're available, folks.


Monologue: This was pretty much just Galifianakis doing his stand-up. But his stand-up is fantastic, so no complaints here. There were many laugh-out-loud lines, from his stylist requests (VP of Ultimate Frisbee, Marijuana Santa Claus, Wolf Blitzer at Burning Man) to his classic piano-talking moment. He's probably always wanted a band to back him up like that. Also, way to make people think of Hoobastank for the first time since ... ever.

I had been curious all week how Galifianakis would present himself during the monologue, the one part of the show where the host (supposedly) is not playing a character. Would he live in his deadpan stage presence, or would he allow for some of that smirking childishness demonstrated in the 'Comedians of Comedy' documentary and series to shine through? As it turned out, it was mostly the former, but there were a few moments where you could see Galifianakis break character and look genuinely super-excited to be hosting.

Beard: I had also been curious about Galifianakis's beard. Would he have to get rid of it? Jon Hamm was told to shave his when he hosted a few weeks ago, but Hamm and his beard have a very different relationship than Galifianakis and his own. That's more, like, near-symbiotic.

Now, one o'clock in the morning is not the best time for clear thinking. When Galifianakis popped up beard-free during the "Pageant Talk" sketch, I couldn't tell what was going on. Doubly so because I was watching on a tiny TV. I assumed he had rush-shaved right before. Then he returned to the stage after the break to say good night, but I couldn't really hear who he was thanking because I was too busy trying to figure out if I was seeing things. His beard had returned! Had he been wearing a fake beard the entire night? Do they make, like, bald caps for beard? I hadn't been this confused about facial hair since I found out that JD person from Le Tigre was a dude. I mean, re-visiting photos from the evening, it's obvious Galifianakis had shaved between sketches and donned a fake beard for the good-byes, but at the time, it was equal parts stunning and hilarious. That so Galifianakis.

Zach Drops By The Set: It probably would have been too earth-shattering to see Galifianakis do something like "Sergio" or attempt to sing with The Lonely Island, so this was perfect. The strange vintage 'SNL' punchline was also amazing.

Today Show: Thumbs up for Kristen Wiig's Kathie Lee using the wine like a giant, grown-up juice box. Double thumbs-up for getting a little creative with the host and continuing the joke from the preceding Digital Short.

Will Forte's Herstory Song: A bright point in an otherwise very boring Weekend Update (Kenan Thompson makes Mo'Nique look super-pretty though). Forte continues to be a wildly under-appreciated player in this cast. The entire song was hilarious, and his half-screamed, half-sung "Good job, women!" will ring through my head for many days. Maybe weeks, depending on how much positive talk I need in my head.

What Up With That?: Again: Galifianakis knows what he does well. He didn't have to sing, he didn't have to say a word. Just shock us with that stupid walk and that horrifying suit (borderline Dr. Venture-esque) and we'll be delighted. This sketch, as dumb as it is, is quickly becoming a guaranteed source of at least some laughs. The little exchange that happens every time between Kenan Thompson and Bill Hader will never stop being adorable, and Jason Sudeikis's tracksuit-dance has yet to fail. His decision to inexplicably leap into frame from now on was also an excellent choice.

Also: Paul Rudd! I could hear panties across the East Coast hitting TV sets.

Pageant Talk: Admittedly, I spent most of this sketch trying to figure out what happened to Galifianakis's beard, but, from what I heard, I liked it. His voice was marvelous.


Cold Open (Health Care Reform): Sure, it's a "thing" for Cold Opens to be political, but it's a real shame when the jokes aren't strong enough to lead a show but they do it anyway.

Vampire Weekend: Not because they performed poorly but because I will never stop being disappointed when I see them. When I hear the words "vampire weekend," I think "undead bloodsucker party time." These guys do not look or sound like "undead bloodsucker party time."


Kissing Family: This was a strange sketch to do with this host. Not because I was initially worried Galifianakis would beard-burn everyone if he went to town on half the cast's faces, but because he was barely used. In the few times this has been done, it was to shock us silly from seeing an actor make out with everyone on 'SNL.' Galifianakis kissed ... Fred Armisen? I think that was it. Bill Hader's disturbingly aggressive snog with James Franco was re-visited but on Bobby Moynihan. Just a strange choice. In other news: Good to know Armisen and Forte are still totally comfortable sucking face. Just like the old days.

Bidet: The word "bidet" and the idea of a "bidet" are both inherently funny. Amusing sketch, not spectacular.

Situation Room: Galifianakis is funny. Once again, he demonstrates how he doesn't need to say a word to show us that. Also, nice touch with the "It's a Party!" and "C'est une Party!" songs.

And next time: Jude Law and Pearl Jam. Last time we saw Jude Law here, I believe people were throwing things at him in front of a green screen.

[Watch episodes and clips of 'Saturday Night Live' and other shows over at SlashControl.]

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One of the best monologues ever. Otherwise lame.

March 08 2010 at 6:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Also, way to make people think of Hoobastank for the first time since ... ever".

