Cold Opening – Presidential Address
- WILL FERRELL!!! Back as Dubya! You could hear a loud gasp from a female audience member as she recognizes Will.
- Pretty long & well-deserved applause break for the SNL legend as he’s revealed to the audience. I recall reading that Will’s surprise cameo was pretty much last minute, and IIRC, he’s nowhere to be found at the goodnights later tonight. Confirming that his cameo was indeed a last minute addition and he immediately left to film his movie.
- Pretty solid laugh from Will’s Bush announcing that he’s running for president.
- I’m loving the dumb brief campaign song that Will’s singing just now.
- A good conceit to this cold open with Will’s Bush doing a breakdown of the Republican nominees.
- Man, I see that Will still got it as Bush, he didn’t lose a touch and is still as hilarious as ever. Those looks at the crowd & comedic pauses still make me laugh just like they did when I watched Will regularly perform this impression back in his days in the cast.
- Great bit with how Carly Fiorina reminds Bush of himself due to getting kicked out of her job, losing a senate race, and how she’s not qualified AT ALL to be president. A biting, solid takedown of the former president.
- And we now get to the de facto Republican nominee: Donald Trump.
- Bush’s smug attitude towards Trump did not age that badly, as this is pure Will-as-Bush smugness and stupidity, which is still giving my expected laughs.
- Fantastic Leprechaun analogy from Will’s Bush, the delivery, writing, and Will’s always-reliable performance elevates it even more.
- Great line about how George turned out to be the SMART Bush, unlike his brother Jeb.
- Great cold open overall, amongst my favorites this season, and I look forward to the also-great Bush cold open in Will’s season 43 episode.
- Like last time, Chris’ coming off charming, likable, and in total ease on the show.
- Backstage monologue!
- Big laugh from Chris punching Pete.
- A good, brief scene with Kate having her phone call being abruptly ended by a jolly Chris. Kate’s deadpan reveal that the phone call she was having was with none other than Hillary Clinton was solid; a perfect usage of her deadpan, straight man delivery that’s barely been used after this season.
- Traditional backstage Lincoln & showgirls!!!
- A pretty predictable, but still a funny part with Leslie & Chris. And a good way to use Leslie Jones’ personality, even when that part may come off hacky to some, Yet, I might be looking into this part way too much and I’m sure SNL meant well by it.
- Backstage llama!
- Surprised how quickly this monologue flew by to me, I guess it shows how much I enjoyed it & Chris’ natural charisma and charm carried it flawlessly.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Action Figures
- I never saw a Star Wars movie in my whole life, so I hope this short works for me.
- A good laugh from the reveal of the older nerds played by Bobby, Taran, and Kyle being in this commercial alongside the kids, both being Star Wars fanatics.
- Good part with Bobby & the Millennium Falcon, and the awkwardness worked well with Bobby’s easy presence.
- That whole Taran being sad scene is absolutely hilarious, his look towards the camera is a very good way to use his solid, understated dramatic skills. The sense of subtle pathos in this commercial is being excellently performed and showcased at the same time.
- A pretty strong fake ad, which I’m glad that it worked for me, considering like I said: I never saw a Star Wars movie in my whole life.
On The Record
- Feels weird seeing Kate doing a Greta Van Susteren impression, a good voice, but nowhere near as spot-on or memorable as Kristen Wiig’s version of her.
- Hoo boy, Taran’s Ted Cruz officially becomes recurring; an impression that I never cared for & considered a sign of Taran’s big decline this season.
- Ah, Bobby’s Chris Christie. Now that’s an impression I’ll never get sick of; his loose, badass, yet still likable portrayal of Christie steals this entire sketch and gives it a much-needed dose of energy.
- Kate’s a solid straight man in this sketch, even with her slight vamping.
- I see SNL is pushing Jay’s Ben Carson as a big impression from this era, I cannot complain as Jay’s still giving me some good laughs.
- Kinda weird not to see Chris Hemsworth in this lead-off sketch, especially in this era. They couldn’t find a politician for him to play here?
