Gabourey Sidibe hosts a strong Saturday Night Live, complete with lots of cast giggles

By | April 26, 2010 at 10:16 am | One comment | Audio/Video, Reviews, TV/Movies | Tags: , , ,

The great thing about having a brand new star as the host of Saturday Night Live is the sense of anticipation for what is ultimately completely unpredictable.

The opening monologue, a sassy musical number to the tune of Betty Everett’s “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss),” found Gabourey Sidibe explaining, with a fabulous smile and a fierce swagger, why she’s nothing like the Precious character that shot her to stardom.

Less funny and more (forgive me) preciously sweet, the Gabourey cabaret didn’t seem to hint at what was to come. Now, in hindsight, it’s clear that the content was meant to be non-thematic. It was the tone – light-heartedness – that really created a thread for the evening. This could be why some of the cast fell victim to a sporadic case of the giggles.

It started with Gabourey flubbing a line and breaking face as she played a “crazy” lady yelling from a window. But Mrs. Johnson isn’t as off as she seems.

A special editorial about Girl Scout cookies from show writer/stand-up comedian John Mulaney was more than a tasty Weekend Update treat – with his direct appeal to the cookies themselves and a young Andy Rooney-esque delivery. It, at one point, even cracked John up.

But the giggles really took over on when Bill Hader had a hard time playing subculture club-obsessed Stefon straight, causing Seth Meyers to nearly lose it, too.

One Update guest that didn’t lose her cool, but brought more than her fair share of laughs from the audience was Kristen Wiig as travel correspondent Judy Grimes. Like a coked-up version of Kevin Nealon doing Mr. Subliminal, Wiig always delivers brilliantly when it comes to this character. The nervous run-on sentences only get longer and more astonishingly funny. Not just kidding.

But back to the fantastic Gabourey and back to the beginning!

Wiig’s portrayal of quirky femme fiscal Suze Orman is another of her strongest performances. In this episode, Gabourey appears as a Jamaican accented nurse who’s written a money-saving DIY medical book, giving Wiig lots of room for some graphic laughs.

This week’s digital short positioned the host in a bizarre and beautifully shot slo-mo face-off with Andy Samberg. It’s hard to describe how one cherry can take it from surreal to hilarious. See for yourself.

And, with a few weaklings in between, the show ended strong, with the host appearing as herself, confronted by Will Forte’s creepy, off-kilter ladies’ man Hamilton.

The show is on break now until May 8, when it comes back with a vengeance. Betty White hosts (FINALLY!) and the musical guest is Jay-Z.

About the Author

Robin A. Rothman

  • jazzmanchgo

    Sidibe is far too inexperienced to be thrown into the maelstrom of live TV, especially a hyper-speed, no-net show like “SNL”. She was painfully nervous during her opening monologue, and she forced her voice while singing, sounding more like a foghorn than a vocalist. She spoke way too rapidly throughout the night (during the latter portion of the “Lady In The Window” skit, you could hear her attempting to slow her enunciation down almost painfully).

    That line-flubbing of hers was obviously due to her inexperience in getting her lines right the first time; up until now, she’s been able to work from scripts and do re-takes if necessary. Add the pressure (and the energy) of a live audience, and it’s obvious why she stumbled over her lines and spoke too fast too much of the time.

    (Her relaxed, highly charismatic performance during the “Cherries” scene, which was obviously rehearsed and coordinated beforehand, shows how different she is in a less-stressful performing environment).

    The good news is, though, that she inhabited her characters very well, modulating her voice and her body language appropriately. And, as always, her facial expressions were well-done.

    She’s a rough-cut diamond, for sure, but the native talents are definitely there. Even with the problems that are being predicted for her because of her body size, I think that she has a good future ahead of her. Of course, she’ll need parts that will play to her strengths, and at least for a while she’ll need strong, direction (basically “acting lessons on set,” if I can be so bold). But despite her difficulties on SNL, she showed enough chops to make me believe that she has it in her to deliver the goods.

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