Saturday Night Live with Jimmy Fallon features fun guests, horrible sketches

By | December 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm | 31 comments | feature slider, TV/Movies | Tags: , ,

Here’s a question: When you introduce the novelty of having a well-liked alum host Saturday Night Live, do you not have to worry much about the actual content or quality of the sketches? Is the very presence of said host — and his triumphant return — enough to trick the viewers into believing they’re being entertained? Is Jimmy Fallon that powerful now? Maybe not. So SNL also brought back Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan, Rachel Dratch and Tracy Morgan. And although it was great seeing faces from SNL‘s past, most of the show felt uninspired. And we can see Fallon every night on the week. So, that novelty wore off pretty quickly.

Last night’s cold open was a special one, as it found our old friends Sully and Denise – the lovable and all-too amorous Boston teen-age couple (Fallon and Rachel Dratch) – back at their old stomping grounds in an attempt to crash a school dance. And, what’s that? Another special drop-in from an SNL alum— Amy Poehler! Well done.

First it was Michaela Watkins, then it was Jenny Slate and now it’s Nasim Pedrad. I’m talking about, of course, the current Hoda Kotb portrayer on SNL’s running spoof of the fourth hour of Today. Kristen Wiig maintains her spot as Kathie Lee. But how do you think Pedrad did? Tell us!

In the spirit of making fun of typical hack comedians, David Cross has suggested this joke construction: “What if the cast from Friends sang ‘We are the World’… I think it would go something like this…” His point is that there is no joke here. You can’t just take two concepts that have nothing to do with each other, jam them together and make a joke. And that’s exactly what this crap sketch is. What if we got a bunch of people that would never do duets with Michael Buble and make them do duets with Michael Buble? Horrible.

The mirror sketch, wherein Fallon sees a reflection of his old self – the one that laughed for no reason during his sketches on SNL and the one that really wasn’t all that funny – was simply a painful, annoying reminder of what used to be. Thankfully, Fallon has grown as a performer. I’m not sure how this was supposed to be enjoyable.

Feel free to explain to me what it is I’m missing here. Let me get this straight. The folks at SNL decided it would be a good idea to parody a movie that no one has even seen yet. I know, War Horse is a book and a play. But as I write this, there’s still a week before its release in theaters and we all know that’s how most people are going to consume this thing. So independent of that, the idea behind this sketch is: “what if a local theater group put on a version of War Horse, a movie no one has seen? It would be a really, really, really bad production, right? That would be funny, right?” No! Seriously, please tell me what I’m missing. I’m missing something, right?

It’s another blast from the past. Horatio Sanz, Tracy Morgan and Chris Kattan join Fallon in their classic Christmas song. Well done, though Kattan looked a little ill-prepared.

And here’s the version from season 27:

Hey, you know how everyone seems to think every Nicolas Cage movie is horrible and that he’s a horrible actor and that he never says “no” to a script? Well, here’s Andy Samberg playing to all those things we’ve heard and seen a million times before. And also, Jude Law drops by. Yawn.

Seth Meyers gets a lot of help this week at the Weekend Update desk as Fallon, Poehler and even Tina Fey join him for a joke-off. Fun stuff.

And here’s some more Weekend Update highlights.

Another pointless, much-too-long and annoying sketch. Enjoy!

This was the most painful sketch to watch this week. Fallon plays Beethoven. And Beethoven introduces his “band” the way a Las Vegas lounge act would. It sounds like it could be funny for about a minute. But this heap of unfunny lasts six.

In this sketch Fred Armisen does a fine job of revealing all the worst cliches of a downtown one man show production. Check it out.

Despite some weak sketches throughout, SNL finished strong, thanks to Jason Sudeikis’ performance as a level-headed Jesus who’s desperately trying to get Tim Tebow to stop shoving his religion down everyone’s throat. Check it out.

So, what did you guys think? Am I being too harsh? 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.

  • Vanessa

    I think Chris Kattan was drunk.  I re-watched the episode and watched Chris Kattan closely and he was just not there.  Watch at the end when he’s on the ice rink, he just seems three sheets to the wind . . .

    • Ellytomo

      Me too. They were all holding him up on the ice rink and he nearly fell over when he took a bow.

    • Bklounger

      I thought the same thing!  I watched it again and he almost dropped the keyboard when they took their bows too.  

  • Vanessa

    I think Chris Kattan was drunk.  I re-watched the episode and watched Chris Kattan closely and he was just not there.  Watch at the end when he’s on the ice rink, he just seems three sheets to the wind . . .

  • Vanessa

    I think Chris Kattan was drunk.  I re-watched the episode and watched Chris Kattan closely and he was just not there.  Watch at the end when he’s on the ice rink, he just seems three sheets to the wind . . .

