Saturday Night Live, a week away from its season finale, is in for an Update shake-up. This afternoon it was announced that Seth Meyers, host of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, would be taking over NBC’s Late Night throne, replacing Jimmy Fallon, who will be taking over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno. Meyers, host of the segment since 2008, will anchor his last Update segment later this year. The Update chair, however, remains to be determined. Here are my top picks for people I’d like to see take on the Update chair:
Honorable mention: Jason Sudeikis
Sudeikis may be rumored to be leaving, and this may be a long shot, but in a perfect world, Sudeikis would be in the running to host Update. He’s got the personality and charisma to host the show and though the odds are a million to one, in an alternate universe, Sudeikis would do really well with Update.
2. Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer
Killam might be a pillar of the show and a strong sketch player, but his ability to flow seamlessly between political segments, talk shows and characters throughout the show make him a strong contender. Let’s not forget Fallon was a pillar of the show when he took over Update. Killam, as an up and comer, could be good. He’s versatile enough to bring out Bayer’s fun personality and quirky side. Bayer, on the other hand, is underused but has potential to be funny and Update could be a way to funnel that potential. Killam has the right mix of playful to match Bayer’s seriousness - they would play off each other well.
1. A writer and Vanessa Bayer
The last time a writer was paired with a cast member, magic happened. Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon took over the Update desk from Colin Quinn and the unknown/known combo worked out really well. SNL’s writing staff is filled with talented writers, many of whom I would love to see with Vanessa - Mike O’Brien, Colin Jost, Chris Kelly, Marika Sawyer, Sarah Schneider, even the once-thought-to-be-gone John Mulaney, the list goes on. Bayer, on the other hand, has the inklings of a potentially successful Update career. She’s semi-serious, but feels like the girl next door that people can relate to - alone, she might not be able to do it. If a writer were paired with Bayer, however, there would be enough intrigue to keep viewers interested and - hopefully - enough of a back and forth dynamic to keep the segment interesting and fun. There might be a writer behind the scenes who’s ready to make the leap to prime time and I would be perfectly okay with that.
Cold Open: I’m a sucker for political cold opens and the sequester was the biggest thing that happened this week. It was only natural. That being said, I wanted to like this cold open. The longer it went on, the more I liked it - but that still wasn’t enough. The many, many employees that were brought up during his speech were funny but so fleeting. I wanted more of a flow and more continuity in theme - which is weird to say because it was a speech - but it felt jumpy and odd. There were parts i enjoyed, like the YMCA, the six months from now joke and the reference of Boehner, but aside from that, it felt disappointingly flat. For such a huge issue, I expected something a little better. B+
Monologue: Kevin Hart’s energy is refreshing. I honestly cannot remember the last time I’ve seen a host explode onto stage and keep it up for seven minutes. In what seemed to be a great part of his stand up, Hart talked about a homeless man touching sandwiches. It was funny and high energy. Great stories, hysterical impressions, perfect SNL story. Granted the energy was so flat streamed at such a high level that I did want some variation, but it was a fun monologue. Props to Hart. B+
Steve Harvey: I should have expected that this talk show would pop up, but placing it after the monologue seems like a bit of a stretch. The sketch was a little too long and though I did enjoy the pronunciations ..it just didn’t jive with me. I don’t really like Kenan’s Harvey - it feels a little forced, despite how playful it always is. It’s okay. The entire sketch seemed too flat to go post monologue and a little too bizarre to even be in the first half of the show. It was by far not the best thing they had, but I ‘m assuming they felt two political sketches back to back would alienate people. C+
Situation Room: The Situation Room is one of my favorite sketches and Wallis as the new pope really worked out. I don’t think I knew it at the time, but if there is one thing I really wanted to see it was Kevin Hart dressed as a little child. And I wanted that little child to be Quvenzhane Wallis. I wish maybe Wallis would have done less dancing and but then she/Hart started to talk in Latin. This sketch always has great flow and consistently makes the joke and gets out. A
Barnes and Nobles Employees: When they did this sketch a few weeks ago, I liked it on the condition that it would not return. The sheer length of the sketch is enough for me to zone out somewhere, at some point, and that’s not even taking into account everything else. The fact that they brought this sketch back in a Barnes and Nobles is great, but at the end of the day it’s the same joke. Yeah, it’s funny, but it’s also repetitive. There are really no clear beats to separate energy in this sketch and it makes it fall flat. The sketch really brought nothing new to the table, aside from a few new laughs and Kevin Hart breaking. This was a one time hit for me, and bringing it back made me like it less. Better luck next time. B-
Macklemore/Ryan Lewis: The song of my generation comes to life! Sure, Macklemore sounds like he might pass out at any time, but both performances were impressive to me. They weren’t bad, is what I’m trying to say.
