My Birthday Episode: Year 17
As I’ve said many times in the past, one of the biggest surprises of this SNL challenge has been how disappointed I’ve been in some of the SNL legends when they drop by to host the show. Granted, the more disappointing performances took place in the early years where some of the jokes lost humor with time from either being overplayed and/or over-referenced for being so great or from not aging well due to our ever-changing sensibilities, but my expectations are still a little low for these comedy heroes of mine.
The big three that I have had issues with are, first, Steve Martin, who I’ve really liked during his past few visits as he’s toned down to be more cerebral than the spastic style of his earlier visit that I was surprised to discover I wasn’t a fan of as an adult. Chevy Chase, is the second star to let me down a little because his arrogant character of himself felt way too real to enjoy but he too has since humbled a bit and I’ve really liked the last couple of his hosted shows. That leaves Bill Murray as number three, who like Chevy always carries himself as being too good for the show now that he’s a superstar.
Of the three, I have yet to really love a post-cast visit from Bill Murray until tonight where his arrogance seemed more character like and he seemed more willing to play along instead of seeming to host out of protest. Unfortunately, this being the season that it is, the episode still barely broke the good but not great barrier by being just a little bit better than good.
With all of that said, I’m still very happy with this episode because I now have high hopes for future visits from one of my favorite comedic hosts. And, now that I’ve shared my views, it’s time to move on and share what I actually viewed as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with a Beverly Hills Town Meeting where Bill Clinton met with his wealthy donors to share his plans to revitalize the economy with their help. This didn’t go over well in the room mainly made up of Hollywood bigwigs who shared their struggles as if they were living from paycheck to paycheck. Of course, this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Bill Murray then officially opened the show with a monolog about how great it is to be back hosting the show that made his career only the subtitles tell a different story as they claimed that he was only there to promote his latest movie and considering all of his other return visits since being in the cast, I believe the subtitles over his words as he usually hosts with the energy of a person who is phoning it in. Luckily, I still like him enough that I still don’t mind his appearances because his phoned-in shows are still better than many other guests’.
We then got a fake ad for HiberNol which was a cold and flu medication that is so powerful that it puts users of the product into hibernation mode in order to sleep through the entire cold and flu season to avoid becoming sick.
The WhipMaster was a parody of a seventies style show where Bill Murray played the titular role while performing his own stunts due to a contract negotiation. The only problem was that he was an untrained actor he ended up whipping the crap out of his costars instead of performing his tricks.
Frequent Flyer was a sketch where once again Bill Murray played the titular character who travels so much he has advice for all of his fellow passengers on how to handle even the most mundane of the in-flight options.
Sting then took to the stage to perform If I Ever Lose My Faith In You.
Once again, Kevin Nealon gave us the news. This week, Robert Smigel dropped in for another Moron’s Perspective segment where he complained about Bill Clinton’s new tax plan. Father Guido Sarducci also dropped by for a special appearance to discuss Bill Murray’s performance in Groundhog Day but ended up talking about his dreams. David Spade rounded out the news with another Hollywood Minute where he roasted celebrities who were making the tabloid headlines, only Steve Martin cut him off after a joke cut too close to home and shared a few digs of his own.
Men's Jazz Dancing Ensemble was a sketch where the male members of the cast played a struggling jazz dance troupe until they got a visit from Tommy Two Step, played by Bill Murray who taught the boys all of his classic moves.
Coffee Talk then returned for another installment with Linda Richman as host interviewed Bill Murray who played her neighbor to make fun of New York accents while putting on the usual Coffee Talk show.
Sting then returned to the stage to perform Love Is Stronger Than Justice.
I'm Chillin' finally returned for the first time in a while where once again, Chris Rock and Chris Farley shared their new sponsor, Bitch Come Running cologne, before sharing The Mother Joke Of The Day.
Honker At McDonald's was a sketch where Bill Murray’s Honker character dropped by a McDonald’s and attempted to trick the customers into giving him their food by claiming to be a Food Inspector from the state even though he looks and acts like a hobo.
Sting then returned to the stage yet again to perform the song Every Breath You Take.
Finally, Bill Murray closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Thankfully, this episode didn’t live up to the letdown that was set up in the monolog because this turned out to be a pretty good episode thanks to these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The WhipMaster sketch because I found it hilarious the way the actors in the world of the sketch stayed in character to save the scene even though they were supposed to be whipped to crap by Bill Murray as an untrained actor attempting to do his own stunts. Next, I really liked the Frequent Flier sketch because not only was the sketch itself to be funny but it also is the sketch that made me feel the Bill was actually having a fun time which didn’t seem to be the case during his last visit to the show. Finally, I was a fan of the fake HiberNol because I would love a cold medicine that would send me into a full-blown state of hibernation even if I wasn’t sick.