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'SNL' Scorecard: Not Even Matt Damon Could Save Katy Perry's Terrible Show

by Mike Ryan, posted Dec 11th 2011 12:40PM

Katy Perry wasn't listed as the 'SNL' musical guest last night (that was Robyn), but, boy, she sure did sing a lot. Of the eight segments that Perry made an appearance in, she sang in six of them. I'm sorry, but that's pretty telling that the writers didn't know what else to really do with her. And to be fair to the writers: from what we saw of Perry, they probably did the best that they could. And it's always a bad sign when the host plays his or herself, which, yeah, she did that, too. I appreciate Perry willing to stretch herself as host instead of "musical guest who also appears in a sketch", but, yeesh, this was pretty bad. Not even Matt Damon and Val Kilmer could save this show. But, hey: At least Kristen Wiig had a good show. And 'Weekend Update' saved this show from being the worst of the season. Barely. On to a pretty ugly scorecard...

Sketch of the Night

"Weekend Update" (Meyers, Wiig, Baldwin, Hader) It's a good sign when Stefon is the worst part of 'Update.' (And, yes, I'm over the already worn out Stefon.) Kristin Wiig's Rebecca Larue is, without a doubt, the funniest thing that she has done this season. Alec Baldwin playing the pilot of the American Airlines flight that Baldwin was removed from, who was there to publicly apologize to Baldwin, was a fairly deft way of handling that situation. (Though, why was the pilot named Steve Rogers? Is that the pilot's real name? Is there a Captain America joke in there I'm not getting?) With three segments, Meyers didn't have a lot of time for news, but there was a sharpness in his game that almost made me forget that he's in the dreadful 'New Year's Eve' that came out this weekend. Almost.

Score: 8.5

The Good

'Digital Short: Best Friends' (Samberg, Perry, Damon, Kilmer) It's probably not too much of a surprise that Perry's best performance of the night came in the form of a pre-taped music video type segment. And hey: Matt Damon and Val Kilmer showed up, too! For me, the biggest laugh of the night was watching Matt Damon blow his brain out while playing Russian roulette. Did not see that one coming!

(Also: Katy Perry sings!)

Score: 8.0

"One Magical Night" (Moynihan, Perry, Sudeikis, Ensemble) I love Moynihan's comic sensibilities – at least when he's given a chance to use them. Hey, look at this: Moynihan wrote a sketch that used Katy Perry in a smart, funny way without her having to sing. So of course you'll want to bury that sketch at the very end of the show. Also, I wasn't sure where this was headed, but there was actually a satisfying payoff at the end. Again, why this was buried at the end, I'll never know.

Score: 7.5

"New Year's Eve Sequel" (Ensemble) Hey, Seth Meyers, you do realize that you're actually in the terrible, terrible movie that this commercial is parodying, right? When this was pitched, I wonder if that little fact was forgotten right before a nervous hush swept through Lorne's office. Or maybe it was pitched by Meyers himself in a sort of, 'I can't be in this sketch, but let's please do this because I can't believe I agreed to be in 'New Year's Eve.'" And who knew that Kristen Wiig could do such a wonderful Kim Cattrall? And I will point this out every single time that it happens: I love Bill Hader's Alan Alda.

(Also: Katy Perry sings!)

Update: I watched this again for any inkling of Meyers. Found him! Playing himself, it appears. I think this confirms that he had quite a bit to do with this sketch.

Score: 6.5

"J-Pop Talk Show" (Killam, Bayer, Perry, Sudeikis) This was much better the first time this sketch aired. I was actually kind of afraid that it would become a recurring sketch because of its format. You see, talk show sketches have a funny way of becoming recurring because it's easy to insert the host into the sketch, as was done here. But what was really funny the first time around – two Michigan State students base their knowledge of Japanese culture on anime – falls a little flat the second time around. It's still funny, but the joke is, let's say, older. And before it's brought back for a third time, which I'm sure it will be, it would probably be wise to take this in a different direction than just making it a carbon copy of the first. (Though, the Yao Ming joke pretty much single-handedly sneaked this into the "good.")

(Also: Katy Perry sings!)

Score: 6.0

The Bad

'Doggie Duty' (Armisen, Sudeikis, Wiig, Hader, Samberg, Perry) As much as I enjoy a good Spin Doctors joke, I've grown to despise sketches like this: "So, Katy Perry is a singer. How can we write yet another sketch in which she sings? Oh yeah: Let's do another fake soundtrack sketch and have everybody in the cast just do... whomever. It doesn't matter .. anyone!"

(Also, yes: Katy Perry sings!)