Time To Bleed
- Great cinematography & direction to this short, and it absolutely does look like an actual action movie.
- Ah, it feels so good to see Sasheer in a rare lead role; she’s doing a pretty solid dramatic acting here and her underrated straight man abilities are being utilized well.
- I’m loving the stupid escalation with Chris’ body just getting more and more bloody, and his bullet wound still not healed.
- Chris’ sleazy comments towards Sasheer are giving me some cheap, guilty laughs. Chris is great as the typical tough movie policeman.
- A great ending, and Sasheer’s delivery of the final line “Oh, he’s dead!” gave me a pretty solid laugh, and a great ending visual to this short too.
Brother 2 Brother
- Our obligatory sequel to the beloved first sketch, I recall this one being a step down from the first one.
- Like last time, this sketch is doing a spot-on job in imitating the typical Disney kids shows, and the actors are doing well in these roles. Taran is a natural here, for obvious reasons.
- Great straight man reactions from Taran to Beck’s overlong spiel of how Taran’s brother, as played by Chris, is very different from him physically, the cast’s interjections are also good. While this part seems to be a recreation to the whole first sketch back in the classroom, it’s still working well for me, helped by a solid, committed performance by Taran. Him playing the slowly defeated, disintegrating straight man never fails to make me laugh. Beck would later on take these roles after this season, and will do an overall better job in selling his despair and lost pride, such as in the excellent Boop-It commercial amongst others.
- Good fourth wall breaking with the whole “written by Taran Killam” bit.
- Overall, an ok sequel, if not a bit average and doesn’t compare to the first sketch.
- OH, NO. We now get our second of 4,373 sketches about “Do you know that song? What’s that song? Stop playing that song! Come on, you know the song! No stop playing it! It turns out we all know the song! Come on everybody let’s sing along!!!”
- OF COURSE, we now have Cecily Strong joining our host in these already-tired sketches as the lady that KNOWS about the song. Having Anderlette cast her in this specific role feels so right for many different reasons.
- Ugh, I’m not caring for the various REACTING shots by others in the sketch in response to the song. And they’re starting to really got on my last nerve.
- Cecily’s obnoxious here to me, and while I should appreciate her giving it all when performing this tripe, knowing the 6,3839 Cecily Sings! sketches that I’ll have to suffer through these next few seasons makes her performance here come off like a part of her SNL vanity project, which is still continuing TO THIS FUCKING DAY.
- Aaaaaand here comes the twist with all of the others really knowing about the song all along!!1!1!1!1!!!1!1
Musical Performance – “Paradise” ft. Jeremih
- Jesse Nathan: It feels nice that we’ve reached the SNL debut of Chance the Rapper, who would go on to be a great frequent guest on the show.
- Already off to a good start with the intro.
- Holy shit, I did not expect Chance to open up with falsetto, after being heavily used to his normal voice.
- I love the clapping at the start.
- Much like his Season 45 performances, I’m enjoying his rapping, even if it’s not as high-energy.
- Chance is so good at alternating between his rapping voice and his singing voice.
- Good chorus. I really like the usage of horns throughout it.
- Nice moves from Chance during the chorus.
- Not caring that much for Jeremih’s part, but he seems like he’s having fun.
- Okay, I’ll admit that there are moments where the vocals and instruments aren’t mixing well.
- Whoa, now we get a sudden key change while Chance goes all out in his dancing. And I couldn’t love this any more.
- Ah, I guess we officially reached the time where the audience goes nuts over Update, that or Chance’s epic performance prior brought tons of energy and woke up the crowd after that wretched Anderlette sketch.
- Ooof, that whole “Trump not racist” spiel did not age well, while I get what Michael & Colin mean by it, and there are some sharp points from both here, knowing how Trump’s presidency will go on to be and what it will cause to the nation, all I can say yet again about this commentary is: ooof.
- A hilarious, brief pathetic montage about Jeb Bush’s run for president. Good music choice too.
