Tag Archives: SNL

In 7 days…

During this fortnight that is Wimbledon, I can’t get enough tennis.

7DaysInHell-720x1066But that’s not why I loved and fervently recommend 7 Days in Hell, the hilarious mockumentary scheduled to air this Saturday night on HBO.

(I saw it early OnDemand. Gotta love OnDemand.)

Andy Samberg (SNL, Brooklyn 99) is Aaron Williams, a washed up former tennis star long removed from the game who returns for one last epic match against his bitter rival, young tennis phenom Charles Poole, played by Kit Harington (the late — or is he? — Jon Snow of Game of Thrones).

The match goes the full five sets and, since it is played at Wimbledon, does not have a tie break in the final set. So the play goes on and on — for a variety of bizarre reasons — for seven long days.

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut will be a tad jealous when they see why.  (They hold the real record for the longest match at Wimbledon, iffin you didn’t know — 11 hours, 5 minutes of play over three days.)

There are tons of cameos by celebrities from television, film, tennis, even the world of magic. The story is outrageous, but the documentary format is honored, so it looks right…

Even though it is gloriously wrong.

Acid wash

boyfriend jeansWhat does the term ‘boyfriend jeans’ mean to you?

Loose jeans? Distressed jeans?  Or…

Super sexy jeans?

Old Navy is now selling this popular style to girls and babies, and continuing to call them boyfriend jeans. Some parents and psychologists argue that this name is inappropriate for such a young clientele, who shouldn’t be thinking about wearing their boyfriend’s jeans or even have a boyfriend at all.

In the words of Seth and Amy at the SNL Weekend Update desk — “Really?”

I’d argue that the ‘highly sexualized nature’ of the name lies in the minds of these doctors and parents. Jeans shoppers have heard it in the marketplace for years; it simply means ‘loose fitting.’  Any babies and little girls made aware of the name will define it in terms of their own innocent friendships (unless their parents attempt to explain it in an adult context and scar them forever).

Keep calm and carry on, parents. There are far bigger boogie men out there to fight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly away

Attention Saturday Night Live fans:  Gilly and Penelope are no more.

But are the right girls getting the boot?

Kristen Wiig announced her  popular characters’ demise in a Times article promoting her upcoming movie Bridesmaids.

Lorne Michaels didn’t kill the characters; Kristen did.  She felt — with good reason — that their time had come and gone.

Funny that she doesn’t have the same good sense about herself.

Wiig has been with SNL since 2005 and is no doubt one of its strongest female cast members.  [In the interview, Michaels places her in the “top three or four” of all time.]

But her other female contemporaries have moved on to bigger and better things — Tina Fey to 30 Rock, Date Night, and the smash best seller Bossypants.  Amy Poehler is on the funniest sitcom on TV today, Parks & Recreation.  And Maya Rudolph is splitting her time between babies and movies, her latest the aforementioned Bridesmaids with Wiig.

Wiig is no less talented than those who have gone before her…and she’s certainly had no trouble scoring movie roles the last few years. She just can’t seem to cut the SNL apron strings.

I can think of a few things that will help her with that…

Abby Elliott.  Vanessa Bayer.  Nasim Pedrad.  And the writers, whose sketches of late already seem to be favoring the younger blood in the cast.

Leave while you’re on top, Kristen.  Wait around much longer and people are gonna confuse you with Darrell Hammond.

Icky.

Twins

It was kinda like doing a Facebook search and finding three results…

…but a whole lot funnier.

As soon as Jesse Eisenberg was announced as guest host on “Saturday Night Live” — where Adam Samberg does a pretty funny Mark Zuckerberg himself — folks started talking about how hilarious it would be if the real Facebook founder were to make an appearance on the show.

It was an almost impossible get.  Zuckerberg has been pretty vocal about his opinion of “The Social Network” — both its perceived inaccuracies and his portrayal, which Eisenberg himself described as his “interpretation of a fictional character.”

Ah, the power of words.

Well, Lorne Michaels made the impossible possible, and the ‘three Zucks’ opened the show.  It was funny… and awkward.  And I’m sure a few people were pretty embarrassed.

Namely, “The Social Network” casting director.

