Cold Opening – Drinks at The White House
- For a strong impressionist, Taran’s Mitch McConnell is surprisingly mediocre, and has nothing against Beck’s far more spot-on and memorable take later on.
- Oh, I’m enjoying the structure of this cold open, and it’s a departure from the dull, by-the-numbers cold opens that plagued SNL for a decade and so by this season’s start.
- I love how loose Jay & Taran’s Obama & Mitch McConnell are getting with each passing drink, and some great energy from both of them here.
- Great line delivery from Taran after Jay’s Obama just had a tense exchange with his wife, as played by Sasheer.
- A great ending to such a fun, strong, energetic cold open, which is quite fitting considering how I remember tonight’s episode.
- Already and so early in his monologue, Woody is coming off FANTASTIC, displaying his usual charm and effortless charisma with complete ease.
- Yet another musical monologue, which is fine here as Woody’s previous ones were solid, and even his newest monologue, which wasn’t musical, was also reliable. His effortless charisma elevates the material as always.
- A surprise slate of cameos from Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence, and Liam Hemsworth. While I don’t like cameofests in monologues or episodes, I welcome Josh & Jennifer as I liked them a lot as hosts back in the past, and I recall loving Chris Hemsworth’s hosting job in his two (surprisingly not more), hosting stint in 40 & 41.
- Some fun & charming lyrics and performance from Woody here as one would expect from him.
- The gigglefest just now from the performers is so damn heartwarming & charming and makes this monologue even better than it is.
- Strong monologue overall, and if my memory serves me right, I recall the ones from Dwayne Johnson & Michael Keaton episodes being even stronger.
- One of my all-time favorite SNL pretapes.
- Fantastic & very sharp satire here with all the desperate PC attempts at changing The Dudleys sitcom in order to accommodate the viewers complaints on social media.
- Love the change into making The Dudleys a same-sex couple, and Woody’s gay stereotype & look gave me a guilty laugh.
- Great change of making Woody more low-key, non-stereotypical gay husband.
- Hilarious inclusion of Kenan as Woody’s Mr. Dudley’s husband.
- A freaking priceless scene of “real intimacy” between Woody & Kenan due to viewers complaint about The Dudleys only hugging instead of showing their love on-screen.
- All these quick changes are absolutely priceless, so many that I cannot point every single one of them, as I LOVE all of these sharp points being made at PC culture and viewers complaints being taken so seriously and the show desperately trying to satisfy them.
- A very welcomed cameo from Uzo Aduba playing her Crazy Eyes character from Orange Is the New Black.
- An overall fantastic, clever, sharp satirical take on PC culture, and another standout Kelly/Schneider piece from this era. An all-time highlight for SNL.
- A famous and very highly-acclaimed game show sketch from this era. I haven’t seen this in ages, so it will be awesome to revisit it again.
- Solid game show host performance from Woody.
- Cecily is always great in playing these roles, she can do them in her sleep.
- Some big cheap laughs from all the horny, raunchy things that the guys say to Cecily. I especially love Beck’s delivery of his lines in such an affable manner.
- Fantastic twist with Woody, our game show host, turning out to be Cecily’s father. Being revealed as such after all of the horny lines that were delivered to his daughter in front of him.
- Big laughs from the guys trying to act nicely and changing their tone ENTIRELY after the big twist reveal, absolutely classic.
- Another strong reveal, with Woody’s character being an ex-marine.
- LOVE Kyle’s scared delivery of his veterans day line.
- Great ending with Woody revealing that he’s about to watch footage of the guys with being alone with Cecily, where they said crass, raunchy, and horny things to her to let her know how horny they are for her.
- An overall yet ANOTHER strong, creative, brilliant, one-off sketch concept from this season, and our second consecutive, brilliant, and five-stars worthy segment in tonight’s episode.
New Marijuana Policy
- A very famous, strong pretape from this season.
- Fantastically shot & directed epic sequence of Pete (perfectly cast here), and the other stoners walking the streets of New York with bags of weed in their hands after the announcement of the new marijuana policy by the mayor.
