Saturday Night Live

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mfunk9786
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Re: Saturday Night Live

#126 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:21 am

Brian C wrote:There were a couple others, like the "Black Jeopardy" with Tom Hanks or Scarlett Johansson's Trump-supporting dog. Both of those probably pointed to a more productive satirical direction that trying to spoof Trump or his administration directly.

I also liked Cecily Strong's Cathy Anne character on Update.
That Strong character, for whatever reason, felt a lot more like punching down than someone like Girl... at a Party, who also just felt a lot more realistic and amusing in general. It was clear why they might've needed to retire that one since it was done to death, but didn't think Cathy Anne was a worthy replacement. In general, Weekend Update felt like the weakest aspect of the show (they either need to just give it to Che or blow the whole thing up again, the set even looks awful).

It's just hard to buy into any sort of chemistry between Che and Jost, and particularly after Meyers did it incredibly smoothly (particularly when it came to working with the characters) it's frustrating in its current state. Something tells me though that with our current political climate and the fact that they were delivering stale Trump one-liners on a weekly basis, Jost and Che are being rounded up to brilliant (I think I even saw an ad for MSNBC where Chris Matthews is interviewing the two of them and buttering them up about how ingenious they are). It's hard not to miss an era where the concept of Weekend Update was a buffoonish news anchor type (or types) instead of just trying to ape the now very tired Daily Show formula.

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Brian C
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Re: Saturday Night Live

#127 Post by Brian C » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:15 pm

I guess I disagree about Cathy Anne "punching down". Punching down at whom, exactly? She got some of the show's best barbs in at Trump, I thought.

I liked the Girl at the Party in concept, but Strong never quite pulled it off. Too much focus on malapropisms, which was unnecessary given how target-rich for satire the lefty PC environment is. Still, she scored a few times - for example, when she insisted out of the blue that Che wink at her, only to derisively respond, "Congratulations, you just committed assault."

I agree that it's tough to know where to go with Update in general, though. The "Daily Show" format is played out to a large degree, you're right, but I think the buffoonish anchor routine is also, especially in the post-Colbert Report era. Hell, even The Colbert Report had gotten pretty tired after about a year, I thought, but goofy news anchors in general have been a cliche since ... well hell, SNL obviously was doing it over 40 years ago so we'll go with that. I never thought that Meyers was any better than OK in the role, and it's weird to say that you liked him since he was just doing a straight-up Daily Show clone to a larger degree than any other Update host has.

As far as Che and Jost go, I like them fine, and I do buy the chemistry between them. I've thought maybe they should play up the tension between them more than they do - they hint at that direction from time to time, but haven't really developed it. Jost's bland white guy especially seems ripe to lampoon - make the fact that a bland white guy has the chair part of the joke - but they only tease that angle on occasion even though it always works. I think a big part of the problem is that SNL just doesn't seem to have the stomach for legitimate social commentary beyond a few small and mostly mild helpings now and again.

While I'm on the subject, I'm going to miss Vanessa Bayer. I always thought she was a very underrated performer with a lot of range, and she leaves a big hole for the show to fill.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#128 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:21 pm

I wasn't incredibly pleased with Meyers, I just thought he made the whole thing go down a lot more smoothly than Jost and Che do, because he was one guy with an excellent delivery and ability to riff with the characters that'd come on, rather than two guys with clunky deliveries who are not so good at riffing with characters. The whole thing feels oddly bloated and compromised, where at least Meyers was doing the whole Daily Show thing well (and he and Poehler had excellent chemistry when they were a duo). No one will ever top Norm, but they don't even seem to be trying to get back to that peak anymore, so I'll take what I can get if someone is at least doing the job they've been asked to do efficiently and with some spontaneity that isn't just breaking because a line was flubbed.
Brian C wrote:While I'm on the subject, I'm going to miss Vanessa Bayer. I always thought she was a very underrated performer with a lot of range, and she leaves a big hole for the show to fill.
Amen. With McKinnon sucking up much of the oxygen in this era of the show, and Wiig in the previous era that Bayer's stint overlapped with, she never really got the accolades she deserved. Going to miss Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy, a classic instance of something that's pretty specific to NYC that is funny no matter where the viewer is from or what their experiences are. She had a real penchant for nailing the mannerisms of children - any time she did a Disney/Nickelodeon actor of some kind it was always really, really funny.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#129 Post by Andre Jurieu » Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:40 pm

mfunk9786 wrote: ... need to just give it to Che...
I'm surprised the default decision is to hand it all over to Che. I don't mind Che, but he still has trouble delivering his lines and any improvement he's made over the past few seasons has been mild.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#130 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:29 pm

