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October 9, 2015

Who Scored Big in Week 4 of SNL's Relevancy Poll?

by Mike Ryan, posted Oct 17th 2011 1:00PM
Saturday night's show was, frankly, atrocious. But right at the very moment of our darkest hour, a hero would rise up. A hero who, almost single-handedly, made 'SNL' something to talk about this week. Now, this person didn't ask to be a hero – all he really asked for was some sweets – but, sometimes, legends come out of the most unexpected places. Our hero's name is Lord Cecil Wyndemere. After four weeks, it's more than apparent that 'SNL" needs some shakeups and so does this poll. And, really, it seems like the only real life that's been in the show so far this season has come from the newer cast members. Case in point: Saturday's show was dead on arrival, but, Paul Brittain enters the room as Wyndemere and the energy explodes. Why not keep doing that? (And then, of course, all that energy went to hell once the Ferrari Calendar sketch started.) On to the poll!

1. Vanessa Bayer (Last Week: 7) This was the biggest week that Bayer has ever had on the show without the help of Miley Cyrus. Her "Tell Him" sketch was absolutely brilliant and was one of the more ambitious live sketches that's been on the show in quite some time. It wasn't just ambitious, it also worked. Not to mention "J Pop American Fun Time Now."

2. Paul Brittain (Last Week: 14) Brittain wasn't going to get the second spot initially – especially when you consider the amount of airtime that Fred Armisen had last night. But, damnit, Lord Wyndemere was just that good! When the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Brewers last night, I celebrated by doing the Lord Wyndemere dance. We should all celebrate anything by doing the Lord Wyndemere dance. Long live Lord Wyndemere. Long live Paul Brittain this high in the poll.

(A reader named Annie Kozak just sent me this delightful Lord Wyndemere gif and it is awesome. Enjoy.)

3. Abby Elliott (Last Week: 8) Abby Elliott, finally, is starting to come into her own and is finally showing us why she deserved to be promoted to the main cast last season -- partially for her Anna Faris impression in the monologue, but more for her performance in "Tell Him." I mean, seriously, watch "Tell Him" again and try to tell me that Elliott doesn't absolutely kill it during her solo.

4. Fred Armisen (Last Week: 12) Armisen quietly had a big week, airtime wise. He got the cold open all to himself as Bloomberg, then starred in "The Manuel Ortiz Show." The interesting part is that, even with all of the airtime, the biggest laugh Armisen received was a still photo of himself as Taran Killam's Japanese girlfriend in "J Pop American Fun Time Now."

5. Jason Sudeikis (Last Week: 1) It's nice to see Jason Sudeikis have fun again. I mean, he seemed downright inspired by Brittain's Wyndemere. Not to mention that he had the best lines in "J Pop."

6. Taran Killam (Last Week: 2) "J Pop" was Killam's main contribution to the show and it's one of those sketches that just feels... almost there.

7. Jay Pharoah (Last Week: 10) As I stated yesterday, I think Pharoah's lyrics – though funny! – were kind of lost in his performance with Drake. But, still, solid screen time on "Update" with Drake.

8. Andy Samberg (Last Week: 3) Samberg is an interesting case. Without the full support of his fellow Lonely Island members, it seems as if he's been, let's say, experimenting. Which is good! Anyway, aside from a few supporting roles, Samberg's contribution was his interview with Drake. Which was... fine.

9. Bobby Moynihan: (Last Week: 4)

"Hey, so, did you hear? So, the word on the street is that Bobby Moynihan is a nun. That's right, a nun. Hey, that's what I heard."
"Who told you that?"
"A guy."
"I think you mean that Bobby Moynihan is ninth, not a nun."

10. Bill Hader (Last Week: 5) Yikes. When's the last time Hader's been this low? I don't know what's going on, but Hader is far from the driving force of the show like he was last season. I mean, how in the world could this be the Halloween show without a Vincent Price sketch? And it's not like Lorne said, "Sorry, Bill, we just have too much Halloween stuff this week," because, you know, there was nothing Halloween related. Why 'SNL' decided to do four shows in a row, then take Halloween weekend off, is beyond me.

11. Kristen Wiig (Last Week: 6) It's not like Wiig wasn't around, but, other than the god-awful "Ferrari Calendar" sketch, she played supporting roles. Which, actually, it's really nice to see her in that role. Wiig, when not being eccentric, actually can make sketches better just with her presence. "Tell Him" is a good example.

12. Seth Meyers (Last Week: 12) What I want to say about Meyers is too long for this kind of a forum, but, seriously, for four weeks in a row, he's been off. When Meyers feels passionately about something, no one is better. But, for whatever reason, that has yet to happen this season. I've written this before too many times to count, but Meyers really does himself a disservice not having an "Update" co-host (ahem, Vanessa, cough, Bayer). One of Meyers' greatest strengths, even when he's not on his A-game, is his ability to banter. Why take away your greatest strength?

13: Nasim Pedrad (Last Week: 13) I'm starting to worry about Nasim Pedrad. Right now, with the (kind of unexpected) upswing as of late by Abby Elliott, Pedrad seems to be the odd female cast member out.

14. Keenan Thompson: (Last Week: 14) To put it bluntly: Keenan has been the lost cast member this season. Other than showing up as Herman Cain, Keenan was nowhere to be found.

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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October 24 2011 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I still think Nasim would make a far better WU co-anchor than Bayer. Bayer's had some nice moments (I still love her line readings in the Jesse Eisenberg penis-shrinking sketch) but she is TERRIBLE when it comes to reading off the cards.

October 18 2011 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Am I the only one unimpressed by Vanessa Bayer? Granted, her Miley Cyrus impression is pretty cool (see what I did there?) but other than that, every other character she's done look and sound exactly the same. Can anyone here actually name another character she does? She also seems like she has a hard time reading the cue cards; she's botched her delivery quite a few times, causing the jokes to fall flat!

October 17 2011 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I feel that this was really the first time all 4 featureds has really shined in the same episode, and I hope this continues. Though I hope it will not be on the cost of Nasim.
And something I noticed last night, Sex Ed Vincent was also in the 4th episode of the season, last year. Though I hope that Brittain will get a chance to follow up on it this season.

As I said last week, this could be the final year for several castmembers. I just hope that episodes like this convinces Lorne that he does indeed have a fine group of featureds ready to take over.

October 17 2011 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lordz86's comment
Mike Ryan

Agree. And Lorne would be wise to not replace the people leaving. I think the cast is a bit too large at 14.

October 17 2011 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike Ryan's comment

I agree. I think Lorne is trying to make a smooth cast-transition, the best way he can. I think that, in his 32 seasons on the show, he hasn't actually be in the situation that this many castmembers stay this long before. Usually, people leave little by little, but, by the end of the season, he stands with half a cast who could leave at any minute.

October 17 2011 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

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