- Leslie is hilarious here in her appearance out of her smoke-filled car.
- Woody is obviously a natural in his scene here, which is my absolute favorite in this entire short, and I love the details on his look.
- A very memorable, epic sequence with the whole city marching in the streets in unity over the new policy.
- Great twist ending, with it being told that while possessing marijuana in public is legal due to the new policy, those users cannot smoke it in public.
- A phenomenal piece overall, and our third consecutive five-stars-rated segments in tonight’s episode.
Football Halftime Show
- Woody is perfectly cast as the coach.
- Huge laughs from all the ways Woody is using Jay in order to demonstrate the very gentle new tackling techniques. Lots of great, solid, fun sketches so far tonight, a sign of what to expect from this era in general.
- While I generally dislike his mugging tendencies at time, Jay is hilarious in his various reactions to Woody’s demonstrations.
- Here comes the very memorable part with Kenan’s character trying to give the team a motivation speech.
- Kenan is SLAYING ME here, and is causing a consummate professional like Woody to stifle his amusement throughout his nonsensical rambling.
- Kenan is stealing this whole sketch for me, and his line about the rings gave me a huge laugh. This has always been amongst my favorite Kenan moments, and this is the sketch that convinced that he’s SNL’s ultimate glue, and I cannot wait for the many great Kenan sketches that I’ll be reviewing in the future.
- A great ending, and a very funny visual with the large helmets. Such a fantastic sketch in general.
Young Tarts & Old Farts
- Hilarious title for this album.
- Cecily look gorgeous as Ariana Grande.
- Weak Macklemore from Kyle. Impressions are not his forte SNL, don’t you get it?
- On the other hand, I love Sasheer’s take on Diana Ross.
- Taran’s Sam Smith impression is hilarious.
- Vanessa’s Miley Cyrus is still freaking uncanny to me, fantastic impression.
- A surprisingly weak & baffling Lorde impression from Kate.
- An overall fun impressions showcase piece.
Musical Performance – “i”
- Jesse Nathan: I like how Woody prefaces Kendrick Lamar with “my man”. He would do something similar in his introduction of Billie Eilish in his Season 45 episode. The only difference is that this is actually justified.
- I love the opening exchange between Kendrick and the backing vocalists.
- Oh, I LOVE the visual motif of this performance, with the lighting rendering Kendrick purple and his eyes being completely blank.
- The opening guitar and drum is great.
- I’m really enjoying Kendrick’s high-energy rapping and body language.
- I love how insane Kendrick starts to get during his rapping.
- I love Kendrick’s “Oh man”.
- Man, this performance is getting more and more insane as it goes on.
- Really interesting turn during the bridge.
- Oh HELL YEAH to the sudden change in both the song and the lighting.
- Whoa, now it changes back to purple! Awesome.
- Kendrick’s really going all out in this performance.
- I love Kendrick’s dancing.
- Now the lyrics are starting to change into a completely different song, one that we previously saw Kendrick perform in a sketch called Young Tarts & Old Farts.
- Great ending.
- Overall, this was freakin’ great.
- A big cheap laugh from the Kim Kardashian photo, and Michael’s hilarious line about it.
- Oh no, here comes a Leslie Jones commentary, and her first as an official cast member.
- As usual, lots of loud, shouty, over-the-top delivery from Leslie.
- Ah, Leslie just got me, with her line telling calling to look at her boobs. Their chemistry and on-screen relationship were always a highlight in these commentaries.
- Loved the Lorne joke.
- A rare visit to the Update desk from our host.
- Great to see the return of Taran’s strong Matthew McConaughey impression, after his very memorable and hilarious commentary last season.
- The usual big laughs from Taran’s McConaughey whenever he rambles on and on.
- Woody is clearly very amused by Taran’s spot-on impression as he obviously tries not to break.
- Taran: “Coz at the end of the day, we’re all interconnected. Coz time is a flat circle. Future, present, goes to girlfriend’s past.”
