'SNL' Scorecard: Did Charlie Day Have a Great Saturday Night?
by Mike Ryan, posted Nov 6th 2011 10:25AM
Well, what a difference a couple weeks off can make. Charlie Day lent his manic persona to a show that started slowly (the cold open was immediately forgettable) became worse (I wonder how many people switched off their televisions during the 'Dr. Oz' sketch), then found itself in a zone that, for the most part, built momentum as the show continued – thanks mostly to the chemistry between Day and Jason Sudeikis. Even Seth Meyers, who has often looked bored so far this season, hosted 'Update' with an aplomb that I was starting to forget existed (and having Hader visit as a drunk Rick Perry sure helped, too). There is hope! At least I have hope! Off to what just may be the first happier than not scorecard of the season...
Sketch of the Night
"Comedy Tour 2" (Ensemble) My God, I had forgotten how much I loved this sketch after the first one aired during Zach Galifianakis's show last season. Also, any sketch that gets Seth Meyers from behind the 'Update' desk is, well, pretty much only this one. This is a funny concept because it's true. There are a lot of comedians who love catchphrases! Some of them toil in clubs their whole lives. Some of them voice animated motor vehicles in Pixar movies. Life is strange! Also, I think I could actually watch an entire set of Paul Brittain's "Ohhh... Funky Boy" routine. And I don't think Charlie Day was at all trying to hide the fact that he was doing his best Dane Cook impression. (And, yes, a special treat for the sequel was Bill Hader's Rick "Watch it or I'll suck your c**k"" Tipenski.)
"Crime Scene" (Day, Sudeikis) I swear, during the commercial break when we caught a glimpse of the preparation for the next sketch, my initial reaction was, "Are they doing a 'Seinfeld' sketch? That's weird." Of course, I wasn't the only one who thought such a thing considering the layout of Jerry's apartment is now iconic -- so it was met with a big laugh when, during a murder investigation, Sudeikis' police officer acknowledges that the apartment they're in looks like Seinfeld's apartment. Day's detective doesn't own a television, so he has no idea what Seinfeld is and he's never even heard of baseball or World War II. What makes this great is the chemistry between Sudeikis and Day. Put it this way: I've never seen Sudeikis break character before, and he comes oh so close to breaking when Day enters the room as Kramer. (And, of course, this was buried as the last sketch of the night for reasons that will never make sense to me.)
"Weekend Update" (Meyers, Hader, Wiig) Here's the thing about 'Update': Those individual segments rely so heavily on Seth Meyers. And not just on Meyers' banter, which I've repeatedly claimed is his unsung strength – but when Meyers is off when he's delivering the news, that mood carries on into something like Kristen Wiig's Judy Grimes. The reason for this is because Judy Grimes really isn't funny, but it sure is impressive. But if the mood is already stagnant, Grimes is exactly the kind of thing that bombs because it's weird and people who aren't having a good time don't know how to react to something like that. This was not the case last night. Meyers brought his A game, highlighted by his biting commentary during "A Closer Look at Europe." And Hader's drunk Rick Perry was dead on. Finally! Alec Baldwin played Perry as a rootin' tootin' wrangler in the first episode, then Hader took over and didn't know quite what to do with him. Thank God for alcohol! We finally have a presidential candidate worth parodying.
"Greek Gods" (Sudeikis, Day, Ensemble) This was a pretty great idea, regardless of execution. With the Greek economy in financial ruin, the Greek Gods reconvene to solve the crises, only to discover that the gods aren't really in charge of anything useful. And there are a lot of Gods in charge of war. Also, just like "Crime Scene," this highlighted the chemistry that Sudeikis has with his 'Horrible Bosses' and 'Going the Distance' co-star Charlie Day. Actually, I'm quite surprised that we didn't see more of these two together last night.
"Dolphin Movie" (Day, Killam, Thompson, Wiig, Brittain) Somebody in the writer's room saw 'Dolphin Tale' during his or her time off! Even though the payoff at the end wasn't particularly great, the concept of an actor doing an emotional scene with a dolphin -- in this case, the dolphin had donated a kidney to his human friend -- while a trainer stands off camera delivering commands to the dolphin, is funny enough on its own. I have never even thought about that before. Then again, I still haven't seen 'Dolphin Tale.'
'Kardashian Divorce Special' (Pedrad, Bayer, Elliott, Killam, Wiig, Pharoah) I never thought the day would come where I put a Kardashian 'SNL' sketch in the "Good" category. For me, the only thing more annoying than the real Kim Kardashian is Pedrad's impression of Kim Kardashian. But in this entry, Kristen Wiig as Kris Jenner and Taran Killam as Bruce Jenner are both just too good.
"Charlie Day Monologue" (Day, DeVito) You know, I'm a firm believer that more Danny DeVito in our world is a good thing. But, yeah, this didn't work. I mean, I'm tempted to make a Limoncello joke here in reference to his flubbed lines, but that would be a bit too easy and I won't do that. I won't! Day was charming enough and I did enjoy his memories of New York City from the '70s, but his musical performance wasn't particularly memorable, even though the effort seemed to be there. (Perhaps only Galifianakis should be allowed to sing during the monologue?)
"Cold Open: Ghost of Gaddafi" (Armisen) Perhaps I grade the cold opens a bit too harsh. But, you know, these really do set the tone for the entire show. And I get it, this was really Armisen's swan song with an impression that he's done numerous times over the last couple of seasons that, most likely, is now retired. Fine. But imagine if, instead of this, Hader's brilliant drunk Rick Perry led off the show. (Also, I want to again point out, we are now through five full shows and there has not been one sketch featuring Obama.)
'Getting Freaky with Cee Lo' (Thompson, Pharoah, Moynihan, Brittain, Day, Hader, Samberg, Elliott) Huh. Was this Adam Levine's idea? This just came across as one of those "Let's throw as much shit into one sketch and see if it turns out funny" type of situations. OK, Colonel Nasty was pretty amusing. Colonel Nasty should actually have his own sketch. Actually, Colonel Nasty is all that keeps this sketch out of "The Ugly." Oh, speaking of ugly...
"Ask Dr. Oz" (Hader, Day) Poop jokes! Awesome. First of all, I'll admit, the placement of this sketch is what draws most of my ire. I mean, look, Hader's Dr. Oz impression is good -- but that's to be expected at this point from Hader. It's just, on a night that featured some really good sketches, the first live sketch after the monologue is one about poop jokes? This is what frustrates me about 'SNL': a viewer who tuned in just to give the show another chance was treated to a terrible Dr. Oz sketch for no other reason than "people know Dr. Oz." This is probably why the Kardashian segment received great placement, too. Yet, good writing gets buried at the very end because the people who watch the show only to see Kim Kardashian and Dr. Oz have gone to sleep.
(Note: 'Lil' Poundcake' was featured in an earlier episode and is not a part of this week's scorecard.)
Average Score For This Show: 6.00
Weekly Host Scorecard:
· Charlie Day 6.00
· Alec Baldwin 5.80
· Melissa McCarthy 5.45
· Ben Stiller 5.18
· Anna Faris 4.95
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