Lonely Island (Andy, Kiv, and Jorm) are big fans of name-dropping Hoobastank ... surprised they don't do it on SNL more often.

March 08 2010 at 2:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thankfully for the second week in a row there was good counter programming on as this was horrible. A good night of Always Sunny reruns was far better than this.

March 08 2010 at 1:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He shaved during Vampire Weekend. Wore a fake beard during 'goodnight'. VIDEO: http://www.hulu.com/watch/132948/saturday-night-live-snl-backstage-zach-shaves-his-beard#s-p1-sr-i1

March 08 2010 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Your loss if you didn't appreciate Vampire Weekend. They were smokin' hot.

March 08 2010 at 12:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pretty sure the beard has been fake for a long time, as I've seen him without it recently.

March 07 2010 at 9:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat L.

SNL is always the same. Most viewers can begin to memorize the sketches. The show is only mildly amusing at it's best and down right awful most of the time. Does anyone at SNL care -- NO.
Watch BBC comedy if you want to laugh.

March 07 2010 at 3:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, I really don't know what show this reviewer was watching, but that was a horrible waste of Zach's time. I mean, between the bidet sketch and Pageant Talk, did Zach even get a chance to utter a word other than introducing Vampire Weekend? The monologue and Pageant Talk proved that if they had let Zach do his thing it would have been hilarious. When they tried to work him in to their usual crap it was either half-baked or awful. Nothing Zach could have done was going to make Kenan Thompson or Jason Sudeikis funny. He was almost able to make Bill Hader look funny but not quite.

March 07 2010 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Professor Zed

Funniest part of SNL last night? The Bing.com commercial featuring the hotel from "The Shining". This was hysterical!

It's pretty sad, though, when the best part of a comedy show isn't a parody commercial, but an actual commercial. Oddly, following that commercial was a shot of the hotel used in the film "Some Like It Hot" for the lead into the Bidet skit. The extremely unfunny Bidet skit. Not even Zach G could do anything with this one.

The Obama opening just laid there flat - pretty much like every other time Fred Armisen attempts the President.

Zach's opening was great. "We've got Hoobastank! No?" had me laugh out loud.

The Kissing sketch. Oh for Lorne Michaels sake! ENOUGH ALREADY! So the guys of SNL love to shove their tongues down each others throats. We get it. How about putting some FUNNY into the sketch if they're going to repeat it over and over and over, again and again and again. (Funny the first time - not funny the second, third, fourth... ) It's not shocking anymore. It's actually quite disgusting. To subject an innocent puppy to this (kissing aside, I'm referring to the "unfunny quotient") was borderline animal abuse.

Zach in the backgrounds of TV shows was good, especially when it carried over into the Kathie Lee and Hoda bit. Kristen Wiig is hysterical as Kathie Lee, and does something different with it every time. (TAKE NOTE SNL writers: "Does something DIFFERENT with it every time.") I think they could pull off a Kathie Lee and Hoda big screen movie. ("Kathie Lee and Hoda's Cross Country Adventure"?)

Does Seth Meyers need to be replaced as Head Writer and as Weekend Update anchor? Last night's WU makes this pretty much an obvious. His news jokes have been falling flat constantly. That is, when he actually includes news jokes. The "guest" spots on Update are overtaking the news. Will Forte's songs have never been even the least bit amusing. This was an opportune moment to hit the mute button and instead enjoy the sound of dried paint on the walls. (Maybe it's time for Kristen Wiig to join WU as an ignorant slut co-achor?)

Oh, but the inclusion of "Benny Hill" music on WU was a wonderful reminder of a FUNNY TELEVISION SHOW.

"What's Up With That?" Do the writers even attempt to write new versions of the same set-up? Or do they just haul out the exact same script and stick a different actor or two on the set to repeat the same lines as previous actors? It's past the time for this incredibly awful bit to be scraped, along with the Kissing Family. Perhaps they could combine the two and have the Kissing Family kissing the "What's Up With That" people atop a giant garbage tip?

"The Situation Room" was acceptable. Bill Hader's version of... uh... whatever that guy's name is... very on the spot. Wolf Bliiizzzhur - what a cool name for such a lame guy - pretty good too.

"Pageant Talk" was a great concluding sketch. Kristen Wiig was back with another funny character. It's best when SNL doesn't overload on Wiig though. This episode had just the right amount.

Overall, I don't think the writers did Zach G justice. Such a talented guy. He relied mostly on his own takes of the material, doing the best he could with what he was handed - a big pile of...

What's with all those names listed as "writers" in the credits? Does it really take ALL THOSE PEOPLE to write such little bits of "funny" and so MUCH "awful"? Perhaps it's not only time to replace Meyers as Head Writer. Perhaps it's time to bring some youth - some "not willing to just settle" - into the Executive Producer's chair as well.

March 07 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So the reason why you don't like Vampire Weekend is because they "do not look or sound like undead bloodsucker party time." Wow, that's a great reason to be disappointed. That's not even a valid reason to dislike a band. Well, i guess everyone is entitled to their opinion (or lack thereof).

March 07 2010 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Anthony's comment

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