Weekend Update: Weekend Update jokes were golden, as usual, tackling all the political and social issues of the week. I always love update. For our first segment, Kim Jong and a basketball player. This was neither relevant to my life - which doesn’t mean I won’t like it - but maybe I just didn’t get it? I do love Bobby as Kim Jong Ill though, he plays him as cute and sassy, which is always fantastic. After that, Seth Meyers brings back Really?!?!?! with Kevin Hart. I was and still am opposed deep down to the idea of Seth doing the Really segment with anyone but Amy. It just feels wrong. However, I quickly warmed up to this pairing. It was a fantastic way to talk about the voting rights act and probably the only time I enjoyed Kevin using his race during the show. I’m a sucker for Seth Segments on Update - yeah, it’s a thing now - because they effortlessly weave together humor and deep political analysis. I appreciate it and I admire the satire. If that segment had a different name, I would have fully loved it. Even with the name, though - well done, you two. Overall, for Update: B
Walking Dead: I don’t watch The Walking Dead, so needless to say none of this made sense to me. I didn’t really understand the entire dynamic of it, but I did enjoy Nasim as the annoying little kid. She was a great touch. Kevin Hart was great BUT I didn’t want the entire sketch to be about racism. Maybe that’s what it’s like on the actual show. Who knows! I don’t! It was mediocre, funny at times, but okay I guess. B-
Shark Tank Parody: I love Shark Tank and I know it well, and this sketch got all the technical parts of Shark Tank correct - the inability to ever, EVER get numbers correct and the poor pitching - but something about it just didn’t click. I wanted more interaction between judges, which is the best part of the show - especially since the four judges seemed great. Luckily, Kevin Hart brought enough energy to really keep the sketch alive, but it still felt barely glued together and too short to express the essence of what makes Shark Tank funny. B
Z Shirt: Sketches like this make me want to see more Tim Robinson stat. I don’t know if they’re going after any specific commercial, but it doesn’t matter. That’s what a good commercial parody should feel like - funny even if it’s a seemingly random premises. On a side note, the camera angles really accented the piece and heightened it. Great job. A
Dove Chocolate: A voice commercial with two finalists, Vanessa Bayer and Kevin Hart, competing for the chance to voice the new Dove Chocolate commercial. Fred Armisen and Bill Hader play the executives here and they’re great, but the best part is Kevin Hart’s character, Dante, who doesn’t think he’s write to voice the part written specifically for a woman. I didn’t love how slowly the sketch ambled on, but Dante made it better. His voice overs were exaggerated and frank, and combined with his doubt, escalated the concept. B
Z Shirt Part Funeral: I love that they brought this back. That’s all I have to say. I think it worked and I like this. The mellow Tim and eccentric/energetic Kevin work well together. Still, the first worked better. It was the shock factor. A-
360 News: The concept of a newsman spinning 360 with every headline is an interesting one if not dynamic and his producers telling him the show idea is stupid makes it better. The sketch wasn’t working until his cameramen started to betray him. Then, it got interesting. Still, an okay last sketch. Not my favorite. C+
# snl # Saturday Night Live # review # listen in # sam and helena # sam and helena are the best okay gotcha great
A year ago tonight was my first time in Studio 8H - my one year anniversary. I’ve been doing standby for a year and reviewing for longer. What a year. As tonight’s SNL rolls in, I bring you my LIVELOVEBLOG, a liveblog that also takes into account that I love the show so much and hence bias with no regrets.
After last week’s episode, I’m feeling better knowing we have that Bieber nonsense behind us. Though I know little about tonight’s host, Christoph Waltz, and plenty about Alabama Shakes, I’m expecting a better show and a higher quality show. Well, I’m really just looking forward to a show without the Bieber factor and without the Californians, and Bieber’s not even hosting, so unless he pops up, we should be pretty solid.