- Hilarious bit about Super Mario Bros, and I LOVE Taran’s “Hop on turtle’s backs, send him into the abyss”.
- A strong Update overall, and the first one in the new Che/Jost era, and aside from Leslie’s commentary, the majority of Update was pretty strong. Including a particularly strong & memorable Taran Killam showcase.
Old New York
- I’m loving how low-key and subtle this sketch is in its presentation.
- A huge, priceless laugh with the turn after all the guys reminisce about the wholesome, good old things that are no longer around in New York, and Woody says “Remember the crack?”
- I’m enjoying how this sketch is using a simple premise, but builds on it with solid lines and executions in order to avoid making it seem like a one-joke premise. Pretty much reminding me of the very memorable Del Taco Commercial Shoot from Adam Driver’s hosting stint in season 45.
- Ah, Kenan, once again tonight steals this entire sketch with his outburst yelling “I MISS THE RESPECT!!!!” causing total professionals Bobby & Taran to stifle their near-breaking.
- A huge laugh from the reveal that Woody’s badge is in fact a Vote For Nader button.
- Great sketch, and another strong segment. ONCE AGAIN tonight we had another solid, fun, creative, one-off premise. Instead of heavy focus on one-note, catchphrase-driven, attention-starved recurring characters that would’ve bombarded this episode otherwise, like what we mostly had in the 2002-2014 years.
- UH-OH, here comes the first of a billion Anderlette song sketches, AKA “What’s that song? Stop playing that song! Come you know the song! I don’t stop playing that song! Hey! It turns out we all know this song! Come on everybody, let’s sing along!” I’ll go into this one with an open mind, not knowing of the upcoming 4,747 sketches with the same concept.
- Pretty strong characterization from Woody, disappearing well into this character.
- Woody is so damn good, that he’s making this unfunny “Apples” song come off catchy, and weirdly enough, kinda charming.
- Meh at the twist ending with Woody’s friends turning out to know the song all along.
- A middling sketch overall, I’ll pump it half-a-star for Woody’s performance and the few quick laughs that I got. Yet, don’t expect me to be kind toward the coming ones, especially a particularly and unbelievably cringeworthy instalment in the very infamous Steve Carell episode in season 44.
Musical Performance – “Pay for It” ft. Chantal Kreviazuk & Jay Rock
- Jesse Nathan: “Once again, Kendrick Lamar.” But that’s not Kendrick…
- Already off to a good start with the opening piano and chorus.
- Uh…why is this being performed as a Kendrick Lamar song when he’s only featured on this track? Seriously, we’re on the first verse, and we have yet to see Kendrick. All we’ve seen so far are two guys who I’ve never heard of before I first saw this.
- Okay, to be fair, I am liking Jay’s rapping.
- What’s with the very bright light on Jay?
- I like the guitar in the instrumental.
- Chantal’s vocals don’t mix well with the backing instruments.
- Ah, THERE’s Kendrick.
- Once again, I’m enjoying Kendrick’s high-energy rapping, as well as the flashing light on him.
- Wow, the sound engineers must have really fucked up on the third chorus.
- Wait, it’s over already? That felt kinda abrupt with the way it ended.
- Ah, the return of this recurring sketch.
- The usual big laugh from Kate-as-Sheila exaggerated laugh at the beginning of these sketches.
- Great line from Woody about eyebrows.
- Kate-as-Sheila, one her occupation: “I re-plaster unpopular glory holes!”
- Woody is phenomenal here, and is coming off even better than the previous hosts.
- As always, Kenan is a great straight man here.
- A huge laugh from Kenan (who’s been having a great night, ny the way), when he yelled “That’s for my FruiT!” with a hilarious emphasis on the ‘t’ sound.
- An excellent, priceless ending with Kenan dousing the whole bar with gasoline as Woody & Kate are making out through the plastic wrapping in front of their faces. His ending line, exclaiming “Well, I gotta kill us ALL, I guess”
- What an outstanding way to end such a memorable, phenomenal, era-defining episode.
