Simon, Santa, And Me


As I get deeper and deeper into this challenge, I'm beginning to wonder if I would be the Paul Simon fan I am if he wasn't connected to this show. Of course, I'm not questioning whether or not I would have heard and enjoyed his music either way but I do wonder if I would have explored his musical catalog as deep as I have without an SNL connection.

I mean, there are plenty of music groups from this time that I just kind of like that I would argue are even better than this little man but I think seeing his silly side opened me up to dig into his work, even though he sings in a genre that I wasn't all that open to until a bit later in my life.

One of my favorite Paul Simon connections is how when I was really young and the You Can Call Me Al video first premiered, I could wrap my head around the fact that Chevy Chase was singing the Art Garfunkel parts and somehow scrambled my parent's explanation into thinking the Paul and Chevy were a duo before there was a Saturday Night Live.

Moving past my history with Paul Simon music, this was another successful visit making this season eight episode deep without a non-solid show so far. Once again, I am super impressed by this year as it might be the most consistent so far and yet it was shortened by the strike. 

Alright, now that I've my thoughts on the host and the episode out of my system, it's not time to move on and share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Jesus' Surprise Party where as the title implies we see the apostles setting up for a surprise celebration of the Savior's 30th birthday and is filled with biblical jokes until John finally arrive without Jesus because Judas ruined the surprise and the son of God doesn't like being the center of attention... "at least not in that way." Just as everyone turns on Judas, Mary stops the fight by announcing, "Live from New York..."

  2. Two Paul Simons then officially opened the show, one being the famous singer and the other being the senator who was running for president at the time. The two perform a routine as if they were confused as to who was actually supposed to be the host then go on compare stories about other times that the two have been confused in a pretty funny back and forth.

  3. We then got a repeat of the Gary Hart Ad from earlier in the season.

  4. Hans and Franz then returned for their Christmas edition of Pumping Up where they continue their repetitive but funny impersonation of Arnold's cousins where this week they try to help Paul Simon rehabilitate a recent injury. They also bring Helmet back out to make fun of him for being fat. Other than the addition of a few Christmas lights, I'm not sure why they referenced this as a holiday special.

  5. Desert Island Christmas was a sketch with Paul Simon and Victoria Jackson celebrating Christmas while being stranded on a desert island. The two go to exchange gifts and start with Victoria who made Paul a fully functional wrist watch, complete with a leather strap. We then went to Paul's gift which was just a shell he found on the beach. For round two of the gift exchange, Victoria made a fully functioning telescope against a lead weaved potholder and the extreme difference in quality gets Paul Simon super bummed out. Eventually, Victoria cheers him up enough to venture out to try his Christmas telescope. As he leaves, she hesitates to share that she also made him an ATV and decides to continue to hide it.

  6. Master Thespian As Santa Claus then penned a letter about a recent acting role while sitting in his dressing room ready to go out and perform. We hear the flush of a toilet as we learn that this is not a dressing room but mall restroom instead. Not only is this not a dressing room but his Santa suit is not actually for an acting gig, he's just playing Santa at the Macy's of a local mall.

  7. Linda Ronstadt & The Mariachi Vargas then took to the stage to perform Los Laureles and La Cigarra back to back.

  8. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Dana Carvey impersonated Dennis Miller so that they head news anchor can rebut with himself but the two end up agreeing.

  9. We then went to a holiday themed ski lodge with Paul Simon as himself. The owner of the lodge reassures Simon that his stay will be low key and that he won't be bothered at all. Seconds after this reassurance a guest asks for an autograph and after he reluctantly agreed the owner goes on to introduce the Sweeney Sisters who do a medley of Paul Simon songs and drag him into their routine.

  10. Subway Solicitor was a sketch where Phil Hartman plays a homeless vet on the subway who solicits help for his family during the holiday then goes on to guilt everyone in the car into giving him money before revealing he is actually an actor and this was his attempt to promote an upcoming play before asking for more money to support the arts. The people on the train are way more enthusiastic about donating to this cause. After collecting this batch of money, he goes on to announce that he's not an actor but is mentally insane and need more money for medicine which gets people to donate again but they are no longer excited. Finally, he gets to the end of collecting again only to announce that this is now a robbery.

  11. Succinctly Speaking was a talk show sketch where Nora Dunn interviews Tonto, Tarzan, and Frankenstein on their views of everything from fire to bread where all of the answers are spoken in simple Tarzan or Tonto speak with Frankenstein is hung up on the fact that "Fire, bad," before he goes on to destroy the set.

  12. Tonto, Tarzan, Frankenstein then took to the stage to sing Away in a Manger.

  13. Paul Simon & Linda Ronstadt then teamed up to perform Under African Skies.

  14. Truck Stop Reflections was a sketch that took place at a truck stop diner just as it closed for Christmas Eve night and we see the staff cleaning up while Dana Carvey waits as Jan Hooks Junior College teacher who she is now trying to date. The diner staff is a bunch of idiot yokels who tell the tale of what seems to be a truck stop Jesus while the professor isn't all that impressed.

  15. We then got A Message From Jon Lovitz where he talks to the viewers of the future after realizing the oldest SNL episodes have been running for the last 13 years. This is more of a threat than a message because he claims to be working on a time travel device to kill anyone from whatever later date who laughs at their outdated style.

  16. Finally, Paul Simon closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Again, I'm impressed that this episode makes the season eight for eight with these three as the night's best moments. First, I loved the Desert Island Christmas sketch because I love how they went far enough into explaining where Victoria Jackson got all of the difficult materials required to make her gifts to make it extra funny. Next, I really liked the Succinctly Speaking sketch because as much as I like Tonto, Tarzan, and Frankenstein singing, I loved seeing them interviewed. Finally, I was a fan of the Jesus' Surprise Party sketch because I liked how it made jokes about religion while walking the line of blasphemy.


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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.