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August 31, 2014

'Saturday Night Live' - Dana Carvey / Linkin Park Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Feb 6th 2011 11:00AM
Waynes World['Saturday Night Live' - 'Season 36, Episode 14']

When former cast members return to host 'Saturday Night Live,' they bring with them heightened levels of enthusiasm, anticipation and possibilities. When those cast members who I grew up adoring, imitating and admiring return to host, I need to go on special medication.

Dana Carvey was one of a handful of people who introduced me to, and made me fall in love with, comedy. The litany of classic sketches that he carried and turned into cultural landmarks is well documented, but it wasn't just "The Church Lady" and "Hans and Frans" that drew me to him, it was more of his fringe character work, like "Massive Headwound Harry" and "Lyle: The Effeminite Heterosexual" that were so impressive.

If he could bring even a fraction of that to the stage again, we'd all be a little better off than we were before.

Cold Open: Every hair on my body stood up at the sight of the old Aurora Cable 10 shot that for years meant "Wayne's World" was about to come on, and when Mike Myers emerged to reprise his role as Wayne, I had to fight to keep from crying as a single tear that held within itself all the nostalgia and the years of joy and laughter this man, this sketch, this show gave me.

While the sketch itself was a little slow and choppy, it didn't matter. They could have gone out there and forgotten every line, the impact would have been the same. Wayne and Garth went through their Oscar picks with plenty of 'Winter's Bone' jokes peppered in. It must have been pretty surreal for the writers to be working on a Wayne's World sketch, and a couple memorable lines came as a result: "I could make a Mila out of her Kunis," about Natalie Portman in 'Black Swan' and "Anne Hath-a-way of giving me a bone" about Oscar co-host, Anne Hathaway.



Monologue: Carvey's monologue kept the nostalgia train moving at full speed as he went into a little diddy about how his cast from 1986-1993 was (and still is) the greatest cast in the show's history. As tongue-in-cheek as it was, one could easily make the case that he's right. Of course, those discussions are so often fruitless, but they're fun to think about nonetheless. Castmate Jon Lovitz even came out to drive Carvey's point home to both the current cast and audience alike.



i-sleep PRO: This was an odd choice considering how strongly the show came out of the gate. I've been on record complaining about the show repeating their commercial parodies in-season, and this was a another of those. I liked this one though, despite the fact that it implied that only black people fall asleep to "muffled Tyler Perry sitcoms."



Church Chat: They must have deliberated long and hard about how many old sketches to revisit with Carvey as host. The idea always seems good, but too much of it can feel forced and pathetic. That being said, I was not surprised they decided to bring back "The Church Lady." Our culture has taken a wet and rapid ride down the slippery slope of depravity since we last heard from her, and she set her sights on television this time around, calling 'Skins' "'SportsCenter' for pedophiles."

Her guests included: the Kardashians (Nasim Pedrad, Vanessa Bayer and Abby Elliot); Snooki (Bobby Moynihan), who made out with the priest trying to perform her exorcism; and the real Justin Bieber, for whom Church Lady -- like any other mammal with eyes and a heart -- began to quiver. Despite wanting "a taste of that sweet Bieber," she composed herself enough to share a "Superior Dance" with him.



Celebrity Teen Crisis Center: The show stepped out of the time machine and got back to one of the staples of its current incarnation: celebrity impressions. Alan Alda (Bill Hader), Ice-T (Fred Armisen), Anna Farris (Abby Elliot), Eddie Murphy (Jay Pharoah) and Mickey Rooney (a Dana Carvey classic) haphazardly and irresponsibly fielded calls for a teen hotline. Armisen's Ice-T was sweet, and a close second to Elliot's Farris and Hader's Alda in terms of accuracy and laughs. 'SNL' loves to comment on the stupidity of celebrities and our misguided obsession with them and most of the impersonation sketches really drive this home. "It may be horrible advice, but it's free."



The Roommate: A short but sweet 'Roommate' trailer parody with Bieber as the normal, sane roommate and Andy Samberg as the psycho, unstable, stalker roommate. This wasn't introduced as an SNL Digital Short, but it had Samberg's fingerprints all over it, encompassing the kind of absurdist but relatable humor that he and his Lonely Island brethren are famous for. Also, the more Biebs, the better.



Weekend Update: Paul Brittain made a rare appearance as James Franco detailing his occupational exploits -- from acting to directing to holding cue cards to cleaning up the set. Nothing groundbreaking: an average joke, a passable impression, on a forgettable Update.



Angela Dixon (Kristen Wiig), the former disco queen turned meteorologist came out to talk about the recent barrage of winter weather that swept the nation. She claimed to have made the transition from disco to meteorology, but singing her forecasts to disco beats seemed to suggest otherwise.



Live with Regis and Kelly: Another time-honored Carvey character, Regis Philbin, talking about his possible replacements once he retires. Carvey's Regis was really the first time during the night that his age started to show. Garth and the Church Lady were as if it was 1988 again, but his Regis wasn't nearly as sharp. This may have been because Regis himself isn't too sharp anymore, and the impression was meant to reflect his spiral into madness. The sketch got a little kooky when his former co-host, Kathy Lee Gifford (Wiig) crashed the show to insult Kelly (Pedrad) and drunkenly serenade Regis.

Little Miss Little Girl Pageant: Kenan Thompson and Carvey debuted these stilted effeminite Southern characters hosting a redneck beauty pageant. This was one of those great second-half sketches that, when done well, make a good show into a great one. The accents were specific enough to be funny and each contestant's costume, interests, and facial expressions were funnier than the last right down to the boy (Samberg) forced to compete in the girls' division.



Diedra Wurtz - Downsizing Expert: Some sketches are all about the accent. Diedra Wurtz (Elliot) helps the recenlty downsized cope with their unfortunate situations like a teenage girl at a sleepover. Elliot's vapid accent made all the cliches she offered as consolation feel that much more legitimate. This could be one of those characters that makes its way back onto the show in the future.



The Fingerlings: At a bar in Green Bay for the Super Bowl, a British new wave band clashed with stereotypical football-loving Middle Americans. Carvey and Armisen shared vocal duties, and Carvey's voice showed shades of his old school "Chopping Broccoli" singer. Think about the kind of music Boy George's child manufactured in a lab would make and how much that would ruin your Super Bowl experience. That's what made this one work.



Host: A - and not just because it's Dana Carvey.
Musical Guest: Spelled their name wrong.
Laughs: A-


Next Week: Host Russell Brand with musical guest Chris Brown 11:30PM EST on NBC.



Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and he coulda been a contendah. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

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Ba Ba Bauf

Dude, did you really write "the more Biebs, the better"? What are you, a 14-year-old girl?

February 06 2011 at 3:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Rishabh Bablani

Carvey did the Regis impression fine on his recent stints on Fallon and Leno. I'm not sure why it was dulled down for SNL!

February 06 2011 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rangerleroy

If you didn't insist on stressing the PhD thing in your by-line I might not have made this comment, but: Really? A PhD doesn't know how to spell "ditty'?

February 06 2011 at 2:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rangerleroy's comment
rangerleroy

And I guess I don't know how to proofread my punctuation before hitting the submit button. That should be: "ditty". (But then, I don't have a PhD.)

February 06 2011 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cooris

No mention of Linkin Park at all, other than "spelled their name wrong," thats sad considering they were great. The James Franco impersonation was hilarious. The first half was funny. It kinda spiraled into painfully unwatchable after the update, but Linkin Park came in to save it. Jon Lovitz is a stud. Oh, and who is "Persaud"

February 06 2011 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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