SNL: S12E04... HOST: SAM KINISON... DATE: NOVEMBER 15, 1986

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or...

My Mixed Feeling About

The Late Comedy Legend

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Looking back at an age before the internet, I struggle to remember how I got my hands on so much adult material especially when I didn't have an older brother to provide the inappropriate content. Keep in mind, I was ten years old when this episode originally aired and at that time I was already a huge Sam Kinison fan which I later realized had very little to do his material, instead, it turns out I just thought he was a master when it came to the art of cursing.

Even at the time, I remember feeling that aside from a hand full of jokes, Kinison's routines were not good enough for me to listen to him over and over again like I did with both Eddie Murphy's Delirious or Robin William's A Night At The Met which were equally filthy, offensive and at many time over my head as anything Kinison did.

Where I was a genuine fan of many other foul-mouthed comedians, Sam Kinison was more of a person that I liked when he would show up in movies or on TV but as far as his stand-up goes, I would just check in from time to time without ever really being won over because he was just too angry and mean for my tastes.

I was a huge stand-up nerd as a kid and, again I don't know how I put this together without the internet but I could tell that Sam was a comedian's comedian so I bought into the hype that he was a living legend despite having mixed feeling about the man. Seeing Sam as a legend, only solidified after his death when people would cherry pick his content for evidence of his comedic genius status which I'm now torn as to whether or not I agree.

Every time I've seen Sam Kinison's old work as an adult where I now fully understand what he's saying as opposed to reaction to the curse words, style, and tone, I find that I hate the sentiment of everything that comes out of his mouth in a way that I don't think has anything to do with a joke not aging well with time.

As far as this episode goes, Sam did a pretty good job as did the rest of the cast. There were a few sketches that suffered due to my issues with Sam, but even then I wasn't that bother because of how it felt like he was being more of a character than as a jerk when he's being himself.

That said, a lot of the humor from this episode came from a mean and angry place which might explain why my feelings about this viewing were so mixed.

Now that I've worked through my issues with this man, I still sort of feel obligated to be a fan of, it's time to move on and share what I saw, as I give you...  

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with another installment of Church Chat where the Church Lady announced that she will not appear on this week's episode to protest the show's decision to have the ex-preacher turned foul-mouthed comedian, Sam Kinison as the host of the show. After her announcement of protest, she then calls Sam out and tracks him down back stage for a confrontation only to end up getting grabbed by the tiny loud man who then forces her to make out before he goes on to make an announcement of his own, which of course was, "Live from New York..."
  2. Sam Kinison then officially opened the show by playing guitar with G.E. Smith and The Saturday Night Live Band before performing a medley of his stand-up routines before cops on horses cut him off. 
  3. We then got a fake ad for the first new car available for under $200 because it's made out of adobe clay which is where it gets the Adobe name as its brand.
  4. This was followed by a Parent-Teacher Conference where Kevin Nealon and Jan Hooks meet up with their daughter's teacher, played by Sam Kinison, who confronts the proud parents with the news that their daughter is dumb while sharing her school work that looks perfectly normal for a four-year-old, which was the age of said child in the world of the scene. At the end of the sketch, after Kinison had already berated the poor child, who isn't physically in the scene, we find out that he isn't even the teacher and is just some guy who wandered in off the street and he jumps out the window after the truth is revealed that not even the school principal knew who he was or how he got access to the room.
  5. The Jungle Room was a black and white sketch taking place in 1943 where Jon Lovitz plays a jazz club owner who has a loud awkward conversation with his mom on the phone to show us that these random outbursts are just his normal tone when having a conversation. After the call, Lovitz gets a visit from a private detective where the two have an old-timey argumentative conversation before Lovitz performed a Bing Crosby style of a song. The sketch then continued on but it didn't make much sense as it just continued to highlight how Lovitz's character could go from calm to explosive over anything at any time in the sentence of dialog he is delivering.
  6. Ching Chang's Pet Chicken Shop was a sketch that I fear from the title alone only to play out as expected with Dana Carvey playing a horribly offensive Chinese character who runs the titular pet shop who both tries to run his store while talking the customers out of buying his beloved birds as pets. This sketch would actually be adorable if it wasn't for the horrendous fake accent that causes a humungous cringe when listening to it through modern ears. 
  7. Lou Reed then took to the stage to perform I Love You, Suzanne.
  8. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Victoria Jackson got another segment to talk about terrorism where she took to the New York streets in an attempt to find terrorists, only to end up showing nothing but home videos of her and her daughter in the park just like she did the last time she was on the news.
  9. Sam Kinison then played a contestant on a parody of The Love Connection where he played his bitter sexist self where he discusses his date with a pair of dominatrix lesbians who treated his like a horse to get his semen in order for the two women to have their own child, who he chose over the two nice average women that he could have chosen instead as per the game show's rules.
  10. Dana Carvey then played The Dancing Lord from Victorian times who hired a sketch artist to capture his image with a drawing but won't stop dancing long enough for any of the artists to capture a pose, who are then shot for their artistic failures. Jon Lovitz then entered the scene as an artist who required movement in order to create his works so he gets Dana to dance around the room at such a rapid pace that he eventually passes out, giving Lovitz as still subject to finally fulfill the artistic task. 
  11. Krypton Survives was a sketch about Superman's parents when it turned out that their home planet didn't actually explode made we got to see how they react to the horrible mistake that they made with their one and only son as the surviving parents from all over the planet confront the super parents about their miscalculation about the end of their super world.
  12. Lou Reed then returned to the stage to perform Original Wrapper.
  13. Sam Kinison then got a segment to do stand-up
  14. Finally, Sam Kinison closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Where I might have mixed feelings about this episode, my feelings weren't mixed about these three favorite moments... No, wait... I have extreme mixed feeling about one of them. First, I loved fake Adobe car ad because this was a sketch that for some reason, stood out to me since I was a little kid, which I'm guessing has to do with the fact that I just learned what real adobe was almost at this exact same time. Next, I really liked Krypton Survives because even though my feelings are mixed about the actual man, I like the idea of Kinison, especially as Superman's dad. Finally, a fan of Ching Chang's Pet Chicken Shop because of how as many ways that it's completely wrong, the idea of the story is actually adorable but not it's just not meant for modern eyes at all.

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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.