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'Saturday Night Live' - 'Betty White/Jay-Z' Recap

by Annie Wu, posted May 9th 2010 1:50PM
betty white snl delicious dish(S35E21) Girls, girls, girls. The Mother's Day weekend episode of 'Saturday Night Live' was pumped with estrogen, as former players Ana Gasteyer, Tina Fey, Molly Shannon, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph returned to goof around on the 'SNL' stage once more. The big star was Betty White, of course, thanks to the Internet explosion that campaigned for her to host the show (ironically, half the supporters are probably too young to even know what 'Golden Girls' is). The writers pulled out all their best geriatric humor and White did beautifully.

A lot of this material probably would have completely flopped with any other guest (young playing old or just straight-up old), but White is the perfect sweet old lady archetype and that was the key to this episode's success. I guess genitalia jokes help, too.

The one weird thing about this episode was how the other special lady-stars were just kind of there without explanation. Anyone who hasn't been following 'SNL' news must have been pretty confused. Hopefully they're all recent enough players to be instantly recognizable to most people, though.

Also, it looks like there were a lot of sketches that got cut after dress rehearsal but were thrown online. If you want more stuff like Debbie Downer, Bronx Beat and the Joyologist (man, I had forgotten about that last one), check 'em out:

Cold Open ('The Lawrence Welk Show'): Rarely not funny, this sketch. The thunderous applause and cheers for Betty White was really adorable and set the tone for the rest of the evening. As always, Kristen Wiig managed to simultaneously amuse and terrify; the stuffed squirrel action wasn't helpful. Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler and Ana Gasteyer were also lovely to see, if only to give Abby Elliott, Nasim Pedrad and Jenny Slate a bit of a break.

Monologue: Perfect monologue for Betty White. It was sassy and cute and a little bit dirty, which I guess describes the rest of the episode too. And yes, Betty White! Take us on that hay ride.

MacGruber: Nana playing dead was amazing. The almost-kiss sent me into a full-body cringe, though. We all know how, um, enthusiastic the 'SNL' cast, especially Will Forte, can be about kissing in sketches, so I was worried I was going to see something my brain could not repress fast enough.

Delicious Dish: Never have I been so excited to see tacky vests. As it turns out, Delicious Dish is still hilarious, and Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon look great, too. Favorite lines included "A yeasty muffin can ruin your whole day" and "Your muffin just squirted in my mouth ... I guess I'm eating it the right way." Maybe it's because of the sudden influx of ladies this weekend, but this episode had a lot of vagina jokes, especially food-related ones.

'Manuel Ortiz Show': The weird mustache and pastel pants totally worked for Will Forte. He reminded me of Shore Leave from 'Venture Bros.' actually, so let's get that live-action thing going, shall we? Betty White's half-confused dancing was the best; the rest of the sketch was okay.

Big Lez: White was cute ... I'm just going to say that applies to the entire episode, otherwise I'm going to have to include it for every sketch. Amy Poehler plays the best old-timey little boys and tomboys ("Aww, crabapples!"), and we need to find more reasons to get Bill Hader into cardigans.

Weekend Update: The solo Seth Meyers jokes were only so-so this week; none really stood out. The return of Molly Shannon's Sally O'Malley (she's 50 forever and proud, I guess) was met with White's 90-year-old Dotty Donovan. Thankfully, there was no showdown, because White probably would have injured something if she did more than stand, bend and sit.

There was also a snark-threesome with Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers and Tina Fey. I love that Poehler and Fey still put on their old WU blazers (or similar ones) to hang out behind the desk.

Scared Straight: It wasn't until Jason Sudeikis popped on-screen that I realized he had been gone all evening (I liked his grumbled "Yeah, yeah, simultaneous 'whatever'"). White was great, trying to act like a bad-ass; White gently roughing up Bill Hader was one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. In other news, "And it won't be a lion, a tin and a scarecrow! It'll be you lying down, and ten men making you a scared ho" and Betty White screaming, "Wizard of ASS" will take a long time to get old.

CSI: Sarasota: The 'CSI: Miami' scream has already been such a popular Internet meme over the years, I was surprised 'SNL' never referenced it. I guess they were waiting for someone like White to pull it off. And Rachel Dratch is to old men what Amy Poehler is to little tomboys. In sketches, I mean.

Digital Short: Thank You for Being a Friend: Oh, my God. Oh, my God, what did I just watch? There were people singing the 'Golden Girls' theme song and it was super-sweet a-and then Betty White put on a mask and ... Oh, God.

Census: This sketch immediately reminded me of an old one featuring Christopher Walken and Tim Meadows ("Census Taker"). Same surreal answers, same tone, equally funny.

Jay-Z: You accidentally used "bitch"! And now I've said it! Jay-Z, you have single-handedly ruined Mother's Day. Nah, but seriously, his performances were surprisingly enjoyable to me, someone who isn't typically into his work.

Next Time: Season finale with Alec Baldwin, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I'm going to put on a baby doll dress and Doc Martens 'cause I guess we're going back to the 90s.

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

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they should have done that sketch where all the guys make out, only this time with all the girls... would have been funny seeing betty white making out with tina fey (...and perhaps slightly arousing? )

May 10 2010 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Betty White is a national treasure....however, JayZ should be embarrassed by his performance. Simply terrible monotone and mumbling.

May 10 2010 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Damn shame they cut Debbie Downer.

Thanks for the inside scoop.

May 09 2010 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Professor Zed

Betty White's SNL was simply a whole lot of great big fun! She was hysterical and really showed all the others how it's done.

I hope she comes back next year to host again.

May 09 2010 at 8:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Professor Zed's comment

I hope she lives next year, personally.

May 16 2010 at 4:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Sparks

Betty White gave a clinic. She made mediocre material SING. Those kids should take a lesson from her; if it ain't there, make it WORK. Her glances and takes and expressions make the usual banal SNL writing work. Yay Betty.

May 09 2010 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've read and heard online all week that Betty would have a sketch with Jay Z, but I guess it was cut. Such an odd twosome; I'm surprised they couldn't come up with something funny.

As for the 4 clips that didn't make it to air, Debbie Downer is always funny, but there wasn't really enough of White in it. The other three were pretty awful ... but the stuff that made it to air was awesome. This was probably the best episode of SNL I've seen in many years.

May 09 2010 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Cook is my Idol!

This is the first time I have watched SNL in at least 5 years and I am glad I tuned in. Betty was a fabulous host. The material was pretty good. (I do think they went a little overboard with the "Old people can be profane" joke.) I just hope I can be as active as Betty when I get to be 88 and 1/2 ;)

May 09 2010 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very surprised they didn't go with the obvious (but, I think a little better), CSI: Miami Beach.

May 09 2010 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I too was surprised by the lack of material for the female alumni. I suspect what might have happened was that there was a concern that Ms. White might not have been able to handle the material so they brought in some back-up. Those concerns were clearly unwarranted as White was in every sketch. How often does that happen with any host?

May 09 2010 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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