I don’t know who needs to hear this, but no one wants to see your panties on morning TV.

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‘Saturday Night Live’: Still not live, still from home

Saturday Night Live
At-Home, Part 2
April 25, 2020

Those wacky kids over at SNL, they did it again. Using Zoom, phones, plenty of wigs and green screens, and a lot of creativity, the cast and writers of SNL managed to put on yet another 90-minute episode satirizing this insane situation we all find ourselves in. They also seemed to have worked out some of the bugs that didn’t work so well for them the last time they tried this (thank you, “Weekend Update,” for losing the laughter — that crutch was there for you guys, not the audience) and have embraced the adage, “brevity is the soul of wit.” Even when a sketch didn’t work — and not all of them did — they never lasted more than about 3 minutes, and your suffering would soon be over. And keeping that in mind, I will get on with it already:

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‘Saturday Night Live’: The Quarantine Edition

Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live at Home
April 11, 2020

Soooooo … Last week, Saturday Night Live announced kinda at the very last second that they were going to do an episode this week, an episode taped entirely from the cast’s homes and everyone was like, “Whaaaaa?” and “Huh?” and “But how?” and “Why?” And I guess the answers to those questions are, in order, “Because if all the other late night shows can, so can they,” and “I know it’s weird but give them a chance” and “Look, everyone’s phone and computer can record videos these days, it’s just not that hard,” and “Because WE NEED SOMETHING. WE ALL NEED A LITTLE SOMETHING TO GET US THROUGH THIS RIGHT NOW.”

And you know what? It wasn’t half bad! I will grant that perhaps my standards, much like the characters in one sketch, have lowered as this quarantine grinds on. But I thought the cast and writers having to make do with limited resources actually forced them into a corner that works best for them: 1. they are all digital sketches (and since YouTube/Zoom/TikTok is our entire world right now, it felt especially relevant) and 2. the sketches had to be brief and to the point. (As a result, there were 17 sketches last night. 17!!)

I, too, have kept my comments brief and to the point because 17 SKETCHES.

Who knows if these kids are going to try this again before the season is over. I applaud them for making a go of it, and it working out for the most part. (I’d can the Zoom laughter, “Weekend Update.” Go watch Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert and take notes on how to make a joke work without the benefit of laughter), and genuinely thank them for making an effort to make us laugh when we needed it the most.

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Relive Eddie Murphy’s almost-perfect ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Eddie Murphy & Lizzo
December 22, 2019

I’m going to try to avoid overthinking this episode because comedy never benefits from thinking about it too hard. (It’s one of the reasons I never recap comedies.) But, Eddie Murphy returning to Saturday Night Live for the first time in 35 years is not just a historically notable TV event, it’s one that required a little contemplation on both our part and the writers’.

Here’s the thing: Eddie Murphy blazed into superstardom on Saturday Night Live in 1980 when he was only 19 years old with characters like Mr. Robinson and Buckwheat — characters that made fun of racist stereotypes in a way that was so close to the chest that some viewers may not have understood they were supposed to be laughing with Murphy, not at him. Murphy was never putting on a minstrel show, he was pointing out how racist the minstrel show was. The problem is some viewers, particularly white ones, might have missed that nuance. (Honestly, maybe the greatest SNL sketch of all time is the one in which he went undercover as a white man — genuinely brilliant and tackling race in a way that remains as stinging and poignant 40 years later.)

So because a great deal has changed in the past 40 years, it was always going to be a delicate dance bringing some of these characters back to the show in a way that not only would be relevant but culturally palatable. But God damn, if they didn’t pull it off. Murphy’s 80s characters found themselves up against 21st-century issues like gentrification and the #MeToo movement — and that tension is where the comedy blossomed.

Then when you add to all of that the fact that Eddie Murphy waited long enough to come back to the show so that there were no more hard feelings, that he had shed enough of his movie star ego and aloofness that he could really enjoy himself on that stage in an uninhibited, genuine way … well, it made for the best episode of the year, certainly, and one of the best episodes of Saturday Night Live I’ve ever seen.

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Plug the impeachment machine back in, it’s time for another hearing!

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Be thankful: Will Ferrell and a slew of other stars deliver an excellent ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Will Ferrell & King Princess
November 23, 2019

When it comes to judging hosts, it’s unfair to compare regular actors, sports figures, musicians or even other comedians to former cast members. For former hosts, this was their job for years — they understand how to play to the audience; they aren’t afraid of a live performance; they, better than probably most actors, understand comic timing. This is how they became household names. And among those who have been invited back to host Saturday Night Live, Will Ferrell might be one of the funniest and most talented cast members of all time. So to compare him as a host to a Harry Styles or a Kristen Stewart, it’s just not fair. They aren’t on the same playing field.

Will Ferrell returned to Saturday Night Live for his fifth time hosting and delivered easily one of the funniest — if not the funniest — episodes of the season. Ferrell’s big golden retriever energy makes every sketch just that much funnier, even sketches that by all rights should have just been mediocre. And while I can’t be certain, it certainly felt like the writers held back on the last couple of episodes so that they could give Will Ferrell the choicest material. And honestly? I don’t blame them in the least. He knocked it out of the park.

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Chance the Rapper continues to be a natural on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Chance the Rapper
October 26, 2019

The impossible-to-not-like Chance the Rapper was back to host Saturday Night Live for a second time, and it turns out that he’s just one of those irritatingly talented people who can do everything. He’s charming, he has impeccable comic timing and delivery and when given good material can pretty much sell anything. Fortunately, aside from one particularly weak sketch and one terrible transphobic joke, most of last night was pretty good material. Is this season going well so far, or am I becoming a big dumb softie? It’s really six of one, half dozen the other, honestly.

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Yesterday was SO STRESSFUL you guys, so let’s just spend today laughing at what an asshole Meghan McCain is.

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Claire Foy reigns over a better (but still not great) ‘Saturday Night Live’

 H.Saturday Night Live
Claire Foy & Anderson .Paak
December 1, 2018

Aside from the last bit of the night (and maybe the tribute to George H. W. Bush), there wasn’t anything about last night’s episode that any of us will remember a month from now, much less a year. But I guess I’m so starved for a good Saturday Night Live, that I’ll take anything, because I didn’t hate last night’s episode. In fact, I didn’t even notice until my sister pointed it out that there were three — THREE — separate instances where people broke into song, which I usually hate. But maybe it was the charm of Claire Foy, maybe it’s the holiday season, maybe it’s that the lyrics of the “All I Want for Christmas” parody made me feel seen — whatever it was, I was left feeling like this was one of the better episodes of the season so far, maybe even the best. Of course, it doesn’t have a whole lot of competition, so take that as the non-compliment that it is.  Continue reading “Claire Foy reigns over a better (but still not great) ‘Saturday Night Live’”

‘Modern Family’ is going to kill off a ‘significant’ character this season — let’s make wild guesses about who it will be!

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