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October 9, 2015

'SNL' Scorecard: Steve Buscemi is Not a Pervert and the Return of 'Sex' Ed Vincent

by Mike Ryan, posted Dec 4th 2011 11:50AM

Oh, glory be, after more than 13 months, "Sex" Ed Vincent has returned to 'Saturday Night Live.' Funny, back in October of 2010, if I would have had a sneak peak at the upcoming hosts for the next year, yeah, my initial reaction would have been, "Yep, 'Sex' Ed will return during the Buscemi show." Speaking of Buscemi, honestly, I can't remember a thing about the last time he hosted in 1998 (and I watch a lot of 'SNL') – that will not be the case this time around. Buscemi's show was such a solid engagement... that is until, for the second show in a row, an eccentric Kristin Wiig character brought the show to a screeching halt. On to the scorecard!

Sketch of the Night

"Coach Burt" (Buscemi, Sudeikis, Killam, Thompson, Pharoah) A few weeks ago I mentioned that 'SNL' couldn't have handled the Penn State scandal (and now Syracuse) better than they did with Jason Sudeikis playing the Devil on "Weekend Update." My God, they really outdid themselves with "Coach Burt." Buscemi plays Coach Burt, a man who has never been accused of any sort of sexual abuse in any way, but a full investigation was launched because he looks kinda weird and has a mustache. Not the most laugh-out-loud hilarious sketch of the year, but, as far as crafting a comedy sketch based on a horrible, horrible subject – this is, to this point in the season, 'SNL' at its absolute best. The first perfect "10" of the season.

Score: 10.0

The Good

"Sex Ed Couples Therapy" (Brittain, Buscemi) What else can I say about "Sex" Ed Vincent? I've been begging Brittain to make this a recurring sketch (or, more likely, begging Lorne to let Brittain make this a recurring sketch). And now it is. And it was glorious. The credit card!

Score: 8.5

"Frozen Mexican Dinner" (Brittain, Buscemi) If you're going to do poop jokes, 'SNL,' this is how you do poop jokes. For me, the biggest single laugh of the night was Buscemi's line, "How's it not work? Eat it!"

Score 7.5

"Digital Short: Batman" (Samberg, Buscemi, Brittain) My first thought during this short was, "Wow, Buscemi does make a pretty solid Commissioner Gordon." OK, yes, the Christian Bale Batman voice parody has been done to death. To death! But I laughed a lot more than I should have during this sketch. Less the voice and more the inappropriate popping in and out.

Score: 7.0

"Steve Buscemi Monologue" (Buscemi, Ensemble) A fake Q&A from the "audience" is never a good sign for a monologue. But, you know, this was pretty darn funny. The cast played character actors asking how they could make the jump, like Buscemi, to a lead role. More than anyone, Kenan was on his game, playing Chance, the magical African American.

Score 6.5

"Weekend Update" (Meyers, Thompson, Moynihan) This was ... OK. Kenan as Herman Cain was ... OK. Moynihan as a new character, Drunk Uncle, was ... better than OK. Meyers wasn't on fire like he's been the last three shows, but, thankfully, he didn't look bored like he did to start the season. The best line of the evening was about congress' secret Santa program where "the Democrats give the Republicans a gift, and that's it."

Score: 6.5

The Bad

"Dateline" (Hader, Killam, Buscemi, Wiig) The first time that I saw Bill Hader do his Keith Morrison impression, man, I thought it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. And, yeah, it's still funny, but the one note joke has lost a lot of its luster, a bit.

Score: 5.5

"Cold Open: Obama in One" (Armisen) This was the eighth 'SNL' of the season and it was the first to feature a parody of our current Commander in Chief. And, yes, I can see why. Those holding out hope for a handoff to Jay Pharoah were waiting for naught – it's still Armisen. This sketch just made me ... sad. On many levels. But, the list of entities more powerful than the President was, well, also sad. But at least the inclusion of Tyler Perry made me laugh (because it's true).

Score: 5.0

"Miley Cyrus Show" (Bayer, Sudeikis, Rudolph, Buscemi) I know, I know: Cyrus was in the news this week. So, yeah, we all saw this one coming. But I really hate how 'SNL' plays to the cheap seats. With a sketch as brilliant as "Coach Burt" buried later in the show, it's frustrating that this gets such prime real estate just because it features a parody of a popular entertainer. Oh, and Maya Rudolph. Rudolph is at her absolute best when she's understated (see: "Bridesmaids"). I know she hasn't been a guest on 'SNL' in a while, so maybe she was trying to make every moment count, but understated this was not.

Score: 4.5

"Ornaments" (Buscemi, Wiig) Can someone explain this sketch to me? Because I sure the hell can't explain it. I'm usually quite the fan of the "weird last sketch of the night," but this one just seemed... unfinished.

Score: 3.5

The Ugly

"Surprise Lady" (Wiig, Buscemi, Hader, Elliott, Brittain) This was embarrassing. I was actually embarrassed for Kristen Wiig as she threw herself around the stage. On a night with such nuanced and clever comedy, rehashing this tired bit was very unfortunate. And, yes, for the second show in a row, a night that was running, for the most part, on all cylinders was completely derailed. Last night, during the show, I Tweeted, "Kristen Wiig is very talented, but it will be a benefit to SNL when she leaves the show." I wrote that in bit of haste after a bad sketch, but I do believe that it's true. I will add that leaving the show would be a benefit to her, too.