- Damn at that Kendrick Lamar joke from Michael, just ruthless. Ah, I also remembered how epic Kendrick was back in Woody’s episode last season, one of my personal favorite episodes in SNL history.
- Good to see Kate’s Angela Merkel back, this is back when SNL still didn’t go “YAS KWEEN!!!” yet with Kate’s portrayals of female politicians; a portrayal of them as borderline defied figures. I’m shuddering right now for having to review that troubled part of her tenure.
- DAMN at Kate’s Angela Merkel’s “I guess he prefers our earlier stuff”, great delivery as expected by Kate.
- I’m not caring for the whole bit with Angela being horny for Obama; a precursor to those aforementioned insufferable sketches with Kate as a deified female politician .
- I love Colin’s Charlie Brown joke.
- (*yawn*) I’m not caring for Leslie Jones’ whole commentary. It’s just the usual shouty, over-the-top, and with barely any actual laughs or humor commentary that I expect from her. Not to mention that we of course get our obligatory “bitch!” yell from Leslie in this commentary.
- I know that I said it before, but it’s worth repeating, so I’ll say it again: Alex/Mikey/Heidi cannot come any sooner for me.
- A cheap laugh from the reveal of Chris in drag, I do recall feeling that I was in for a rough sketch back when this episode originally aired. Yet, knowing how the sketch goes, it’s going to be fine.
- Good reveal that Chris is playing himself in drag, and a big departure from the groan-inducing man-in-drag shtick that SNL did so many times in the era before this one, those unwatchable Fred Armisen laughless drecks as a prime example.
- A good take on our “hot host” sketch of the night with Chris dressing as “Claire” in order to stop the girls from talking about his hotness. Chris is one of the few who could sell this premise, without it becoming an ego-stroke.
- Aidy steals this entire sketch with her flawless, hilarious delivery of her final line.
- Here comes an infamous sketch, and what’s probably most remembered from this episode, aside from Will’s cameo in the cold open. It is also one of the three infamous moments in Jon’s short-lived tenure, with his Anderson Cooper impression and the upcoming incident in the Peter Dinklage episode being the other two.
- I’m about a minute or so into this sketch and I have to honestly ask: is SNL kidding me with this material?! Are these intentionally-corny, jolly, and childish acts by Jon supposed to be funny?
- Hoo boy, you could practically hear a pin drop in the studio, the audience is DEAD.
- Very dull, low-energy sketch so far.
- UGH at the whole cannon scene, cringeworthy.
- I’m sure the cast members are having a good time stifling their laughter in this sketch after that water splash, because I’m not laughing, not even a chuckle so far into this sketch.
- Overall, this was as rough to sit through as I recall it being. This sketch, from its general demeanor and atmosphere reeked of utter desperation from Jon’s part, trying hard to win the audience after how negative their reaction was towards him in his earlier episodes. I’d confidently say that Jon’s (or for that matter, SNL’s) attempt at making him seem likable failed miserably. This sketch also seems to be the inverse of another future one-season wonder, Luke Null, who had an even more notorious sketch than this one (albeit, an actual strong one), as a bully making fun of his fellow students, and would make him seem arrogant, unfunny, and unlikable to the audience and he would remain so to them till he was fired after his first & only season. I’ll get to that sketch in details upon eventual review of that season 43 episode.
Musical Performance – “Sunday Candy”
- Jesse Nathan: Already, this has a more different feel than the last song.
- Chance’s opening vocals are kinda drowned out by the piano.
- Chance’s singing is very nice to listen to.
- I love Chance’s smile at various parts of this performance.
- I love the gospel turn in the chorus.
- The combination of organ, piano, and horns is working for me really well.
- These backup singers sound freakin’ amazing on the chorus.
- Ha, I love how Chance alters one of his lyrics to make a big deal out of the fact that he’s the first independent artist to perform on SNL.
- I love how Chance’s energy actually starts slowly building up the more it goes on.
- Not caring for Kenan’s whole spiel at the beginning of the sketch, and what’s with him cracking up? An inside joke?
- So far, a pretty flimsy, weak sketch concept that cannot be stretched properly into a four-minutes sketch.
