SNL: S14E19... HOST: WAYNE GRETZKY... DATE: MAY 13, 1989

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or...

Jesus Save, Gretzky Scores

With A Funny Night As The Host

There was a period of my life when I actually was starting to get into hockey. Believe it or not, this time that I am talking about has nothing to do with the fact that I lived in Canada for a year. No, this goes back to when I was a senior in high school when my cousin, our mutual friend and I would occasionally head down to the San Diego Sports Arena to watch the minor league Gulls. 

Soon after that, I moved into the garage of the house I used to party at where my roommates not only taught me how to drink but recruited me as their alternate goalie for their roller hockey team. I ended up being more of a mascot than teammate because I lacked the ability to skate thanks to my large size and screwy ankles that constantly twisted when I tried to balance on my blades.

Though I was my interest in the sport was starting to grow, I never got out of the fringe. As far as professional hockey goes, I'll watch it if it's on at a bar but to this day the only players I know are Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, and I only know the latter because I had a high school teacher who constantly pointed out her shared last name.

All that being said, this episode with Wayne Gretzky as host is another one that stands out fresh in my mind, which seems to be the case with most sports based hosts which I think stems from the fact that they're not actors and are there for fun with absolutely nothing to lose. That is unless they are retired sports figures attempting to transition into an acting career which most often turns out to be a mess because they try too hard.

That wasn't the case tonight as, even to this day, I have yet to see Gretzky act as anyone but himself in quick comedic cameos. 

So, now that you now know a little about my history with hockey and my thoughts on this episode, it's now time to move on and share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Carter In Panama where the US ex-president played by Dana Carvey, made a visit to one of the Central American polling locations to make sure their election process is on the up and up. Right away he discovers that not only are their armed soldiers in charge but the ballot box drops the citizen's votes straight into a fire a fuel to cook their chicken. When Jimmy Carter points out that he's on to their corrupt scheme, the soldiers aren't even phased and quickly start to make fun of the ex-president's failures before bullying him like they were back in elementary school. As the bullying gets more physical and Dana is swapped out for a dummy, they start to throw Jimmy around leading to the random announcement of, "Live from New York..."
  2. Wayne Gretzky then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he's not much of a performer and is proud of it, openly admitting that he only got booked because of his hockey skills. He then goes on to joke that it didn't take until the night before to finally figure this out.
  3. We then got a repeat of the Sleepytime Rat Control ad from earlier in the season which is a fake commercial for rat sleeping pills for those who take issue with killing pests.
  4. Fishing With The Anal-Retentive Sportsman was the second installment with Phil Hartman's Anal-Retentive character. During this visit, the OCD sportsman is fishing with The Great One and gets too caught up in keeping clean and organize while sharing his techniques to ever cast off and actually fish. Meanwhile, Gretzky catches a monster of a fish that's even bigger than the boat but again, Hartman is too involved in explaining the order of his efforts to help get this beast in the boat that he never actually helps, causing Gretzky to be pulled into the ocean.
  5. Wayne's World then returned for another installment with the two basement dwelling broadcasters. This week, they introduce their new camera person and other new members of the crew that never step out from behind the scenes but give examples of their technical skill in what would be the production booth. Wayne Gretzky then dropped in as himself and Wayne's World Wayne shares his dream of taking on guest Wayne at hockey where somehow he and Garth managed to pull off the win.
  6. This Week With David Brinkley was a parody of the real show with the same name. This is a roundtable political talk show where the first topic of debate is whether or not they should take the show outside to get some fresh air instead of being stuck in a stuffy studio. While outside they move on to talk about the recent Panamanian election and how there's a double standard as to when the US decides to step in on other election. The conversation doesn't get too far as everyone is too distracted by the outdoor obstacles that keep interrupting the show.
  7. Fine Young Cannibals then took to the stage to perform She Drives Me Crazy.
  8. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Dennis Miller was haunted by a Field OF Dreams voice that led him to build a diorama of a baseball field that seemed to go nowhere from there. That is until Al Franken dropped in for his new segment called Al Franken's new ideas where he claims to not see the tiny ballpark that's right in front of him. Franken then went on to discuss some of his new political ideas where he wants to hurl terminally ill patients who want to die with dignity out into space in order to save money on NASA experiments solving two of his biggest concerns. Finally, the field of dream reference pays off with a visit from a fictional character from the original first SNL cast whose segment got cut and was never aired making this his moment to shine but then the two just walk out into a cornfield that's been set up next to the news set to complete the parody rather than provide a funny payoff. 
  9. Wayne Gretzky then sat on the stage to introduce the next sketch, setting up how hard it was to get used to playing in LA after only playing in Canada. We then went to the locker room following a Kings loss to hear a bunch of Celebrity Hockey Ideas as a stream of stars try to cheer up the legend even though nobody has any idea what they're talking about.
  10. Victoria Jackson then hosted a call-in show called Point Blank with Gretzky as he guest to help answer the audiences' questions with every suggestion being hockey based no matter what the question is.  
  11. Fine Young Cannibals then returned to the stage to perform Good Thing.
  12. Waikiki Hockey was the classic sketch with Wayne Gretzky in a parody of an Elvis movie where he played a busboy with a hockey stick shaped piece of driftwood who turns out to be a natural player who humiliates the team of rich resort kids. He also wins over the top jerk's girl while the two are water skiing. If that isn't enough Gretzky also takes over as the entertainment with a song and dance at the resort's big luau. 
  13. Finally, Wayne Gretzky closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said, I knew that I would like this episode going into the viewing thanks to these three moments sticking out in my memory from watching it as a kid. First, I loved this week's installment of Wayne's World, not only because this was the best installment to date but I also loved the dream sequence where the two Canadian Waynes have a hockey face off. Next, I really liked Fishing With The Anal-Retentive Sportsman because as I've said before, I love this Phil Hartman character but it was funny to see him interact with the host instead of it just being a one person sketch like the one in the past. Finally, I was a fan of Waikiki Hockey because this was the sketch from the night that helped anchor this episode in my memory when I was a kid which is why I remember most of this show before even hitting play when I watched it today. 

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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.