Cold Open: Cruise ship cold open, how did I not expect this at all? Nevertheless, I like the format of the cold open - effortless and fast paced. Jay Pharoah playing a stand up comedian that’s lost his mind is nothing short of fantastic. The slowly deteriorating sanity of the captains and their inability to find anything positive in the news whatsoever gives it the slight political tilt makes it appropriate for the cold open. Also, shoutout to Fred Armisen for another hysterical impression. These crew member’s inabilities to keep their ship sane is just weird and cutely quirky enough to make me love it. A-
Monologue: Christoph Waltz, you have a fantastic sense of humor. This take on American’s perception of Austria is SPOT ON, I can say, as someone who has lived abroad their entire life. Casual Hitler is perfect and I’m getting the vibe that Waltz really jives with this cast. I didn’t expect the musical aspect, but the German twist is so fantastic that I can’t resist. Absolutely fresh and joyful monologue. Wait, this is actually going to be a fantastic show tonight, guys. A
What Have You Become: Waltz hosts America’s newest game show features three lame Americans that are totally average yet weird. I already love this take on people who become nothing and have strange obsessions and weird careers and hobbies. Their answers are honest- yet wrong. The music queuing some sort of revelation makes me a little nervous, yet Aidy Bryant’s character is fantastic. Bringing out their relatives for round two to yield some sort of break down makes it a little better, yet there’s no bit to this sketch to this, only truth and a fantastic ensemble. I keep waiting for more bite - oh wait, here it is. Aidy turning the question around. Waltz is 100% the best part about this sketch without stealing the spotlight, only slightly shifting it.Still, they could have turned up notch a little. By the way, Waltz can dance. B+/A-
After Your Pope: Woah, did not see this coming. Waltz - is that Waltz? - plays a Pope giving testimony in a Pope retirement for Pope ad. It’s what SNL does best, so there’s not much to say. Quick, hilarious, perfect. I love it. A
New Place: Waltz’s character is holding an apartment warming party and telling stories. Tippy, Nasim’s character, doesn’t understand social cues/acts too soon or too late to social conversations - and heads up - not only is she on screen, but she’s got no boundaries and is hilarious. Tippy drifts from conversation to conversation, asking for highlights of conversations. She’s like a version of me I can someday see myself becoming and I love it. A-
Djesus Uncrossed: If you are human, you will like this commercial. Jesus comes back from the dead and hes fighting people. It’s obnoxiously and obviously fake but somehow, the combination of religious figures fighting and just everything about this commercial is fantastic. “No more mister nice jesus” indeed. A+
JMarcus Brothers: The JMarcus brothers are here to make your body tingle tangle in what can only be said to remind me of something out of an older SNL episode. I haven’t seen a song parodies sketch in a little too long, but I love it. To think that two brothers and an adopted white brother are writing songs that are supposed to turn people on is a fantastic. Engelberg, the awkward bother out, is a great way to use the host and take an ordinary sketch to the next level. Great, but I expected just a little more. B
Weekend Update: Here are tonight’s top political stories that I’ve been waiting to hear. Lots of great political jokes about things I feel as if few people but me care about except tonight. Solid and memorable. Our first segment is Taran Killam as Marco Rubio explaining the drink of water. Killam putting context on his awkward drink of water somehow isn’t as funny as it should be, but Rubio needing water so desperatly saves it for me. He’s pulling some sort of Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty and I love it. Rubio’s desperation and blind-sittedness is simply great. Very solid segment. Our second segment is Olya Povlatsky,Kate McKinnon’s first big segment on SNL in a while. McKinnon is so high energy and creepy at the same time that i can’t help but love her dedication to character. Tonight, however, I feel like I’m missing something. Wait, there it is. Olya’s outdated pop culture references are hilarious. Can we have a show where Olya tells Seth about all the new pop culture she experiences each week? I would watch that. Our third segment is Stephen A. Smith, something I will never understand because I neither watch ESPN or sports. Still, I appreciate his rage that turns into a high pitched feminine voice. I don’t need to watch ESPN to love Smith describe his outlandish relationships with athletes. I like Smith the more he comes on - he teaches me about sports games. Also, for the record, I would watch Mohawk and Bangs. Totally. A
Date Night with Regine: THIS IS BACK! REGINE IS BACK!!! GUYS!!!! GUYS HOLD ME!!!! The great thing about Fred Armisen as Regine is that there’s something so subtle at first that just transforms into something so extreme that it’s insane. Insane and hysterical, yet I love it somehow. Bill, Tim, Aidy and Vanessa breaking just MAKES IT okay (I must be a half-naked barbarian). I like that this came back and I think it might be going places. I want to see it come back again. A-
Fox and Friends: I think I just live to see this sketch come back. The absurdity that takes itself seriously is hysterical. Ted Nugent as a guest with ticks in his goatee didn’t quite sit well with me, it felt forced, but I appreciate Bill Hader’s ability to transform himself himself. The second guest on the show is Fred Armisen as Chris, an authority from the food agency - he wasn’t totally necessary, just a springboard for the anchors. The sketch didn’t seem to have as much momentum as it could have had, perhaps dragged down with the second guest, but nevertheless, the corrections killed it (always). The ones I caught: February is a month,Kate Upton is not dating a glacier, Bruno Mars is from earth, Plants are alive but they cannot watch TV, God does not sneeze electricity. B
Alabama Shakes redefine my perception of rock and roll. They’ve got a great sound and beautiful tune.