  • Vanessa

    I think Chris Kattan was drunk.  I re-watched the episode and watched Chris Kattan closely and he was just not there.  Watch at the end when he’s on the ice rink, he just seems three sheets to the wind . . .

  • Anonymous

    I KNEW I WASN’T THE ONLY ONE!!!!! I’ve been trying to get Dylan to calm down on his harshness for WEEKS! To no avail. I quit trying because it just got worse and worse, even when the episodes got good. I mean, yes the Stiller, Megan McCarthy and Anna Farris episodes were weak, but then they started to pick up and it was still “bad episode, right??” glad it took JIMMY FALLON to get everyone on board and defend SNL. SHEESH!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Lee/1512000126 Joshua Lee

    Way too harsh! I thought the show overall was pretty good. I agree that some of the skits are becoming a bit repetitive like the Kristin Wiig “Don’t Make Me Dance” skit and I am 100% with you on the War Horse skit being too early for an American audience; however, the Buble Christmas duets was gold! Fallon’s Russell Brand impression was hilarious along with his Bieber dance moves (which he’s done before on Late Night). The mirror skit was in homage to Fallon’s famous mirror skit with Mick Jagger. In my opinion, Andy Sandberg carried the scene.

    Finally, I thought they ended strong with the unique Beethoven and Tebow skit. All-in-all a decent episode which I feel you were a little harsh towards. SNL can be a repetitive at times, but I believe Lorne Michaels has put together an All-Star cast with some strong writers behind them. With me being a devoted viewer, I just felt you completely ripped a respectable episode.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Lee/1512000126 Joshua Lee

    Way too harsh! I thought the show overall was pretty good. I agree that some of the skits are becoming a bit repetitive like the Kristin Wiig “Don’t Make Me Dance” skit and I am 100% with you on the War Horse skit being too early for an American audience; however, the Buble Christmas duets was gold! Fallon’s Russell Brand impression was hilarious along with his Bieber dance moves (which he’s done before on Late Night). The mirror skit was in homage to Fallon’s famous mirror skit with Mick Jagger. In my opinion, Andy Sandberg carried the scene.

    Finally, I thought they ended strong with the unique Beethoven and Tebow skit. All-in-all a decent episode which I feel you were a little harsh towards. SNL can be a repetitive at times, but I believe Lorne Michaels has put together an All-Star cast with some strong writers behind them. With me being a devoted viewer, I just felt you completely ripped a respectable episode.

  • Katie

    I disagree with your take on the duets sketch.  I thought Fallon’s versions of Russell Brand and Sting were very funny.

    I also continue to be disappointed by how underused Nasim Pedrad is.

  • Katie

    I disagree with your take on the duets sketch.  I thought Fallon’s versions of Russell Brand and Sting were very funny.

    I also continue to be disappointed by how underused Nasim Pedrad is.

  • Pingback: » Saturday Night Live Recap: Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Chris Kattan, Amy Poehler Reunions Galore Comedy Moontower

  • Frederick

    is it just me or did this site get way more cynical since it became laughspin?

    • Brent

      Well since it became Laughspin,I’ve noticed that there’s a lot less content by individual writers. Most of the content seems to be written by Dylan and “the Laughspin staff,” which, let’s be honest, is just Dylan. So since it became Laughspin, I kinda feel like writers have been laid off or whatever and Dylan’s just been doing 75% of the writing. And he’s pretty cynical so yeah, Frederick, I think you’re dead on.

    • Brent

      Well since it became Laughspin,I’ve noticed that there’s a lot less content by individual writers. Most of the content seems to be written by Dylan and “the Laughspin staff,” which, let’s be honest, is just Dylan. So since it became Laughspin, I kinda feel like writers have been laid off or whatever and Dylan’s just been doing 75% of the writing. And he’s pretty cynical so yeah, Frederick, I think you’re dead on.

  • Frederick

    is it just me or did this site get way more cynical since it became laughspin?

  • Steve

    Tebow’s not shoving religion down anyone’s neck.  He’s just being who he is.  The sketch was typical SNL which lacks any ideological diversity.

    • Hank

      I think your reaction is a little over the top. All comedy, for the most part, based on exaggeration. So while Tebow’s not delivering sermons at halftime, he is in fact a little too public about his religiousness. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but I can more than understand not simply how people are annoyed by that, but how it can provide great material for comedy. That said, the first two minutes of the four-minute sketch were pretty horrible.

    • Hank

      I think your reaction is a little over the top. All comedy, for the most part, based on exaggeration. So while Tebow’s not delivering sermons at halftime, he is in fact a little too public about his religiousness. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but I can more than understand not simply how people are annoyed by that, but how it can provide great material for comedy. That said, the first two minutes of the four-minute sketch were pretty horrible.

