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'Saturday Night Live' - Russell Brand / Chris Brown Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Feb 13th 2011 4:00PM
Russell Brand, Saturday Night Live['Saturday Night Live' - 'Season 36, Episode 15']

One is a fluke. Two is a coincidence. But three solid episodes of 'Saturday Night Live' in a row is straight-up legendary. Jesse Eisenberg and Dana Carvey did their jobs, and it was up to Russell Brand to bring his European game to the states and light it up.

I had all the confidence in the world that he would, if nothing else, mix things up. He has somewhat of a bad boy lothario reputation, which isn't easy for British dudes to pull off with the accent and the tea and the blacksmiths.

Sometimes it takes a host like Brand to remind us all that we're watching live television. He brings with him a "what's he going to try to get away with" aesthetic that can either work hilariously or feel unbearably forced. I could only hope it was the former.

Cold Open: 'The O'Reilly Factor' with Jason Sudeikis as conservative guru, Bill O'Reilly. I've often wondered why they don't take more shots at the poster boy for crazy right-wing politics. It seems right up their alley. This sketch took the typical route of painting O'Reilly as an ignorant tyrant, horribly misinformed and resistant to any opinion other than his own. Part three of his interview with Obama (Fred Armisen) had Obama looking for the door and O'Reilly lost in his insulated world, complete with brown-nosing viewer mail.

Monologue: Russell Brand went old school with his monologue. He basically came out and did a solid 8-10 minutes of pure stand-up, covering topics such as: his enormous fame in England, trousers, Hep C and his mundane marriage to Katy Perry. He was funny, which probably helped convince lot of people that the show was going to be a success.

Gublin & Green Attorneys at Law: Law firm that dealt exclusively with injuries and complaints -- including "Sucky Title" and "Green Goblin's Pants Fell Down, Saw Package" -- related to the catastrophic Broadway musical, 'Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark." In case you were unaware, the musical has had trouble keeping actors and audience members out of the hospital, hence the hyperbolic sketch. Gublin & Green will go to the mat for those burned, literally and figuratively, by the performance.

Ultimate Vacation Giveaway: Kristen Wiig returned as Cheryl Rye, the Travel Channel host/prize presenter whose enthusiasm won't or can't be matched, it's hard to tell. It was another opportunity to showcase Wiig's unique talent for spastic cackling, when her prize winner (Brand) was underwhelmed by the news. Watching her try to pull excitement out of what amounted to a corpse was funny, but quickly lost its punch when it felt like she was running out of ideas, moving his mouth with her hand for the second time.

Don' You Go Rounin' Roun to Re Ro: This was a trailer for a British movie that no one could understand. Reminiscent of movies like 'Snatch,' the parody focused on the pace and inarticulate nature of British speech, making for a movie that was at once thrilling and incomprehensible. As with other sketches like this, some of the funniest parts are the critics random soundbites: "I don't think I heard a single consonant." "Either way, it seemed like a lot of killing over a very small amount of money."

Royal Taster: Brand was a prickish king engaging in a verbal feud with his chef (Bill Hader), but downplaying the whole thing to his innocent food taster (Taran Killam). As the king all but begged the chef to poison him, the taster could do nothing but count the minutes until his death. Not much going on here in the laugh department.

Weekend Update: Hosni Mubarak returned after his resignation to explain the situation. It's kind of unfortunate that the events in Egypt only lasted for a short period of time, comedically speaking, because Armisen's cheeky, pandering Mubarak was very funny. He even thanked America for our support, stating that "Behind every horrible dictator is an enabling super power."

Lil Wayne (Jay Pharoah) and Eminem (Taran Killam) came out to perform their newly penned Valentine's Day song, written while drinking wine and watching 'The Notebook.' This was pretty lackluster, playing up the misogynist tendencies of both performers. Killam's Eminem sounded more like Gilbert Gottfried, and Pharoah's Lil Wayne was probably the weakest of his impressions this season.

Stefon (Hader) made his triumphant return to hit on Seth Meyers and let us know about some Valentine's Day hot-spots, including "Booooooooof." What makes Stefon work are the scattered references to club culture and Hader's inability to get through them all with a straight face. Who could blame him? You try explaining "Jewpids" and "Human Suitcases" to strangers.

Also, not lost on me was the subtle jab at us here at AOL. If we're going to dish it out, we have to be able to take it. Touche.

Livin' Single: Deena DeAngelos (Vanessa Bayer) hosted this show on Oxygen. With more dancing than 'Ellen' and more "where my girlfriends at" than a Beyonce video, Deena promoted single life to the female audience and in the face of her smitten DJ, Terry. Deena's guest, Damien (Brand) the sexy pastry chef emerged to test every single fiber in Deena's body with chocolate and grinding. It looked like Brand went a little off script as he molested Bayer all over the stage, prompting her to blurt out "Just because you're flying solo doesn't mean you can't soar. OKBye!" to the offended yet titillated studio audience.

A Spot of Tea: I really don't know what to say about this sketch, as it felt like it was written on the toilet between dress and the live show. Brand, Andy Samberg and Hader were old British ladies pouring hot tea during an earthquake. That's it. Not funny. Not gross. Not even weird. Just old ladies pouring tea in an earthquake.

Time Travel: In order to settle Constitutional disputes, the Pentagon arranged to have George Washington weigh in with Nancy Pelosi (Wiig), and John Boehner (Hader) via time machine. Once here, so freaked out by everything he saw, Washington beat the crap out of everyone in sight until Pelosi stabbed him in the back just to shut him up. We all know enough about the space-time continuum to understand the implications of Pelosi killing Washington, but on the bright side, a Democrat helped a Republican.

Host: B
Musical Guest: Didn't beat anyone.
Laughs: B-

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

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i love these reviews. you should make the lists of SNL reviews done so far more user friendly =) so that we can find and read them all!

April 02 2011 at 10:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

damn all Chris Brown gets is he didnt beat anyone up. That's lame. If anybody cares Chris Browns performance was really nice. He performed Yeah 3X and No BS. Since there is no clip of his two performances I guess you have to leave this website and visit YouTube to find it. This is one of the worst recaps to date.

February 15 2011 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved the Eminem impersonation. It was spot on.

February 15 2011 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, other than Weekend Update and especially Stefon, IMO this episode was one of the worst in recent history, and this from someone who usually gives the show an awful lot of leeway. Even the Cold Open was lacking something this week. Then again, I've never been on TV, so what do I know?

February 13 2011 at 11:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I must have watched three different episodes from you. I watch each week figuring they are due to be funny in sketch at least by accident. I thought glen beck was the poster boy for crazy left wing politics? I guess anyone who questions Obama is crazy.

February 13 2011 at 9:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The only thing you can say about Chris is that he didn't beat anyone? Wow

February 13 2011 at 8:37 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Stefon was seriously the best part of the episode. His parts are always my favorite. I was watching the clip of his segment at 6:30 this morning sitting at the front desk of a dorm at my school (my job is to sit and check IDs). Thank god it was early and no one was walking around because I was almost on the floor b/c I was laughing so hard

February 13 2011 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark Cohen

It was a lame episode—see your comments above: at least half of the segments you reviewed as poor or meh.

Stefon and the opening monologue were the only ones I laughed at. The rest were, as usual, strange, unfunny sketches that went on too long and beat that proverbial horse into the dirt.

February 13 2011 at 5:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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