When you see Andy Samberg and Mark Zuckerberg standing together, and hear them speak and see them smile…it’s kinda amazing.

They are as genetically similar as the dread Winklevi.

Andy might not have been nominated for an Oscar for the role like Eisenberg was, but I’ll bet Zuckerberg would have easily seen himself in the performance.

How could he not?

Not ready for primetime

I haven’t had much to say about “Saturday Night Live” this season.

That’s because SNL has brought so little to the table.

They lost two cast members and hired four others this year, so it’s understandable that it would take some time for the group to gel.  But the writing has been pretty crappy overall — with a bright spot here and there — and most guest hosts’ talents have been wasted.

Like Emma Stone, for example.

Here is a very funny, versatile young comedic actress, and SNL cast her as the straight man in pretty much all of the sketches.  She did have a bright spot in the SNL Digital Short, because they let her be the star in that one.

Novel idea.  They should have considered that a few more times in the program…since she was the guest host, and there were at least a few people who tuned in because she was appearing.

They did the same thing when Bryan Cranston hosted.  He was used primarily in supporting roles, when he was used at all.

I can appreciate the fact that they need to establish the new cast members and their characters and imitations.  But when the guest hosts look bad, SNL looks bad.

Guess how things are lookin’ this year?

Judging Amy

I don’t think Amy Poehler should be the guest host for the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.”

In the two years since she left the show, she’s been back numerous times to do stints on “Weekend Update,” imitate Hillary Clinton, and guest star on the Betty White special.  She still seems like a member of the cast.

Why bring her back now as a “guest host,” especially when the show is introducing four new cast members?

The two new girls — Vanessa Bayer from Second City and Taran Killiam from The Groundlings — will already have to fight tooth and nail for every moment on stage, since most female roles seem to go automatically to Kristen Wiig.

Now you’re adding Amy Poehler to the mix…so all they can hope for is the rudimentary waitress role or maybe the face-in-the crowd scene.  If they get lucky, they’ll be a reporter asking a question from the audience.

Wow — that rocks.

Don’t get me wrong.  When you consider all “Saturday Night Live” femmes — current and former — Amy is near the top of the list.  She’s not only an amazing improviser, character actor and comedienne, but in all interviews and conversations, she appears to be a down-to-earth, nice person.

That is a rare compliment indeed in that business.

But half the fun of “Saturday Night Live” is bringing in an A-list celebrity who’s not the first name in comedy and seeing what they can do.  Remember how unexpectedly great Peyton Manning was as a guest host?  Or Brian Williams from “NBC Nightly News”?  Even a great dramatic actor can quickly lose his footing on SNL — or be amazing like Christopher Walken.  And that’s what we want to see…not a very-very-recent cast member who seems like she never left.

So, while I’m sad Amy’s sitcom “Parks and Recreation” is on hiatus until mid-season — and she’s no doubt looking to fill her schedule — I think there are plenty of other celebs out there (not to mention the new cast members, hello) who are chomping at the bit for the opportunity to show what they can do in the comedy arena.

But Amy?  Girl, you’re good to go.  Give our best to Will and the boys.

Next “SNL” Star

Dear Lorne Michaels:

It’s been over a decade since we never met in your office at “Saturday Night Live.”  I conferred instead with your creative director on the greeting card line Hallmark was developing to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show.

However, I did sit in your chair, so I think we made a connection.

That’s why, lo these many years later, I feel I can talk casting with you…now that Will Forte has announced he’s leaving the show after eight seasons.

Hire Tim Mason.

You know Tim.  He’s  a comedian on the main stage at Second City in Chicago.  I recently saw him perform in the new show “Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies,” and was blown away by his command of the stage and range of characters.  He was funny, funny, smart.

Plus, I know SNL has to cast by type — just like any other show — and I think Tim is a ringer to fill Will’s slot.  I mean, seriously — take a look.

Perfect, right?

Full disclosure: I know Tim from his early improv days in Kansas City. You know Kansas City — the town that produced Jason Sudeikis, Paul Rudd and Rob Riggle.

That’s a pretty impressive pedigree.

Return to the well, Lorne.  You won’t regret it.

The envelope please…

Awards shows?  I’m a fan.