Cut For Time: 10.000 Tweets
- This looks to be like the usual brilliant, creative, and fun Aidy Bryant-written-and-starring sketch. And I know that she needs to make it up for me with that rare misfire in the premiere.
- Kate’s RBG impression now sounds like the version we recognize today.
- I’m enjoying how silly this sketch is getting as it goes along.
- Great vocals from Sasheer in her show-stopping moment.
- They cut a sketch that has an Edward Norton cameo!!!!
- Ah, Edward’s coming off great here, reminding me of how fantastic he was as the host last season, with his episode being in my top 3 of that mediocre year.
- Funny inclusion of Woody playing God.
- A fun, final musical number.
- A pretty good, creative sketch from Aidy, even when it doesn’t hold a candle to the type of brilliant, creative, and very strong material that she’ll regularly contribute (particularly in seasons 42 & 45), but I still enjoyed this at the end.
Cut For Time: Pentagon Briefing
- Great look on Woody as the scientist.
- A big laugh from the reveal of the super soldier being Cecily, and I love the reaction of the generals & staff.
- Cecily’s doing a fantastic job in her robot mannerism, and the voice is eerily dead-on.
- Catchy song to Cecily’s dancing here, and the hilarity of seeing this supposed super soldier being this innocent & pure is very funny.
- Some guilty laughs when Cecily calls Woody’s character “dad”.
- Very funny explanation from Woody to why he made Cecily’s robot character.
- You could tell that Cecily almost broke character when she slapped Woody here, and her face is so cute when she tries to stifle her laughter.
- Funny ending with Woody dancing before leaving the Pentagon.
- Pretty solid sketch overall, and it should’ve replaced that Anderlette singing sketch EASILY.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
New Marijuana Policy
Football Halftime Show
Old New York
CFT: Pentagon Briefing
Drinks at The White House
CFT: 10.000 Tweets
Young Tarts & Old Farts
- An outstanding SNL episode, and greatly deserving of its reputation as one of this era’s finest, and one of the best shows of all-time. Not only this episode had no bad segments (the weakest was just middling), but the absolute majority of this episode consisted of nothing but great, fun, well-written sketches that showcased how refreshing this new era will be for SNL, and the renaissance that will eventually bring to the show after few years of mixed reaction amongst fans and critics. I almost gave EVERY SINGLE SKETCH in this episode a rating between 4-5 stars which almost never ever happens with these reviews (the only episodes I could see this happen are the Michael Keaton episode from this season, and the John Mulaney and Adam Driver episodes from seasons 44 & 45, respectively), and several perfect or near-perfect classics were in this episode alone, some of the finest pieces in this era and this season are in this episode alone.
- Needless to say, Woody was a fantastic host tonight, and I was very pleased that he was well-utilized tonight, and many sketches relied on his effortless, natural charisma and likability. Also, the musical performances by Kendrick Lamar (especially the first one), were fantastic and added quite well to the overall very fun vibes of the night.
- I just cannot WAIT when fellow reviewer/frequent commenter Jesse Nathan calculates the average for this episode, this one HAS to be at the top of my reviews so far in the average, and I do hope the Michael Keaton episode is as strong as I recall it being, if so, it might even surpass the average for this episode, if that’s even possible.
- Cameron Diaz hosts with musical guests Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars.
8 Replies to “November 15, 2014 – Woody Harrelson / Kendrick Lamar (S40 E6)”
Solid review to such a strong and fun episode. I remember last June, I was watching the 25 highest-rated SNL episodes, and I remember both this and the Season 38 Martin Short episode putting me in a very upbeat mood.
The Football Halftime Speech sketch is what I was talking about when I mentioned this episode having one of my favorite Kenan moments. There are just so many great lines from him, and I love the detail of him constantly looking off to the side, as he was so brain-damaged that he lost all sense of direction. Just…EVERYTHING about that moment is so damn good.