I don’t know what his version of Weekend Update looks like, though. He seems like he’d at least be more interesting if he were doing it solo and it had his voice.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#131 Post by Big Ben » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:51 pm

I'm in the boat with mfunk here. The season was scattered although it had great bits in between. Said moments involved Alec Bladwin parodying Donald Trump, (Although Trump IS a living joke in my opinion). I believe very much that some of SNL's success has come from their wanton disregard for not pissing off Trump. And I, like many other liberals lapped up Baldwin's performance because we sorely wanted a Trump on screen that was a caricature. I stand by my hypothesis here. People came for sport and SNL delivered every time in that regard. Whether it was good or not really doesn't matter. It got it's ratings and attention. The Emmy Nominations? Just an extra bonus.

But the rest of the skits? Nowhere near the level of quality. I can remember only a few like one involving The Rock and some fake medication that gave way to a sensible chuckle from me. The others? Occasionally okay. Occasionally bad. Occasionally cringe-worthy.

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Saturday Night Live

#132 Post by movielocke » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:32 pm

Ryan Gosling plays a generic criterion forum member on the papyrus sketch from last nights SNL. Clearly they're spying on the forum, (I know what they did!)

https://youtu.be/jVhlJNJopOQ" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#133 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:55 pm

Chance the Rapper is apparently hosting on November 18, with Eminem as the musical guest. There's got to be a performance with both of them in there somewhere.


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Re: Saturday Night Live

#135 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:45 am

A strange show overall in that everyone seemed distracted and ill-prepared. I was worried about Bill Murray who seemed to forget why he was there during his brief appearance in the cold open. I'm also worried that Rockwell's bit of business of constantly pulling up his pants (emphasized throughout his Golden Globe-winning performance in Three Billboards...) has now become a compulsion since I believe he did this throughout every skit he appeared in!

At least the "human with a dog head" eating a sandwich was hysterical because, you know, it was a real dog trying to eat a sandwich.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#136 Post by black&huge » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:23 pm

Has SNL ever been as bad as this current season? Last season was great but in every ep this season there's been technical issues (the delayed subs for the Crab Miserables skit fron last night most notably), flubbed lines (much too common), terrible skit ideas and worst of all: breaking is so common now it's become cringeworthy. It's as if everyone from staff to cast is either unprepared or just do not care anymore. This season is easily one of the worst.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#137 Post by Ribs » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:23 am

SNL has always been bad: the format of the show has always been (at least, since Lorne's return to the show in the 80s) to bat 1-for-6, and then over time any individual cast assembles enough goodwill to be remembered fondly by the time they've been in maybe a dozen sketches people like. We're just at a bit of a cycle-point where there's a lot of new people who haven't amassed enough goodwill and recognition yet.

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Brian C
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Re: Saturday Night Live

#138 Post by Brian C » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:00 am

The original cast didn’t have all that great of a hit-to-miss ratio either. Watch old episodes of the show - most of the sketches are completely tedious, and they’re frequently twice as long as modern sketches. For example, most people have no idea that Bill Murray’s famous “Star Wars Theme Song” bit came at the end of nearly 10 minutes of an excruciatingly unfunny lounge singer routine.

As someone who’s watched the show regularly for over 25 years, I think this season isn’t all that notably good or bad. I like the current cast a great deal, but the writing, as always, is pretty hit-and-miss. Most of the political sketches that DON’T feature Baldwin’s Trump (or other random celebrity cameos) are actually pretty sharp. Some episodes (Chance, Hader to name two offhand) have been pretty great, a few have been mostly washouts. So it’s always gone.

Maybe more to the point, a 1-for-6 ratio is actually pretty good. That’s at least one or two an episode that score, which seems like a pretty reasonable expectation and plenty good enough to stay relevant.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#139 Post by beamish13 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:31 am

Ribs wrote:SNL has always been bad: the format of the show has always been (at least, since Lorne's return to the show in the 80s) to bat 1-for-6, and then over time any individual cast assembles enough goodwill to be remembered fondly by the time they've been in maybe a dozen sketches people like. We're just at a bit of a cycle-point where there's a lot of new people who haven't amassed enough goodwill and recognition yet.

Thank you! Yes, I've always found it to be a lowest common denominator type of entertainment. You can make topical humor clever, but I don't think SNL has ever achieved that. As a result, it ages terribly. The live format also necessitates a ridiculous number of television talk show sketches, and it's hard to parody something that's already innately ridiculous.

