Jason Segel, the Muppets and more lead to a satisfying episode of SNL

By | November 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm | 3 comments | feature slider, Reviews, TV/Movies | Tags: , , , , ,

This week, Saturday Night Live followed up last week’s success with an equally strong episode that found Jason Segel as host– with a little help from his Muppet friends, of course. The movie comes out on Wednesday, after all. I feel like we saw more Vanessa Bayer and Jay Pharoah than usual as well. A pair for drop-ins from Paul Rudd didn’t hurt the show, either. Anyway, let’s get to the specifics.

Just like the real Mitt Romney, there’s very little to dislike about Jason Sudeikis’ version of the former governor of Massachusetts and current Republican presidential candidate. Sudeikis’ take on Romney has been a clutch character for SNL all season. And so, there was very little not to like about this week’s cold open, wherein Romney announces his plans to grab more headlines– seeing as his competition — namely Herman Cain and Rick Perry — are stealing the spotlight with their sex scandals and constant flubbing of speeches. Romney’s out to prove he can be just as edgy.

This bit reminds me of an episode of the Golden Girls where the gals are working the campaign for a smart but decidedly boring candidate for local office. When Blanche drops some paperwork off at the candidate’s house late at night, the media catches her and implies that she’s having an affair with the politician. The Romney-like stuffed shirt announces at a press conference that he is, indeed, banging Blanche– but he’s not, for real! He’s lying just so he’d seem more interesting.

Ok, back to the cold open; here it is.

Simply put, this has been the best monologue of the season. When you have Segel and all of the major Muppets onstage, dropping their signature snark and singing a song, it’s hard not to laugh. Check it out.

Sometimes, an extended masturbation joke works– if its put in the right hands (Oh, shit. See what I did there?) Well, this Kemper-Pedic commercial, clocking in at a perfectly-paced minute and a half, in the hands of Segel works out nicely.

No doubt you’ve heard that Regis Philbin has exited his longtime post as host of Live with Regis and Kelly. So, not missing the easy opportunity to run through tons of celebrity impressions, SNL thought it would be fun to run auditions for Philbin’s replacement. Perhaps it’s dude to my opinion that George Lopez is one of the worst comedians of our time, but if SNL could figure out a way to keep bringing back Fred Armisen’s Lopez impression, that would be grand. Abbey Elliott’s Zooey Deschanel was satisfying, as well. Check out the sketch below. Who’s your fave impression?

The Vogelchecks (the kissing family) are back, folks! And that means one thing. One or more of the sketch players are going home having upset those pesky saliva-borne retroviruses. In this bit, Segel brings home his girlfriend Lucy (played by Vanessay Bayer, who has also played Paul Rudd’s lady friend Amanda in last year’s Vogelchecks Christmas sketch). It’s all cheap laughs here, but, it pleases me nonetheless. I’m pretty sure I can watch Kristen Wiig spitting seltzer on Armisen’s crotch all day. Oh, and look who shows up at the end for an incredible make out session with Segel.

The real Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and current Republican presidential nominee joined Seth Meyers at the Weekend Update desk to address criticisms that he’s focusing too much of his campaign on the politically crucial state of New Hampshire. A few laughs were had. Nothing special.

Meyers gets yet another guest at his desk. This time it’s Kermit who accompanies the fake news man in a Back in Black-type segment addressing the government’s recent announcement that it would start considering lunchroom pizza as a vegetable at schools.

And now on to some more Weekend Update highlights, featuring Herman Cain (of course) an accidental shooting and Legos.

The next sketch is a bit aimless. Armisen’s character Mitch is being honored at his retirement party. Segel plays a drunk co-worker with a big secret and Wiig — Mitch’s secretary — has nothing to say to the revelers– or does she?

In SNL‘s second Thanksgivng-themed sketch of the night, we find Bobby Moynihan hosting an infomercial for a collection of “new jack” holiday songs performed by a seemingly never ending parade of parody musical acts. The costume department gets high marks for this bit, but the sketch itself gets pretty tired, pretty quick.

Last week’s Digital Short was a solid let down, so I was hoping this week’s would come back strong. In it, Andy Samberg hosts a retro infomercial (or commercial?) wherein he tries to sell the playing of chess as a way to get into pretty ladies’ pants. I liked it for the sheer absurdity of it all. Also, Segel in drag is fucking frightening.

Hey, have you ever wondered would it would be like seeing Andre the Giant (RIP) trying to order at an ice cream shop? Me neither. The folks at SNL thought it would be funny, though. It’s not. But it did eat up a minute of air time, which I’m guessing was the sketch’s main purpose.

I loved this sketch. It’s not filled with the types of laughs that come from your gut, but it makes you smile. Or, it made me smile, anyway. Plus, who doesn’t like to see Armisen get musical (A new season of Portlandia is just around the corner). It also turns out Sudeikis is competent at keeping a beat. The drum nerd in me wants that sparkly, 4-piece DW kit he’s playing. Also, Kristen Wiig should wear more Iron Maiden t-shirts.

All in all, this turned out to be a strong showing for the peeps at Saturday Night Live. If you’re keeping track of my mostly meaningless Win-Loss record for SNL, this goes down as a win. The show is at 4-2-1 now.

But, as always, I want to know what you thought. Were their segments or characters I didn’t talk about that you felt were especially good or terrible? Or do you want to give your own mini-review. Go ahead and sound off in the comments section!

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

  • smith

    Segel does a very brief Andre the Giant impression in “I Love You, Man” — “anybody want a peanut?” I suppose that’s the origin for the ice cream sketch.

    • Dylan

      i didn’t see that movie. so, there you go. thanks for explaining it!

    • Dylan

      i didn’t see that movie. so, there you go. thanks for explaining it!

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