“I’m enjoying how this sketch is using a simple premise, but builds on it with solid lines and executions in order to avoid making it seem like a one-joke premise.” That’s actually why I love the first installment of Maine Justice and the MySpace sketch from Season 31 so much.
By the way, for reasons I can’t explain, the YouTube upload of that Old New York sketch replaces Kenan’s delivery of “I miss the respect”, which means you have to go to archive.org in order to find it.
“Edward’s coming off great here, reminding me of how fantastic he was as the host last season, with his episode being in my top 3 of that mediocre year.” What would your other two be?
And as always, the averages:
Pratt – 5.3
Silverman – 6.2
Hader – 6.4
Carrey – 7.2
Rock – 5.3
Harrelson – 8.4
Overall average (so far): 6.5
Hey, that’s the same average I gave to the Adam Driver episode.
Thanks! Do you count in the CFT in your average too? The other two are Louis C.K at number 1 and then Edward’s and then Kerry Washington. If so, Keaton’s might surpass or even tie this one.
“Do you count in the CFT in your average too?” No.
That makes sense as what’s “cannon” counts in the episode I guess, don’t know if Vax Novier at OSNLAD2.0 does the same, but I get it & accept it in my reviews. So, I guess the Keaton one won’t surpass it then.
My musical performance review for this episode:
I like how Woody prefaces Kendrick Lamar with “my man”. He would do something similar in his introduction of Billie Eilish in his Season 45 episode. The only difference is that this is actually justified.
I love the opening exchange between Kendrick and the backing vocalists.
Oh, I LOVE the visual motif of this performance, with the lighting rendering Kendrick purple and his eyes being completely blank.
The opening guitar and drum is great.
I’m really enjoying Kendrick’s high-energy rapping and body language.
I love how insane Kendrick starts to get during his rapping.
I love Kendrick’s “Oh man”.
Man, this performance is getting more and more insane as it goes on.
Really interesting turn during the bridge.
Oh HELL YEAH to the sudden change in both the song and the lighting.
Whoa, now it changes back to purple! Awesome.
Kendrick’s really going all out in this performance.
I love Kendrick’s dancing.
Now the lyrics are starting to change into a completely different song, one that we previously saw Kendrick perform in a sketch called Young Tarts & Old Farts.
Overall, this was freakin’ great.
Pay for It ft. Chantal Kreviazuk & Jay Rock
“Once again, Kendrick Lamar.” But that’s not Kendrick…
Already off to a good start with the opening piano and chorus.
Uh…why is this being performed as a Kendrick Lamar song when he’s only featured on this track? Seriously, we’re on the first verse, and we have yet to see Kendrick. All we’ve seen so far are two guys who I’ve never heard of before I first saw this.
Okay, to be fair, I am liking Jay’s rapping.
What’s with the very bright light on Jay?
I like the guitar in the instrumental.
Chantal’s vocals don’t mix well with the backing instruments.
Ah, THERE’s Kendrick.
Once again, I’m enjoying Kendrick’s high-energy rapping, as well as the flashing light on him.
Wow, the sound engineers must have really fucked up on the third chorus.
Wait, it’s over already? That felt kinda abrupt with the way it ended.
By the way, I’ve already written musical performance reviews for the next two episodes, and I hope to write more later today.
Cold Open ****
The Dudleys ****½
New Marijuana Policy **** (though I dont fully remember this)
Football Halftime Show ****
Last Call ***½
CFT: 10,000 Tweets **** (Woody doing the dance for some reason will always make me crack up)
Ok, so I told you this was one of the first episode as Vintage I watched, but (from as far as I can remember at least) this was the very first one. I originally thought it was an actually a new live show and when I saw the entire thing I was happy because any time until sometime in 2019, 11 year old me would always fall asleep due to before getting into the show, I never was up past 9 or 10 so it was a hard struggle and when I saw it on again at 11 30 I was so mad and of course I fell asleep 15 minutes later. In case your wondering the first episode I tried to watch live was the Rachel Brosnahan episode, but the first full episode I saw live went to Emma Stone/BTS. It continued to go both ways with one time I watch all of it and one time i watched some of it and fall asleep and back and forth. The Will Ferrell episode in 45 (I’m glad I discovered you from your review of that episode) to now I’ve seen every episode live wide awake lol oh and yeah I live in the east coast.