    • Hank

      I think your reaction is a little over the top. All comedy, for the most part, based on exaggeration. So while Tebow’s not delivering sermons at halftime, he is in fact a little too public about his religiousness. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but I can more than understand not simply how people are annoyed by that, but how it can provide great material for comedy. That said, the first two minutes of the four-minute sketch were pretty horrible.

  • http://www.thisisat3st.com Ryan

    This is clearly a Jimmy Fallon hater review of a Jimmy Fallon hosted SNL.  There were multiple bits that were funny – and the mirror sketch proves he knows what his weaknesses and cliches are.  I thought it was funny quite a few times and his excitement to host was quite endearing.

  • Hank

    Dylan, every week you review SNL and, more or less, tell us it was a shitty episode and then you ask, “Am I wrong?” and “What do you guys think?” If you think the show is so consistently mediocre, why do you bother to review it? Yes, the show is legendary, but by no means in its current state. It’s a pretty shitty show that every now and then gives us a gem of a sketch. So my request is this: either stop reviewing the show altogether, or simply lower your expectations. You’re not gonna change the show. I “read” your review because you put all the videos on one page, and I appreciate that. But I think you’d get a warmer reception if you viewed the show differently.

  • Hank

    Dylan, every week you review SNL and, more or less, tell us it was a shitty episode and then you ask, “Am I wrong?” and “What do you guys think?” If you think the show is so consistently mediocre, why do you bother to review it? Yes, the show is legendary, but by no means in its current state. It’s a pretty shitty show that every now and then gives us a gem of a sketch. So my request is this: either stop reviewing the show altogether, or simply lower your expectations. You’re not gonna change the show. I “read” your review because you put all the videos on one page, and I appreciate that. But I think you’d get a warmer reception if you viewed the show differently.

  • Timmeh3000

    You *are* missing something; a skit can make reference to a piece of culture that is not a movie. It might actually broaden your horizons.  The skits were all great, especially the Beethoven and Buble ones.  And Shane Hedmond:  I’ll try to explain the appeal of Jimmy Fallon to you.  All comedy starts with attitude.  Fallon is innovative in his field because he has a positive attitude.  Every other late night monologue is steeped in pessimism and cynicism.  Fallon may have the weakest monologue (and arguably interview skills) of the late night hosts, but these faults (which fail less and less over time) are outweighed by his strengths.  Namely, Fallon’s talent for music (the opening song was hilarious last night by the way) on his own merits or with the fantastic Roots band, impersonations (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Boss), sketches that explore new comedic territory through new media (twitter, Hashtag Game) , and different culturally relevant dispositions like nostalgia (History of Rap, reuniting the cast of Saved by The Bell), and positivity (Thank You Notes, laughter, enthusiasm).  Fallon isn’t going anywhere; you would have to be a cynic not to give in to his charm.

  • 30rock

    You know what was worse than this episode? This recap.
    It consisted of sayings like”Tell me what I’m missing” or “This was heaps of unfunny” without you ever explaining why something was unfunny.

  • 30rock

    You know what was worse than this episode? This recap.
    It consisted of sayings like”Tell me what I’m missing” or “This was heaps of unfunny” without you ever explaining why something was unfunny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shane.hedmond Shane Hedmond

    Somebody needs to explain the appeal of Jimmy Fallon to me.  He’s good at impersonating singers, and that’s about it,

  • http://www.facebook.com/shane.hedmond Shane Hedmond

    Somebody needs to explain the appeal of Jimmy Fallon to me.  He’s good at impersonating singers, and that’s about it,

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000118548701 Justin Ledlow

    The Beethoven one started off slow but ended fairly good, I think. Introducing the guys that weren’t really quirky didn’t have a hook, but when it got to Kristen Wiig, Chris Kattan, and especially Horatio Sanz, that’s when it picked up. Beethoven calling out Horatio’s character for playing Mozart was fun, so was Horatio’s reaction. And I couldn’t have been happier with the Tim Tebow sketch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000118548701 Justin Ledlow

    The Beethoven one started off slow but ended fairly good, I think. Introducing the guys that weren’t really quirky didn’t have a hook, but when it got to Kristen Wiig, Chris Kattan, and especially Horatio Sanz, that’s when it picked up. Beethoven calling out Horatio’s character for playing Mozart was fun, so was Horatio’s reaction. And I couldn’t have been happier with the Tim Tebow sketch.

  • http://www.tigercomedy.tumblr.com Sara

    Aww, holiday party’s a gorgeous train wreck! I liked Beethoven & wanted to love it (fun writing) but, yea, it felt static. 50% with you.