Office Valentine: Someone drops off a Valentine’s letter on this office lady’s desk. Cecily Strong reads a “psycho’s manifesto.” As the last sketch of the night, I can accept this sketch for what it is: weird. Everyone in the office knows Dimitri wrote the letter in broken English, everyone but Cecily. The best part is that how blatantly hysterical the letter is and how obvious it is that Dimitri wrote it. The back and forth between Dimitri and the other workers heightens the sketch quickly. This sketch could come back - for a different holiday, mind you - and I’d love it.
Christoph Waltz ends the night with a lovely amount of gratitude, but we’ll never really know how grateful he was because hey they cut off goodnights again. That 1 a.m. programming is just soooo important, isnt it?
Sketch of the night: Djesus Uncrosses, After Your Pope or Cruise Ship Cold Open. I can’t pick, okay?!
The not sketch of the night: Surprisingly, Fox and Friends. It just didn’t live up to what I wanted it to become. The fact that I still really enjoyed this sketch, though, speaks to the overall quality of the show.
Overall show grade: A. My second favorite show of the season, tied with Anne Hathaway’s episode (barely). First, by the way, is Seth MacFarlane and Louis CK tied.
Look out for the Sam and Helena talk NBC podcast tomorrow morning.
[ the 2 broker girls talk Bieber on SNL ]
A Tentative title for our podcast? We’ll see if it sticks. Listen in!
Well, well, well. It’s almost February 2013. It’s Flu season. It’s cold. The best parts of the life seem to have already happened. Remember Summer 2012? Wasn’t that sweet? Yeah. It was. Remember when all your shows were premiering and the whole season was in front of them and they were not on hiatus? Yeah. That was pretty swell. To help get you, the reader, out of your winter slum-glum, I have compiled a list of the best moments of television.
Why this list, now, you ask? Because you the reader have not read a list about last year for a month now (almost)! If you’re sick of reading winter-y, cold, looking-forward-put-your-best-foot-forward lists, this list is for you. It’s nostalgic, fun and all about television. No one doesn’t love television (that’s an impossible thing). First, however, a quick disclosure: this is just a simple list, based on my opinions and feelings , not on facts; I am not a professional list maker. I can guarantee you right now that you will either a) disagree with me, b) think I missed something, c) hate me. I’m already over your understood hatred towards this blog now. Be cool everyone…And, without further ado, my favorite television moments of 2012 (in no order because ordering is too much pressure also I can’t pick)——
# Saturday Night Live # Amy Poehler # tina fey # jimmy fallon # lnjf # lnwjf # colin jost # snl # kristen wiig # lorne michaels # liz lemon # stephen colbert # tcr # the colbert report # girls # girls hbo # hbo girls # lena dunham # review # list list list
On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to get in to Saturday Night Live’s Dress Rehearsal with Host Louis C.K and musical guest Fun. Below the cut, details I’m afraid I’ll one day forget.
# snl # Saturday Night Live # personal # its a lot of stuff # behind the cut # dress rehearsal # text # feels