Drinks at the White House ****
Perspective matters; hard to know whether you’re rating Cold Opens as sketches or as Cold Opens. It’s just so nice to see pre-Trumpwin COs that work, and this season is full of them. Great characterizations all around here. Jay’s Obama is unimpeachable (ha) and I love the setting of this highly-publicized “drink” these guys had. They’re even playing drunk kinda well without even trying. Just love their reaction to Barack getting in trouble with Michelle.
Kinda m’eh. I’ve always been annoyed by J-Law and her “I don’t care” persona, and she has to cram it in here by literally waving off the audience with a clearly scripted “I don’t care!” I don’t dislike the woman, and I loved her hosting gig top to bottom. But the publicity tour hete feels kinda forced and irritating overall. Woody’s natural likability is worth half a star; he just oozes all episode.
The Dudleys *****
A pitch-perfect takedown of Twitter wokism that was eerily prescient in 2014. Both annoyingly vocal sides get roasted here and everyone clearly has fun doing it. Friends and relatives of mine from opposite sociopolitical ends love it Every gag lands, every small touch adds something (“P.S. Repeal Obamacare”) – a true titan of a sketch in the midst of a season full of them.
This one is worthy of its YouTube reputation. I’m more tolerant than most of game show sketches, when they’re not lazily slopped together in an absence of ideas. This one hits nicely, with great lines all-around. And it culminates with one of Kyle’s best moments ever, idiotically trying to impress Woody over “Veteruss Day.”
Marijuana Reform ***1/2
Pretty good, if not particularly memorable. One of Leslie’s best quick moments, that’s for sure. Pete does a great job anchoring the insanity – talk about a comfort zone.
Football Halftime ****1/2
Everyone kills it here. Even Woody, a little stumbly at points, remains charming and funny the whole time. His breaking when Kenan gets going is relatable as hell, much like Ryan Gosling in a season or two. Kenan, of course, steals the show and you can tell he knows it, relishing the spotlight more and more as he rambles.
Young Tarts & Old Farts **
I like the idea, great concept to play up, but very few of the impressions work for me. Blood is… dead-on about Cecily here, though. At times she is a stunning individual.
Weekend Update ****
A classic WU, one of the best of the decade and a defining moment for Che. He sells the early Kim K jokes with flawless mechanics and announces himself as a top-shelf anchor. (Still waiting on his partner…) There’s little I love more than seeing WU anchors characterize and break the “news wall” and Michael is genuine and lovable when he does it.
I feel like SNL saw Leslie’s shouty commentary as the centerpiece here, but Woody/Taran steal the show. Particularly Taran, of course, a truly great impressionist who embodies the goofy, douchey McConaughey here. (“Interstellar’s a big fan of you.”)
Less Leslie screaming and this would be half a star higher.
Old New York ***
Good stuff here, if not particularly memorable. Woody continues to elevate good-not-great material and earns an extra half-star on his own.
Campfire Song ***1/2
I like these more than many reviewers do, though the well-worn “we do know it!” conclusion never adds anything. Ultimately, these are only as worthwhile as the host and his/her effort. Steve Carell did a fine job, but Woody edges him out here. The song is just so off-puttingly awkward I can’t help but enjoy it, and Woody is giving it his ALL. The guitar-throw bit is just the right amount of nonsense for me.
Last Call ***1/2
Another great version of another good-not-great premise from the era. “I replaster unpopular glory holes” should be worked somehow into Kate’s eulogy – it’s a fantastic line that produces full-body shudders. And the makeout is even more disgusting than the concept sounds in your head. These two went all-out here.