Score: 1.0

Average Score For This Show: 5.95

Weekly Host Scorecard:

· Jason Segel 6.05
· Charlie Day 6.00
· Steve Buscemi 5.95
· Emma Stone 5.85
· Alec Baldwin 5.80
· Melissa McCarthy 5.45
· Ben Stiller 5.18
· Anna Faris 4.95

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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I must be crazy because I laughed the most at the ornaments sketch at the end. Some crazy dude and his even crazier lady decorating the Christmas tree? Perfect for Buscemi. And I think it made it better that it was rough around the edges. I thought you would like it, Mike.

December 05 2011 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone catch or figure out why there was an edit in the Kristen Wiig "Suprise Lady" sketch when Kristen was taking off her shirt? She started out (I think) pulling up her shirt, then they showed to two co-workers to the left, you hear the audience laughing and an obvious edit in the laughter, then you see Kristen with her shirt over her head showing off her bra. Just curious if anyone on the east coast got an unedited view of what happened? PS. If anyone thought that "Ornaments" sketch was remotely funny, they have a horrible case of "The Emporer's New Clothes Syndrome". You get no bonus 'Only semi-insane people get it, and I'm so cool and semi-insane that I TOTALLY GET IT" points.

December 05 2011 at 12:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Alberta Lulu Jones

If there is no improv on SNL, what do we have: 2.5 men.

December 05 2011 at 12:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alberta Lulu Jones

I like the concept of SNL, but it has been lost , maybe 20 years ago. What happened to the funny stuff? Too safe now? Well, maybe it's time to bury the show.

Alas. Loved what i used to be.

December 04 2011 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I disagree with you about Kristen Wiig, I really like her on the show.

December 04 2011 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alberta Lulu Jones

Also, if that idiotic character with the tiny hands ever shows up again, I will throw a cat against the teevee.

December 04 2011 at 5:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Alberta Lulu Jones's comment

The Lawrence Welk spoof!? That was my favorite!! So funny.

December 04 2011 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agreed. The Lawrence Welk bit is some of the crappiest writing I have ever seen. That, sadly, is par for the course these days on SNL. They have 1 or two really funny sketches and the rest is differing levels of crap. The show would probably be best served by cutting it to a half hour or at least an hour.

December 05 2011 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alberta Lulu Jones

When are we going to see more of Jay Pharaoh? He does a dead on Obama. The rest of the current cast, with exception of Moynihan and Thompson are tired. Can't watch 1.5 hours for a brief flash of originality.

I'm always surprised at how under used the guest stars are.

December 04 2011 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Crazy Clever

What bothers me is how unengaged the characters are with each other. For example, I hated how Buscemi was looking at the exact same spot for the entire "Surprise Lady" sketch. He was very clearly reading off a cue card the entire time, and I don't even recall him looking over to the table -- at the very characters he was supposed to be speaking to.

December 04 2011 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Crazy Clever's comment
Mike Ryan

To be fair, everyone reads off of the cue cards. You're supposed to, as opposed to learning the lines. The script changes so often and up to the last second, the instructions are never to memorize the lines.

December 04 2011 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just as our opinions are typically split when one of the more bizarre sketches airs, I think Ornaments was somewhat funnier than you give it credit for. I'd give it at least 2 more points.

I'd dock points from some of the other sketches, though. I agree overall on the quality of the episode. Writing wasn't great, but Buscemi is Febreeze for stinky dialogue.

Couldn't believe how much Pharoah was in this episode. Maybe this is the beginning of SNL figuring out how to use him? I would generally agree that I'd rather they take chances with the new cast members than to drag out more "Wiig as crazy woman" skits.

December 04 2011 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to brianvan's comment
Mike Ryan

In the earlier comment you said that I don't like the weird, end of the night sketches. I think for the most part that I do. One of my favorites of all time is the Sudeikis-Forte "NASA" sketch. So, again, *usually* the last sketch of the night is one of my favorites, so I'm not sure where that's coming from.

And, yes, Pharoah was everywhere. Which means we probably won't see him again until 2012.

December 04 2011 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I almost think it was the best episode of the season. I would have placed Ornaments higher, but, other than that, I agree with your ranking.

Rudolph could not have played Houston understated. That would be contrary to everything Houston. And kudos to Bayer, for being able to find a way to play her already crazed Cyrus as a pothead. Had someone asked me before the show, I would have said that there was no way Bayers Miley could be portrayed as any higher than she already was.

Wiig would be a fool, if she didn't leave after this season. I am kind of surprised that she didn't leave before this season, but I think it was Sudeikis that said something to the effect of Lorne holding him to his contract for one more year, so he might have held on to Wiig as well. Wiig is one of the most talented performers there are, but I think she, more than anyone on the cast, enjoys playing it as loudly as she can.

December 04 2011 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lordz86's comment
Mike Ryan

Oh, I know about Rudolph's Houston. I guess that I just don't like Rudolph's over the top characters -- and I know Houston is one of them. But, yes, if she's doing Houston, that's what we're getting. But, as far as playing Houston in general, when's the last time you saw her that boisterous. A little nuts, yes. But boisterous?

December 04 2011 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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