SNL: S16E11... HOST: STING... DATE: JANUARY 19, 1991

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or...

A Night Filled With Deep Thoughts

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Thanks to a couple months of hard work, I now start every viewing of Saturday Night Live by opening a preformatted document filled with a list of the sketch titles that will be featured each night. Though this spoils some of the surprises, it saves me so much time that I'm happy I put in the extra effort to do this prep-work for every single episode that has aired for all forty-two of the completed years and will continue the process for each new season as soon as they are complete and the information is available on the internet.

With all of that said, today, the first thing that I noticed was how there are four installments of Deep Thoughts By Jack Handy sprinkled all throughout this episode. At first, I thought this was going to be obnoxious because, even though I'm a huge fan of the segment, I felt jumping right in and having four in a single episode might be a bit much to handle.

Then the show started, and even though it was a fun episode, you could sense that Sting was obviously out of his element as both an actor and person in charge of the show's comedy. He did fine for a first timer but the amateur quality of his acting made a couple moments fall a little flat but I'd say that he did no worse than Dennis Quaid who seemed nervous to be performing live, so this wasn't a fault to the point of being a flaw.

Anyways, back to the Deep Thoughts aspect of the night. Though it seemed like it was a bit too much based on the breakdown alone, it only took the first segment for me to remember just how quick and brilliant Jack Handy was to where they could do a Deep Thoughts segment leading into every single commercial and I don't think I'd get bored of the bit.

What I thought might be a hindrance to an already questionable episode, based on the non-comedic host alone, turned out to be an aide to what turned out to be a bit of a clumsy but fun viewing of another solid episode in this solid season of Saturday Night Live.

So, now that I've worked through that concern, I'm not only excited to see more Deep Thoughts, that I know are on the way, but I'm also excited to shift gears and share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Special Report From Wayne's World where the two basement dwelling cable access hosts discuss their findings following 72-hour television watching binge using three TV to take in all of the news coverage since the official start of the first Persian Gulf War. This sketch highlights how we as American's used to watch these world events as if they were frivolous forms of entertainment as the two goofballs list off their favorite moments so far. Sure, we still watch the news as a source of entertainment but the genre has since switched from being something to laugh about into something to fear since these actions are no longer contained to some far off land. Of course, this being the opening sketch, all the jokes build to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."   
  2. Sting then officially opened the show with a monolog about his comedy debut. He attempted to be funny while sharing the circumstances of how this hosting situation came to be only to quickly give in to expectations leading him to bail out on the jokes and head over to the musical stage to perform the song All This Time. 
  3. We then got a fake ad that took place in a British pub for Hedley And Wyche Toothpaste which promises that a tube of this sugar filmed tooth maintenance product is enough to last any jagged mouthed Brit's entire life.  
  4. Elevator Fans was the classic sketch where Sting gets caught in an elevator with Kevin Nealon who plays a very big fan but is nervous while making small talk leading him to chime in from time to time singing the high notes to the song Roxanne. Dana Carvey then joins in and reacts the same exact way only he opts to sing the high notes to the song If You Love Somebody.
  5. The Sinatra Group was a musical parody of The McLaughlin Group hosted by Frank Sinatra who questions a collection of famous musical performers from the time about the current state of the music industry.
  6. This was followed by a segment of Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack discusses his views on clowns and why he might be afraid of them.
  7. The Richmeister then made his debut where Rob Schneider introduced The Copy Guy who has nothing real to say so he fills any office silence by playfully repeating various forms of people's names while giving a play by play account of anyone "Making Copies," at the office copy machine that's located right next to his desk but has absolutely nothing to say whenever anyone attempts to make a genuine conversation.
  8. We then got another installment of Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where this time Jack muses on how we would treat trees if they actually screamed while being chopped down.
  9. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Al Franken checked in from Baghdad as his one-man mobile unit character making fun of the green-hued coverage from all the night vision cameras being used to capture the bombs flying through the night sky. David Spade also dropped in for a segment that seemed to be the basis of his Hollywood Minute segment as he shares what's In And Out in Hollywood. Finally, Dennis wrapped up the news by sharing the mating habits of the dancing Coke can novelty gift that was super huge at the time.
  10. Sting then returned to the stage to perform Mad About You. 
  11. Dr. Frankenstein's Monster was, of course, a parody of Frankenstein with Sting playing the part of the mad scientist and Phil Hartman revisiting the monster role who struggles to learn more than grunts and groans even with Sting's desperate attempt to act as not just the monster's creator but as his personal speech therapist as well. Though Phil Hartman's Frankenstein does eventually learn a few more words he remains to be an uncontrollable monster, especially whenever fire is involved.
  12. This was followed by yet another Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey segment where Jack shares how he explains rain to children.
  13. Coffee Talk then made its show debut with Mike Myers played Paul Baldwin who hosted a show where he talks to phone callers about things people would talk about in real life while sharing coffee while making fun of the Jewish New York accent. Though I remember the Coffee Talk lady always referencing her brother, I totally forgot that it all started out with Paul as the actual host.
  14. We then got one more Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey segment where Jack weighs out the most dangerous animal on the planet and comes to the conclusion that it's a shark on an elephant's back.
  15. Meeting Parents Flashback was a bizarre looking sketch based on the images I found on the internet but I couldn't find the actual clip anywhere.
  16. Sting then returned to the stage once again to perform Purple Haze. 
  17. We then went to a filthy Irish gentlemen's club where we first met a grumpy stripper performing for a room full of men. After a few moments, the Emcee took to the stage to thank the stripper for her work before introducing the next act to the stage which happened to be Sting with some Bleak Poetry about growing up in Ireland. This doesn't go over well with the crowd especially since it turned out to be the last performance of the night. Soon after everyone left the bar, Sting is left alone with Mike Myers who played an old Irish guy with some advice on how to lighten up Sting's work which also didn't go over well.
  18. Finally, Sting closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights. 

Though I wouldn't say that this episode was flawless, I'd definitely say that it was fun, especially thanks to these three of my favorite moments from the night. First, I loved the birth of Coffee Talk With Paul Baldwin because I was pleasantly surprised to see the original host of this fiction show who I almost forgot existed as more than a reference by his replacement/friend Linda Richman. Next, I really liked the introduction of The Richmeister because even though it got extremely old, especially since I worked in the copy industry for close to a decade, it was fun to revisit this sketch through fresh eyes. Finally, I was a fan of the Elevator Fans sketch because there is just something about the high pitched elevator singing that gets me to chuckle every time. 

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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.