Something about this particular cast is exceptionally forgettable, though. I can't stand Colin Jost or Michael Che in particular.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#140 Post by Ribs » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:34 am

Brian C wrote:The original cast didn’t have all that great of a hit-to-miss ratio either. Watch old episodes of the show - most of the sketches are completely tedious, and they’re frequently twice as long as modern sketches. For example, most people have no idea that Bill Murray’s famous “Star Wars Theme Song” bit came at the end of nearly 10 minutes of an excruciatingly unfunny lounge singer routine.

As someone who’s watched the show regularly for over 25 years, I think this season isn’t all that notably good or bad. I like the current cast a great deal, but the writing, as always, is pretty hit-and-miss. Most of the political sketches that DON’T feature Baldwin’s Trump (or other random celebrity cameos) are actually pretty sharp. Some episodes (Chance, Hader to name two offhand) have been pretty great, a few have been mostly washouts. So it’s always gone.

Maybe more to the point, a 1-for-6 ratio is actually pretty good. That’s at least one or two an episode that score, which seems like a pretty reasonable expectation and plenty good enough to stay relevant.
I was trying to be fairly kind to the show! Other than like, that one Steve Martin episode where every sketch is something from best-of-DVDs, I agree the original show is kind of interminable to watch episode-by-episode. But, yeah, I think they just kind of throw it on the wall and hope one thing sticks each week. Which, to be fair, is usually true.

I didn't really mean the show was bad, just that any given episode of the show is bad taken as a whole. Which I think is different?

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#141 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:00 am

This season is suffering from much too much cast: There are performers who go totally missing for multiple episodes. One figures they're probably working behind the scenes on something (I would guess that Kyle Mooney was responsible for the "Switcheroo" sketch from this week's episode, for example, but he didn't really show up otherwise), but it still is a little disorienting to think about how many damn people are on the cast right now who are in the sketch lead archetype. It seems like a good time for the Kate McKinnons and Aidy Bryants and Kenan Thompsons to move on, but they're all such natural fits for SNL that it seems odd to think that they'd leave the show just for the sake of leaving it and making some room.

For me, the bright spot is Heidi Gardner, who is new to the cast this season. She's hilarious almost effortlessly, she can be onscreen in an otherwise abysmal sketch and make it funny just by being around - sort of a Phil Hartman effect - and I have to imagine this is going to be a long and fruitful stint on the show for her.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#142 Post by criterionoop » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:27 am

mfunk9786 wrote:(I would guess that Kyle Mooney was responsible for the "Switcheroo" sketch from this week's episode, for example, but he didn't really show up otherwise
John Mulaney posted on Instagram that he wrote the "Switcheroo" sketch in 2009 (as well as the "Lobster Diner" sketch, which he wrote in 2010), but that "neither went past the table" when he initially wrote them.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#143 Post by Brian C » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:27 am

Yeah, Gardner is great. Her boxer’s girlfriend character is really fantastic, at once ludicrously specific yet instantly recognizable.

I like Mooney a lot, so it’s sad to see him fade into the background.

On the other hand, Luke Null has been the most deadweight cast member since ... ??? Hard to even say. A few recent washouts at least seemed like they could be funny if they got a shot, but Null can’t even get me to root for him. The two (!) starring skits he’s had this year have both pretty much sucked.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#144 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:30 am

Oh god, his last name is Null? How delightfully appropriate
Brian C wrote:Her boxer’s girlfriend character is really fantastic, at once ludicrously specific yet instantly recognizable.
Yes, it's really something else, a really hilarious bit that shouldn't work but totally does. Since Vanessa Bayer left, who was sort of a Weekend Update MVP for a while, Update's really fallen into a terribly boring pattern of sub-Daily Show political jokes from Twitter a few days prior coupled with Kate McKinnon playing some (usually male with the assistance of frightful prosthetics) niche political figure for much too long, and it is a slog to get through. Gardner's boxer's wife character has been a rare bright spot.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#145 Post by Brian C » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:50 am

I’ll disagree there because I love McKinnon’s update characters. All of them, I think. She really can do no wrong for me in general, though - she’s in strong contention for the greatest cast member of all time in my opinion.

I think Chris Redd is a great addition, too. Like all the best SNLers, he’s got a comic energy that’s apparent even when he’s not the focus of a bit.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#146 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:57 am

Some of them are great when they're more unspecific (like the eastern European woman who's town is besieged by wolves) but there is never a time that I want to watch 10 minutes of her playing Jeff Sessions making tired Trump and Mueller jokes that feel past their expiration date as they're being delivered.

