by Mike Ryan, posted Dec 12th 2011 1:00PM
Kristen Wiig had a great week. It's not going to come as too much of a surprise to anyone that she's at the top of the list this week. The problem is, when Wiig excels, the rest of the female cast suffers. That's just the way it seems to be. This problem is heightened when there's a female host – in that since the Tina Fey era, it's not exactly like it's been easy to get airtime as a female cast member (sans Wiig). So add one more female to the equation as a host and, well, you'll see.
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...
by Mike Ryan, posted Dec 5th 2011 12:45PM
The interesting thing about "Coach Bert," the best sketch this past Saturday night, was that no cast-member really stood out – at least as far at the Relevancy Poll is concerned. The concept and the writing were perfect, but it was played so straight, other than Buscemi, it's hard to remember who was even in the sketch. One of the lesser sketches of the night, "Miley Cyrus Show," was all about Vanessa Bayer. And to Bayer's credit, having a recurring sketch as popular as "Cyrus" is quite the coup. So, sorry Taran Killam, you were great in "Coach Bert," but it doesn't help you much around these parts. And so it goes with the Relevancy Poll...
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!
by Mike Ryan, posted Nov 21st 2011 1:45PM
It was a very crowded week for our favorite 'SNL' players. Not only did they have to share the spotlight with Jason Segel --who appeared to be glowing from having so much fun – but they also had to share the spotlight with the Muppets. Also, a key element of success on the Relevancy Poll was missing this week: The "Weekend Update" segments. I mean, yes, there were two segments, but they were monopolized by the real John Huntsman and then, later, by Kermit the Frog. Who's number one? Let's find out!
by Mike Ryan, posted Nov 20th 2011 11:50AM
There's a danger in looking too forward to an individual 'SNL' host just because, on paper, they should excel. Too often I've thought, "Well, this person will obviously be great,' only to have that person come off as flat or uninterested. Jason Segel's name immediately jumped out as a potentially great host. I mean, yes, he was obviously going to bring the Muppets with him, that was a given. But this is a guy who has made it clear that hosting 'SNL' has been a lifelong dream. But Segel is a writer. Sometimes writers come to the show with ideas in mind (like Segel obviously did with "Andre the Giant Gets an Ice Cream") that aren't necessarily great. But, happily, Segel brought his A-game and he brought Paul Rudd because, well, why not bring Paul Rudd? On to a very happy Scorecard!
by Mike Ryan, posted Nov 14th 2011 1:15PM
The reason that Emma Stone is such a good host is that she could easily be a cast member. The sketches don't have to feature her; she can just blend in and play a supporting character. In other words: she doesn't have to be the center of attention. Because of this, it leads to a show in which the cast can really shine. And, collectively, they did! But there were a few that had really standout weeks, including our surprise winner...
by Mike Ryan, posted Nov 13th 2011 12:40PM
Last season, Emma Stone hosted 'SNL' for the first time, a show that would introduce us to "Sex" Ed Vincent and "Les Jeunes de Paris." For Stone's return visit, "Les Jeunes de Paris" was back for a third time (sadly, "Sex" Ed still isn't back) – in fact, for whatever reason, of the first eight sketches of the night (including the two Update segments), only the Digital Short wasn't a recurring sketch. Even the Spider-Man monologue was a recurring sketch! Regardless, it doesn't matter -- Stone has now proven twice that she's a terrific host. But, after four subpar shows in a row to start the season, could Stone keep the momentum going that started with Charlie Day's show last week? On to the Scorecard!
by Mike Ryan, posted Nov 7th 2011 12:45PM
For whatever reason, I had a feeling that Saturday night's show was going to be one of the better efforts of the season. Maybe I'm psychic! (Unfortunately, I'm not psychic.) Too often, when making 'SNL' predictions, the discussions break down into either, "Well, he's funny," or, "She was great in this movie, ergo, she will be a terrific 'SNL' host." (For the record, I may be the only person alive who instigates these type of discussions.) Here's really the most important intangible of being a great 'SNL' host: playing well with others. Charlie Day played well with others. So much so that everyone got themselves into the act this week, which, with a cast this big, is rare. But that's what made it good! So, with that, on to this week's slightly crowded Relevancy Poll...
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...
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!
by Mike Ryan, posted Oct 16th 2011 1:20PM
So, do you want the good news first or do you want the bad news? "The good news first," you may or may not have said? Well, the good news is that after a rare four week run of live shows, 'SNL' has two weeks off to recharge. And, wow, do they need it. I mean, could last night's Anna Faris monologue have been any more phoned in? It's always a bad sign when the writing staff resorts to "fake Q&A with the audience,' but, my God, at least sometimes those can still be funny. Also, more good news: Jason Sudeikis' pal Charlie Day will be the next host on November 5, which should bring some much needed comedic inspiration. Of course, the bad news: last night's show was somewhat awful. Also, Faris introduced the show as the "Halloween show" – but where was the Halloween? Where was Hader's Vincent Price sketch? Come to think of it, where was Anna Faris? Anna Faris is funny! Why wasn't she featured more often? Regardless, thankfully, near the end of the show, there were a couple of gems. (Actually, this show, for as bad as it was overall, had my two favorite sketches of the season.) On to the scorecard...
by Mike Ryan, posted Oct 10th 2011 1:00PM
The quality of Saturday's show aside, this was the first week that really allowed the cast to be featured on the front lines. Which, yes, lead to a few shakeups in the Relevancy Poll. It is striking, though, to watch the differences in airtime that featured players Taran Killam and Paul Brittain have been receiving. Both guys seem extremely talented, yet Killam is getting more time than even a lot of the full-time cast members are while, at the same time, we are starting to worry about Brittain's future on the show.
'SNL' Scorecard: With Ben Stiller's Show Being This Bad, It's No Wonder Why Eddie Murphy Didn't Show Up
by Mike Ryan, posted Oct 9th 2011 2:00PM
'Saturday Night Live' did itself such a disservice by not immediately squashing the rumors of an Eddie Murphy appearance on last night's show. As we pointed out on Wednesday: this was most likely never, ever going to happen. But it would have been really fantastic if it had – and that's the problem: Anything less than an Eddie Murphy cameo is going to be a letdown. (And it doesn't help when the show is as lackluster as last night's Ben Stiller hosted effort.) I mean, Hugh Jackman showed up. From all accounts, people like Hugh Jackman. He's one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Do you know who Hugh Jackman isn't? Hugh Jackman isn't Eddie Murphy. Hugh Jackman isn't a guy who has openly despised the show that made him famous and then gave the world a glimmer of hope this week that this feud may be coming to an end. A world where 'SNL' and Eddie Murphy are on good terms is a world that I want to live in. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world. We live in a world that teases us with the hope of that world – and, sadly, that's a kinda dickish world to live in. On to the scorecard...
by Mike Ryan, posted Oct 3rd 2011 10:30AM
Even though the results were disappointing, this week's 'SNL' was, again, very host-centric – meaning there wasn't a ton of lead-role airtime to go around for cast members. Though, Jay Pharoah managed to get his first sketch of the season on the air, while poor Paul Brittain was nearly shut out. But who leads the poll after the second week of the season? A show hosted by 'Bridesmaids' star Melissa McCarthy? It should be no surprise that the top spot goes to...
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