Even though the entertainment value is spotty at best, I still like to watch.  You never know when an overexcited, drunk celebrity is going to say or do something really embarrassing.

Television at its best!

Last night I added a new awards show to my annual must-see list  — the ESPYs, ESPN’s sports awards.  I’ve never watched them before because, well, they’ve never been hosted by Seth Meyers of SNL.  He was the draw.  I thought it would be a fun show.

And it was.  Ya know why?

The awards were almost an afterthought.  The show was all comedy and musical numbers.  When the ESPYs did focus on an award — like the Courage Award, for example — they did these amazing pieces of sports journalism that were beautifully written, photographed and edited.  You couldn’t look away.

It was an awards show, but first and foremost, it was entertainment.

And as an awards show junkie, I just want to say thank you.  And I hope the producers and directors of the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys were watching.  You could learn something.

Oh — and I’d like to highlight my favorite acceptance speech of the night…from the Best Breakthrough Athlete, Chris Johnson of Tennessee, who so clearly defined our priorities in the digital age:

“First of all, I want to thank God, most of all. Without Him it wouldn’t be possible. I want to thank all the fans who voted for me, I want to thank all my friends and family. I want to thank Ustream and I want to thank Twitter most of all. And if you got a Twitter, follow me at ChrisJohnson28.”

Long live the awards show!

Big wind

So, I’ve been perusing the celebrity gossip sites today (so you don’t have to), and there’s a new breeze blowing across the land.

Remember how you had to be thin to make it in Hollywood?

Now, you’re pretty much hated if you are.

Take Sarah Jessica Parker.  She’s sporting these muscle-only arms of late…and folks are having a field day.  Not admiring the lack of flab or anything like that.

They are pretty much grossed out.

And then there’s Tina Fey.  She’s been everywhere of late.  “30 Rock” is the sitcom of the moment.  Her movie “Date Night” with Steve Carell won the weekend box office.  She hosted a hilarious episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

She’s also been sexing it up on all her magazine covers and even the photo bumps in Saturday’s SNL.  But people want the frumpy Tina back…not this new, thin, mega-styled, air-brushed version.

Part of me applauds this grassroots call for real women to have real bodies.  Whether or not Hollywood will respond is another thing altogether.

But I have to wonder: would any of these people calling for normalcy — if placed in the same position — be able to resist becoming a bit plastic themselves?

Heck, if I achieved stardom — if money was no object — I’m pretty sure I would find it hard to resist a bit of de-frumping.

Who am I kidding?  I wouldn’t even put up a fight.

One note

Has a mere fortnight passed since I praised the writers of “Saturday Night Live” — and musical/guest host Taylor Swift — for a very, very funny show?

Seems so long ago now.

They followed that stellar evening with the hosting tragedy of January Jones from “Mad Men.”  Funny — she and Taylor are both tall, beautiful blondes, but wow — the comparisons end there.  January couldn’t tell a joke, keep a straight face, play different characters — hell, even read a cue card.

Some people are born to play supporting roles.

On a more positive note, our friend Jason Sudeikis was in pretty much every sketch…so good for him.

Last night’s show had tremendous potential in the guest hosting turn of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  His most recent movie was the oh-so-wonderful anti-romantic comedy “500 Days of Summer,” but he has been equally brilliant in darker indie films like “Brick” and “Mysterious Skin.”

Joe had a much better show overall, but SNL fell into one of its old habits, which kept Joe’s show from being a Taylor Swift uber-success:  they found out that he could sing — something we haven’t seen him do much on TV or film — and they had him sing the entire show.

Uhh….why?

Joe singing his monologue was surprising and funny.  But then Joe played a Latin American singer in the next game show sketch…and sang.  Then Joe played singer Jason Mraz in a talk show sketch — and sang.  Then Joe played a cruise ship singer — and sang  — in a Thanksgiving dinner sketch.

We get it.  Joe can sing.  But is that all you guys got?

Taylor Swift is a singer, but she only sang her monologue and one other “greatest hits” commercial spoof.  Joe, the film actor, sang more than Taylor Swift, the CMA Entertainer of the Year.  And I’m including her musical numbers.

I’m surprised they didn’t have Joe sing something during Weekend Update. (Don’t worry, guys — you can use that idea on your next show.