I can't believe I'm saying this because dumbing anything down is not necessarily a noble pursuit, but today's political climate is so toxic and weird that I'd rather see Weekend Update and the show in general go in a broader and stranger direction and get away from current events. Taped sketches about #MeToo and that Game of Life thing about DACA, to name a couple examples, just feel a little too... precious and Huffington Post-y for a show that always had kind of a countercultural bend to it. You can set your watch to whatever milquetoast thing (and I am not trying to pretend the issues of our time aren't important, so hopefully this still makes sense with that in mind) your aunt's posting about on Facebook that the show is going to cover with an easy set of punchlines in their political sketches now, and it doesn't feel quite right. Maybe it's just the saturation of this stuff elsewhere that makes it feel stale by the time Saturday night rolls around, but the show would still benefit from a little bit of a retool in the politics department. Yes, I know that Trump is orange and that he tweets a lot. This stuff is all anyone ever talks about

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#147 Post by tenia » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:10 pm

Being somebody who used to watch the show a few years ago and never seen anything before, it's true that the recent post-Trump direction (or even slightly before, for what it's worth) feels too cheap and easy. I can't think of a single episode that I watched in its entirety in one sitting without feeling at least half of it was overlong and too tired already, which I guess explained why I usually prefered the more rapid-fire Weekend Updates and especially the completely unrelated SNL Digital Shorts from Adam Samberg.

I suppose they're currently sitting in a difficult middle : there are too many similar shows in humurous tones, but SNL never went in a more serious direction like John Oliver or Trevor Noah are doing. Still, I suppose, it's probably more entertaining than James Corden's late show.

So the question, I suppose, is indeed : what can they really do to reset themselves in a more interesting direction without being too much aside from covering the news and not being too far away from the "average" SNL viewer ?

But I also think being in an era where the US president has a whole show dedicated to making cheaply fun of it says a lot about political satire saturation.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#148 Post by beamish13 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:16 pm

mfunk9786 wrote: I can't believe I'm saying this because dumbing anything down is not necessarily a noble pursuit, but today's political climate is so toxic and weird that I'd rather see Weekend Update and the show in general go in a broader and stranger direction and get away from current events.
This is why I loved The Daily Show under Craig Kilborn. The focus on local oddballs was far more surreal, endearing, and timeless than the endless takes on what was happening in international news and the federal government.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#149 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:18 pm

Maybe I'm alone in this, but the idea that "man, Trump is a comedy goldmine!" has always felt like a nonstarter to me. He, himself, is very funny to consume and goof about internally, but he's almost so ridiculous that the jokes write themselves in your own mind as you consume him (for a lack of a less frightening way of phrasing this), and you don't need a suit on television verbalizing the ridiculous thoughts he manifests. The sort of hacky, broad way that, say, Bill Maher's monologue has always felt is how all of these shows feel since the emergence of Trump, and I wish that SNL knew well enough to run in the other direction and do something a little more escapist and avant garde instead of one-note sketch after one-note sketch about our uniquely depressing political era.

It's not that I've got that right wing "how dare you bring politics into this piece of entertainment!" repulsion from it, it's just that it isn't very funny, and SNL's primary objective should be... to be funny. Stuff like McKinnon's Hillary Clinton singing Hallelujah is so straight-faced and sincere that it makes my skin crawl, and there's inevitably something that makes me feel like that every week now. Just like how political music rarely works and is usually cringeworthy, political comedy rarely works and is usually cringeworthy. Older eras of SNL seemed to understand this and make amusing caricatures out of these people to compensate (Will Ferrell's George W. Bush is a good example, he might as well have been like... the Church Lady, just another SNL character), but there's this sense that everyone is being hyper-serious in the sketches with a political bend now, almost like they have the impression that they can fix or even improve things through their satire, which couldn't be further divorced from reality. It's rarely even fresh, let alone revolutionary.

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Re: Saturday Night Live

#150 Post by MongooseCmr » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:23 pm

Brian C wrote:Maybe more to the point, a 1-for-6 ratio is actually pretty good. That’s at least one or two an episode that score, which seems like a pretty reasonable expectation and plenty good enough to stay relevant.
Especially considering that most people, myself included, just watch sketches individually on YouTube. It’s very hard to complain about 2-3 amusing sketches and 5 more that you turn off at your leisure. It’s probably the source of the shows resurgence in recent years. Nobody is actually watching the bad parts

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