This Saturday’s SNL will be different than most SNL’s, and it’s not because a former cast member is hosting. That has happened many times before, but I can’t remember a more beloved former cast member hosting so soon after a life altering moment, but that’s what happening this Saturday when Tracy Morgan takes the stage. He was involved in an almost fatal car accident that killed one of his friends, and a man who was a source of so much joy on both SNL and 30 Rock was fighting for his life. He’s made a remarkable physical recovery, and I’m so glad Lorne Michaels brought him back to host, because you know it’s going to be great for both him and the audience. Saturday night should be special.
Reese Witherspoon stopped by SNL this weekend to pull off the hosting duties, and she was delightful. The show started with a Republican sketch that never really hit, but every sketch Witherspoon was involved in I enjoyed, especially the two times she paired up with Cecily Strong (the LA talk show sketch and Weekend Update). My favorite sketch was actually a Hallmark spoof, with Bobby Moynihan playing the office boss, Mr. Westerberg. All the employees are doing impressions of him in his peculiar voice until Beck Bennett’s character shares a little too much information. The reaction faces from Vanessa Bayer, Reese and Kenan were great, and SNL continues to nail these strange sketches. Louis CK hosts the season 40 finale (!) this Saturday, in what should be an awesome episode.
It’s kind of amazing that Michael Keaton has only hosted SNL twice. He came up as a standup comedian, and was one of the bigger movie stars in the 80s and early 90s. He was BATMAN. He was multiple Michael Keaton’s in Multiplicity. Hopefully Keaton can bring a similar energy to The Rock and SNL can keep on rolling, but that’s doubtful. Keaton is more of a composed type of comedic actor, which I know the writing staff is aware of and hopefully they can create some fun sketches that play on his strengths. His promo’s call back pretty much everything he’s ever done, including the aforementioned Batman and Multiplicity movies. Will we get a Birdman sketch? I think so!
One of the downsides of SNL being live every week is that the show has to be perfectly timed out in order to fit everything in. Every week after dress rehearsal, a sketch or two will get cut for time, and more likely than not, it’s hysterical. The ‘New Playroom’ sketch that was cut from last week’s SNL hosted by Dakota Johnson is no exception. It’s set up as an HBO First Look at the ’50 Shades of Grey’ sequel, ’50 Shades Darker’. In this scene, Christian Grey takes Anastasia Steele into his new sexual playroom, except it’s still being built and the construction workers are actually there working. I liked this sketch better than the 50 Shades spoof they did with Kyle Mooney as a child reporter, but thanks to the internet, we now get to see both.
‘Celebrity Jeopardy’ & ‘The Californians’ Both Made Hysterical Returns During Last Nights #SNL40 Celebration
Last nights SNL 40 celebration was as great as expected, and maybe even better. In three and a half hours they paid tribute to stars that made show famous, as well as the crew, Lorne Michaels and all the legendary sketches and segments that have become apart of pop culture history. Two of the shows most well known sketches, Celebrity Jeopardy and The Californians, also made star studded returns. Celebrity Jeopardy was out first with Will Ferrell looking exactly the same as he did almost 20 years as Alex Trebek. Old faithful’s Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond), Tony Bennett (Alec Baldwin) and Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald) mixed it up with Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon), Matthew McConaughey (Jim Carrey) and Christoph Waltz (Taran Killam). The best part of any Celebrity Jeopardy sketch involved the interaction between Trebek and Connery, and Will Ferrell and Darrell Hammond just have a comedic chemistry that will never die (they were equally as awesome as Al Gore and George Bush). Norm MacDonald’s Burt Reynolds impression is always top notch, and his asinine Andre the Giant anecdotes were consistently hysterical. Alec Baldwin did a spot on out of loop semi racist Tony Bennett, and Kate McKinnon’s Bieber continues to be my new favorite impression. Also, Sean Connery turning simple expressions into dirty terms will NEVER get old.
The Californians was equally as funny, minus the Taylor Swift appearance. What kind of accent was that exactly? I understand she’s not an actor but if you have ALL THE GREATEST FEMALE SKETCH COMEDIANS EVER in one room and you choose to put T-Swift in a sketch she better deliver. She did not, but with awesome cameos from Bradley Cooper, Kerry Washington and Betty White, the skit was still a highlight of the show. Also, how about that sweet embrace from Betty and Bradley? They’re the real America’s Sweethearts.
It’s not officially a scandal, whether it be political, sports or something else, until SNL get’s its hands on it. That’s actually what Lorne and his crew did for their cold open sketch last Saturday. Highlights include Taran Killam as Tom Brady and Bobby Moynihan as the Patriots equipment manager, and whenever Kenan can play Greg Gumbel you know you’re in for a treat.
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) January 20, 2015
3 SNL episodes in a row! Kevin Hart dominated last week, Blake Shelton hosts and sings this week and now J.K. Simmons and D’Angelo are joining in on the fun. I went back and looked up odd host and musical guests pairing, because when I think of J.K. Simmons the singer D’Angelo doesn’t immediately come to mind. It turns out this is actually one of the more normal pairs compared to other odd pairings, such as Al Gore and Phish & Tom Arnold and Tupac. Simmons has been a solid actor for a few decades now, and is finally getting his due with his performance in Whiplash, which has already earned him a Golden Globe win and Oscar nomination. D’Angelo’s new CD received rave reviews, but I’ll always remember him as the man who was a little too naked in his music video.
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) January 6, 2015
Hot diggity dog. SNL returns on January 17th with host Kevin Hart and musical guest Sia, and now we know who will host (and sing) on the second episode of 2015. I honestly don’t know much about Blake Shelton except that he’s extremely successful and he’s a coach on ‘The Voice’. A sketch featuring Blake Shelton as himself and Kenan as Cee Lo Green is pretty high on my list, but other than that, there’s not much of an expectation for this episode. With the cast finally coming into their own this past fall, 2015 should be a great year for SNL.