Score: 5.0

'Pippa Visits the Queen' (Armisen, Hader, Elliott, Perry, Samberg, Killam) I guess these sketches are popular because they keep happening. The first time I saw it I thought the idea of a Cockney Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip was slightly amusing. Yep, I think this one has officially worn out its welcome.

(Also: Katy Perry sings!)

Score: 4.0

'Cold Open: On the Record' (Hammond, Wiig, Samberg, Moynihan) As much as I enjoy Darrell Hammond (I'm currently reading his book and it is beyond fascinating), this one feels like it's still going. I get that Donald Trump is a blowhard. We all know this. We don't need this long of a sketch with nonstop dialogue from Hammond as Trump to prove this to America. Come on, 'SNL': If you're going to bring Hammond back, make him useful.

Score: 3.5

'Katy Perry Monologue' (Perry, Wiig, Samberg, Hader) Good lord this was indulgent. "Hey: look at all of these wacky characters that I've created. Look at me!" You know, maybe it wasn't supposed to come off that way, but it really did. I mean, we're talking about characters from music videos. Also: I really can't wait for that after paty that was mentioned twice that none of us are invited to.

(The clip isn't on Hulu for what I'm sure are music rights issues, but here's a YouTube clip that may or may not be working by the time you try to watch it. And, yep, you guessed it: Katy Perry sings!)

Score: 3.0

"Politics Nation with Al Sharpton" (Thompson, Perry, Killam) The best thing I can say about this sketch is that at least Katy Perry didn't sing. This was painful. I'm often asked, "Why, on your weekends off, would you want to write about 'SNL'? That show is bad." (Yes, this really does happen a lot.) When this happens, I always assume that it is sketches like this that he or she has been watching. Not even gleefully bad: just three and a half minutes of nothing.

Score: 2.5

The Ugly

"Finnish Talk Show" (Wiig, Perry) Wiig had a very, very good night this week. And even though this is the worst sketch of the night, it wasn't Wiig's fault – at least performance wise. Concept wise: this is a dud. There's absolutely no reason that Katy Perry should be playing herself. Actually, there's no reason that a host should ever play his or herself outside of the monologue. Would you like to know what makes Katy Perry playing herself even worse? Katy Perry is very bad at playing herself. And the "we have a clip" joke wasn't a bad idea, but it really feels like there was something more interesting that could have been done.

(And, one last time, even though it's in a clip: Katy Perry sings!)

Score: 1.5

Average Score For This Show: 5.09

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
· Katy Perry 5.09
· Anna Faris 4.95

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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Geez, buddy... You NEED to stop hating on SNL! My guess is that your some bitter old man who wishes that SNL was just as good as it was "In the old days".
Well stop being a Scrooge, stop and smell the new and improved artificial roses. Just because the show isn't exactly what it was in the 80's doesn't mean it's not just as good. It's geared towards a different audience now! And while I admit it has it's bad sketches (let's be honest, it ALWAYS has), none of them are near as bad as you make them out to be. For instance, the Finnish talk show sketch was one of my favorites of the night! And you gave it a 1.5?! That's just an abuse of the power you wrongly think you have. This site isn't a place for you to complain about your personal quibbles with this fantastic variety show. Go do that on a blog, bone-bag.

Much love,
Jonathan Quinney

December 18 2011 at 7:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It's also pretty funny that if you Google reviews of the show, yours is pretty much the only bad review out there.

Nuff said.

December 12 2011 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have a couple of questions:

1. How could you NOT mention Robyn, who was amazing?

2. What's an "AOL?"

December 12 2011 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sadly, comedy is far too subjective for a review with any negativity to come off as anything other than smug to anyone who enjoyed it. I agree with some of your points, but I found this episode to be very funny, especially the Finnish talk show that you hated. To each his own, I guess.

December 12 2011 at 3:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The cold open and Weekend Update were the best parts of the show...and not just because Katy Perry was not in them.

December 12 2011 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Katy Perry=Terrible show. Sorta redundant. Did anyone really expect anything?

December 12 2011 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anthony Wickizer

I actually think Kalle could be a great sketch with a much better Host. Katie Perry was kind of awful. She kept stumbling and didn't actually feel like she was indignant about the clips. Plus it used an understated Wiig which is nice.

December 11 2011 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Enjoyed it. Not a great show, but a solid one. They did go heavy on the impressions, but a lot of them worked: Perry as Florence, and Wiig's Drew Barrymore voice was so good it might have been dubbed, part of her best night of the year.

But really, you missed the headline: the return of Scred.

Google it, youngsters.

December 11 2011 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
O Nikos

Satisfying payoff for One Magical Night? I don't see it.

December 11 2011 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alberta Lulu Jones

A very poor night without Jay Pharaoh. The standard cast is past its ready for primetime.

December 11 2011 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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