- Good, energetic, and committed dancing from the four performers, but this sketch feels lethargic, low energy, and pretty quiet. What’s happening to tonight’s episode in general?! Why’s it been slowly dying since that awful song sketch?!
- I’m NOT caring for the overlong, laughless, and slow Mikey Day-esque REACTING/EXPLAINING portions in this sketch. Who allowed this sketch to pass the table read in such a state? Man, tonight’s episode died horribly.
- A rerun from 11/14/2015.
Cut For Time: Roast
- A damn shame that this is the second consecutive Good Neighbor short to be cut, and IIRC, the 3rd so far into the season. This has been a pretty rough season for Beck & Kyle’s work in general.
- Good dramatic turn, Beck’s intensity in his delivery was solid, and the silence from the audience complements this piece, contributing to enriching its tense, subtly dark atmosphere.
- I see that Chris is using his natural accent here, kinda weird as he barely used it on the actual show.
- Beck’s misunderstanding of what a roast is supposed to be is providing solid laughs, as well as Beck wanting his roasting to be a Comedy Central-esque one is a subtle sign of Beck’s character inner, deep sense of pathos and lost pride. This ostentatious & grand dreams of his, show us with subtlety his inner loss and deep-seeded sadness. This is a character that Beck will play to perfection throughout his tenure as I mentioned previously in this and previous reviews of mine. Yet, with enough changes in the different interpretations of said trait in order to not make it seem stale. Adding by that freshness to a tired, cliched comedic format. A sign of Beck’s creativity which was needed in SNL, and helped make it, alongside Kyle’s work with him, or on his own, quintessential to this SNL era.
- Vanessa’s playing her inner turmoil quite well here, which is another sign of her stellar season which has truly started with the last episode, in the classic Santa Baby short, and will continue on with strong Update pieces & particularly in some standout shorts in this and next season. Another comparison to Beck’s stellar final year on the show, with many of his talents being displayed in many shorts throughout the season, including the fantastic Job Interview, one of my personal favorite shorts from this era.
- Solid ending with Beck’s revelation that he cheated on Vanessa with her friends, this is now the moment where Beck’s inner turmoil, his sadness within, really takes hold of him, as he storms out afterwards still filled with pride; a pride made of wind that cannot be sustained and held as a true, pure object. Put this Good Neighbor short as another true, hidden gem from Beck & Kyle once again this season.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Time To Bleed
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Action Figures
Brother 2 Brother
On the Record
- A bit of hard-to-figure episode. The episode had a pretty strong first half, with several segments given the four-stars rating, and as soon as that “You know the song, come sing along!” sketch reared its ugly head, the episode suddenly started to bottom-out (aside from WU & Brunch), and never recovered. Yet, I would definitely say that the good does outnumber the bad, even when there was bipolar quality to the episode at times, with sketches either being great or awful (it kinda reminds me of how I thought of, funny enough, Will Ferrell’s season 43 episode, which also had a Bush address as its cold open much like this episode). So, I would put this episode in the decent category of the season, good in general, but with shakiness around the edges. Also, Chris Hemsworth was yet again a solid, committed host who fit into the SNL format. I’m still surprised that he never came back after this episode to host at least one more time in this era. I wouldn’t have mind him hosting around seasons 44/45.
- It also felt so great to witness the SNL debut of Chance the Rapper, who already came off excellent, likable, and performed some great music (particularly the first performance), I look forward to his future guest appearances, and particularly his two great hosting stints later in this era, the 2nd of which is amongst my personal favorite episodes from this era and a quintessential one that perfectly encapsulates what I love about this SNL era.
- I’ve just realized before posting this review that the blog just surpassed milestone 10000 views, which is a number that I never honestly thought it would reach, and certainly not this soon, so just saying thank you won’t be enough to repay my dear readers’ support, yet agains thanks from the bottom of my heart. I hope these reviews still live to your standards.
- For the first time in over a decade, we get two hosts headlining an episode with the return of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler with musical guest Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.