SNL: S11E11... HOST: JAY LENO... DATE: FEBRUARY 22, 1986



My Birthday Episode: Year 10


As a huge fan of David Letterman, Howard Stern, Conan O'Brien and a few other performers that Leno screwed over, I openly admit that I went into this viewing with a negative opinion of what I was about to see. That said, I was hoping to be proven wrong because I do remember Jay Leno before he was the middle of the road host and was actually a funny comedian.

Unfortunately, this hope didn't come true but I do think that my disinterest stemmed more from Jay's later mainstream career over the actual performance that I witnessed. As much as I tried to separate the past from the further past, I just can't hear Leno's voice without thinking about every hack impression that highlights how horrible he because, keeping in mind each and every time Jay developed a feud I was a bigger fan of the new nemeses.

Other than my hatred of Jay, this was just an average episode for this season where I have the same complaints of convoluted sketches that went on too long without any classic moments. Hell, this episode even had a scene with the dog from Down And Out In Beverly Hills who was the special guest that just sat there while everyone else acted around which is funny in concept but fell a little flat as they tried to drag out the joke.

This episode was a good effort though and again, I have to admit, that I might have liked it more if not for my history of hatred of the host, so aside from that fact, this was an episode that I didn't mind.

Alright, now that I've gotten back to back host bashing reviews out of the way, it's time to move on to share what I saw, while hoping not to get a three-peat tomorrow where once again, I'm not too sure about the host. And with that, I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Jay Leno roaming the backstage area looking for anyone who can direct him as to where he can go to get ready to host the show but everyone is too busy with their own thing to even try to help him out. This is when the Pathological Liar stepped into the scene pretending to be a producer of the show, giving Jay a tour of lies as they both wander around the set until Jay catches on in an anticlimactic twist where they crowbarred in the announcement, "Live from New York..."

  2. Jay Leno then officially opened the show with a monolog/stand-up routine about current events which, even back then, was reminiscent of one of his openings on The Tonight Show only with a tiny bit more of an edge.

  3. Target Earth was an old Sci-Fi parody of a sketch where several members of the US military have a run in with a UFO where the alien inside demand the usual meeting with the world leaders. The aliens leave behind a reference book filled with everything there is to know about their planet and it turns out they are 300 years behind our technological advances causing their threats to be laughed at as they too find out how behind they actually are and retreat the second they see our weapons.

  4. The dog from Down And Out In Beverly Hill then got a sketch where he plays the star that he is, just trying to enjoy his dinner only to be swamped by his fans then has a reunion with the man who used to own him but lost him due to a poker bet back before he was famous and is now trying to win him back.

  5. The Neville Brothers then took to the stage to perform The Big Chief.

  6. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, The Weekend Update Dancers return once again which seems to be nothing but an excuse to show some skin being that they used to at least try to work it into a joke, now they just call in the women. Also, A. Whitney Brown got another Big Picture segment where he talks about his early days as an idea man and how people no longer seem to try to fix any of the world's problems and have zero idea of the actual cause.

  7. We then got a Star Search parody sketch with Randy Quaid as Ed McMahon who hosted the mess of a talent show with this sketch pointing out how mediocre/strange some of the real Star Search contestants were. Holy crap, this sketch goes on almost as long as the actual show, at least it seems that way because the Star Search reference doesn't age well even if it did feel pretty accurate when compared to my memories.

  8. Jay's Evil Twin was a sketch that played off the old soap opera trope where all it takes is a mustache to create an evil brother and we see this play out with Jay on a date with Joan Cusack with the twist being he doesn't actually have a twin but instead he's just a two faced asshole.

  9. Observational Stand-Ups II was the follow up to the sketch that was introduced back when Tom Hanks was the host, which made fun of a group of stand-up comedians that all talk like Jerry Seinfeld.

  10. Man Beat Magazine was a fake ad for a Teen Beat parody magazine that's target audience is gay men. This was kind of funny because I was expecting the prediction of Maxim Magazine but was way off.

  11. The Neville Brothers then returned to the stage to perform The Midnight Key.

  12. The Further Adventures of Biff & Salena was a sketch that took place in a diner where Jon Lovitz plays Biff and Joan Cusack plays Salena and the two have an adorably quirky customer/waitress romance in one of those more sentimental than funny, end of the night routines that I really love.

  13. Finally, Jay Leno closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Again, aside from the host, this was a pretty average episode with these three favorite moments. First, I loved The Further Adventures of Biff & Salena because it was one of those cute, end of the night, sketches that I love even though they are more sentimental and charming that laugh-out-loud funny. Next, I really liked the Target Earth sketch because of how it reminded me of a Twilight Zone tale gone wrong. Finally, I was a fan of seeing the dog from Down And Out In Beverly Hills because I saw that movie when I was way too young and knew who this dog was without a stitch of explanation.


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Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.